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Jon Jones Band Work, Is It Wrong?


I was watching this Jon Jones video on how he works out. I noticed he does a lot of band work, mimicking the motions he does when he fights. I read on tnation that mimicking motions through band work was all garbage and that it is better just to preform squatting and normal exercises.

Watch the first video on the training:



You are gonna find people on both sides of this.

There will always be the traditional style strength and power guys and the newer functional crowd. I dont think one is greater than the other and if you are doing your conditioning correctly will most likely have times when you are doing each one.


I'm no expert but here's what I think. I generally think that performing speed based movements like striking under resistance pays limited dividends. I say this because you don't have to overcome any resistance to throw a punch or a knee. All you have to do is fire the right muscles in the right sequence as fast, hard and economically as possible while staying as loose and relaxed as possible. I think that the bands will interfere with this process by subtly changing the movement pattern, adding unnecessary tension and forcing you throw the strikes more slowly. This seems counterproductive to me, especially for someone who is just starting out.

I would see more carry over to grappling-type movements where you are often applying force against direct resistance. Just my opinion.

Of course Jones and his S & C coach presumably know way more about this than I do, so there you go.


if you read on T-Nation and elite fts you might think squat with low reps and deadlifts are by far the best exercises for speed & strength for martial arts. And you might get the impression that is the only way to train. You just have to read between the lines... for a martial artist this are the best assistance exercises!

The truth is always in between. If you ask fighters like randy couture how they prepare they implement the heavy weight training in the beginning of there training camp . later in the training camp they work with higher reps and use weights more as form of conditioning tool . max training just takes too much toll on your body and hinders you in sparring on the next day.

Persionally i made a good experience in working with bands. My trainer forced me to do it after our lighter training sessions and my kicks really got faster.

there are absolutly no bad exercises , there are just bad applications....


... just watched the video...

if i got her right she uses the bands to make him tired. to mimic the feeling he will have in the later rounds. why not... ?


There are ABSOLUTELY bad exercises, I would never say that.

And honestly, putting stress on your joints and tendons from those angles is not something that I would do, especially in the ballistic kind of uncontrolled manner that striking is essentially.

I don't know much about physiology, of course, but strapping weight to your wrist while you mimic a looping ground and pound punch is asking for injury.

There is a use for bandwork in my opinion, but it's light resistance against short, straight punches that's going to minimize the risk of hurting yourself while providing some benefit. But it would not be a staple of my program, nor would it be something I would rely on exclusively.


Nothing bad per se with bands.

Let's see the vid:
C&P from kneeling position -
Definitely not the worst exercise. There's lots of beneficial, potential strength transfer in the c&p and it's variations.

Sidenote: "hips" as a concept is hard to effect directly through repetition based exercise and has to be trained at the same time as directly and diversely as the fighter's game demands it.
Or to put it bluntly: Just as it's retarded to assume your boxing "hands" will get automatically better through benching, your "hips" probably won't profit directly from ANY exercise.

Personally, I wouldn't do the landmine row because of the mean loading vector pointing menacingly at a million-dollar-athlete's spine. I'd rather do medium-heavy deadlift singles.
How long has Jones wrestled? How many thousand reps of row variations did he do? Many wrestlers have a beat up spine and I cannot see that he'd lose precious strength (or mass?) without doing some kind of bent over rows. He's not looking to go up in weight, so I say ditch this bodybuilding beach exercise.

Jumping with mini dbs - conditioning + coordination: sure ,why not?

Prowler pushing - sure why not, as long as he can regenerate from it, let him do all kinds of conditioning if he's not getting it already in training.

Power Thruster and bands to tire him out - So their aim with the latter is strength-endurance? Sure, why not.
It's a fancier, perhaps joint-friendlier way then old school pushups.
A long as the fighter can seperate this from his technical work, I see no problem.
The moment the athlete's technique stalls or starts to suffer because
a) of the overall work output
b) these wild motor patterns exceed his technical work or start to override his good motor patterns, out of habit or ignorance
it should be ditched or at least redesigned.
The athlete should definitely be aware that the "Power Thruster" is an exercise like curling and has very little to do with an actual punch.

Vertimax? Crapmachine - "mimicking the movements of any sport" = bollox marketing lies.
There are, however, fine exercises that are hard to do any other way.
For instance, doing explosive "hip throw" resembling bends = SOLID gold, when done together with actual drilling and sparring.

Box Jumps - time tested, low tech, old school, awesome exercise.
This variation is particularly nice. Explosion, reactive explosion, absorption.


from my understanding we agree, isn t it ? no bad excercises just bad applications, as you mentioned...


So far it is working for him.

A lot of opponents say he is stronger in the clinch than they expected and his Greco throws/clinches/trips are very explosive- due to this type of weight training approach, maybe or maybe his technique/timing is excellent I do not know yet.

I would argue that he is training "motor patterns" under load (with weights/bands and accumulated fatigue)to help him build up endurance and keep his explosiveness during the latter rounds of a fight.

I see validity to using the bands while punching in the manner they were using :In mount position trying to finish someone with repeated strikes after a big flurry or long round.


I thought these were hideous though. Not a lot of hips here. Looks more like an upright row with a catch. Kneeling. Not a fan.

Agree 100%.

