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Training bands

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jan 20, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Training bands

Training bands

This is a quick overview of my personal experience with bands, what they can be used for and how much they cost. 

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What are training bands ?

Training bands are elastic bands which provide resistance in workouts and exercise regimes. They usually come in different forms and shapes depending on the use scenario and how much resistance you want to apply to the movement.

The elasticitiy provides resistance or tension for stretching and/or any routine you are doing. The lesser the resistance of the band the more likely you will use it for stretching, rehabilitation or mobility purposes. The more resistance the band has, the more likely you will use it for additional loading in the squat, bench press or deadlift

Medium resistance bands can be used to make body movements harder. The book on the kettlebell beast tamer challenge and how to accomplish uses bands to prepare you for the harder movements, when you start to do a pull up loaded with a kettlebell.


Which exercises can you use them for ?

I see bands most commonly used in my local gym for beginners. Here the bands are supporting pull ups for individuals who are not fit / strong enough to do a regular pul up yet.

I personally use them most for dynamic training on the squat, bench press and dealift.

Tere are also good routines with bands to train your hips and increase mobility for the squat by putting a band around your knees while squatting. Chris Duffin also uses bands to train the back muscles so that the lifter becomes better at pulling the bar into his / her back during a back squat.

Why use training bands ?

Training bands are flexible and versatile. They will help you to apply more resistance to a stretch when needed or trnaform the load curve of a lift in a way that you are made to work more explsoive at certain points of the lift.

If yu are training witrh bands and chains for powerlifting, bands have the advantage over the chains, that the load increase from the bottom to the top of the does not come in increments, but gradual and exponential. This also makes it harder to work with bands than with chains in my opinion. Adding 20kg of load via a chain or 20kg of resistance via band are two completely different things.

Because there is more tension in the bands and they want to come back to their normal size when expanded, the resistance is more active. Be careful when you try this for the first few times. Because of the nature of the bands, there is more pontential of injury due to uncontrolled deloads when working with bands compared to chains.

How to use training bands ?

Take care that they are secured to the rack, when you use them for lifts. Same goes for stretches.Always secure the movement and take care that the bands are under control. If they are not, they come flying and bad things will happen. 

Also use only bands with resistance that you can comfortably control while still challenging you. If you take care of these two points it is much less likely that you will lose control of the band and therefore initiate your limbs to moved rapidly and agressively in an undesired way.

How often should I use training bands ?

If you use them for rehabilitation or mobility purposes you will most likely use them on a daily basis as these methods have to be consistently applied over time to show results. 

If you are using them for dynamic movements I would personally recommend to use them as accessories for maybe 1/3 to 1/4 of your training whereever you go dynamic. I found the bands to be quite harsh on my knees elbows when overused and therefore increasing the risk of busirtis for me.

What type of training bands are out there ?

Training bands

They come in all forms and shapes. Do a bit of research depending on what you want to use them for, if your local gym does not already provide some. The resistances range from as low as 15 lbs up to 200lbs. 

How much do training bands cost ?

15$ to 100$ depending on size and resistance.

How many training bands do I need ?

If yu wanted to purchase something for yourself I think a good strategy is to get four bands. One pair for lifting at round about 50% of your one repetition maximum ond one pair for mobility work and stretches in the 15lbs to 25 lbs resistance range. That leaves you with multiple options and enables you for my perspective to cover the most workout setups utilising bands, without having a collection of rubber in your wardrobe of which half is not being used.

What is your personal experience ?

I have seen very good gains on my deadlift and squat since I incorporated band work into my weekly routines. I Overdid it at the beginning and had some pain in my elbows, which already have a history of busirtis.


Resistance bands seem to have gotten a push in popularity since crossfit took center stage over in the United States. They have many different ways to be applied to your workout routines and are for beginners and pros alike, if you know how to use them correctly. As setting them up can be tricky, I would recommend to get a personal trainer / someone with experience with bands to introduce you to them.

Further reading


Topics: Lift stronger