Contrast Band Training – What is it?

Posted · Add Comment
RBT Band Training

What is Contrast Band Training?

Contrast band training allows individuals to take advantage of both an ascending elastic resistance and a constant dead weight resistance.

Resistance Training 101

Dead weight resistance creates a bell shaped force curve that causes the most muscle activity to occur at the mid-range of movement. Therefore, from an effort standpoint, individuals will experience the most effort from the beginning to the mid-range of the movement when training with dead weights.

Elastic resistance is an ascending resistance which means from an effort standpoint, it will become harder the further an individual moves into the range. Therefore, elastic resistance will challenge more of the end-range of motion versus the beginning or middle of the range.

RBT GraphContrast band training involves using both elastic resistance and dead weight resistance during a single workout. By doing this, theoretically it will ultimately challenge the entire range of motion and create a more global strengthening effect.

That, in general is why contrast band training is becoming so intriguing at developing not only strength but also causing a greater muscle effort that leads to a higher level of calorie expenditure.

Real World Perspective of Contrast Band Training

Why improve your strength?

From a functional multi-plane perspective, improved strength will allow the body to deal with the forces that drive function which are:

  • Gravity
  • Ground Reaction
  • Momentum

Dead weight resistance is totally dependent on gravity and therefore it becomes a key training stimulus on developing the strength we need to deal with gravity. Obviously along with that, it will also impact our ability to deal with ground reaction forces as it relates to a vertical directed force and, to a less extent, momentum which is more of a velocity specific force driver.

Elastic resistance is independent of gravity and therefore is going to strength train our body on how to handle horizontal and rotational driven forces. Also, due to the ascending resistance it will be more velocity influenced therefore having a greater impact on momentum in all planes.

Elastic resistance is also very light weight which will, in turn, allow bands to be used to train all movements including highly integrated movements like running, jumping and throwingespecially when implementing flat continuously looped bands.


If the goal is to improve your strength in all 3 planes doing all movements, it will require a combined use of elastic resistance and dead weight resistance to effectively accomplish this. Contrast band training will accomplish this.