Using Bands To Increase Shot Power

A picture of a wrestler with a band around his waist that is also anchored to a piece of gym equipment. This is the setup used for testing speed and power with band resistance used by Dickie White.

Shooting using band resistance is becoming increasingly popular in the wrestling community.

So, I thought I’d cite a journal article I found regarding the topic. I will then go into what I’ve found as far as speed and force production while using the Tendo Unit.

To start, here’s a summary of the article.

Summary- “Resistance bands are used to improve explosive power in strength training athletes. Further, these bands are adaptable enough to provide resistance during drills for sport-specific training in wrestling. This article introduces the use of resistance bands to improve explosive power during the initial phase of the takedown and escapes from the bottom position in Folkstyle wrestling. Coaches from other styles of wrestling can benefit by using resistance bands and the ideas found in this article to design drills to meet the demands of other grappling sports.”

It has been shown that sport-specific training is crucial for success. Wrestling is no different. Therefore, identifying and programming the correct exercises that most mimic the neuromuscular demands is of the utmost importance.

Because of this, many coaches and wrestlers have started using bands to provide resistance when shooting. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to discuss ways to use resistance bands to improve power in 2 key positions. Specifically, the authors examined leg attacks and stand ups.

Adding resistance bands has been shown in research (which I also cite in this post) to enhance the development of explosive power during strength training movements.

Based on that research, the authors propose in this journal article that similar benefits can be realized when used for specific skill development. In this case, shooting a leg attack.

The band studies cited are specific to lifting which included a periodized strength training program. So this data extrapolation is hypothetical in nature.

Anyway, the authors use a band/sled combination for this article. Here’s what they say in regards to choosing proper band resistance and sled weight:

“A proper band weight allows for an initial resistance that impedes the wrestler’s progress but also allows for some movement during the level change of the takedown. An ideal sled weight is one that challenges the wrestler to move at maximum speed and requires use of the large muscles of the hips and legs.”

The authors caution that using too much band tension may lead to shorter steps when shooting. This could ultimately lead to developing different movement patterns. This is something I’ve written about before as well- The Missing Link To Your Program.

Therefore, the authors suggest starting with lighter weights to get a feel for the appropriate footwork. Once confidence and control are displayed with the setup, then look to progress. Again, like any power exercise- focus on choosing a resistance that allows you to produce maximal power and acceleration. Avoid using too much weight. This will slow you down.

As far as how to implement this exercise, the authors suggest it should be individually specific. For example, if you show a lack of power to complete takedowns late in the match, then perform these at the end of practice.

Look to perform 3 to 5 reps. Make sure to adequately rest in between. The authors cite research suggesting 20 seconds between each rep. However, be the judge based on how you feel each rep goes. The key is to be as explosive as possible, so make sure you maintain that quality.

If you don’t have a sled to attach the band to, a partner can also hold the other end of the band.

The focus of the person holding the band is to create adequate tension at the start. This makes it so the wrestler taking the shot needs to overcome a slight amount of initial resistance. Don’t make the band too tight though. This will not simulate the starting power needed in a match situation.

The authors conclude the paper stating that the use of bands offer a number of benefits.

First, it only requires a small group of wrestlers (one shooting, one holding the band, and one being a “dummy” to shoot on). This allows for rest in between each set. Optimal recovery will better ensure a higher quality effort for each wrestler. Adequate rest is a must when it comes to successfully implementing a power program.

Second, it allows the wrestler to be maximally explosive without risking injury to a partner.

“These drills are a safer alternative that can help stimulate the desired intensity without increasing the risk to partners trying to create the appropriate drill resistance.”

Paper Referenced

Kozub, F., T. Voorhis. Using bands to create technique-specific resistance training for developing explosive power in wrestlers. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 34(5),92-95. October 2012.

My Thoughts

First off, the coolest thing about this paper is that the co-contributor, Tom Voorhis, has not only been a client of mine, but also was a long-time member of Ironworks Gym. So I was pretty excited to see that he was involved.

Now, on to my findings using the Tendo Unit (albeit with 2 wrestlers).

I didn’t use the same setup they mentioned in this paper. I anchored the bands to a bolted down machine. I didn’t use a sled.

Here’s the picture again to give you an idea of the setup.

A picture of a wrestler with a band around his waist that is also anchored to a piece of gym equipment. This is the setup used for testing speed and power with band resistance used by Dickie White.

Here’s what I found:

None of the shots with the band produced a higher Peak Power or Peak Velocity than the average Peak Power or Velocity of all shots taken for the wrestlers I’ve tested.

What I found after the first 6-weeks of testing suggests that training with exercises that produce higher Peak Power and Velocity outputs will result in higher outputs when shooting a leg attack.

So, using band resistance while performing a leg attack is not something that stands up to what I’ve found. Granted this is from only 3 months of research. This is not much in the grand scheme of things.

***On a side note- I’m not trying to underplay what I’m doing. I’m just trying to make you aware that while what I’m doing is unique, it’s still in the very early stages. I don’t advise anyone to completely revamp their training based on 3 months of data.

Anyway, when I measured Peak Power and Velocity during a sprint with the bands, things were different.

In the case of one wrestler, the Peak Power produced during the sprint was 13.8% higher and the Peak Velocity produced was 14% higher.

The other wrestler had less exciting results, but again, this was a quick “test” I did. His Peak Power produced during the sprint was 5.2% higher and his Peak Velocity was 1.5% higher.

