Dude, I hoped that you had been reading my stuff and about training in general not to fall prey to such bullshit. Common that is marketed toward the same gullible guy that fall for those facebook/youtube adds about some secret supplement that are 10x better than steroids (These 40 year old men are seeing their fat melt away).
As it was pointed out, it’s just another source of resistance. It cannot in anyway shape or form be 3x more effective than regular training… training TOOLS do not create gains. Programing and training intensity do. Tools can potentiate some methods and enhance your gains when properly used, but they cannot change how the body adapts to training.
Bands are good, no question. The success story of Westside lifters and all of those they influenced are a testament to that. But we are taking about an “add on” to barbell weight.
That having been said, I would personally consider the gadget you mentioned worth buying for someone like me who travels 30+ weeks per year and who can’t always find a decent gym. If it can indeed provide as much resistance as is claimed, they could be a decent tool if I have to train in a hotel gym that only has a treadmill, a bench and dumbbells up to 25lbs. But it would never replace a training program with an emphasis on the big basics. As an assistance tool maybe, but it will NOT stimulate more growth than regular lifting.
Let’s examine what can trigger growth.
Progressive overload: Muscles can grow in size and get stronger if you are imposing a load that they are not used to handling; and the corollary is that if you try to increase the load (weight) lifted over time, you will continue to get stronger and gain muscle (especially if you are lifting more weight for 5 reps or more per set).
mTor activation: When you activate mTor you trigger protein synthesis/muscle growth. While every type of muscle action performed under load will activate mTor to some extent, the two types of action that have the greatest impact are emphasizing the eccentric and having a load in the stretch position.
Growth factor accumulation:Growth factors (igf-1 splice variant mgf) are released when training, mostly when two things occur: accumulation of lactate inside the muscle and oxygen deprivation in that muscle.
Muscle fiber fatigue: According to the fatigue theory of hypertrophy stimulation the more you fatigue a high number of muscle fibers, the more growth you will trigger. And the more you fatigue a certain fiber the more that fiber will grow. To quote Zatsiorsky: “A muscle fiber that has been recruited but not fatigued, is not being trained”.
Let’s look at the tool you mentioned in relation to the 4 ways of stimulating growth shall we?
If it claims 3x more results then we should expect that it impacts at least a few of the factors mentioned above to a GREATER extent than regular lifting work.
Progressive overload: There is no question that as long as the band(s) can provide enough resistance to constitute an overload and that you can increase the resistance then you can progressively overload the muscles. So you can indeed provide progressive overload with this tool. But is it greater than barbell work? No, a greater overload would mean that your muscles can, for some reason, provide more force with the bands vs. with free-weights. That is impossible since how much force your muscles can produce is due to the muscles themselves and the CNS, not the tool. The bands might allow you to overload the top portion more than a barbell but on the other hand it will underload the bottom half, so the total amount of mechanical loading will not be greater. So it simply cannot be “3x more effective”. Furthermore it is my belief that overloading the portion of the range of motion when the muscles are stretched is a stronger hypertrophy stimulus, and with the bands that portion of he ROM will in fact be underloaded.
mTor activation: Once again all forms of resistance training will activate mTor. The two types having the greatest impact are accentuating the eccentric and loading the stretched position. The tool you mentioned might help you overload the eccentric more than regular lifting because it provides a “downward acceleration” that you are trying to fight. BUT it underloads the stretched posiiton. So the mTor activation is likely no higher than regular training.
Growth factor accumulation: Here the key is mostly HOW you do your reps. To create the conditions that will lead to growth factor accumulation constant tension works best. This means never releasing tension at any point in the range of motion. So it’s more about voluntarily contracting the muscles as hard as you can than the tool used. Lifting against bands will help you maintain tension AT THE END of the range of motion because the resistance is increased BUT it will make it harder to maintain tension in the bottom because a lot less resistance is provided. On the other hand with free weights it is often harder to maintain tension in the end of the range of motion (that’s why bodybuilders who focus on constant tension cut the last portion of the range of motion by a few inches) BUT it’s easier to maintain tension in the bottom position and load the stretched portion. So once again, best case scenario the bands are just as effective as free-weights; but certainly not more effective.
4, Muscle fiber fatigue: Muscle fiber fatigue is not dependent on the tool used. You can hit failure with any training tool. And if anything, the band tool will limit your capacity to do drop sets, which can be an effective method when using the fatigue approach.
All and all there is no way that the tool you mentioned could be more effective than regular resistance work. BUT provided that it can give you enough resistance it can work and be useful when you don’t have access to a good gym.
The main issues I have with it are:
Hard to quantify the actual resistance and thus measure progress (useful to stay motivated)
Visually it makes it less of a challenge than a barbell. I’d used bands a lot when traveling and it’s simply not as mentally stimulating than lifting a big deadlift off of the floor, or benching/squatting heavy weights.
It will undertrain the bottom part of the range of motion