The effects of combined elastic- and free-weight tension vs. free-weight tension on one-repetition maximum strength in the bench press.J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Feb; 25(2):459-63.JS
The present study investigated the effects of training combining elastic tension, free weights, and the bench press. Eleven college-aged men (untrained) in the bench press participated in the 13-week study. The participants were first given instructions and then practiced the bench press, followed by a one-repetition maximum (1RM) test of baseline strength. Subjects were then trained in the bench press for 3 weeks to allow for the beginning of neural adaptation. After another 1RM test, participants were assigned to 1 of 2 conditions for the next 3 weeks of training: 85% Free-Weight Tension, 15% Elastic Tension (BAND), or 100% Free-Weight Tension (STAND). After 3 weeks of training and a third 1RM max test, participants switched treatments, under which they completed the final 3 weeks of training and the fourth 1RM test. Analysis via analysis of covariance revealed a significant (p ≤ 0.05) main effect for time and interaction effect for Treatment (BAND vs. STAND). Subsequent analysis via paired-samples t-test revealed the BAND condition was significantly better (p = 0.05) at producing raw gains in 1RM strength. (BAND 9.95 ± 3.7 kg vs. STAND 7.56 ± 2.8 kg). These results suggest that the addition of elastic tension to the bench press may be an effective method of increasing strength.