As an athlete you’re constantly trying to improve - jump a little higher, run a little faster - so you can outperform your competition. Speed bands, also called kbands or leg resistance bands, are one of the tools that can help you elevate your game, making you a better athlete and helping you get the edge over your competition.
One of the best things about speed bands is that they’re safe for athletes of all ages, from youth athletes all the way to college and professional athletes. This is possible because of varying levels of resistance that allow athletes of different sizes and ability levels to adjust the bands they use.
For example, while a youth athlete just getting started in their training would use the yellow Victorem speed bands (They have the least resistance), a high school or college athlete may use the blue or black speed bands depending on what exercises they were performing.
The varying resistance of speed bands also allows you to progressively add resistance as you get stronger and faster so you can continue making gains.
That’s why you’ll see the most elite athletes in the world use resistance bands in their workouts even though they’ve been training for years - they can continue to add resistance as needed so their body doesn’t get stagnant.
From Jimmy Butler and Dez Bryant to Allyson Felix and Alex Morgan - athletes of all sports and of all shapes and sizes uses resistance bands in their training.
Many of these elite athletes use the type of resistance bands I’m talking about in this article, but you may be wondering - how do speed bands work? Why do athletes of all abilities use them?
How Speed Bands Work
Similar to using weight training to overload your muscles and get stronger, speed bands overload your legs and hips while while you sprint or jump so you can become more explosive.
When using speed bands in your training you’ll often do a few reps with the bands on and then do a few reps without the bands. You’ll be able to feel right away the difference in how you move. Over time, your body will adapt and you’ll get faster, quicker, and be able to jump higher - assuming you’re using them the right way.
So, how should you incorporate speed bands into your training?
Training With Speed Bands
The first thing you’ll want to keep in mind is NOT going overboard with band training. While it’s tempting to use speed bands every day in your workouts, there will be diminishing returns as you use them more and more throughout the week.
This is one of the many mistakes I made in my training during my youth. When I started working with knowledgeable coaches I learned the value of rest and recovery as well as the importance of having a plan or training program.
To add speed bands to your training start with 1-2 days per week of speed band training as part of a speed or agility workout ideally on separate days than when you lift weights.
By using speed bands 1-2 days per week you’ll allow yourself optimal recovery. This is assuming you’ll also be doing lower body weightlifting 2-3 days per week to get stronger (Which will also help you get faster and jump higher).
The Versatility of Speed Bands
You can also use speed bands in your weight lifting workouts to add resistance to exercises such as lunges and step ups and to help you warm up for heavier weight lifting.
In your training, depending on your sport, you’ll want to work on running faster, jumping higher, and moving quicker side to side - speed bands can help you with all of these because of how versatile they are.
To work on your linear speed, you can do exercises like high knee drives and wall marches.
To improve your jumping ability, exercises like lunge jumps or lateral hops are incredibly helpful.
Lateral quickness can be developed with speed bands as well when using exercises like lateral shuffles or karaoke steps.
As you can see, speed bands can be used in a variety of ways to help you improve as an athlete.
While they aren’t the only training tool you should be using, speed bands are a valuable tool that will you help you make progress in your training and take your game to the next level, regardless of what sport your play.
What to do Next
Include speed bands in your training as part of a complete program that focuses on helping you get stronger, faster, and more explosive.
Combine strength training, plyometrics, agility drills, and speed training to get the best results while also getting plenty of sleep, fueling your body with the proper nutrients, and hydrating throughout the day.
Remember, you become the best athlete you can be by putting in the work and staying consistent. So get started and get to work!