Long Island Wrestling Association


Donate to Support
the LIWA


Association Office
PO Box 368
Oakdale, NY 11769

Steve Meehan
stevemeehan0809 @ gmail.com



John Gaglione's Post Season Wrestling Training # 3

Dynamic Band Training for Wrestling Power


Last time we discussed how chains can be applied to barbell for both power and strength for wrestlers.

There are many applications to using bands when training. They can be used for a number of different exercises for building strength as well as for injury prevention. The bands we recommend for the applications used in this article can be purchased through Elite Fitness Systems.

It is important when performing these advanced exercises to use a proper band to minimize any chance of injury. Using a lesser quality band can be very dangerous. Other good brands of bands include Iron Woody and Jump stretch. There are other bands that are better suited for other uses, but for the purpose of this article I highly recommend you use these brands of bands if you are to attempt these exercises on your own.

It is also important to note all of the exercises mentioned are ADVANCED variations on barbell lifts. The athlete should master straight weight and chains before they even think of incorporating bands in their routine. The athlete should have a few solid years of training before implementing these variations in their routine. The cool thing about training with bands is that it will teach the athlete to accelerate through the entire movement.

We have all seen those powerful wrestlers who can hit a blast double leg takedown from across the mat and training with bands will teach the lifter to fire their muscles explosively in the same manner. There are going to be times in a match where you just need to hit a home run such as a big throw so training with bands will give you the confidence to know you can hit an explosive move when it counts.

This week we will discuss how bands can be applied to barbell exercises for an increase in power and strength! Bands act a lot like chains because they are a form of accommodating resistance. The more a band is stretched the more tension it will have and will provide more resistance when attached to the bar. As the athlete raises the bar the band will stretch more and provide max tension at the lockout position. The difference between bands and chains is that bands will actively pull the weight down and causes what is called OVER SPEED ECCENTRICS.

This means the weight can be lowered faster than normal with this method. This makes bands the ultimate tool for building explosive strength. Since the bar can be lowered faster than normal a great deal of stability is required to control a barbell lift with bands. Depending on the bar weight and the set up used bands can be used to increase speed or increase strength.

Bands can be doubled up or choked under a very heavy dumbbell and attached to the bar for squat variations, bench press variations, and overhead press variations. We usually double up the bands for bench press variations and Giant Cambered Bar Squats since the bar is much lower to the ground than for traditional squats. If you are using Elite Fitness Systems short bands there is no need to double them up for this set up.

For traditional squats I recommend using two very heavy dumbbells and choking the band around the dumbbell. Remember the more the band is stretches the more tension you will get. In other words the higher the barbell from the ground the more tension you will get. There are some specialty racks as well that have band pegs for an easier set up such as the one shown in the picture below.

When using the Dynamic Effort Method(Speed Training) the athlete should use a moderate percentage of there 1Rm(Max). When training for speed the athlete may use as little as 30%-40% of their 1RM for the bench press, squat, deadlift or Overhead Press. We usually do around 9-12 sets of 3 reps for the speed bench press, 8-10 sets of 2 for the speed box squat and 6-8 sets of 1 for speed deadlifts. For ease of setting up for the deadlift you will need a special platform or you can out Elite short bands around your feet and the bar.

I would recommend most athletes start off with double mini bands for the bench press and choked light bands for the squat. This is assuming the athlete bench press around 250-300 pounds and squat around 350-400 pounds for a 200 pound athlete. This translates to about 1.25-1.5 times body weight for the bench press and 1.5-2 times body weight for the squat. Remember these numbers may seem a lot for some, but this training is geared toward advanced athletes. Some people might even argue the numbers I am using are too low. This is just a guideline of where to start. It is certainly possible the lifter is very light or very heavy and the numbers could be adjusted. The coach needs to use his best judgment in this regard.

Donít worry too much about how much tension there is for each band either. Just make sure you set up bands EXACTLY the same each time so you know the tension will be the same. Also make sure to monitor the quality of your bands. Make sure there arenít any breaks or tears in them when utilizing bands.

Just make sure if you are performing Dynamic Effort work the bar speed is fast.

Bands can also be applied to the bar for strength purposes as well. When performed for heavy sets training with bands builds a tremendous lockout and rate of force development. The bands constantly are pulling the lifter down so the athlete must accelerate even faster than would with chains or straight weight. Bands can be utilized to teach the lifter to be explosive with heavy loads and drive through sticking points. Using bands is the best method for developing explosive strength with barbell lifts since the athlete is forced to accelerate through out the entire range of motion. If the athlete slows down the athlete will miss the lift.

Here is an example of an athlete performing Safety Squat Bar Box Squat versus strong bands choked from the bottom.

Bands can also be set up above the lifter for a different method of training with bands. This is called reverse bands. Some people refer to this as the lightened method or the future method because it lightens the amount of weight in the bottom position of the lift. Bands can be set up by doubling or choking bands on top of a power rack, through the pins inside a power rack, or through the top of a mono-lift(this is geared for toward competitive powerlifters). Try to experiment with different heights and see what position works for you.

The difference between bands from the bottom and reverse bands is that reverse bands make the weight feel lighter in the bottom position. As the lifter lowers the weight the bands will stretch more, but this time it is stretching in the opposite direction so it is actually pulling the bar back toward the lock out position. As the lifter raises the weight back up the weight gets heavier until the lockout position where the lifter is essentially locking out the weight that is on the barbell.

This really helps the lifter with confidence when lifting certain numbers. The lifter feels a sense of accomplishment when they hit their first 300, 400, or 500 pound lift or whatever the number is for them. This helps them overcome mental barriers and they believe that they will eventually have the strength to achieve the number without the bands. This is why some people refer to this as the future method. I would recommend athletes start off using mini band and light bands for the bench press and light and average bands for the squat and deadlift. Reverse bands can be used for speed work, but since the band actually assists you on the way up it is not as effective as bands from the bottom.

Reverse bands are very effective for Max Effort work (>90% of 1RM) since it lets the lifter perform the exercise with supra-maximal loads(great than their 1RM). Reverse bands will strengthen a lifters lock out and help them feel a heavier weight on their back or in their hands.


There are many old time lifters who would do heavy walk outs with supra-maximal loads in order to work their central nervous system. This helped prepare the lifter for the future when they are handling extremely heavy loads. The difference is reverse bands allows the lifter go through a full range of motion.

Bands are a great way to develop explosive power. Bands from the bottom can help build explosive power and acceleration through the entire range of motion. Reverse bands can help build confidence, engage the central nervous system, and build strong lockouts. Try out using band training with yourself and watch your speed and strength go through the roof.

Educate, Motivate, Dominate
Coach Gaglione

 If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at gaglionestrength@gmail.com or check out my website www.gaglionestrength.com

To take your wrestling to the next level and ensure this coming wrestling season is your best one ever go to GaglioneStrength.com and e-mail Coach Gaglione for more information on wrestling training.

 Coach John Gaglione is a Sport Performance Specialist out of Long Island New York. He is a certified "Underground" Strength coach who specializes in training combat athletes. Johnís work has been featured in Elite Fitness Systems, Testosterone Nation , One Result & local wrestling site Long Island Wrestling Association. If you would like to learn more about John you can reach him at www.gaglionestrength.com or e-mail him at gaglionestrength@gmail.com.