Benefits of Resistance Bands for Strongman Workouts

muscular man with resistance bands for strongman workout

Can you imagine Eddie Hall or The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) using a set of resistance bands? After Björnsson’s record-breaking deadlift, the idea of him using anything other than boulders is comical.

So, are resistance bands more of a paperweight in the world of Strongman workouts? Not exactly.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of resistance band training and how they can complement Strongman workouts for greater gains in strength, force production, and power.

 

Benefits of Resistance Bands vs. Conventional Weightlifting

Before we discuss how you can use resistance bands during your Strongman workouts, let’s establish why using the bands is a great option in the first place.

Progressive Resistance: Unlike conventional weightlifting exercises, resistance bands offer progressive resistance. This is when the level of resistance increases as you move through the concentric or lifting portion of the exercise.

Constant Tension: Continuing with the point above, the tension that resistance bands produce is constant throughout the exercise, producing a higher level of muscular fatigue. Depending on the intensity, this can set the stage for improvements in muscle mass, strength, and power.

Low Impact: Resistance bands can help to increase strength, build muscle, and boost performance without putting too much strain on your connective tissue. While some studies suggest that heavy load training is the ideal option for building raw power, it’s also the method that has the highest risk for muscle and connective tissue injuries. What’s more, it’s not possible for those going through rehabilitation to perform heavy load training. Thankfully, resistance bands produce similar results without the risk of injury.

Similar Results: As mentioned above, resistance bands have been shown to produce similar results to conventional weightlifting in the areas of movement velocity, raw power, strength output, and force production. [1]

Durability: Sure, bumper training plates are incredibly durable, especially during CrossFit workouts, but resistance bands are also surprisingly tough. Despite being a flimsy piece of rubber, resistance bands can be used in a variety of training environments, especially in areas with high humidity. That might be one advantage it has over traditional iron weight plates.

 

How to Use Resistance Bands for Strongman Workouts

Convinced that resistance bands are more than a piece of rubber to snap at your friend? Here’s how you can use them during your Strongman workouts.

Warm-Ups: Maybe the idea of using resistance bands in the same workout where you’ll be throwing around an Atlas stone seems a bit absurd. We get it. So why not warm up to the bands before your official workout? Resistance bands make an excellent tool for preparing the body for heavy load workouts. They are an effective form of warming up and dynamic stretching.

Complementary Work: Are you using periodization training for your Strongman workouts? Do you want to start using failure sets to achieve complete muscular fatigue on certain training days? Resistance bands are perfect for this complementary work.

Pair Up on Exercises: Studies show that pairing resistance bands with barbells and dumbbells can elicit greater training gains than using each one separately. The best way to pair resistance bands with conventional fitness equipment is to strap the band to the floor then wrap it around the barbell or dumbbell. A great example would be performing barbell squats with resistance bands. This exercise alone would provide a welcomed challenge during your Strongman workout. [2]

Cool Down: Even if you’re focusing on heavy training in the beginning of your Strongman workouts, you can use resistance bands at the end of your workout. In order to restore proper length-tension relationships in your muscles, promote the breakup of lactic acid, and avoid blood pooling, a post-workout cooldown is recommended. Given their low impact and variable intensity, you can use resistance bands to help with your cool down.

DOMS and Recovery: Delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS usually occurs 24 to 48 hours after a workout and it typically lasts for 72 hours. Depending on the intensity of the workout and your recovery methods, it might last longer. One way to support recovery and get rid of DOMS faster is with a light resistance band workout on rest days.

 

Do You Use Resistance Bands for Your Strongman Workouts?

How do you incorporate resistance bands into your Strongman training? Considering starting to use bands more during your workouts? Have a video of yourself performing a barbell and resistance band squat (or another double-up exercise)? Tag us on Instagram so we can share!

 

 

References

  1. Lopes JSS, Machado AF, Micheletti JK, de Almeida AC, Cavina AP, Pastre CM. Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis. SAGE Open Med. 2019;7:2050312119831116. Published 2019 Feb 19. doi:10.1177/2050312119831116.
  2. Bellar DM, Muller MD, Barkley JE, et al. The effects of combined elastic- and free-weight tension vs. free-weight tension on one-repetition maximum strength in the bench press. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25(2):459-463. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c1f8b6.