|This is how it should look like, when you are doing variable resistance warm-ups or even complete workouts.|
In a recent study from the University of Derby the increasing resistance the bands generate on the way up from the bottom position of the squat had a statistically significant beneficial effect on the maximal 1-RM weight the subjects, sixteen physically active men (age mean = 26.0 ± 7.8 yr, range 18 to 44 yr, height = 1.7 ± 0.2 m; mass = 82.6 ± 12.7 kg) with more than three years of serious weight training experience under their belts squatted in a subsequent 1-RM max effort. As you can see in Figure 1 the use of the bands did yet not affect the EMG activity, which is often used as a measure for muscle activation. What did improve, though, was the form - or I should say the execution velocity; I mean, if you've squatted before you know how squatting your 1-RM max 20% slower than usual will hurt, right?
|Figure 1: Mean EMG activity (difference n.s.), velocity and 1-RM during eccentric and concentric classic 1-RM squat after warming up with weight only (Classic) and with weight and resistance bands (+Band) in strength training veterans (Mina. 2014)|
It is generally assumed that effects like the observed strength increases are a result of post-activation potentiation (PAP) which will increase the number of motor units and thus allow you to lift more weight.
|Figure 2: Changes in 1RM max after 7 weeks of classic vs. band-aided training (Baker. 2009)|
"Compared with C [control], improvement for E [elastic tension] was nearly three times greater for back squat (16.47 ± 5.67 vs. 6.84 ± 4.42 kg increase), two times greater for bench press (6.68 ± 3.41 vs. 3.34 ± 2.67 kg increase), and nearly three times greater for average power (68.55 ± 84.35 vs. 23.66 ± 40.56 watt increase)." (Baker. 2009)Based on three times more pronounced strength gains, Baker et al. rightly conclude that "[t]raining with [combined elastic and free weight resistance] may be better than [classic free weight resistance training] alone for developing lower and upper body strength" (Baker. 2009).
- Anderson, Corey E., Gary A. Sforzo, and John A. Sigg. "The effects of combining elastic and free weight resistance on strength and power in athletes." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22.2 (2008): 567-574.
- Baker, Daniel G., and Robert U. Newton. "Effect of kinetically altering a repetition via the use of chain resistance on velocity during the bench press." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 23.7 (2009): 1941-1946.
- Mina et al. "The Influence Of Variable Resistance Loading On Subsequent Free Weight Maximal Back Squat Performance." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research Publish Ahead of Print. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000471