Sure. Not liking the fact that he jumps off the box after though. The whole point of the box is to eliminate the impact on the joints from landing. Might as well use hurdles or nothing at all, if he's not going to walk off the box after.


I've become more in line with the thinking that people try to reinvent the wheel too much, especially in the area of strength training/physical conditioning.

Being forced to sadistic sessions of punching the air with dumbbells didn't give me anywhere near as much benefit as deadlifting, sprints and just plain old shadow boxing at full speed did.

There was a great article on T-Nation here just a few weeks ago I think, where the author stated that you probably get enough speed and "sport specific" work from actually doing your sport's training than you do from trying to imitate your sport's motions with extra resistance. I completely agree with that.

A lot of these new fangled resistance training methods really are just reinventing the wheel so to speak. If we broke it down they probably aren't doing anything that an already commonly in use method didn't do.

That said, is Jones's resistance bands going to hurt his performance in the long run? Probably not. I Just don't think it's any more beneficial.


No, I think their are bad exercises. Upright rows? Bad exercise. Bench press? Bad exercise. Behind the neck press? Bad exercise.

And I agree with Dave. To me that kind of shit is just superfluous crap that's more about some trainer trying to make a name for themselves with their crraaaazzyyy style than really enhancing a dude's performance.

But I am pretty old school with shit like that so take my opinion for what it's worth.


On the bad exercises you listed: If performed incorrectly yes they can cause damage, so can any other compound movement. Hell, punching a heavy bag while not wrapping your wrists fits in your description of a bad exercise...

I agree on the old school methods stuff, usually works well and time proven


I am not convinced that there are bad exercises, but I do feel that some are better than others depending on the persons goals, strengths and weaknesses. I think with Elite atheletes they need more specialized types of training and exercises to enhance them further in the sport. It might be a waste of time for some amateur fighters to do these exercises and it might be less beneficial for Jon Jones to do regular deadlifts and squats.

I have had luck with doing basic 5/3/1 with my regular training and I feel stronger both standing and on the ground. I will change my training before my next fight to work on speed, endurance and cardio. So I don't think you can just say that someones training is bad without knowing the athelete.


I think the theory of resistance band work has somthing to do with fast twitch muscles etc.,

Check out this craziness:

Must be good for something; of course Terrell Owens is trying to sell his own line of resistance bands.


bands are useless when compared to the bone shattering power that using a maul through a sea of wood creates. and unless your heart rate is below 52bpm bands actually have negative effects. I would post more but I am tired and it would be sloppy ok?


Jones so far is not riddled with injuries, and has beat everyone he fought, his DQ against Hammil was a mental lapse since he was dominating at the time.

If he thinks it works, it doesn't get him hurt, or even breaks the monotony of training than it is hard for me to fire a bunch of criticism from the side lines. Not that I would recommend or even try this shit.

Bad Exercises vs No Bad Exercises:

This is about risk reward and cost benefit, NOT PREFERANCE.

It is context specific, meaning who is going to do them and in order to achieve what?

I think everyone should read more great literature. It is not a priority if you are 12 weeks out from a fight. Something can be "good" but "for later".

I try to frame the discussion/explain it as questions of "can't" vs "should not" and "can" vs "should".

If we take the current whipping boy, the bench press, I will go on record as saying any combat athlete needs to be able to bench. "I can bench" is a good statement. If an honest 5 X 5 workout on the bench press is going to aggravate/hurt/injure the athlete than they probably have some issues that are going to affect their competitiveness. Think of it as a screen. If my shoulder gets so jacked up from benching that I cannot train for days after or I risk injury than do we expect me to be able to perform all the other training? This is what "I can't bench." means to me.

So with basic exercises I think "can" is a pre-requisite. Now "should" is another thing. What is hoped to be gained, and at what cost? There may be plenty of other things to do other than bench that aree more important. "Should I bench?" is different. The answer of "You should not." is perfectly fine, and really for something that amounts to GPP we do not need to be wed to any one exercise.

So, if you "can't" perform an exercise, lets ask why? If you do this early enough maybe you can head off an injury and prolong your career. Remember, we want to do the injuries to the other guy. If we come into it banged up than we are doing his job for him.

To hell with that.

You may beat my ass, but you gotta do it your damn self.


Robert A


lmao.... " I read it on T-Nation" so it must be gospel.


This is a good question.I think lots of experts would argue for or against.

But my opinion is this-it wont make you or brake you as a fighter.
We already know what works- the basics=sparring,shadow fighting,heavy bag work,pads,etc.

The real question is how to create enough passion to motivate yourself to go through dull routine of long hours of everyday bag work,pad work,jumping rope,shadow drilling,etc. when you dont feel like it.


That's right Skelac.
The other point is he has to be doing nothing but band work day in and day out to even begin to ruin his technique or 'injur himself'. It's not like he is some untrained novice with no former technique or strength.
It's not like those bands are the 200 pound iron woody's either.
Seriously, if you have been training for a long time, it's very hard to undo the pre-programmed cns developments and even after long breaks with no training it takes very short amounts of time compared to average joes to get back in the routines and get your skills sharp again.

So to me, it's a laughable arguement and only applicable to novices with no technique or strength or people who are just over doing the band training. At most, I would estimate he does it once or twice a week. Compared to 6 days a week of proper fight training.