Resistance bands might not be your go-to piece of gym equipment when you're looking to get stronger and faster, but they could be just what you need to increase your athletic quickness. The resistance of bands changes the more you stretch them, meaning an exercise can go from feeling very easy to quite challenging very quickly. They're also a great choice for on-the-go training, or getting your workout in when you're on vacation and away from the gym, according to trainer and powerlifter Nia Shanks.
Band Resisted Sprints
Loop the band around your waist and have a partner hold the ends and pull against you.
Sprint against the band for 10-meters as quickly as you can with your partner running behind you, applying tension to the band.
Make sure your partner can keep up with you to avoid any unpleasant accidents and that your band is strong enough to take your weight.
If you're not training with someone you can perform resisted sprints by securing the end of your band around an upright pole or post instead. Perform 10 sprints with 30 seconds rest between each.
Grab the ends of the band in either hand and stand on the middle part, then cross your hands so the band forms an X-shape.
Take a big step sideways with your right leg, then bring your left leg across slowly to meet it.
Keep your torso upright and your glutes and abs held tight during the whole movement.
Take 10 steps to the right, then go back to the left. That's one set -- perform three sets with 60 seconds rest between each. X-band walks hit your glutes -- one of the most important muscles in generating speed and power.
Stand on the band with your feet together and one end in either hand.
Step out to the right, then squat down and hold the position for two seconds, push back up and step to the middle again.
Push your hips back and keep your shins vertical when you squat to increase the activation of your glutes, quads and hamstrings.
Perform all your reps stepping out to the right, then 12 stepping out to the left. Rest for a minute and repeat four times. Keep your weight on your heels while performing skater squats.
- Perform your resistance band exercises alongside your regular training.
- The rest of your training should include a mixture of heavy compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts and lunges, explosive exercises such as jump squats and clap pushups and various forms of cardio.
- Resisted sprints are extremely useful for increasing speed, according to strength coach Joe DeFranco, plus they torch your calves and quads, giving you a great leg-sculpting workout at the same time.
- Consult with your health care provider before starting an exercise routine and regularly check your bands for tears or fraying.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.