One thing that may explain this is the band tension used. I used the same bands for both wrestlers. However, the one who produced the higher percentages has much stronger legs. Therefore, the band used provided a lot less resistance compared to the wrestler with weaker legs.

So while not as impressive as the results from the other wrestler, it still falls within the exercise selection that produces higher power and/or velocity outputs. Additionally, like I mentioned, it must be taken into consideration that band tension wasn’t adjusted for leg strength.

Conclusion

Shooting with bands is gaining popularity, and why not? It takes a sport-specific movement and adds band tension, which has been shown in research to increase strength.

However, based on what little data I have, I’d say that greater improvements in both shot speed and power would be realized by a short sprint (2-3 steps) with band tension.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this? Do you shoot with bands regularly? Will this change what you do?

Let me know by commenting below or emailing me at dickie@wrestler-power.com.

Related Posts:

Increase Your Shot Speed And Power- Original Research

Research On Predicting Lunge Speed AND Shot Speed/Power Testing

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion
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Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.

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Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.

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Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Dickie I am very new to your web site/blog. I am not new to wrestling.

    That said, I Love it! I Love what you’re doing and look forward to your updates.

    As far as the “Band Training” to Increase the Speed of Shots (Takedowns) I will speak just from my experience. The following is NOT based on any hard scientific data. It is based on the application of the following exercises and the results:

    First, it is interesting that you’re studies and research be it 3 months or longer…. Have produced a positive result in that “Speed” what I call “First Step Quickness” is definitely INCREASED when using resistance bands in sprint training.

    NOW the Exercises:

    1) 3 – 5 sets of 2-3 Explosive Shots – Let me explain….

    When I am training my wrestlers I focus on the above in two phases.

    Phase I:

    (WITH RES. BANDS) Perform 2 sets of shots/penetration step(s) on the mat (not shooting on anyone) with a Focus on the 3-5 shots being explosive and then immediately release the RES BANDS and Perform the below sequence.

    (WITHOUT RES. BANDS) Perform 2-3 sets of 3-5 shots being explosive. REST in between SETS should be between 1-2 minutes. This allows a complete recovery for the wrestler to be performing at top speed.

    Phase II

    TESTING (after the initial test to see how the athlete performs with a resistance band attached to his waist)

    Phase II happens after the first 2 weeks and continues every 2 weeks for a total of 3 tests or 6 weeks.

    The Test is based off of PURE Observation of Coach and Wrestler through Video and the human eye. If Dart Fish Technology was available I’d love to see the Positive Changes.

    To conclude, I can tell you that the results for RES. BAND Training and how it relates to INCREASING a Wrestlers Shot-Speed have been significant.

    I must say that Wrestlers who seem to have inherent genetic traits of speed, quickness and explosiveness seem not to make the same strides or have as significant of a result. They do, however, report that they feel like they have gotten faster after training with resistance bands. So, even if it’s a placebo of sorts in how it affects more athletically gifted athletes – one can say that with an increase in believing you are faster – the result is an Increase in Confidence. I’ll take that and the positive Results any day.

    I hope that was helpful!

    Blessings & Success Dickie,

    Coach Tommy Pavia
    Creator & Founder of the 360 Strength Trainer
    Head Wrestling Coach
    Lake Norman High School

    //youtu.be/qXBoQQYSNMg

    //www.wildcatswrestlingteam.com/

    Reply
    • Hey Tommy,

      Glad you’ve found my blog so helpful thus far and I really appreciate the thorough comment. Comments like this make the post that much better and improve the depth and quality of the topic with a lot of real world experience.

      First off, I’m very impressed with the way you’ve put together the training plan AND that you have a regular testing/evaluation schedule. I find that this is a downfall in a lot of programs. Ultimately the goal is to build specific wrestling skills/traits (in this case an increase in shot speed and power), so having a test to measure the effectiveness of the program is of the utmost importance. So great job with that.

      I also like the stress on longer rest intervals. One of the most important things I’ve found with explosive training like this is that while it’s not very muscularly or cardiovascularly demanding, quality of effort takes a huge nose dive if there isn’t appropriate rest. With hard working wrestlers, it’s difficult to slow them down, so great job with that as well.

      In regards to quicker/faster wrestlers being less responsive to the training- I too have noticed that. But that goes with anything. Guys who are better wrestlers will usually develop at a slower pace than new wrestlers. Guys who are strong to begin with will only realize minimal gains from the same program that a new lifter may improve their lifts by 50% or more. I wish this didn’t happen, but it helps to weed out the good coaches from the great because oftentimes high level athletes only need that extra 1% to get to that next level.

      However, like you mention at the end, a huge part of the success of a program ultimately comes down to belief in the program. Tied in with a program/system that produces; it’s impossible not to get better and feel a surge of confidence as a result.

      Thanks again for the great comment, Tommy, the more “in the trenches” knowledge we can get on this blog to add to the topic, the better.

      Oh, and I love the 360 strength trainer (I’ve used similar devices) and I think it’s pretty freaking awesome that the inventor commented on my blog! Since you’re newer to my blog here is my big post on core training (with 4 links to related posts at the bottom) that you may find interesting- Core Training for Wrestling

      While I don’t have the 360 in there specifically, the Ab Wheel and Ball Rollout are in a way the same in that they’re both core stabilization movements. But the overall muscular demands of the 360 look other worldly!

      Thanks again man, talk to you soon.

      Reply

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