Workout Tips

The Lift Doctor: Strength Bands & Tempo Training for More Muscle

The Doc's workout prescription for improving training performance and results.

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“What's your opinion on combining strength bands and bodybuilding? - Eric Howell 

Bands are very effective at helping you stretch and for performing various dynamic mobility movements (with traction) to unlock your upper and lower body. In fact, they are a staple in our program for warm-ups and pre-movement prep.

You can also use bands to attach to the bar when performing a bench press, squat and deadlift. This type of accommodating resistance is crucial for helping you improve your rate of force production and smashing through plateaus. The idea is simple; try to outrun the bands. When the tension from the bands jump onto the bar, you will have to explode into the movement to lockout the weight.

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Bands can also be very effective when used with various other common bodybuilding exercises like lat pulldowns, bicep curls, tricep extensions, military presses, side laterals, barbell rows, and so on. 

Banded Bicep Curls

For example, stand on one end of the band and wrap the other end around a dumbbell. Set this up for each arm. You will perform bicep curls against the weight of the dumbbell and the resistance of the band. Choose a weight where you can typically get 15-20 reps. 

Now, curl the weight and perform as many repetitions as possible with good form. You’ll notice there is a rebound effect during the transition from lowering the dumbbell to the curl of the dumbbell. That is the tension of the band working against you.

Don’t perform the curls slow, instead go more deliberate and impart force into the band/ dumbbell combo. Your arms will feel like they’re going to explode. Now superset each curl with tricep extension with bands for sets of 20, 40, or even 60 reps. 

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