Do you enjoy a challenge? Or are you looking to add more intensity to your workout routine? Now would be a good time to introduce variable resistance training to your workout routine. One of the more popular movements in the fitness industry, variable resistance training, or VRT, allows you to take your workout routine to the next level by incorporating resistance bands or other items such as chains to lifts you are already completing during a workout. Variable resistance training can also help you achieve goals such as completing a pull-up that may have otherwise seemed impossible.
Including variable resistance training in your workout allows you to get through the dreaded plateaus that happen when you have been strength training for a long period by adding new movements and muscle contractions to your workout. Using resistance bands has also been shown to help prevent injuries and increase flexibility. So if you have hesitated in the past to incorporate this beneficial training into your workout routine, now is the time to start to see the benefits for yourself.
Reason #1: VRT Prevents Injuries
If you have been lifting for a while, you have likely known someone to get injured at some point at a gym. As beneficial as strength training is, if not done properly injury is much more likely to occur. Using variable resistance training, you are providing your muscles the opportunity to gain strength during each portion of the lift instead of just at the lockout which is usually what happens without VRT.
Because you are strengthening muscles at all parts of the lift, you are much less likely to overstrain one muscle group during the beginning of the lift or when you rack the bar. Using the resistance bands or chains also naturally forces you to take your time with your lifts which in turn helps with form and balance which are known ways to stabilize your muscles during lifts.
Reason #2: No More Plateaus
One of the most frustrating parts of strength training is when you have made consistent progress for months and then your improvement and gains become stagnant. At the beginning of strength training, lifters often see progress at a rapid pace so it becomes even more frustrating when the progress seems to come to a speeding halt. Plateaus are bound to happen for one reason or another when you are working out, but variable resistance training can help.
Because variable resistance training helps activate muscles that may have been stagnant at lockout during a lift, you will notice growth and strength pretty quickly after incorporating the routine into your workout. Resistance training helps muscles contract which in turn adds strength over time, helping you to emerge from the dreaded plateau.
Reason #3: Improved Flexibility and Balance
Lifting heavy weights means you need to have a stable platform and stay balanced while completing the lift. Using resistance bands or chains when working out helps naturally improve balance as you are focused on keeping the band or chain level and even as you lift.
Resistance bands help improve flexibility as you are isolating muscle groups that may not have otherwise been used in previous lifting movements. As you gain strength it is helpful to keep your body as flexible as possible for increased mobility in both your workout routine and everyday life.
Reason #4: Incorporates New Movements and Muscle Groups
Have you always wanted to do a pull-up or chin-up but don’t have the strength quite yet to complete a full rep? Enter resistance bands. Placing a resistance band around a pull-up bar and using your feet as leverage allows you to practice the movement and work the muscle groups to gain strength to eventually complete a full pull-up or chin-up without the band.
Using resistance bands to help aid in new workout routines will not only add variety and interest to a stale workout routine, but it can also provide new challenges at the gym to help you achieve your physical fitness goals.
Reason #5: It Adds Power and Speed to Your Lifts
Have you ever seen someone with a large amount of weight on a bardo a power clean without struggling? Watching an explosive lift is always impressive. It is likely the lifter has been incorporating resistance training in their workout routine. Research has shown that after incorporating variable resistance training into your strength training workout, you can increase both the speed at which the weight moves as well as the force of the movement.
Anyone who has been lifting for a while knows the endorphin rush when a heavy lift is executed with explosive power. Using resistance bands helps challenge your body and muscles where the lift is the heaviest, in time adding more power to your muscles. More power means more explosive lifts over time. Because the bands add tension at the hardest part of the lift, your body is using muscles in overdrive which will add more strength as you continue to lift. Just remember the importance of adding rest days to your routine to let your body recover.
If you have certain muscle groups you are looking to improve such as shoulders or biceps, use resistance bands during your press reps and you will notice a quick improvement if you consistently incorporate VRT. You can add the bands or chains to any lift to improve isolated muscle groups.
Whether you work out to gain strength, stay healthy, challenge yourself, or all of the above, you are likely often looking for new and varied options to keep things fresh at the gym. Now that you have learned all the benefits of variable resistance training, find ways to incorporate using bands or chains into your lifts during your next workout session and you will be in awe of the gains you will make in a short amount of time.
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