Since the 1960’s, resistance bands have been used as an alternative to weight training, rather than a go-to method for building muscle and strength.
The Band Man, and creator of ResistanceBandTraining.com, Dave Schmitz, aims to inform the fitness world about the benefits and necessity of incorporating resistance bands into training programs.
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Give us a little background information about yourself and about the creation of resistancebandtraining.com.
As a physical therapist who built his treatment approach around getting people moving better, I constantly struggled with getting my clients to feel the correct movement and subsequently be able to repeat these movements reflexively.
Verbal cueing is not an effective way to teach someone how to move effectively but rather must be done through proprioceptive feedback. When I discovered bands it instantly became my PT assistant and primary proprioceptive training tool.
I could place a patient in a band or attach a band to their body and the band immediately provided the proprioceptive stimulus they needed to effectively activate and integrate the correct muscles.
Bands also provided me with a go to home exercise tool that allowed me to exercise any movement anywhere with anybody. Bands also became a second set of hands for me.
I would have patients exercise with the bands while I manually used my hands to stretch or mobilize restricted soft tissues and joints. I referred to it as functional mobilization which was a combination of active movement with manual mobilization.
Patients enjoyed this approach to stretching much more versus having me passively stretching them. Plus we were simultaneously retraining movement and creating what would often be their home exercise program.
Lastly, bands allowed me to un-weight (unload) patients which instantly allowed them to start relearning how to control momentum, gravity and ground reaction forces as it related to walking, squatting, or reaching.
For those of you that may be confused by this, the body and our neuromuscular system are driven by momentum, gravity and ground reaction forces. As an example, if you have surgery on your knee, the likelihood is you will feel very unsure when putting weights down on your foot after surgery.
Functionally, you do not trust that your body will effectively support you against gravity or that your muscles will reflexively activate when the foot contacts the ground. Along with that, you move very slowly because you are afraid of momentum and by going slowly you minimize momentum.
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Using bands to unload lowered the forces of momentum, decreased the effects of gravity by lessening body weight and subsequently made force into the ground significantly less.
As a result, I began to almost exclusively rehabilitate my patients with a band and my hands. Well if bands worked for rehabilitating why would they not help get athletes and fitness enthusiasts stronger, more flexible, and better on their feet?
So I started using bands in performance training of athletes along with starting a large group fitness class where all we did was train with continuously looped bands.
Both were a huge hit and when I put a few videos on YouTube it became a nationwide hit and www.resistancebandtraining.com was born.
I also speak nationally for the Elite Trainer Workshops, International Youth Conditioning Association, and Fitness Consulting Group. What started out as a following of 200 people has grown to almost 20,000 coaches, fitness professionals, fitness enthusiasts, and athletes.
Needless to say, it has been a fun journey that keeps getting people better with bands every day which has always been the mission of www.resistancebandtraining.com.
What is it about resistance bands that make them so versatile in the sense that they assist in not only rehabilitation, but also strength development, injury prevention, and performance enhancement?
There a few key elements to a flat continuously looped band that makes it a tremendous functional training tool that can impact all aspects of fitness, performance, and rehab.
- Elastic resistance is classified as an “ascending resistance” which means as stretch length increases, force output also increases. This unique characteristic of elastic resistance allows a resistance band to function as a perfect assistive training tool for rehabilitation.
- Being highly portable with an unlimited resistance, bands become the perfect home training device to provide patients, fitness clients, and athletes. Band training also requires very little space.
- Band’s light weight construction makes them essentially independent of gravity which in turn allows them to create a pure horizontal force vector. Horizontal force vector training is a key component to improving deceleration as it relates to agility and change of direction.
What has proven to be the most effective resistance band workout for your broad client base?
Without a doubt, our most effective band workouts are all of the horizontal vector upper body, lower body, core and locomotion workouts.
Not only are these workouts exclusive to band training, they also neuromuscularly developed strength in a key plane of motion that traditional deadweight and machine based training cannot influence.
Knowing the body functions in a triplane fashion, these horizontal force vector band workouts will dramatically improve power and strength necessary for optimizing running, jumping, throwing, swinging, and punching.
One of our most popular workouts is the Spartacus Workout I created 3+ years ago.
Do you ever incorporate weight lifting into your workouts?
Absolutely. Dead weight training is very important to the body’s ability to handle the influences of gravity and therefore must be a significant component of any strength training program.
However what many fitness professionals and enthusiasts are not aware of is how resistance bands can simultaneously be combined with dead weight tools to improve power as well as movement quality.
For example by attaching a band around the hips while performing movements like a dumbbell shoulder press or barbell high pull or kettlebell swing, we can teach the body how to more aggressively recruit the body’s power hip complex.
A more active hip and core region will, in turn, increase power production of the primary movement.
How have your views on fitness changed since working with bands?
Resistance band training for me personally has become the key to maintaining my dynamic flexibility, reactive core strength, total body power, and athleticism as a young minded 50+ year old father, husband and business owner.
As a fitness professional, physical therapist and performance enhancement specialist it has provided me the ultimate bridge to take clients from being weight room strong to being functionally strong and athletic on the field of sport or life.
To me, maintaining athletic strength and power is critical to a society that is living longer and wants to continue to play in the game of life at a highly functional level.
I firmly believe training daily with resistance bands keeps me and those that follow our resistance band training approach “Game Ready” regardless their age or gender.
Do you want to start reaping the rewards from training with resistance bands? Visit Dave Schmitz’s website ResistanceBandTraining.com to learn how to begin.
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