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Bands and Bells

Maciej Bielski Bands and Kettlebells

I know it may sound odd and kind of offensive, but kettlebells and bands are actually a perfect fit. The elastic rubber resistance bands and kettlebells are the ideal combination for increasing power and explosive strength. But, as some may ask—why not just use a heavier kettlebell?

As Louie Simmons stated some time ago, there is no such thing as heavy or light weights, there are only fast and slow weights.

It all comes down to basic physics:

F = m * a

If a weight moves too slowly, then you won’t be able complete the equation and you’ll end up on the wrong side of a one-sided battle.

Progressive overload is crucial, and the most basic concept essential for training progress. But if it was that simple, almost everyone who has spent 5-10 years training would be hoisting monstrous lumps of iron in every possible way, from the ground up or in the frontal plane.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, and some individuals may have to take a detour from heavy lifting to bust through long-standing plateaus. In my opinion, the missing link between speed-strength and power is a chink in many lifters’ armor. After failing again and again on the same weights, you’ll need to find another way to progress your training—especially when the nervous system needs improvement.

With progressive overload lifting, you will eventually give out after a slight increase of resistance. The nervous system is your body’s governor and sometimes it won’t allow you to do stupid things—just like your parents did when you were a child, and you didn’t like it then, either! So, to overcome a stop sign in our training, we need to take a detour and drive in another direction for a while.

All roads lead to Rome...

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to lifting, but I’m also ambitious and persistent. I was lucky to have the opportunity to learn from people who are better than me, and picked up some gems of knowledge along the way.

While studying the Westside template and personally experiencing all of its ups and downs, I can say that speed-strength is the perfect match for maximum strength—and power will be the result. You won’t get far with heavy lifting alone.

Additional work with lighter weights combined with elastic resistance will give you a brand new stimulus. The changing resistance results in better muscle coordination when engaging the motor units. Band and kettlebell training delivers big increases in the rate of force development. The effect will surely provide the strength gains you’re seeking.

The idea of combining bands and kettlebells was new to me when I noticed Joe DeFranco using band resisted swings with his athletes. Elastic resistance speeds up the eccentric portion of the swing which was a game changer for my hamstrings and lower back. Since training with the bands, I haven’t had any problems locking out the deadlift, or losing my position in a squat.

The power-building capacity of kettlebell swings with added speed stimulus is very underrated.

In a conversation with Max Shank, I realized how important creativity is when it comes to resistance training. Max pointed out that adding bands to kettlebell pressing. Even though I’d done it with barbell training before, the kettlebell has a big advantage over the barbell—the kettlebell allows for more movement patterns. You can do military presses, push presses, bent presses, get-ups and windmills with extra band resistance.
Maciej Bielski Band Kettlebell Press

The added resistance builds healthier more stable shoulder joints and the bigger triceps that are essential for locking out big weights—which is especially important to me since my goal is to tame the Beast.

Bruce Lee said "Perfection looks for simplicity". I can say that simple tools with right mindset can get you very far.

Maciej Bielski Bands Bells thumbnailRKC Poland Instructor Maciej Bielski is the owner and Head Coach of Crossfit Trójmiasto in Sopot, Poland. He was very active in martial arts for most of his life. Maciej has specialized education in physiology and physical effort biochemistry and after some years of academic work focused on coaching exclusively.

He is the leading specialist in the field of Athletic Training and Training Methodology in Poland, and gives lectures and workshops in many locations including Mauricz Training Center. For more information about Maciej please visit Crossfit Trojmiasto, RKC Poland, and his blog Ugot2BeStrong.