Jumping on the Heavy Band Wagon

The following is reprinted with permission from Performance Conditioning Soccer.

30-Minute Mobility, Horizontal Speed and Strength/ Stability Program for Female Athletes

By Ed Dudley

I originally got into 'bands' for rehab. Two players that I coached came back from ACL injuries to be even faster then they were pre-injury. Then once I noticed what they did for speed and athleticism, I became a believer. I've invested over $7,000 in bands!!

Not Your Mother's Tubing

This program uses heavy bands with resistance, not tubing. It involves giant rubber bands, which makes a big difference. Tubing has several issues, including the fact that they break easily and don't offer enough resistance to improve speed/strength/mobility and create a time effective conditioning program. The big bands vary in resistance from 10 to 140 pounds, and size providing athletes with all the work they need to improve horizontal speed and strength and, most important in female athletes, prevention of ACL injuries.

In past issues of Performance Conditioning, I presented a three-part series on a dumbbell matrix. I am NOT anti free weights; it's just that as a coach I've evolved and found that there's just no need to train FEMALE athletes to be weight lifters. We rarely touch a weight anymore;
consequently 80% to 90% of the work is done with bands. One can't lift weights horizontally; however, bands allow horizontal resistance in a positive and negative motion. They take away the deceleration forces that cause injuries so you can constantly train speed and explosiveness and then train how to decelerate properly and SAFELY in the negative motion.

Bands offer a great way to condition. My point of training high school athletes all season with bands was to show that RUNNING, which coaches equate to 'fitness', is NOT the best way to train athletes and in my opinion, running IS NOT a great exercise (at least to extreme) and causes many of the repetitive injuries that WOMEN are so prone to sustaining. That's all my State Championship team did for conditioning through the season. As a result they were in better shape, were faster and quicker than with conventional 'conditioning' (running). These bands provide a very efficient way to train as well-no need for a weight room. All you need is open space. Two athletes per band provide built-in recovery because one will perform the exercise while the other holds the band.

Hip/Ankle Mobility Program

We begin every game, practice and training session with this program starting at the ankles. The program then goes up the kinetic chain ending with the hips. Note: all exercises are repeated on the opposite side. Wrapping the band around the fat part of the foot we apply resistance with the band flexing, extending and rotating the ankle. Force is applied
(pulled) in the opposite direction of the ankle movement.

In the next exercise the athlete raps the band around the small part of the foot, leans back and pulls the foot toward the head stretching the hamstring and providing resistance as the foot is pulled forward.

In the next exercise the band is looped around the foot. Shoulders are on the ground, leg is thrust forward and down to the side and then cross to the opposite side at the hips.


The athlete flips over to her stomach and pulls on the bands bringing the quad up and, while hold the band, straightens the leg forward with steady tension. She then lifts the leg off the ground as high as she can.

Finally, the athlete completes the sequence going to her side, pulls back and kicks as high as possible. Then, with leg straight, swings the leg forward at the hip.

The athletes do eight repetitions each side in a total time of about five minutes. After this routine the players will perform a brief warm-up prior to the heavy band routine. 

The first heavy band exercise, which is part of warm-up, is the lateral monster walk in both directions with a band above the knees.

Next comes the up and back carioca.

That is  followed by a long lunge  that provides hip activation. (Some people might not feel comfortable with the stretch so in that case I remove from the routine).

It's important to note that these are exercises we do from a list of exercises and we vary the exercise selection based on the time of year and level of the athletes, etc. to keep things fresh. We end with an Achilles stretch. Here the athletes shift their weight forward. That's it, 10 minutes total time. Now the athletes are ready for the heavy band work.


Performance Conditioning Soccer

Ken Kontor is founder and president of Performance Conditioning Inc. His company is the world’s largest single source of sports-specific conditioning information. Among the educational resources provided are Performance Conditioning Volleyball, Cycling and Soccer newsletters now in their 14th year of publishing and 15 sports-specific conditioning books and training card systems. He is a founding member of the USA Volleyball Sports Medicine and Performance Commission and was instrumental in the establishment of the Volleyball Conditioning Accreditation Program (V.C.A.P.) curriculum offered through the USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation program. Among his contributions to this program was writing the curriculum. He has established the Off-bike Conditioning curriculum promoted by USA Cycling. In the past he has worked with USA Roller Sports and USA Triathlon producing conditioning specific newsletters. Prior to the establishment of Performance Conditioning Inc., Mr. Kontor was a founding father, executive director and publications editor of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for 14 years an organization of over 16,000 sport conditioning professionals. He was an original member of the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist committee that established the internationally recognized C.S.C.S. credential. He has traveled extensively throughout the world including the former Soviet Union, East Germany and the Leipzig Institute of Sport, Hungary and Bulgaria with the purpose of introducing their strength and conditioning methods to the NSCA membership. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Inc. and the National Strength and Conditioning Association of Japan. He has lectured extensively on the conditioning of athletes throughout the world.