Why Do Banded Deadlifts?
Banded deadlifts are an excellent exercise for training in the gym and at home. Particularly when you do not want or cannot use weightlifting equipment in your house, resistance bands are a great option.
Especially today when you might be under ‘stay at home’ guidelines, it is even more important now to stay in shape, and what better way than the deadlift?
Deadlifts are one of the most important and productive exercises you can do. They work virtually every muscle in your body and can be used to build muscle, increase strength, and even burn calories and fat.
They are especially useful because they emphasize the posterior chain, which is the collective term for the muscles on the back of your body that generate force for running, jumping, and all-around functional activities.
No wonder deadlifts with resistance bands are a staple for CrossFit, athletes, and powerlifters. And if you are not an athlete, but just want to look and feel like one, deadlifts can change your body faster than you ever thought possible.
The regular barbell deadlift is fine for a lot of exercisers, but banded deadlifts will add a whole new dimension to your workouts.
Resistance Band Benefits for Deadlifting
Banded deadlifts are a form of accommodating resistance, which means they change the strength curve of the exercise you are doing.
Using bands, as you deadlift, you’ll notice the band tension increases as you approach lockout.
In contrast, with un-banded, the resistance tends to decrease as you stand up straight. This effect has several noteworthy benefits:
#1. A Stronger Lockout
The most common sticking point in deadlifts is about halfway up, leaving lifters unable to lock out and complete their lift. Getting stuck in this position also puts a lot of strain on your lower back.
Doing deadlifts with resistance bands increases the resistance at the end of the range of motion, which will help strengthen and eliminate this area of weakness.
#2. Increased Lat Engagement
The lats, short for your latissimus dorsi muscle, are very important in deadlifts. They contract to pull the bar in toward your legs and keep it close to your base of support.
If the bar is allowed to move away from your legs, it increases the strain on your lower back and increases leverage, and that makes the deadlift harder than it needs to be, and could also result in a failed rep, pain, or injury.
Deadlifting with resistance bands helps keep your lats engaged, and also strengthens these all-important muscles. Stronger lats will ensure that you can keep the bar close to your body for a better lift as well as injury prevention.
#3. They Teach You to Accelerate the Bar Through the Full Range of Motion
To lift the heaviest loads, you need to lift them explosively. Lifting a heavier weight quickly makes it feel lighter.
The weight will still move relatively slowly, but your intent should always be to lift heavy weights fast.
This increases muscle activation and also provides added momentum, both of which can help you lift more weight. Lifting against resistance bands forces you to lift more explosively.
If you lift the weight slowly, there is a real chance you will not complete your lift. The band tension, which increases as you pass the midpoint of your rep, is overcome easiest if you lift with speed and explosive intent.
As a result, you should find, when you return to doing deadlifts without bands, you are much faster and more explosive, not to mention stronger.
#4. Improved Technique
Deadlifting with a band helps reinforce proper deadlift techniques. It keeps the bar following a vertical path and encourages you to maintain proper core activation throughout your rep.
The band will exaggerate any forward or backward deviation from the vertical path, making any deadlift rep much harder to complete.
Deadlifting with bands will teach you to keep the bar in the vertical plane. In addition, you can’t relax at the top of a banded deadlift – you need to stay tight throughout.
This is another important cue for good deadlifting.
#5. Workout variety
Deadlifts are an awesome exercise, but even this exercise can become boring if that’s all you ever do. By adding additional resistance, banded deadlifts feel very different from regular deadlifts, and that added workout variety can be useful for keeping you out of a progress rut.
A few weeks of banded deadlifts can breathe new life into your current workout program.
Also, if you are serious about increasing your deadlift, you may want to deadlift twice per week. To avoid having to do the same deadlift workout two times per week, you could do one banded deadlift and one standard deadlift.
#6. Less Low Back Stress
There is no escaping the fact that deadlifts can be hard on your lower back. This is especially true if you are a tall lifter, or have tight hamstrings and are prone to rounding your lower back at the bottom of your reps.
