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How to Combine Kettlebells and Bands for Explosive Sports Performance

April 5, 2005 08:14 AM

The use and efficacy of jumpstretch bands within the strength and conditioning community is well accepted. However, not until recently has it been possible to combine ballistic movements with the use of Jumpstretch Bands. Usually, Jumpstretch Bands have been used with basic barbell exercises such as squats, bench presses and deadlifts. Although these drills are fundamental and absolutely essential for the conditioning of an athlete, there comes a time when the expression of power becomes more important than mere strength. This is where the new kid on the block steps in, the Russian kettlebell. When training for power, the most commonly used drills are the Olympic lifts and their variations. However, it is just unsafe to load up a barbell with weights and Jumpstretch Bands and attempt to perform a high-pull or a ballistic drill. The unique shape and design of the kettlebell allows the band to be attached in a safe manner while still being able to perform ballistic movements. Set ?up is easy and requires no racks or extra weights to secure the bands to the ground. All you need is the kettlebell, a band and yourself.

Over-speed Eccentrics:
Training with bands puts you in an environment of hyper-gravity. Bands will actually force you and your training tool to the ground quicker than gravity alone. This feature alone can have dramatic effects on your ability to absorb force and redirect it. Louie Simmons has a saying " Faster Down, Faster up," and refers to this style of training as The Reactive Method. By using The Reactive Method you teach your body to absorb eccentric force quickly, which stores elastic energy and promotes a much quicker and more powerful concentric contraction, which in turn allows you to explode through or to out maneuver your opponents.

Force Reduction, Force Production:
Your sports performance is greatly dependent on your ability to reduce force, stabilize it and quickly redirect it. Kettlebells alone do a great job of training this aspect of performance, but by combining kettlebells with bands the training effect becomes much more profound. Each kettlebell drill that I'll cover will start in an athletic stance and will greatly stress the posterior chain, the muscles most responsible for speed and agility on the field. You should be able to notice the quick eccentric contraction and quickly try to change from the negative portion of the drill into the concentric portion of the drill. It may take some practice but the benefits are outstanding and will lead into superior sports performance and injury prevention.

Band Swing:
This drill should be the first one you practice. It involves an explosive hip-snap and teaches you drive from the ground up using your entire body. Take up a stance that is shoulder width apart. Now, simply take the Jumpstretch Band and form a loose figure 8. Wrap one loop around the horns of the kettlebell and stretch the other loop to shoulder width. Now place you feet inside the band that is stretched to shoulder width outside your feet. You should actually be standing on the band as well. Grab the kettlebell and get set to swing. Swing the kettlebell back between your legs, loading your hamstrings and hip musculature. Keep your weight on your heels. Quickly change direction and with an explosive hip-snap, drive the kettlebell forward to a height that is appropriate for you. This is where it becomes fun; the band will actually throw you back into the original position. You must control that force and redirect it once it reaches the starting position.

Kettlebell/Band Set-Up

StartPosition

Swing Final Position


Kettlebell/Band High-Pull:
Set-up for this drill is exactly the same as the swing. This time however, you will propel the kettlebell in a vertical movement, using an explosive hip extension and shrug from your shoulders and traps. You will end in a position that resembles the upper portion of an upright row. Again, focus on redirecting the force quickly between the eccentric and concentric portions of this lift.

One-Handed Kettlebell/Band Deadlift:
Although this is not a ballistic lift, it is great drill for grip strength and a stronger posterior chain. You will probably have to use a thicker band for this drill. Simply slip the band through the kettlebell handle and allow it to lie on the ground. Now step on the band with both feet and grab the kettlebell with one hand. Look up, keep your back straight and perform a one-handed Deadlift.

Keep in mind that these drills are only some of the possible combinations of Jumpstretch bands and kettlebells. Keep in mind also to take these drills slowly and practice with care. The benefits are outstanding and will transform you into a quicker, more agile athlete in no time. Enjoy.

Jason C. Brown is a strength and conditioning coach as well as a Certified Russian Kettlebell instructor based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you would like to learn more about kettlebell training for sport, please check out www.kettlebellathletics.com Jason may be reached at jason@kettlebellathletics.com or at 215-480- 5564.
 

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