Jumping on the "Band" Wagon for HIT or HDT

The week before lockdown 2020, I went to Academy to get some home exercise equipment, only to find it looking like the TP aisle at the grocery store!! I grabbed what I could and ordered some other things off of Amazon. I also had accumulated a few things already, due to RC rehab work.
My workouts weren’t Band Workouts per se, but mainly my typical workout styles and movements, adapted for bands and associated equipment. Even now, 3 years later, I still probably do a ‘Bands-Only’ workout every 3rd or 4th time!!


Later, I started liking bands a lot. Just the bands themselves can be used to train — nothing else — though handles help on some exercises. 36"-39" are the “typical” size range.
Shorter Ones work great for SLDLs!
For the longest time, I didn’t have any kind of board at all. I simply put the bands or tubing under my feet/shoes. This works very well as you can adjust the width of your feet to fine tune the resistance!!

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Thanks for this, Simon! A great idea for a thread.

Please share more of your thoughts on a typical workout? Excercises? Rep tempo?

I personally try to emulate a regular full body HIT workout with bands, varying 4/4 cadence with 30-10-30 (inspired by Arjan Meijer). On legs (which require more of everything) I need more load, thus adding dumbbells to banded squats and/or doing additional excercises (sissyquats). Any other suggestions for legs would be much appreciated.

I also might add, that I sometimes apply bands for accessory work, when under time constraints in life. Before going to bed doing 1-2 excercises (on 1-2 muscle groups).

My favourite excercise is the banded push-up, which also is a dream of intensity when doing 30-10-30.

What does not work so well for me, is the banded pullover. The bands does not allow for any greater resistence in the outstretched position. The ROM is problematic with bands, unfortunately. I’ve seen attempts adding dumbbells with bands but have yet to try it.

Maybe statics/isometrics is of value trying to add intensity when finishing a set?

How do you perform a SLDL? I’ve seen this mentioned elsewhere.

Simple. You loop one short band under each shoe and grab the other ends with your hands. Do a stiff-leg deadlift (SLDL) by keeping your knees slightly cocked, but locked in place. Pull all the way to vertical. The bottom of the movement is as far down you can go and still keep your back slightly arched – NO rounding. This movement is as much as (maybe more) a Ham and Glute stimulator as lower back. With the bands, I have no problem cranking out higher reps. Rep Pace is 2/1/3/1 or so.


I eventually got an X3 knockoff bar and later a great molded-plastic floor plate that DOESN’T wear on the bands!! And some straps to do Pull-Ups and BW Rows and stretching (I throw them over a tree limb in the front yard).


As for Pullovers, don’t even try to do them with bands. Stiff-Arm PDs with the door anchor gizmo are your play here. Also, remember that hybrid exercise I described in the other thread? Here it is tweaked for bands:
" My problem with Pulldowns have always been biceps and forearm involvement, with grip often being a weak link. For several years, I’ve done a variation that hits the lats awesomely.

  1. I use a single handle grip, interlacing the fingers from both hands, or 2 grips.
  2. Use the door-jam gizmo and preferably tubes. The path of the handle is the same as Hammer High Row or the old Nautilus Pulldowns. I say tubes because their resistance curve is not as severe as the bands!
  3. The motion is limited to the shoulder joint – the arms stay almost locked at about 90 degrees. As you may see by now, this is really a hybrid PD-PO exercise!!
  4. With the arm position locked, there is very little biceps involvement. And if you go the single grip route, the interlaced fingers remove your grip as a weak link."
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The picture above is just to show you the door anchor. You can probably use 2 or 1 handle to do the PD/POs. The main key is to maintain bent arms throughout.

Other than that, I usually do HDT sets vs the X3 Model — though the X3 workouts are great if you’re really in a time crunch!! Fave band/tubing exercises:

  • Band Flyes - The bands will sit right under your shoulder blades in the back. I do mine in a slight upward/incline path to hit upper pecs better. After 2 moderately intense sets, I follow these with Chest Press using the Gorilla Bow (X3 bar too short for proper grip width) → as you can see, I have a chair that’s just right for this!
  • Lateral Raises - Use a very light band, anchored under your feet. This one gives you 2-way resistance: there’s the typical upward resistance as you raise your arms, but there’s also the sideways resistance as you pull your hands apart. Get ready to burn!!
  • Curls - You can do them with a bar OR loop some tubes under your feet and do DB-style curls. Do NOT do the drag curls you see in the X3 videos (except as a set extender)
  • Rows - Bar Rows are great sometimes, but I usually loop bands or tubes under my feet and use the handles. It gives me more options: Bent-Over Rows, Haney Shrugs, High Pulls → And I can use the most natural grip vs restricting to pronated or supinated.
  • Paired Exercises - In the interest of time and intensity, I like to pair exercises, super-set style: Reverse Curl/Curls, Flyes/Chest Press, Bent Rows/SLDLs, DardenSquats/Regular Squats.
  • PT Work - Light Band work to warm-up or cool down is a must! Face Pulls, “L” Raises (Pulls in this case), light Cobras, etc.

Excellent! Your ideas remind me not so little about Arjan Meijer whose Youtube channel I highly recommend. He “invented” the M-reps set variation, which is an interesting set intensifying method (sort of a Brian Johnston J-rep/Zone rep progression) - for bands only!

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I checked out some of Arjan’s vids. I really really like those M-Reps → Much better than the X3 plan IMO. They’re the opposite of the free weight/bodyweight Matrix Training program, which was performed in a Bottom-Up order.

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I agree. For some reason Arjan seems to have changed his M-reps from 4 to 3 positions (in two repeated cycles) and gone from omnistatics to rest-pause (for third cycle).

I’ve yet to try M-reps but find the idea slightly brilliant.

His Summary Box on the one video shows both 3 and 4 positions — I think it depends on the exercise and how long the ROM is!!

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