According to this study, adding the “elastic tension” of resistance bands (see Jump Stretch, Iron Woody) supercharges your bench press strength.

The Science

This study investigated the effects of training combining elastic tension, free weights, and the bench press.

Eleven college-aged men (untrained) in the bench press participated in the 13-week study. The participants were first given instructions and then practiced the bench press, followed by a one-repetition maximum (1RM) test of baseline strength. Subjects were then trained in the bench press for 3 weeks to allow for the beginning of neural adaptation.

After another 1RM test, participants were assigned to 1 of 2 conditions for the next 3 weeks of training:

  • 85% Free-Weight Tension, 15% Elastic Tension (BAND), or
  • 100% Free-Weight Tension (STAND).

After 3 weeks of training and a third 1RM max test, participants switched treatments, under which they completed the final 3 weeks of training and the fourth 1RM test.

band bench press

Results

After 3 weeks:

  • BAND training increased 1RM strength by 10 kg / 22 lbs
  • STAND training increased 1RM strength by 7.5 kg / 16.5 lbs

That’s a difference of 5.5 lbs or 33%

Their Conclusion

These results suggest that the addition of elastic tension to the bench press may be an effective method of increasing strength.

My Conclusion

You need to add some band training into your exercise routine.

The progressively increasing strength curve provides a unique training stimulus that is superior to standard weight training.

Plus, they fold up easily into a suitcase for travel and they are great for summertime / outdoor workouts.

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