Deadlift variations are paramount in any strength program for athletes. Strong hip extensors are essential in that they allow you to stabilize your lower back and move powerfully on the mat in various guard positions. Begin by standing with your feet in a hip width position with the band directly underneath the arches of your feet. Hold each end of the band at your side and hinge your hips back, while maintaining a neutral spinal position. Continue to hinge back with a slight bend at the knee; once you can no longer hinge without rounding your back, reverse the direction by standing back up.
Band Resisted Pull Ups
Jiu-jitsu competitors typically exhibit high rates of relative strength, meaning they are strong for their size and can perform most body weight exercises with ease. In order to continue seeing benefits from these types of exercises, we must find ways to make them more challenging. One way to do this is by using a band to increase the load of a pull up. Begin by attaching the band above your hips or around your neck. Grasp the pull up bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Pull yourself toward the bar by depressing your shoulder blades and pulling your elbows towards your sides. Once you’ve reached a full contraction at the top, reverse the movement by slowly lowering yourself back down until your arms are fully extended.
Lateral Lunge with Band
As mentioned previously, you won’t always move in a sagittal plane on the mat. Your knees and hips will not be aligned perfectly as they are in the squat or deadlift; therefore it is important to train movements in the frontal plane. Begin by standing parallel to the band, grasping it hand-over-hand in a shoulder width stance. Hold the band in front of your sternum at the center of your body. Step away from the band with one foot while the other leg stays in place. Flex at the knee and hip, performing a squat over the far foot, while the other foot stays in place extending that knee. Squat as deep as you comfortably can, while maintaining an upright posture and a neutral spinal position. Extend the knee and hip, reversing the direction to the original starting position.
More Tools in your Box
Similar to a barbell or kettlebell, bands are just one tool in your toolbox; they should not be the only piece of equipment you use. Bands are a great addition to your current exercise program; they can offer you a challenge to your current exercises as well as assist in making other movements less difficult. Give them a try and you won’t be disappointed.
Words: Naveed Sha Photos: Kirana Rivera
Originally Appeared in Jiu-Jitsu Magazine #25 August 2014