Can Elastic Bands Improve Strength & Power?

Can Elastic Bands Improve Strength & Power?


Title: Elastic Bands as a Component of Periodized Resistance Training

Author: Joy et al

Journal: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

Objective: To examine variable resistance training within the context of a periodized training program.


Developing strength and power is important for athletes and gym enthusiasts. There are various ways to develop it including free weights, kettlebells, TRX, and elastic bands (also known as variable resistance training) to name a few.

Although in use by powerlifting for a decade and more recently in strength and conditioning programs, the research behind variable resistance training is sub-optimal.

Previous research shows that additional power increases are observed at 20-35% of total load but not with 15% of total load. Another study showed that 35% band tension produced greater rates of force and power development compared to 20% band tension and free weights only. Another study showed that bands and fast lifting speeds was equivalent to bands and slow lifting speeds in terms of strength increases but power increase was improved.

The authors of this study wanted to examine the effects of chronic variable resistance training on measures of strength and tension and to apply elastic bands to a common, periodized resistance training protocol.


14 NCAA division II male basketball players were recruited for this study.

Athletes were divided equally into either a variable resistance or control group.

The variable resistance group added 30% of their 1 repetition maximum (1RM) as band tension to their prescribed weight 1 session per week.

Rate of power development (RPD), peak power, strength, body composition, and vertical jump height were measured pretreatment and posttreatment.


No baseline differences were observed between groups for any measurement of strength, power, or body composition.

Rate of power development was greater in variable resistance training group than in the control group.

Significant time effects were observed for all other variables including squat 1RM, bench press 1RM, deadlift 1RM, clean 3RM, vertical jump, and lean mass.

The variable resistance training group’s percent changes and effect sizes indicate a larger treatment effect in the squat and bench press 1RM values and the vertical jump performed on the force plate and vertec, although these findings were not statistically significant.


Variable resistance training can enhance strength and power development as a component of a periodized, standardized training program.

Athletes can enhance their athletic performance by adding variable resistance to 1 training session per week.

For the average Joe, if you’re not using bands yet, I would say it’s time to start looking into them.

Original Article

Joy, J. M., Lowery, R. P., & Souza, E. O. (2016). Elastic Bands as a Component of Periodized Resistance Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,30(8), 2100-2106. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e3182986bef


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