Deadlifts with bands allow you to get an effective deadlifting workout even if you choose to use light weights to protect your back.
Using bands means there is more tension at the top of each rep than at the bottom. This takes a lot of stress off your lower back and is not dissimilar to doing rack pulls from knee height.
If a heavy full range of motion deadlift is problematic for you, reduce the weight and use bands instead.
You’ll still get a good workout but with much less low back stress.
#7. Maximize grip strength
Deadlifting with bands means that, at the top of each rep, there is a lot more weight in your hands than usual.
It really feels as though the bar is being ripped out of your hands.
If your grip is weak, banded deadlifts will help make it stronger. Maximize this benefit by using a double overhand grip and not using lifting straps.
How to Set Up Bands for Deadlifts
One of the most convenient ways to do banded deadlifts is by using a deadlifting platform or power rack fitted with pegs at the bottom. This makes attaching your bands to your barbell very quick and straightforward.
Simply load your bar and roll it, so it is close to the pegs, and then loop a band over each end of your bar and over the pegs. Then, when you lift, you will not only have to overcome the weight on the bar but the tension provided by the resistance bands too.
PR2 Resistance Band for Deadlift Platform Review by Alan Thrall
No banded deadlift platform or power cage at your gym? No problem!
You don’t need one to do banded deadlifts.
Banded Deadlifts Without a Platform
If you train in a gym without a lifting platform or power rack fitted with band pegs, you can still do banded deadlifts and enjoy all the benefits that this exercise has to offer.
In fact, it’s actually a very straightforward process, and all you need is a single loop-type resistance band.
Load up your barbell as usual and then lay your band over the middle of the bar. Step onto the band so that it is under the mid-part of your feet.
Adopt your usual deadlift stance.
Bend forward and grab the bar so that your hands are inside the band. This will prevent it from sliding inward.
You are now ready to do banded deadlifts without using a platform or power cage.
If you need more tension in your band, loop it around the ends of your barbell. Be warned, this can make locking your deadlift out very challenging.
How to Set Up Resistance Bands for Deadlifts Without a Platform
Deadlift Resistance Bands Only
Bands and barbell deadlifts complement each other perfectly, but you can also do deadlifts without a bar and using just a strong resistance band.
Using a band, you can do conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, and Romanian deadlifts too. Resistance band deadlifts are a useful warm-up exercise before barbell deadlifts as well as being an acceptable deadlift alternative for home exercisers.
Watch How to Do Deadlifts With Resistance Bands
Best Resistance Bands for Deadlifts
The best type of resistance band for deadlifts is the flat, closed-loop type favored by CrossFitters and Powerlifters.
Typically around 40 inches long, they are available in a range of strengths, from light “mini-bands” to very thick, strong bands that provide hundreds of pounds of tension.
If you are doing banded deadlifts on a platform or in a power rack, you will need pairs of bands – one for each end of the bar. But, if you are using the platform-free method described above, you only need one band.
Deadlifting bands are often sold in sets, so you have a range of tensions available. This allows for progression and also means you can warm up using a lighter band before progressing onto a heavier one.
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Banded Deadlifts – Final Thoughts
Banded deadlifts are a multi-functional exercise. They can be used to:
- iron out the technical faults that could be holding back your deadlift performance,
- eliminate sticking points,
- strengthen your lockout, or
- simply add variety to your workouts.
They also make an already challenging exercise even more demanding.
Banded barbell deadlifts are best left to intermediate and advanced exercisers who have already mastered regular deadlifts.
If you are still learning this exercise, you have enough of a challenge on your hands learning how to barbell deadlift correctly. Adding bands into the mix could be a step too far that could even result in injury.
But, when you are ready, adding bands will make your bar deadlift workouts even more productive.
However, using resistance bands is a great way to learn and practice deadlifting when you do not have access to a barbell and weights. So, if you are stuck at home without weights, don’t stop training, get the best set of resistance bands and start doing banded deadlifts today.
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