If you have been watching your favourite fitness influencers’ exercise videos on social media lately, you may have seen them incorporating a variety of resistance bands and chains in their workouts. While you may think this style of training is “cute and fluffy”, this isn’t simply a trending fad – there are actually scientifically-proven benefits in using these pieces of equipment.
Curious to learn more about the benefits of bands and chains, I came across an article titled Practical applications of biomechanical principles in resistance training: The use of bands and chains which discusses “a range of mechanical and neuromechanical concepts that exercise professionals can explore to manipulate the training stimulus associated with conventional resistance training exercises” (Swinton, Keogh & Lake, 2014, pp.27). In plain English, this article investigates how the force, velocity and resistance of certain exercises can be manipulated using bands and chains to enhance daily functionality, improve performance and increase physical power.
I consider my knowledge and understanding of band and chain use to be basic, so it was a little disappointing to learn that “the vast number of possible acute and chronic training designs make it challenging to recommend a specific set of guidelines” (Swinton, Keogh & Lake, 2014, pp.39). Despite this, results from acute biomechanical studies do suggest that the use of bands and chains in training promotes stimulus, exercise progression and positive training adaptions – winning!
Bands and chains have been found to be most effective on exercises that feature ascending force-time curves, such as:
So, while the performance and physical power that is developed through the incorporation of bands and chains is subjective based on individual circumstance, it’s comforting to know that fitness influencers have gotten something right with the use of these nifty training accessories! I will continue to incorporate bands and chains into my clients’ workout regimes and further test these theories out on my own training.
Swinton, P.A., Keogh, J., & Lake, J. (2014). Practical applications of biomechanical principles in resistance training: The use of bands and chains. Journal of Fitness Research, 3(2)