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The most basic, and the most obvious, form of strength training is by using free weights. Doing heavy barbell exercises like squats, presses and deadlifts.
These are all well and good, but they aren’t optimised specifically for your fitness goals.
They will help you build a general overall strength but won’t directly help you in the ways you need to become a better jiu-jitsu fighter.
Also, not everyone has access to a gym or access to barbells, dumbbells and plates. Both of those options can be expensive, especially when added on top of your monthly academy fees.
Resistance bands are the answer to all of those problems mentioned above.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a very dynamic martial art and sport and just being strong isn’t enough. You need to be strong and stable in areas where the body is typically weak.
With exercises like barbell bench press, you are fixed in place and are in full control. We all know that that isn’t the case in BJJ. Often you’ll have to move and fight out of submissions where you aren’t locked in a comfortable and powerful position. Where you don’t have gravity and stability on your side.
These bands allow you to train your rotational movement and your lateral movement, which is difficult to achieve with free weights and machines.
They’re also a lot cheaper.
Have you ever looked at how much it costs to stock your own home gym with legit pieces of equipments like barbells and plate-loaded machines? Very expensive.
You can chuck your resistance bands into your bag and forget about them until you need to use them. Try doing the same with a set of dumbbells…
The Best Resistance Bands
Below you will find what we believe to be the best five bands/band sets out there so you can supplement your BJJ training in the most effective way possible.
If you’ve never used resistance bands before then it can be difficult to know which strength/resistance you should use. It’s not like a fully-stocked gym where you can just try out different dumbbells until you find the right ones.
That’s why it can be beneficial for you to buy a set of bands with different strengths. Like this set from Limm.
Start off with the X-Light band and work your way up. Maybe the X-Light is enough for you now and you don’t have to move up straight away. But you’ll still have the other four so you can continue progressing.
The set also comes complete with an eBook filled with home workouts, a printed manual and a handy carrying case to keep them safe inside your gym bag.
Generally speaking, there are two main types of resistance bands. The short and thick bands, like the Limm set, and longer thing bands like in this set from Black Mountain Products.
Each types of bands have their pros and cons and various advantages to each other.
The longer bands almost look like skipping ropes from a distance.
You hook them to a door or a pillar, using the anchors generously provided, and can do various exercises with them.
You can do lateral raises, chest presses, bicep curls, etc. The difference between using the bands instead of a dumbbell is that you get a far wider range of movement. You can train the weaker motions like you wouldn’t be able to with other exercise equipment.
Another strength training programme common with BJJ practitioners is bodyweight training.
BJJ is all about being in complete control of your body and how it moves. So it only stands to reason that bodyweight training can help you to achieve this control.
The downside to bodyweight training is that it can be easy to max out. Unless you get a lot heavier, the exercises are just going to get easier.
This band from WODFitters can be used to add resistance to bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups to keep you progressing. But still with the added degree of motion that you don’t get with traditional weight-lifting.
Mobility and flexibility is another incredibly important facet to BJJ and these bands can be used with your stretching routine. The bands add extra resistance so it’s harder to stretch. Once they’re taken off, it’ll you’ll feel naturally more supple and mobile when moving around.
These bands can be purchased in a set or as singles, making it perfect for the trainee who already knows what they want and what resistance level, etc.
As I said above, it’s best for beginners to choose a set of bands with different resistances so they can find the strength that suits them and so they have room to progress upwards.
And you don’t get much better than this set of 5 bands from Fit Simplify.
The bands are extremely durable, being able to stretch to up to 3-4 times their original length without tearing or snapping like cheaper bands.
Apart from snapping, another common problem of inferior bands is that they can be uncomfortable and catch the skin, making training with them quite unpleasant.
Fit Simplify puts their bands through intense testing protocols to ensure the quality, durability and texture of their bands so you have a stress-free and pain-free workout.
This set has a total resistance of 75 pounds, with bands ranging from 2 pounds all the way up to 30 pounds. Regardless of your level of strength/fitness, there’s a band in this set that can provide you with a challenging yet manageable workout.
You can use the provided door anchor to attach the bands to your bedroom door without worrying about it damaging the door frame or the wall. Or with the bands just simply flying off mid-rep.
All of the bands, the door anchor and ankle strap fit snugly inside the provided carry bag so you can take your whole resistance band gym with you anywhere!
If you’re unsure where to even start with resistance bands training, Kinzi have thrown in an exercise guide to get you started. Making this a perfect choice for both absolute beginners and pros alike.
Resistance bands are becoming more and more popular in gyms for a reason. With the added emphasis on functional strength and mobility in gyms these days, these bands are only going to become even more valuable and vital as people use them in more intuitive and useful ways.