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Resistance bands for powerlifting and bodybuilding have become one of the most important innovations used to achieve optimal strength and muscle growth. Once thought to only be good for prehab and warm-ups, resistance bands are now a must-have implement for strength workouts. To stay competitive, athletes, powerlifters, weightlifters, bodybuilders, and cross trainers alike are turning to the versatile resistance band to give them an edge over their comp. For example, when it comes to building pecs of steel, weightlifters strap resistance bands to barbell bench press for added resistance and to simply hit the muscles differently. Not only can bands increase the resistance of big lifts (especially on the eccentric phase), but they can completely eliminate strength curves and challenge stability in a dynamic way. There are so many ways to use resistance bands at the gym during your main strength and resistance workout, and today we are here to show you some examples for chest exercises specifically.
But first, let's warm up with 2 important exercises using the same bands we are going to use during our resistance chest workout at the gym.
Warm-up with the following two exercises before attempting the superset of crazy plates and resisted dips.
Resistance band arm circles for shoulder mobility.
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Hold the resistance band in front of your thighs.
3. Relax your shoulders and circle your arms over your head behind you.
4. Reverse this circle back to starting position.
Complete 10-15 repetitions.
Resistance band pull apart for shoulder strengthening.
What are crazy plates?
A spin on the popular crazy bells; crazy plates are weight plates that are attached to both ends of a barbell using resistance bands. Benching with crazy plates forces you to keep your muscles tight throughout the full motion of a bench press. This exercise can be used to avoid potential future injuries by engaging the stabilizing muscles needed to keep the bar moving in a straight path. Use crazy plates to strengthen the shoulder girdle while learning how to keep your muscles tight throughout the entire pushing movement. Overall, this is a great exercise for creating more tension during concentric and eccentric acceleration.
How do you set up crazy plates?
First, you will need to determine how much weight you are capable of benching. Then, decide on how much movement you want in the crazy plates. Lighter resistance bands will result in more bounce in the hanging plates. You can use a light resistance band with plates up to 25lbs, for heavier crazy plates use stronger resistance bands. Beginner lifters can start with as low as 10 pounds per side while the seasoned gym rats can go as high as 100 pounds on each side.
Just remember that these crazy plates are used as an addition to static weight, not the only source of weight you’re pushing.
Double the resistance bands over and put through the hole in the plate. Then pass the bands around the barbell, outside of the loaded weights. Make sure to grab a friend or stranger that knows what they are doing to spot you while performing the exercise.
How often should I use crazy plates?
We recommend using the banded crazy plate technique on chest day for 3-4 sets.
Great for working on explosive power and creating more tension during eccentric and concentric acceleration.
Tip: Go slow down (2-3 second count) and explosive up (as fast as you can).
Note: If you really want to maximize tension, wrap the band underneath the bench from one side of the barbell to the next. Just put it around one side of the barbell's sleeve, pull it under the bench, then loop it to the other sleeve. Trust us, it works beautifully.
Great to superset with another chest exercise. In this demonstration, we superset the banded pushups with Incline Bench Press. This exercise is also great for working on explosive power and creating more tension during pushups.
Resisted dips use the power of resistance bands to make dips more difficult. Instead of using the resistance bands to help us perform more dips, we flipped the script to make the dips more challenging by adding resistance.
How do I set up resisted dips?
Start with using a lower tension resistance band. Loop the band around two heavy dumbbells (at least 40lbs for a secure anchor). The dumbbells should be placed on the outsides of the dip bars slightly behind you. Pull the band up and over your calves then get into position on the dip bar.
Buy Resistance Bands here.
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