The correct interpretation of the use of DBands when developing coordination skills A closer look at
Just recently someone has contacted me and was mentioning a few of his concerns about some exercises aimed to develop coordination skills, in the age-group of 12-13 year old athletes. The way he put it was that as far as he had realized, some kids were not able to perform certain tasks correctly, even without the tool on. This is something he saw on one of the internet channels, or on certain images and video footage. He asked me whether I thought it was a good idea to have them exercise with the DBands on, since at this point it is even an effort for them to do the right thing, without a resistance. Exercises with a resistance are regarded to be progressed exercises and as such are in contradiction with the principle of the gradual increase of the workload: one of the basic principles of training progress. I managed to give him an answer that he found convincing but it gave way to some thinking and reasoning on my behalf, something I think is worth elaborating and sharing. So here are some of my thoughts that I hope all present or future DBands trainers will find useful.
Here we go. First thing I find important is to mention that my colleague did not have a chance to observe the same exercise carried out without the DBands on, so he did not have a valid basis for comparison. But let’s just see first which is the ideal age for starting with the DBands, if there is such a thing at all.
When we are talking about the use and the benefits of DBands this is a question I am always asked, so I do realize it is very important to clarify it first. This is something I never fail to discuss when I am teaching about the basics of the science behind the facts.
There are two simple markers to indicate when it is a good age to start the use of DBands:
- when the individual is ready from the antropological point of view;
- when the individual is ready from the psychological point of view.
I will not go in details in regards since I had already done it in one of my earlier blog-posts. (The Dbands - from the point of view of the sportsmen’s age and of the motor function controls) so I will only repeat the basics: it is impossible to determine one set age since everyone is different, and as a consequence we cannot say that one athlete is ready for resistance training at one particular point in his or her life. I have recently read an article about how to determine the right age to start with resistance training, an article I fully agree with. It was shared many times on Facebook and its author is my colleague Pozsonyi Zsolt, a TRX Master Trainer, someone I was working along with for five years and someone I don’t need to present to anyone who beleives in functional training. Let me just highlight one thought I find important:
„When a child is able to do any sports at all, he or she will also be able to do strength training”.
There is no lowest age limit when a child is able to start resistance training. If the child is mentally ready, and ready from the emotional aspects, - meaning that they will follow the trainer’s instructions -, and he or she is also ready to handle certain levels of stress, then they can also do strength training. (Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky - Willieam J. Kraemer - Science and Practice of Strength Training)
Of course here we are not talking about hypertrophy training (this would also go against the hormone system) but what we mean here is that he or she will be able to learn how to perform an exercise correctly and as a consequence, the nervous system is also going to get stimulated. At this age children find it easy to learn, and the right techniques will be mastered correctly and with less effort. Much more so than after the puberty when the body is focusing more on the hormonal changes. This is the age when the exercises that operate more joints at the same time will be mastered correctly or incorrectly.
As we can see it here, Zsolt’s article is making reference tosome serious experts of the subject. It is worth checking these people’s ideas even if it is just on YouTube or on Google.
And here I come to the answer given to my colleague.
At our DBands trainings we also tell the participants that the DBands is excellent for improving strength, which has a series pf beneficial consequences. On the other hand it is excellent in teaching the child new movement patterns that are easy to remember and are well mastered. This improves the development of motor education: something that will easily be hindered or even reversed after puberty.
Dbands techniques are vitally important in improving coordination. It is mandatory that we teach the children the proper technique. But coordination is just one of the important aspects. What do I exactly mean when saying that?
It is very important to focus on maintaining the balance position and to achieve the dynamic stabilization. Balance is the basis for good coordination and it is dominant when we look at the total of body skills. It is also influencing the harmonization of the upper and lower limbs movement as a consequnece. Once you don’t have to focus so much on balance, you will become better in focusing on other motor skills.
When the body is put in an assymetric position, the muscles of the hips and of the legs will function a bit differently, compared to positions when both legs are in an equal, stable position. The Gluteus medius, the adductors and the musculus quadratus lumborum are trying to grant a neutral position for the hip and act as stabilizers as a result. In this case – when the body wight is resting on just one leg – more and more motor units get switched on for action. This exercise is present in most sports and is a basic method for improving balance and coordination. When we are using the DBands in addition to these exercises, there are even more motor units on duty and thus it is a much more intense way of achieveing balance and stabilization. The nervous system gets more stimuli and will remember it in the future. In other words, the more motor units are on, the more the stability will be achieved with less effort. It will be even more so when the body is acting without the tool. The more this process is practiced, the more the body will become active in balancing. It will never quite reach the same number as with the tools, but will be constantly improving.
So we can establish that for the younger athletes there are more benefits for the nervous system and for the psycho-motor system for coordination and balance than for strength training. It also means that the same results might be achieved with the application of less resistance, too.
We are receiving a lot of positive feedback from Underage trainers that their athletes are producing a massive improvement in balance and coordination, in comparison with earlier generations where DBands training was not present ad used. This gives us a lots of promising prospects in every discipline, whether we are focusing on dynamic changes of directions in ball sports or on close contact body fights.
You can read further thoughts on this from Schmidt Ádám (Reflections of Ádám Schmidt after having completed the DBands Youth program) who has more than two years of experience working with underage teams and using the DBands. It is an excellent source of information, highly recommended!
Thank you for your attention:
DBands Master Trainer
TRX Master Trainer (Facebook post)