Banded Bench Press Feels Harder Than Straight Weight

I used bands for the first time tonight on benching. It felt awesome something very new to me. I used blue monster mini bands doubled over which according to the chart is a hundred pounds resistance at the top. My question is is it normal for the banded bench press to feel harder. for example 315 straight weight feels easier than 215 plus a hundred pounds from the band’s felt hard.

Unless you weighed the tension don’t trust a chart.

That said - yes banded bench will be harder at less weight. It’s an overspeed eccentric, meaning the weight is pulling back down harder than gravity otherwise would.

Makes sense man, I could definitely feel it. Stability was also more difficult. Now I understand why you need a strong start to finish the weight. The bands are no joke

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Also weights have momentum, bands to not. If you push up a 10 lb weight as hard as you can, you’ll throw it up out of your hand, even if you stop halfway up. If you do the same with a band that has 10 lbs of tension the band will stop moving as soon as you do, no matter how hard you try. This momentum helps keep the bar moving when using straight weight.


I feel dumb for never looking at it this way. That being said, I did not seem to see any return on investment for my time benching with bands. I was really hoping that it would be my miracle solution to my stubborn bench, but after using bands on speed day for several months (as well as a few ME bench movements), I saw no carryover to my 1RM bench.

With bands, and really any training tool or method, mindset is just as important as the tool you’re using. The benefit of bands is that it allows you to use weight that is light enough to move for many reps, pressing each rep as fast and forcefully as possible, without the bar flying out of your hands or form going to shit because of how light it is.

Consider that 50% straight weight might be light enough to do all your work with, but if you press each rep as hard as possible it will move too fast to really maintain form. However, 80% straight weight might be so heavy that, although form can be maintained while pushing with max force, you might fatigue earlier and not be able to perform as many total reps. Also, going heavy enough with straight weight to keep form reasonable while also pushing with max force is often a lot of load at the bottom part of the lift, where more of the work is being done. This can lead to nagging injuries. Using bands helps balance all this out, allowing you to work with weight that is light enough to not beat you up over time while also letting you push with 100% force each rep.

That said, there are a lot of things to building a big bench besides intentional max force production, and if you’re already doing a good job with that but lacking in something else, using bands probably won’t help.


I appreciate you taking the time to explain it, the theory behind why bands should work makes sense to me. I was drinking the conjugate KoolAid for awhile, and really wanted the bands to work.

It may have been a problem with the application for my particular strengths/weaknesses.

I’m a fairly explosive lifter to begin with, so it is possible that I was just investing that work into a strength and my weaknesses weren’t being properly addressed (which is where the true value of conjugate training comes from).

I did watch/listen to a video from Jason Coker who said that bands seem to beat the hell out of him, and that he prefers to use chains. I think I would echo this sentiment in my preference towards chains over bands for benching.

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This seems to me like a large part of it, if you get slightly out of the groove it messes you up way worse than straight weight.

I find that bands beat up my elbows, last time I spent a few weeks benching with bands I think I already had a bit of tendinitis and the bands pushed it over the edge. I saw some improvement in that time, but it wasn’t worth fucking up my elbows.

I find that slingshot bench is good for triceps and lockout.


I do want to get these back into rotation at some point. An enjoyable variation for me.

Bands more than 3 weeks straight is a recipe for hurting.

Bands will beat you up, I love using them during an over reaching phase.

I’ll note I don’t do bands for shirted bench, only raw work.

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That’s the only bench variation I have been doing for the last few months, if lockout is an issue then it will pay off.

I was fucked after 3 weeks, had to cut a bunch of stuff and started taking CBD oil.

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Thanks for all the responses fellas.

One thing I like to do is dumbell bench with a band. The setup is something like this. Great for stability and lockout.Resistance-Band-Bench-Press


How do you do that Gorilla? With one band wrapped around your back?

Yeah, around the upper back.

Just make sure you don’t flare your elbows too much. The band will end up around the back of your neck.

Going to give those a try.