Rubber Bands are Great…But Not for That!
Written by C.J. Martin
Rubber bands are extremely useful tools in the gym. They can be used for all manner of warm-up movements, like pull-aparts, scap push-ups, band stomps, etc…, and are highly effective at increasing eccentric loading when anchored to the floor and attached to a barbell. But is that how you are using them?
In my opinion, rubber bands are very poor tools when used to assist pull-ups and ring dips. Rubber bands will provide you the same amount of assistance for every repetition of your workout. But we all know that you are stronger early in the workout and more fatigued as you perform more reps. Accordingly, you should use less assistance early, and more as the workout goes on. The best way to do this is by using your legs to reduce the load.
For ring dips, set the rings low enough that you can reach full elbow extension with only the tips of your toes still on the ground. Place as much of your weight as possible into your hands by lifting your toes off the ground, or simply actively pulling them up to reduce the amount of load on your feet. Begin your descent and only add pressure through your toes as needed.
For pull-ups, use your feet to provide only as much boost as you need to pull your chin over the bar. If you’re close to unassisted pull-ups, you may only have the very tips of your toes touching the ground when your arms are at full extension, meaning you will get little push off the ground before you have to pull the remainder of the way. As you fatigue, move to a lower bar – a benefit of having really cool ascending pull-up bars – so you can give yourself a little more boost.
Voila! Now your workout can be just as difficult for your initial reps as it will be for your last.