Strength Band Exercises To Push You Past Plateaus

Originally used by the powerlifters at Westside Barbell, strength bands are important for building explosiveness while at the same time giving the CNS (central nervous system) a much needed deload. More recently they have come to the forefront of the rehab/mobility world and can be used in several different fashions to improve positional strength and integrity.

Below are two easy strength band exercises to help push you past plateaus and gain explosive power.

  1. Banded Squats
  • If you are in a power cage rack with safety bars, loop your choice of strength band to each bar. Center the bands so that they will be in line with your body and the bar path when you unrack you barbell and squat.
  • If you are in a conventional squat rack you will need 2 pairs of dumbbells ranging from 75-100lbs. You will need at minimum 150lbs on each side of the rack as an anchor so it is key that your dumbbells are heavy enough. Place the dumbbells next to each other on either side of the squat rack and loop your strength bands around the handles of each set.
  • Once your strength bands are securely anchored, attach each band to either side of your racked barbell. The bands should attach at an angle and only stretch upwards perpendicularly after you have unracked the bar and are set to squat.
  • When performing squats with bands, think about maintaining position and exploding out of the hole. Remember that with the added band tension, the actual weight on the bar should be well below what you would normally do for a given set/rep scheme.
  1. Banded Deadlifts
  • Load a barbell with an easy deadlift warm up weight.
  • Drape your strength band over the center of the bar and attach both sides of the hanging band underneath your feet.
  • Spread your feet out so that you are in your normal deadlift pulling stance. Adjust the band if need be so that it’s two points of contact with the bar are fairly close to your feet. You should not feel like your feet are being pulled together.
  • Take a couple practice pulls to get a feel for it, and then load up your bar! Similar to banded squats the tension from the band takes the place of the weights you would normally load.

Mobility Issues? Watch the video below to learn some quick hip opening exercises to do before you WOD!

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