The Kovacs Institute extensively reviewed a novel training device called WEARBANDS, which has been self-described as “resistance training for speed & agility movement.” This review includes an assessment of the form and function, testing the equipment with different movements and w multiple athletes to determine the benefits and opportunities for improvements.
Pros Of WearBands™
Multiple resistance bands to choose from.
Foot attachments are comfortable to use. They are easy to put on and are flexible enough for different foot sizes within the appropriate range.
Creates higher demand on lower body movements. Provides extra resistance on all movements used. The benefits here are useful for many movements on and off court.However, based on our testing the biggest benefit we experienced was for endurance based training for typical movements both on and off court. The extra resistance allows for less repetitions for the same benefit or provide greater fatigue for the same amount of work which directly improves muscular endurance and tennis-specific conditioning in the movements most needed. This is a very good benefit for tennis athletes who are concerned about overtraining. We estimate that with the right resistance you achieve the same results with approximately 25% less work.
Helps athlete get more lower body engagement. As the resistance being improved as the athlete’s center of mass is increased during movements, it provides immediate biofeedback to the athlete to encourage lower movements in general and provides an immediate response once the athlete raises the center of mass. This is very beneficial when trying to improve certain mechanics and also allows for the constant reminders during on-court tennis specific hitting and movement drills. This can be accomplished with or without hitting a tennis ball.
Encourages proper movement. The resistance provided during tennis-specific movements is very beneficial to train motor control through specific movement patterns and also provide resistance in the movements seen on court. This is difficult to achieve easily without this type of constant resistance without directly changing movement patterns that are not specific to what the athlete experiences during a tennis match or practice.
Facilitates stability. In addition to some of the other benefits outlined above, the increase in single leg stability is also improved due to how many movements on the tennis court are one-legged in nature. The increased activation in the smaller stabilizing muscles provide a valuable additional training tool to improve smaller stabilizing muscles in the exact movements that are needed on court. This is challenging to achieve without something like the Wearbands.
Good product for all ages/levels. Due to the variable resistance provided by the bands, it allows for gradual increases in resistance as the athlete improves and can handle more resistance. This does require the coach (or the athlete) to understand how to best increase (or decrease) the resistance based on certain movements.
The ability to use WearBands™ with other equipment. One of the major advantages of Wearbands is the ability to use Wearbands alongside other training equipment such as dumbbells, barbells, TRX etc. Also, you have the ability to actually hit tennis balls On-court in real point play situations and movement distances and directions.
Overall Summary: The added resistance will create higher demands on exercises to get more work done in fewer reps/sets. The bands encourage the athlete to produce more powerful movements. This is especially helpful for tennis athletes because the game consists primarily of short, explosive, repetitive movements. Tennis athletes will play a more efficient and high level game if their power output is greater than opponents. With consistent use in the right way, the athlete would likely see an increase in power output during movements and strokes, potentially increased speed in short distances and improved recovery from wide and deep balls due to better stabilization.
We Evaluated A Few Dozen Movements That Tennis Athletes Typically Incorporate Into On-Court and/or Off-Court Training Routines.
We utilized many of the tennis movements as outlined in the International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) Movement and Footwork Program. Some of the movements we used included:
Front Cross-Over Rear Cross-Over Jab Step
Run-Around Forehand Drop-Step
Forward Hit & Hop Serve into Push Back
RDL’s (double and single leg) Lunges
Single leg loading (step downs, squats) Low lateral walks
Full and partial ranges of movement
Movement- Acceleration/deceleration Lateral shuffle
Crossover movement Cyclical technique learning On court agility
On court hitting drills (groundstrokes & volleys)
Added Resistance For Various Conditioning Drills Circuit training/HIIT
Core exercises- Bird dogs DeadbugsGlute kickbacks Bicycle crunches Mountain climbers