For those who follow The Swing Block Method, using bands for accommodating resistance is a big part of our strength training program. Below is a step by step guide to help you set these up.
Accommodating resistance is the use of chains and bands to increase the force velocity curve. The body is made up of lever systems. When you're at your lowest on the squat, your lever system is it it's weakest. That's why you see “bros" in the gym doing quarter squats because that high the lever system is at their strongest. It's harder to use full range of motion so they simply won't and happily let their knees pay the price without getting full results. Remember, partial reps mean partial results.
The way I prefer to set up bands is by placing anchors in the floor that fold up and down for easy access. These can go under the mats and not be seen, or you can do like I have and cut out the mats from around them. Cutting out the mats just makes access to them easier. They are in no way a tripping hazard and in fact, you can do double unders on them and they would never bother your rope. Here is a link to the ones I use.
You can also set up bands using heavy dumbbells or even a couple 45lb plates, but since this is a big part of our training, it's how I prefer to do it.
When connecting your bands for the cleans or deadlift, you will want to pull it through itself and on the other end use a carabiner to connect it to the next anchor. Make sure you use the same kind of carabiner on each side. These are the ones I use. If floor anchors are not an option, it is easier to use very heavy dumbbells than lifting plates. If you do use a dumbbell, brace it with plates, like chocking a wheel.
When using these for cleans and deadlifts, you will need 4 on each side, 2 on each side of the platform, as wide as the platform, then 2 more about 3 and a half feet apart in length. This gives you enough distance that you can lay the bands out long ways and connect them without having any slack in the band. When it comes to bands, slack is your enemy. If youre using weights to hold the bands in place, make sure they are heavy enough to not move during the movements.
Once you have your anchors and bands in place, it's time to find out how much tension you have. Here is the thing, each website you order bands from will say it has 60-80lbs of tension, or 40-100lbs, the thing about that is it is complete bullshit numbers. The weight of the resistance from the bands change as it stretches more. So how do you know how much tension you have? You have to measure it for each of your movements so you understand how much you have at the top. It's only important to know these numbers if you care about how much weight you're moving. That's sarcasm, yes it's important to know these.
So, how do you find your band tension? Ok, you're going to need a scale that isn't digital. A digital scale will not be able to read the resistance properly. Trust me on this, I've tried many times with a digital scale, it won't work. First thing, get your scale and a barbell, stand on it. Once you have that weight, You will want to then put the bands over it and hold it in the position of the movement, if it is a deadlift, hold the deadlift with the bands while standing on the scale, if it is a clean, stand up in a front rack position. You will want to do this with one band on each side, and then both.
Setting up for the back squat is a bit different. First off, you need to have the anchors close enough to your rig so that there isn't a lot of pull from an angle that can pull an empty barbell from the pins. You also have to pull the band through itself so that both ends of the bands go on the barbell. Doing it this way will make sure that there is zero slack at the bottom of the squat. As mentioned earlier, with bands, slack is your enemy.
The more tricky band resistance to measure is for the bench press. The way to get this tension, again while using the bands doubled through without having slack at the bottom, is to lay on the bench and hold the bar up at lockout and have someone mark the height with chalk on the rig.
After the mark is made, have the athlete hold the barbell at the height of the mark while standing on the scale, remember, the weight of the band tension is the difference of the athletes weight with an empty barbell and the weight of the athlete with the barbell at the movement height with the bands attached.
So there you have it. For each kind of band you use, you will want to redo these steps, even for each different brand of band because the way they are manufactured could be different. If you are looking to get new bands, click here to find some of the cheaper ones to begin with.
If you are wanting to have an effective program using bands, wanting to create a barbell club, a full competitive program for your gym or just to become on the the strongest people on earth, join our program to make the greatest gains of your life.