VRT for arms

This week, on Advanced Training Techniques, James Grage is going to demonstrate how to apply Variable Resistance Training (VRT) to arm exercises:

Last week, we used bands and chains to apply VRT to squats. Now I’m going to show you another exercise, but I’m also going to share another benefit of bands outside of VRT.

The exercise I’m going to show you is just an example. You can apply the same concept to other bicep exercises or any body part for that matter.

So, if I were to use bands exclusively for biceps, I would stand on them, about shoulder-width apart, and as I curl up, I stretch the band, creating more resistance the more I stretch it – that’s the variable resistance part. As I reach a stronger and stronger position in the movement, I have resistance all the way through the range of motion. That’s why I like bands.

So how would I use this in combination with free weights? Pretty simple. I start the same way, by standing on the bands, but I grab the curl bar and add it to the movement. Now, as I curl up, I have the weight of the bar at the bottom, but as we reach closer to the peak contraction, the band stretches out creating more resistance. And that’s VRT for arms!

As I said, there’s one other benefit I like with bands, and that’s the fact that we have resistance on different planes, meaning the horizontal plane. With free weights, we only have resistance on the vertical plane because we’re resisting gravity. With bands, we’re able to create resistance on the horizontal plane.

For example, if you anchor your bands to something like the cable machine at waist level, you’re able to pull in towards your body vs. up from the ground. So to add free weights, simply pick up the bar and curl like you normally would. By adding the anchored bands, you’re now fighting resistance on both the vertical plane (free weights + gravity) and the horizontal plane (bands).

To add more resistance on the horizontal plane, stand further away from your anchor point. To reduce the resistance, stand closer to your anchor point.

Using VRT for arms allows you to use bands in combination with free weights to give yourself a lot more options and really get those peak contractions as you’re doing your curls. You can use a bar like I did, you can use dumbbells, or you can even do this with different body parts.