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Strength Training With Bands & Chains (Advanced Footballers Only)

Strength Training With Bands & Chains (Advanced Footballers Only)

If you're a player who has atleast 3+ years of strength training under your belt, then this next tip may be something that you take on board to further progress your strength training.

Remember - the wider the base the higher the peak.

You must be invested in squeezing every last drop of benefit from the more basic exercises before moving onto the more complex, 'sexier' exercises.

If you skip that, you're sacrificing the returns possible from using the training strategies below, and you're narrowing your foundation of athleticism (which means a lower potential peak in the future).

With that said, what role can adding bands and chains into your training have?

How exactly can they help you progress your strength and power?

For todays example, I'm going to use the bench press exercise to demonstrate.

Let's imagine you're lying down on the bench, with the loaded barbell resting above you...

However you've also added some elastic resistance bands to each end of the barbell, which are fixed to the bottom of the rack.

Now when you start performing your reps, the bands are pulling the bar down towards your chest and then resisting you moving the bar back to the starting position (extended arms).

There's a few things happening here:

  1. The bands are applying a greater eccentric load to the movement (the lowering phase).
  2. The load is changing throughout the rep (as you lower the load becomes slightly less, as you extend again the load gradually increases).
  3. The bands are increasing the natural speed that the bar is being lowered at, meaning you have to make more effort to control the velocity of the bar.
  4. The increased resistance on the way up forces you to be more explosive.
  5. There's an additional stability challenge so you have to pay extra attention to lowering the bar evenly so that it remains parallel to your chest.
These are all additions to the normal bench press movement which can help players with a high level of training years make further progressions.

Using chains provides many of the same additional stimuli as above, however they'll more significantly decrease the load on the way down (as more of the chain rests on the floor), and increase the load on the way up as more of the chain loads up the barbell. 

Because the chains are not fixed to the floor, there's also the challenge of stopping the bar possibly swaying forwards and backwards throughout the movement. Great for challenging stability, engaging the core and increasing resilience to injury especially in the upper body.

So that's bands and chains in a nutshell. You could also apply this to pull ups, dips and squats for example.
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