Re: El Puma's strength conditioning thread
A former football coach at West Branch H.S. in Beloit, Ohio, Hartzell first padded a barbell and had one of his players do a couple of reps before hurting his back. Next, Hartzell utilized a leaper machine, which is an isokinetic exerciser that provides a force downward equal to the strength forced upward. Again, one of his players hurt his back.
Then Hartzell had a brainstorm to apply the same principles but with a rubber product. As he soon discovered, nothing existed similar to the heavy-duty continuous-loop bands he had patented. It wasn't long before he could guarantee vertical jump gains of one to 10 inches in six weeks.
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"That is real speed training," he says. "I firmly believe in ballistic stretching. The medical market teaches this wrong. They say all you need to do is static stretching, whereas all of the games are ballistic."
Initially scoffed at when introduced in 1980, the Flex Bands -- available in six sizes that range from 25 to 200 pounds -- are currently used by 90% percent of Major League Baseball, half of the NFL and NBA, and a host of colleges and universities. Since 1998, powerlifters have begun to incorporate the bands into training routines by wrapping the bands around squat racks and other pieces of equipment to enhance performance.
The weight from the bands is a direct result of the pressure when an individual stands up at full height. The rubber band is pulling down on the shoulders and applying the same principles as if an individual were squatting a barbell.
"A rubber band will bring the weight down faster than gravity," says Hartzell. "It builds up kinetic energy. Therefore it takes more strength, more stabilizer muscles to reverse the initial movement. I can give you from 50 pounds to 1,000 pounds on rubber band squats."