Boost Your Maximal Strength with Banded Sprints

Sep 06, 2023

I want to dive into a powerful training method that can help you elevate your maximal strength to new heights: banded sprints. As an ASCC coach, I always emphasised evidence-based practices, and banded sprints have proven to be an effective tool in the pursuit of greater strength gains.

The Challenge of Banded Sprints

First things first, let's address the elephant in the room. Banded sprints are tough. They push your limits and demand a great deal of effort and determination. This makes them an excellent choice for those who are serious about maximizing their strength gains.

So, why are banded sprints so challenging? To answer this, let's turn to some fundamental physics principles: Newton's second law and the power equation.

F=MA: Unpacking the Force Equation

In the world of physics, we often use the equation F=MA, where F represents force, M stands for mass, and A is acceleration. This equation helps us understand how force is generated when an object is accelerated.

In banded sprints, the resistance bands add an external force that opposes your acceleration. This force constantly increases as you sprint faster, creating a continuous battle between your explosive power and the resistance. The result? Your muscles must generate more force to overcome this resistance, leading to significant improvements in maximal strength.

P=FV: Power and Velocity Relationship

Now, let's bring in another critical equation, P=FV, where P represents power, F is force (as we discussed earlier), and V is velocity. This equation helps us grasp the relationship between power and velocity.

When you perform banded sprints, the added resistance from the bands not only increases the force you need to generate but also challenges your sprinting velocity. As a result, you need to apply more power to maintain your speed, leading to an enhanced power output.

Beyond Adding Weight: The Importance of Rate of Force Development (RFD)

Now, here's the key takeaway: simply adding more weight to your lifts will only get you so far in developing maximal strength. While increasing resistance is crucial, understanding the concept of Rate of Force Development (RFD) is equally important.

RFD is the ability to generate maximal force in a minimal amount of time. Banded sprints place a unique demand on your muscles and neuromuscular system to produce force rapidly. This quality is essential for sports and activities that require explosive power, like sprinting, jumping, and lifting heavy weights.

By incorporating banded sprints into your training routine, you not only increase the resistance and force production but also work on your RFD. This translates into improved maximal strength that can be applied in various athletic endeavors.

The Simplicity of Banded Sprints

One of the great things about banded sprints is their simplicity. Unlike some advanced strength training exercises that require specialized equipment or complex techniques, banded sprints are easy to set up and perform.

Here's what you need:

1. Resistance Bands: You can find resistance bands at most fitness stores, and they come in various resistance levels. These bands are not only affordable but also incredibly versatile. They're a fantastic investment for anyone looking to elevate their fitness game.

2. Open Space: All you need is a flat, open area to perform banded sprints. Whether it's your local park, a nearby track, or even your backyard, you can find a suitable spot without the need for an expensive gym membership or specialised equipment.

3. Proper Technique: The technique for banded sprints is relatively straightforward. You attach the resistance band securely to a fixed anchor point (like a fence, post, or sturdy tree or even get a training partner to hold it), slip it around your waist, and sprint while maintaining proper form. There's no need for extensive training or coaching to get started.

Cost-Effective and Accessible

In a fitness world where some equipment and training methods can be financially burdensome, banded sprints offer an affordable and accessible alternative. Resistance bands are budget-friendly, and they can last a long time with proper care.

Moreover, since you don't need access to a gym or expensive machines, you can perform banded sprints practically anywhere and anytime. This accessibility makes them a great option for individuals looking to improve their maximal strength without breaking the bank or being restricted by gym hours.

So banded sprints for all!?

In summary, banded sprints are a highly effective tool for developing maximal strength. They challenge your muscles, enhance your force production, and improve your power output. Moreover, they go beyond the simple addition of weight by addressing the critical aspect of Rate of Force Development (RFD).

Obviously you need to be careful not to overload the resistance and its difficult to measure exaclty how much force you are producing or working against, BUT... It's a new and unique way to get outside and add something to your training. 

So, if you're looking to take your strength to the next level, consider incorporating banded sprints into your training regimen. Remember to start with appropriate resistance levels, gradually progress, and always prioritize proper form to minimise the risk of injury.

Embrace the challenge of banded sprints, and watch your maximal strength soar to new heights. Stay dedicated, stay strong, and keep pushing your limits!