Bands are UN-capable resistor for series.
When you do rows, weight becomes heavier as you row the weight in your direction because you lose mechanical advantage over weight. Well, resistance bands become "heavier" when stretched. For this reason, I do not recommend attaching straps to dumbbells, dumbbells, or plate-topped machines.
Many trainers falsely believe that adding resistance bands to free weights and disk-loaded exercises creates "oncoming resistance." Resistance is only appropriate if the strip becomes heavier if you achieve a mechanical advantage over the load with the lifting device. This is the case, for example, when performing a free weight or machine chest press, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, squat, leg press. etc.
When adding bands to rows, however, the opposite occurs, resulting in a UN-accommodating resistance. If the resistance curve increases with decreasing force curve, you have to cheat. That's why we see that lifters pull the weight reasonably well with good shape and then shake the rest of the way in bent rows and one-armed dumbbell rows.
That's why you also see so many people turning their hulls in the direction of their rowing arm as they pull the dumbbell into rows of dumbbells, along with the people who stay upright on over-bended rows of dumbbells and arm rows or too far when sitting or rowing machines sit back. Adding bands simply increases these cheats.
That is, there are two instances where I could recommend the use of bands in rows:
- Attached to free weights or to a plate-laden machine that uses a dynamic load (fast) repetitions. The belts allow you to move quickly, making them ideal for dynamic work, but the weight must be low to maximize speed.
- If you're on the road or working out at home or outdoors, there's nothing wrong with it. You have a number of straps with handles.
A Smarter Way
There is at least one good way to use a resistance band with one-arm dumbbell rows, but it's not quite what I often see people performing. Usually I see them laying dumbbell rows of tape around the wrist or around the dumbbell handle, with the dumbbell anchored deeply.
This creates more mechanical tension in the bottom of the dumbbell row, where you normally just let your arms hang. The idea is that you have to work through a wider range of motion. It's a great concept, but putting the tape low and putting it on your wrist or dumbbell creates two issues at the top of the line, which are probably not what most lifters are.
First, the supreme position of making rows of ribbons in this way mimics the starting position of a low-cable triceps kickback, and the band will only continue to flex the elbow into flexion or increase the triceps requirement keep the elbow at 90 degrees.
The second point is that the low anchorage point of the band creates UN-opposing resistances (as described above) for an exercise in which you already lose a mechanical advantage when you pull in the weight.
I therefore recommend using a banded dumbbell ranks with 1) the band will anchor directly over the shoulder of your rudder arm when you are in the bent position to start the row, and 2) around your upper arm right under your elbow.
This setup still does extra work in the lowest position when the arm hangs under the shoulders, but it does not give rise to the above two problems as this setup A mechanical advantage over the band offers you come closer to the top position.
Note that instead of using a traditional latex band I use an NT loop (www.ntloop.com) as I have designed it for you as a much more comfortable and stable band for your limbs, waist or hips.
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