Hibiclens’ Training Techniques by Scott Goodpaster: Develop strength with standing hand press

Updated: May 14, 2014

The standing band press is an excellent exercise to develop functional strength. Juan Carlos Santana and Dr. Stuart McGill performed a study on the traditional bench press and the standing band press. Participants performed each exercise while hooked up to an EMG to record muscle activation.

Results show that during the bench press maximum voluntary contraction of the core was 25-30 percent while the chest was activated 80-85 percent. During the standing band press, the core was activated 75 percent and the chest was activated 25-30 percent. They also measured how much weight one’s shoulders could load before the front foot comes up from the ground (or being pushed backwards). Only 40.8 percent of the individuals bodyweight could be applied before the front foot came off the ground. The limiting factor in the standing band press is the ability to keep the core stiff.

The two main functions of the core are to stabilize the spine and decelerate spinal extension.

The bench press is not going to train the core to perform these two functions. For example, a wrestler who weighs 200 pounds and benches 300 pounds can only handle 81.6 pounds on his shoulders in the standing position before he gets pushed back or blast doubled. In this case, a 300-pound bench press isn’t going to help the wrestler if he lacks a stiff core.

Focus on developing core strength in the standing position; don’t chase numbers, chase performance. What is the take-away message? The bench press alone is not going to give a wrestler all the strength they need, but when paired with the standing band press the wrestler is equipped with strength that he can use on the mat.

At Cincinnati Functional Fitness, we use the standing band press with the back heel off the ground to increase our wrestler’s core and ankle stiffness. Core stiffness enhances the wrestler’s ability to produce high amounts of force. When the right foot is back, the muscles from the right hip to left shoulder stretch, which is ultimately responsible for producing large amounts of power that can be transmitted from the limbs and into the opponent; power is created through rotation during the band press. 87.7 percent of our core muscles are oriented diagonally and horizontally so we must train them in a rotational environment.

Ankle stiffness (inset photo) enhances forward locomotion or forward push-off both of which improves the push-out in freestyle wrestling. Use the standing band press in your workout to develop true strength that increases your power, enhances your push-out, and makes you an immovable object on the wrestling mat.

We use several different variations of the standing band press: simultaneous, alternating, and one-arm band press.

Alternating band presses

• Back heel off the ground

• Keep core tight

• Maintain upright posture

• Rep Range: 10-20

Editor’s Note: The following column was written by Quentin Dunn, who works for Scott Goodpaster at Cincinnati Functional Fitness.