Take a new step in size and strength with adaptive resistance. Add a stretch band to these time-tested exercises.
Elastic bands aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you think of building a strong, muscular physique. You naturally think of free weights and machines. But there are also disadvantages.
In any given free weight or machine exercise, you are limited by the level of force you can produce during the least mechanically advantageous part of the lift. For example, think about how much force your chest can generate in the lowest position of the bench press. Another downside in some exercises is that once the sticking point is passed, the strength curve drops off dramatically. For example, when you’re doing the mid-section of a bicep curl, the last 25 percent of the reps are fairly easy.
This is where band And adapting resistance can enhance your training. Elastic bands allow you to increase or decrease the difficulty of lifting weights in certain ranges of motion and to control the force/velocity curve.
Here are ten upper body exercises for strength and hypertrophy:
1. Elastic band incline bench press (Smith machine)
A stable Smith machine allows you to develop maximum power.Add a band to stimulate your Work your upper pecs like you’ve never felt before.
The bungee band pulls the weight off the top, forcing you to fight/resist the eccentric or negative portion of the lift. During the concentric or lifting portion, you’ll feel an increase in tension past the stick point, forcing you to contract the muscles as you complete each repetition.
For a smoother feel, wrap the straps around first, then add the boards. You’ll know the bar is in the correct position when it touches the area between the bottom of your collarbone and the top of your sternum.
You have several loading options: use a strong band and medium weight plates, or use a light band and heavier plates on the bar. This can be set for various goals and set/rep schemes. Use this exercise as your primary lift and push it to failure.
This also allows for a high level of mechanical tension and effort as well as a high level of stability. The band setup is the same as the incline bench variation, except for the seat position and bar height.
Adjust the seat so the bar clears your face as it descends. Pay attention to the position of your elbows; your forearms should be directly in line with the path of the barbell. You’ll know you’re in the right position if your elbows are directly under the barbell and your wrists are straight.
Use this variation as the main movement for a given shoulder day. Use a heavier plate load and light to medium belt tension. Or use it as an accessory exercise on push/pull days with light plate loads and moderate to heavy belt loads.
Band’s adaptive resistance The curve allows for a better contraction at the top of the lift. What’s more, the placement of the straps forces you to pull up and back at the same time, which automatically corrects common shape errors.
Most people pull the dumbbell straight up, causing the trapezius to shrug (you’ll feel it in the neck). The directional pull of the band will encourage you to pull up and back, hitting the mid trapezius and lats more.
To set it up, attach two separate straps to the anchor points. Then place a bench far enough in front of the anchor so that when you wrap the band around the dumbbell, you have constant tension throughout the range of motion. The elastic band should be directly in line with the dumbbell so that the tension line goes straight up and back.
Use this exercise as the primary or secondary exercise in any pushing or pulling session or designated back training day. Experiment with different band resistance and dumbbell weight combinations to achieve different set/rep schemes and goals.
Attach a strap to the back of the Smith machine. Set the bar to the appropriate height. The higher the bar, the easier it is to row. Wrap the strap around your body and adjust it so it sits over your bust and fits snugly under your armpits.
Pull yourself to the bar. The bottom of your chest should touch the highest point of the concentric circles. Rotate the elbows with the intention of folding the barbell in half, creating rotational torque at the shoulders. As you can see in the video, after a few reps, I step my feet down a few steps to increase the difficulty.
Schedule this exercise as a finisher on a designated back day or push/pull day. Moderate band tension and higher reps are best.
Adjust the resistance so that the curl is hardest at the top, where you usually lose a lot of tension.
To do this, simply wrap a strap around an object in front of you. Wrap the other end directly around the middle of the EZ Curl Rod. Step back a few steps and get the tension of the elastic band from the bottom position. As you curl, keep your shoulders back, your core braced, and your elbows close to your body. Fight the band as they pull the bar down.
Use this as your primary bicep exercise. For crazy arm pumps, do as many repetitions as you can with the band, remove the band, and immediately do one set to failure.
This exercise accomplishes two goals. First, the constant tension of the bands gives you peak tension at the top of the movement, which usually disappears when the elbows lock out. Second, the backward pull of the band teaches you how to effectively use the lats to stabilize the shoulders.
Attach a strap to a sturdy object, wrap it around the center of the EZ-curl bar (or barbell), and place it on the floor. Pull the bar behind your head while simultaneously engaging your lats—think tennis balls tucked under your armpits. From here, press the bar directly into the ceiling. Try pressing the up arrow instead of the forward arrow.
Keep your back slightly arched, core flexed, and heels on the ground for rigidity. Come to a complete stop at the bottom and generate full-body tension before starting the next rep.
Use it as a primary triceps exercise for arm days or as a secondary exercise for chest/triceps workouts.
Use straps instead of cord attachments. This variation can be humbling if the weight is too heavy or if your form and cadence are below par.
Using an elastic band forces you to control concentric and eccentric movement. Push down too quickly or lose control of the weight on the way back, and the band will start to bounce, rendering the entire movement useless. But if executed properly, you’ll feel the triceps in a whole new way, especially at the base of the isomegaly, where you can pull the band farther than the rope.
Use this exercise as an add-on to any arm training day, chest/triceps workout, or just to fit in some extra triceps work. Use a medium-to-heavy elastic band; a light band may not hold up to the load of the machine.
The band variation outperforms the dumbbell variation due to the ability to maintain and increase tension throughout the range of motion.
Attach an elastic band to a low setup with a bench in front. Make sure the strap is aligned with the arm you are pushing on. You may need to adjust the bench slightly when switching arms.
Pull your elbows up, lock and push one shoulder blade, then fully extend your arms, holding concentric at the peak for one second. Fight negative bands.
Use this as an intro or finisher exercise on any triceps-training day. As a primer, it does warm up your elbows. As a finisher, it’s great for high-rep pumps.
Try this if you’re having trouble working your trapezius during your regular workout. The constant increase in tension on the bands as you lift your trapezius can make a big difference.
To set up, wrap the straps around the sides of the trap bar so you can step in the middle. Shrug, hold and pause for a second, then slowly bring the trapezius back into position. Add plates as needed.
Wrap the light strap around your feet and wrists. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your shoulders back. Raise your arms, intending to push the dumbbells away from your body, forming a large U.
In controlled motion, pull your arms back to your sides, and repeat without swinging your body. Use lighter bands and dumbbells than usual.
Also give drop groups a try. At or near failure, lower the band and go to failure again with just the dumbbells.
Make any workout better. Cheers to it.
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