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Build More Muscle With Resistance Bands

A new study found that adding bands to the bar during warmups increases 1RM strength.
James Michelfelder

Put bands on a squat bar, get a new PR in just minutes. In a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, subjects who did warmup sets with resistance bands (looped around each end of the bar and anchored to the floor) had a better one-rep max (1RM) squat afterward than those who didn’t use bands. 

“Elastic bands can increase total muscle-force generation during a subsequent free-weight exercise,” and that can improve strength, says study head Minas Mina. “The muscles operate closer to their max through more of the lift, which allows for increased 1RM.” If you don’t have bands, you can pick up a great set at 

It’s a snap to set up bands, says Jim Smith, owner of Diesel Strength and Conditioning. If the squat rack doesn’t have band pegs, make an anchor by looping one end of a band around the barbell, then under the handle of a heavy dumbbell that’s on the floor, then up over the bar. Place another dumbbell diagonally on top of the first to create an X. 

Another option: Put the end of a band through the hole of a weight plate and loop it over the handle of a dumbbell—the bell will be flat under the plate. 

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