Variable resistance requires differing degrees of force to be applied to the target muscle to create constant resistance, compelling the muscle to work harder to meet the demands of the exercise. A new form of variable resistance training has been the use of elastic bands and chains.

Researchers wanted to examine how variable resistance training with bands stacked up against conventional resistance exercise. The variable resistance group added 30% of their one repetition maximum as band tension to their prescribed weight one session per week.

The athletes performed five weeks of four full-body training sessions per week, comprising two strength sessions, one power session, and one hypertrophy session. Both groups performed the same routine except that the variable resistance group performed the squat and bench press exercises in their power training session (for one session per week).

The researchers concluded that variable resistance training once per week with elastic bands was superior for increasing rate of power and strength development than a conventional resistance-training modality. Bodybuilders may want to consider throwing in some band work on their bench presses and squats for increased gains in strength. – FLEX