Resistance Band Training Mistakes

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Resistance Band Training Mistakes that will Damage Your Bands

These resistance band training mistakes lead to an unsuccessful training experience and potentially damaging effects to your bands:

1. Stretching bands beyond their recommended stretch length.

Allowing individuals to stretch bands beyond the recommended stretch length of 1.5 to 2.0 yards per band is by far the most frequently made mistake when training with resistance bands.

As coaches and trainers, we will challenge our clients to progressively increase in intensity which, in many cases, requires increased resistance. Fortunately, with bands all that is required is increasing the starting tension by moving further away from the point of attachment. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how far a band setup can be safely lengthened but often this is not well understood or taken into consideration by coaches who are monitoring several clients at one time.

The key is to educate your clientele and set visual boundaries, like cones or floor markings that reflect how far a particular band set-up can be stretched. Also, taking the time to educate clients about the hazards of repeatedly overstretching bands will also help in eliminating this issue. This will provide the training individual a visual goal or guideline while keeping their bands safe and allowing them to focus on effort instead.

2. Having clients train with too strong of a band.

Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to band training. The goal, as with any resistance tool, is to challenge effort without compromising quality movement and muscle substitution patterns. Quick, fast and high quality movements with a controlled eccentric phase should be the emphasis when starting to train with bands.

With accelerated eccentrics as a possibility with band training, emphasizing eccentric control at first will be critical to training success. Being able to keep some level of tension on the band system at all times while performing a full range of motion should be goal #1 for first time band users. Once this is accomplished, higher levels of band tension and exercise speed can be progressively introduced.

3. Not cleaning and storing bands appropriately post workout.

Unlinking bands and hanging them up after a workout will allow bands to be stored in a relaxed state which keeps a band’s training resistance consistent for a longer period of time. Also, taking bands apart after workouts and hanging them up allows bands to be placed in a relaxed state while allowing them to dry if wet and be readily accessible for the next session.

Cleaning a band can be done by setting up a simple soap and water solution in a spray bottle with disposable paper towels that clients can access post workout. By teaching clients how to clean and store bands, they develop an appreciation for band training which, in turn, increases the training life of the bands.


4. Training too fast and not controlling momentum created by accelerated eccentrics.

Bands can increase eccentric momentum and unlike free weights can create joint and muscle trauma if clients are not taught how to transition from a concentric into an eccentric phase of movement. Initially, clients should train with a stability mindset where emphasis is on a slow controlled eccentric phase which is consistent with most free weight training approaches.

As eccentric control improves, an accelerated concentric phase can be introduced while keeping the eccentric phase slow and controlled. As clients become more coordinated and confident with band training, they can progress to a faster eccentric phase with a faster acceleration—always creating a short hold at the end of a concentric phase to ensure full range of motion, peripheral stability and the ability to set stabilizers to handle an accelerated eccentric force.

5. Poor cuing and progression of locomotion band training.

Band locomotion is a unique strength and conditioning band training approach that provides clients with the ability to increase strength, balance and movement efficiency while performing multiple variations of a critical movement skill. However, training this multi-joint and muscle movement requires taking a very slow progressive approach to ensure client safety and success.

Unfortunately, most coaches consider locomotion training a simple skill and do not take into consideration the high level of deceleration control needed to perform locomotion drills like a shuffle walk, backpedal or skipping while being placed against band resistance.

Band locomotion training needs to follow a progressive approach that keeps amplitude of movement, band resistance and speed of movement well within the functional level of a client.

6. Training without progression.

Bands may seem like a simple tool, but in reality they can lead to injuries if a progressive training approach is not followed. The impact bands have on deceleration control and increased eccentric momentum has been discussed.

Knowing that 95% of all joint and muscle-related injuries occur as a result of poor deceleration control, band training that is not properly progressed can quickly place clients into an overly challenged situation.

Keeping amplitude of movement simple, speed of movement slow and band resistance at a non-inhibiting level, will allow clients to learn any band exercise safely.

7. Not completing a full range of motion.

One of the key benefits of training with bands is the need to create a high level of peripheral stabilization at the end of a movement. Not performing a full range of motion which is often seen when training with body weights or free weights, eliminates this peripheral stabilization benefit as well as the ability to improve stabilization where it is needed the most when it comes to eliminating injury.

8. Not keeping tension on the system at all times.

To ensure muscles are concentrically and eccentrically working throughout the full range, tension must be maintained on the band training system at all times. As a result, it will become important to choose the correct size band and take advantage of the 40lb resistance variability that each 41-inch band provides.

Individuals that train primarily with free weights will often choose a heavy band only to quickly realize that it is too difficult to complete the final 25% of the movement due to the band’s ascending resistance being too great.

9. Overstretching a shortened band.

The best example of overstretching a shortened band is when standing on the band using the bilateral attachment free set up. Trainers do not teach their clients how to avoid overstretching the band between their feet which takes literally 30 seconds or less.

By teaching your clients how to initially stand on the band using a shoulder width instead of narrow base stance, it will instantly eliminate the band from getting overstretched and torn. Along with this same set up comes the mistake of grinding the bands into the ground surface when moving around. This can be quickly eliminated by educating your clients to pick their feet up when moving in this setup.

Single resistance band training set up options.

10. Linking different size bands together.

Linking two different size bands together applies an increased stretch to the smaller band due to the tension difference between the two bands. The stronger band is “stiffer” and will require a greater applied force to initiate a stretch as compared to the smaller band.

As a result, as force is applied to the linked up system the smaller band is going to stretch sooner and further than the stiffer larger band. Even though the two yard stretch rule is followed, it does not apply to this situation.