Apr 26, 2017
Adding Bands

Have you noticed your athletes struggling with strong acceleration? Maybe they seem to be slowing down on the field or court, or they don’t seem able to keep up with the competition.

One way that coaches can help their athletes build endurance, overall speed, and even agility is through the use of resistance bands. During a workout with a resistance band, the athlete attaches the band to their waist and then attaches the other side to either a partner or to a stationary object. The material used in the band will stretch as the athlete moves, with resistance increasing as the band stretches further. According to an article for Stack.com by Ryan Gallop, CSCS, this will result in increased power as well as the ability to run harder for longer periods of time on the playing field.

“Resistance band speed exercises challenge your muscles to develop increased levels of power in natural, athletic movements,” he writes. “When the resistance bands are removed, you will be primed to move faster around the field. Also, resistance band exercises offer an additional challenge over their non-resisted counterparts, improving your conditioning so you can move at max speed even late in a game.”

While exercises using these bands can definitely increase athleticism, coaches should make sure not to overuse them. In an article for Livestrong, Michael Shiva Best suggests having athletes perform resistance band speed training drills once or twice a week. Gallop echoes this sentiment, and adds that there should be at least one to two minutes of rest between sets of each particular exercise. In Gallop’s experience, these exercises are best integrated into an athlete’s workout about 12 weeks into their program — after they have worked extensively on conditioning — as resistance band drills will place more physiological demand on the body than other conditioning exercises.

An essential part of integrating these workouts is making sure that your athletes complete both a warm up and a cool down. Best explains that this is especially important with resistance band routines as it places large amounts of stress on the ankles, knees, and hips.

“Make sure to begin each speed training session with a thorough five- to 10-minute warmup of light jogging, jumping jacks and jump roping, as well as dynamic stretches such as easy lunges and side lunges,” he writes. “Finish each session with a five- to 10-minute cool-down and static stretches that increase the flexibility of the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, calves and especially the hips.”

There are many different drills that can be done with the resistance band, and coaches can use their knowledge of each athlete and their own discretion when deciding which ones and how many an athlete should do within a session. However, they should make sure to keep an eye on their athletes, and stop the drill if form begins to fail or the athlete shows increased fatigue. Here are a few examples of resistance band drills described by Gallop:

10-Yard Acceleration Sprint

This drill will help increase the amount of ground your athlete can cover with each stride, increasing their overall speed.

  1. Attach one end of the band to your waist. Have your partner stand behind you holding the other end of the band.
  2. Lean forward at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Sprint forward for 10 yards, keeping your 45-degree angle.
  4. Your partner will maintain their grip on the band while jogging behind you.

To see an example of this drill, watch this video from SST Mississauga.

Resisted Lateral Shuffle

This drill will help develop side-to-side movement, a critical factor in agility.

  1. Begin in a low athletic stance with slight forward lean and flat back.
  2. Attach resistance band at the waist. Have your partner stand to the left, holding the band.
  3. Shuffle to the right until the band reaches its maximum tension. Make sure to keep your toes pointing forward throughout the entire movement.
  4. Repeat the same movement to the left, until you reach your starting point.
  5. Do the same process in the opposite direction.

To see this drill in action, watch this video from Norton Performance.

Resisted Broad Jumps

This drill will help build athletes’ lower-body power.

  1. Attach resistance band to the waist. Have your partner stand behind you holding the other side of the band.
  2. Sit back into a quarter-squat, bending at the both the hips and knees.
  3. Swing your arms back. Then quickly swing them forward while at the same time jumping forward as far as possible.
  4. Land with a stable base, return to the starting position, and repeat.

To see this drill using a stationary pole instead of a partner, watch this video from Rebel Performance’s James Cerbie.

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