To get faster running speed, start using resistance bands with an isometric training strategy.
Attaching the resistance band.
A lot of the exercises that people use resistance bands for require you to attach your bands around an immovable object such as a pole. See Figure 1 below.
When it is time for you to attach your bands to a similar object before performing an exercise, here are two simple rules to follow: 1) make sure the object you tie the band to is really immovable relative to your own strength and 2) make sure the object you tie the band around does not have any rough or sharp edges as this will cause your exercise band to tear. Serious injury may result if the exercise band breaks and snaps back and hits you.
How much effort should you exert for each exercise?
Isometric contractions can be done with any amount of force but typically they are done using between 70-80% of your maximum strength. This is a significant amount of effort to exert over the a 10-15 second period of time and the best way to gauge this amount of effort is as follows:
when you start an exercise, if you can easily hold the final position for a lot longer than the recommended 10-15 seconds, such as 20 seconds or more, then you do not have enough resistance in your set-up and are therefore not using enough effort.
If you feel like you need to take a rest from the exercise around the 10 second mark similar to the rest taken after performing a weightlifting set, then you are exerting the proper amount of force.
Most exercises will require you to be at a certain distance away from where the band is tied in order to achieve enough resistance. Look back to Figure 1. If, for example, this exercise is too easy when you try it, then you will need to move farther away from where your band is tied to stretch it (creating more resistance), or use a second band at the same time to increase the resistance (explained next in the ‘doubling-up the resistance’ section), or both.
If this exercise is too hard when you first try it using only one band, then you will need to move closer to where the band is tied; this shortens the band to reduce the resistance.
Getting into the proper position is a simple thing to do. It is also critical to achieving good results with this program.
As you become familiar with all of the exercises you should be able to judge for yourself the best position to be in to make the exercises most effective for you.
Doubling-up the resistance.
There will also be times when the entire length of the band is needed but the resistance it can supply is still not strong enough. Therefore, you can use two bands and double-up the resistance. Look now to Figure 2 below. This just happens to be the final holding position for Exercise #1 in your program except two bands are used at the same time to increase the resistance.
Figure 2. Two resistance bands attached to pole to increase resistance.
This technique of using more than one band to increase the resistance is very common with isometric training. You can do this for any exercise that appears too easy.
You can use bands with a higher resistance level.
Each band has a specific color that corresponds to a particular resistance level. Depending on where you buy your bands, the general rule is the lighter the color, the lower the resistance level and the darker the color, the higher the resistance level.
Since this may not always be the case, it is best to know the resistance level of the bands ahead of time before you buy them. By using a band with a higher resistance you should be able to exercise well within the physical limits of that particular band.
Maintaining good balance during each exercise.
If an exercise is performed using one leg at a time you may find that your balance is really being tested in the beginning with this type of training. It’s important to maintain proper form with each exercise and finding something to balance against while you do them is essential for your success.
In Figure 1 above the athlete is shown balancing against a chair and in Figure 2 above the athlete is balancing against a wall. If you are doing these in your home, walls make good places to balance against since they provide a sturdy support should you need it.
However, be careful there are no items on the walls such as pictures, mirrors, etc. that can slide if you happen to find yourself losing your balance and end up placing your hands on them.
If you are doing these exercises in a gym and are attaching your bands to say, one piece of equipment, you might also look for a second nearby machine that can also serve as a good support for your hands.
Gym equipment makes perhaps the best places to attach your bands to. This is because the equipment is typically immovable relative to your own body strength and most of the equipment is finished with smooth steel that won’t cut your bands and cause them to tear.
If you have access to gym equipment it is suggested that you use it. As a cautionary note, if you choose to incorporate gym equipment into your set-up, make sure you keep your hands away from any moving parts on the equipment (pulleys, cables, hinges etc.) that you may be using for balance to avoid injury.
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