Looks sexy right? Driving into band resistance or the sound of chains slithering on and off the ground. But when and why should we use them? For strength and power, in novice clients, let’s start with when you start to stall.

I’m not talking about athletes or powerlifters, those who practice the deadlift all the time. Just guys and girls who have a love to train and better themselves.

If you have not reached a 2x bodyweight deadliftor squat (for a guy) and a 1.5x bodyweight deadlift or squat (for a lady) then most of what you need lies within programming the requisite mobility and the appropriate accessory lifts.

And the one thing we are all missing…


This is also what normally stops people reaching their goals.

If you stuck to the plan and started light enough, feeding the right patterns (in a neuromuscular sense), actually did a de-load week, AND paid your dues under the bar, most people would be amazed at what they could achieve. Levels of strength need to be optimal for your goal, not maximal, so there will always be exceptions to these guidelines.

Anyway… Rant over.

The Banded Deadlift

For speed and power development to break through sticking points, bands are going to be a formidable tool.

With accommodating resistance, we are trying to reinforce the ascending strength curve. This means the deadlift is hardest at the start of the movement and easiest at the top when we drive the hips into extension (for most). With the band creating greater resistance at the top of the movement the lifter has to accelerate faster to finish the lift. The carryover is that an athlete/client will get stronger at the midpoint and top of the movement.

It won’t (necessarily) increase your ability to take the bar from a dead stop. For that you would need the deficit deadlift, which we covered last time or the overcoming and yielding isometrics, which we cover in the future.

This added acceleration will make you far more dynamic. Which, like plyometric work and the Olympic lift variations, have an amazing carry over to sports performance.

So how do we use it?

Firstly, I would program it in a dynamic effort lower body day. If you train 3 days a week, perhaps it would fit in after your big squat pattern. Dynamic effort is where we are focusing on developing maximal force. This refers to sessions based on sub-maximal loads moved as quickly as possible (with the best possible form).

We are overloading the pattern itself. The rack pull is a fantastic tool. But it isn’t a deadlift. Due to mechanics and a different start position, different muscles can be prioritized. When working with accommodating resistance, you can work exactly the same movement pattern and range of motion.

Ok, let’s keep this simple.

  • You need the right facility – with a rack or platform designed for the bands to be attached. You can also loop (and double up) bands around the bottom setting of a rack with the band on the inside of the plates. And step onto bands without a rack. This works well for the conventional/hybrid/sumo.
  • You need the right bands, and to understand what amount of tension they provide at the top. Always have a little tension from the bottom to the top of the lift.
  • You need the right client. Does she or he need dynamic work? Are they strong enough?
  • As a coach, have you used this form of training before, and are you proficient enough to teach it? If not, cool. Better to be honest about your knowledge. Find a powerlifting club or a strength and conditioning facility where you can learn, and a mentor to learn from.
  • Have you mapped out your programming correctly?

All good, still with me?


  • If you are deadlifting twice a week, please allow 72 hours or so between the max effort and the dynamic effort. It can make you very sore from the controlled eccentrics with the band trying to drag you down.
  • The bar will hold 40-55% (approximately) of the 1RM (Training max).
  • The accommodating resistance bands/chains can then make up to 20% of the total load.
  • The sets can range from 6-12 sets in powerlifting. Tailoring this for sports performance and a commercial gym setting is a different matter.
    Volume is made up of multiple sets of very low reps. This is how training for speed works. Multiple repswill decrease the velocity and deteriorate the form – this creates a less than optimal transfer in power development. Reps 1-3.

Simple protocol. A 4-week wave with 50%, 55% and 60% of the 1-rep max. With the 4th being a de-load week, with a focus on repetitions across the board and without the accommodating resistance. If and when you reset the maxes for the following 4 weeks, do the same with the dynamic effort.

Personally, I would change the form of resistance and exercise with every wave. You will learn what works best for you. And the change in stimulus will keep things fresh and challenging, psychologically as well as physically. Rest periods, full recovery for maximal speed development. Or just 1 min rest between sets.

Exercises – Box squats. Barbell Bulgarian split squats. With standard and various speciality bars. Keep this simple. Unless you know better.

So for accommodating resistance in the deadlift, with bands. these are the basics. This is a great way of developing speed and power at an astonishing rate.

Speed kills, if you are not training it then why are you looking at using this method? For older lifters and less mobile athletes, you can make them brutally powerful and fast without the complexities of learning Olympic lifting.

Stay strong,

Coach Fletch.

Author - Fletcher Dalrymple - Personal Trainer & Mentor

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