T Nation

Grinding with Bands

I watched one of the guys at the gym doing some band work (bench) but he was really grinding out his reps (ie. Rest-pause with bands)

I had a chat with him and he swears by it for tricep strength for short bursts of 2 to 4 weeks.

A bit too close to asking for trouble for my liking but I am curious is anyone else uses bands in this way? I hadn’t seen anyone who looks like they know what they are doing do something like this before

I only ever used bands for accommodating resistance during speed sessions using the conjugate method.

1 Like

One of my favorite uses of bands was dead bench. Set pins right at chest level, have bands attached, and then press against them for reps. Overcoming the weight at the start is KILLER.

However, it absolutely trashed my elbows. Not something I could do for long. I think chain suspended would be more ideal.

1 Like

Yeah, bands definitely work well for triceps, works pretty good for back work like pull-overs & face pulls too.


I like bands for triceps for the cramp at the top of the movement. It also lessens the load at the bottom to be easy on the elbows.

Was the guy strong?

Yes but I’ve literally only ever seen him use bands to and past failure on a bench with anything remotely impressive.

I can’t really get past the idea of a heavy barbell being slingshotted (?) at vital areas of your body if things go wrong lol

Incidentally, I once saw a guy doing squats where he would basically jump to the bottom of the squat then spring back up super fast as soon as his feet touched the floor. Also an impressive athlete, also very perplexing how he progressed that far without breaking lol

1 Like

Strength Curves

Exercise fall into different Strength Curve Categories…

  1. Ascending Strength Curve: Lifts like this are hard in the bottom part of the movement and get easier the higher you push it up: Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, etc

  2. Descending Strength Curve: Lifts like this are easy at the beginning and get harder at the end; Bent Over Rows, Lat Pulldown, etc.

  3. Bell Shaped: Lift like this are easy at the beginning, harder in the middle and easy at the end: Curls, Triceps Pushdowns, etc.

Only 30% Of The Movement Is Overloaded In An Exercise

In all of the above Strength Curve Exercises, only 30% of the movement overload the muscle in the movement. The remaining 70% of the under load the muscles; not maximally stimulating them.

Attaching Chain and/or Bands

Chains and/or Band work for Ascending Strength Exercises. They allow you to overload the exercise through a greater range of the movement; making the movement more productive.

The load used in an exercise and the amount of loading from the chain and/or bands determines if you are training Limit Strength (grinding it up) or Power (explosive driving the bar up).

My Experience

I used Chains, Bands and Bungees with my training sessions as a means of overloading the muscle in the movement through a greater range of motion.

Take Home Message

A greater training effect is elicited when you overload the muscles in a movement throughout the full range of the exercise rather than only 30%.

So, why not maximize your gains by using Accommodating Resistance with Ascending Strength Curve Movements?

Kenny Croxdale

1 Like

How much band tension or chain weight do you use Kenny?

I’ve seen Louie use really specific numbers for accomodating resistance. Like 25% for speed work, or 40% for circa max stuff.

Other guys just use a little band to overload the top. Like Brian Shaw using one mini band box squatting, or Matt Wenning using 1 mini band for anybody up to like a 500 bench.

Dave Tate uses tons of chains for heavy lifting or grinding. It looks like he has more chain weight than barbell weight.

Chain/Band Tension

As you noted, the amount of tension is dependent on your training objective for Speed, Power or Limit Strength Training.

Below is a guideline.

Limit Strength Training With Bands and/or Chains

Limit Strength Training is the use of 85% plus of your 1 Repetition Max for 1 - 3 Reps.

The bar load and chain/band tension (total amount or chain and/or band resistance at lockout) needs to so heavy that it is a slow grind all the way through the movement.

Power Training With Bands and/or Chains

Power is developed with moderate loads of between 48 - 62% of your 1 Repetition Max.

Speed Works as defined by Westside is a misnomer. Based on the percentages Westside recommends and uses, it is Power Work.

The amount of chain/band tension used for Power Training is dependent on the bar load, as well. The bar load plus the chain/band tension needs to total at lockout at around 48 - 62% of your 1 Repetition Max.

Speed Training With Bands and Chain

Speed is developed with light load of 10 - 40% of your 1 Repetition Max… The bar load plus the chain/band tension needs to total at lockout at around 10 - 40% of your 1 Repetition Max.

The Inverse Relationship Between Bar Load and Chain/Band Tension

The total bar weight plus the chain/band tension (resistance) in the locked out position of the lift determines if you are training, Limit Strength, Power or Speed.

In each method there is an inverse loading relationship between the bar load and the amount of chain/band resistance used.

When you increase the bar load, the chain/band resistance needs to be adjusted down.

When the bar load decreases, the chain/band resistance needs to be increased.

Kenny Croxdale