Bands Reduce Force Output During the Deadlift

Large muscle, multi-joint, free-weight exercises such as the deadlift and bench press provide constant resistance during the exercise, but athletes can exert more force toward the end of the range of motion because of an increased mechanical advantage. Many athletes use bands or chains to increase resistance at the end of the range of motion of these lifts. Andrew Galpin and co-workers from California State University, Fullerton studied force and power during the deadlift with and without bands. Bands increased power and velocity during the lift but decreased force. Bands are appropriate during the deadlift if the goal is to increase power, but free weights without bands would be more appropriate if developing maximum force is the primary goal. Vertical jump and 10- and 30-meter sprint speed are highly related to pulling force, so most power athletes should stick with traditional deadlifts. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 29: 3271-3278, 2016)

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