Tough, sturdy, hefty…….these are all words that aptly describe Super Loop bands. The biggest and strongest in Sanctband Active Series and big brother to the Mini Loops, these giant rubber bands are certified “heavyweights” in the resistance department. Available in 7 different resistance levels, Super Loops range from light to ludicrous! The heavy duty latex, high resistance and loop design not only make these big boys indestructible but also extremely versatile. They offer serious poundage for strength training workouts, are great for assisted stretching and prehab exercises and are indispensable for sport specific drills. Any functional training tool kit worth it’s salt should have a couple of these.
Figuratively speaking, the Super Loop is like a having the genetics of a barbell and a resistance band combined. The large continuous loop is ideal for stepping onto, anchoring beneath both feet and holding with both hands, encompassing the whole body. This basic position allows the user to perform a whole host of heavy barbell type exercises. Front squats, overhead squats, push presses, deadlifts and upright rows, are just a few examples of typical barbell exercises that translate seamlessly with the Super Loop. String these 5 exercises together, perform them with little or no rest in between and you have yourself a “complex” – a popular metabolic training method guaranteed to toast even the toughest gym junkie. Any weight room snob who thinks bands are for sissies should give it a try. In contrast, while the Mini Loop bands offer smaller R.O.M. (range of movement), the Super Loops are the exact opposite, allowing large, floor to ceiling, full R.O.M exercises, and powerful explosive movements.
However, this is where the similarity to the barbell ends and the barbell is left standing. Super Loops can do so much more. The band is easy to strap around a pole or sturdy object at any height, providing resistance in horizontal and diagonal planes. Anchored securely, pushing and pulling movements involving the whole body as a unit can be done, think towing or pushing a car. The free end of the band can be looped around the leg, shoulder or waist for resisted sport conditioning drills. Acceleration and deceleration drills are especially suited to this. Athletes can train explosive strength against the anchored resistance of the Super Loop bands to build speed and power. Equally as important to having speed, is the ability to slow down and decelerate. In sport it is vital for avoiding a collision or to change direction suddenly without sustaining injury. Super Loops are excellent for training deceleration. Athletes can perform multi directional sprint drills, focusing on eccentrically slowing down against the pull of the band to train their muscles to brake momentum more efficiently. Let’s use tennis as an example, you serve a ball from the end of the court and your opponent returns it with a sneaky drop shot right at the edge of the net. Acceleration and deceleration training would allow you to sprint forward explosively, catch the shot, decelerate quickly enough to begin dashing back in preparation for the return shot. These drills are not just for athletes though, the high intensity nature of acceleration and deceleration training not only increases fitness, it burns a ton of calories during and after, helping to shed fat and get lean. It’s no wonder these athletic training methods are finding their way into fitness programs, circuit training and boot camps.
For added versatility, 2 people can jump into the same Super Loop for partner exercises. 2 or more Super Loops can easily be strung together for additional length. They can be anchored at any height and can even be affixed to kettlebells or dumbbells, for rotation and anti rotation exercises. Super Loops are also invaluable for their assistive quality. Walk into any Crossfit Affiliate and you will see plenty of Loop bands dangling from overhead bars. They are used to help newbies or Crossfit athletes returning from injury, build the strength necessary to complete strenuous bodyweight exercises, such as, chin ups and hand stand push ups. As the athlete gets stronger, a lighter band is used for less assistance until the athlete can perform the exercise completely unassisted.
So far we’ve seen how Super Loops can be used for serious resistance in general fitness and sport conditioning and for assistance in bodyweight training. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Super Loops have a gentle, restorative side. They’re really good at assisting stretch. Anchored down, a heavy resistance loop provides a really deep stretch with a little dynamic “give”. Super Loops are indispensable for “joint distraction”, a method used by physical therapists for wedging “space” into a joint for better mobility and function. Joint distraction exercises and loop band stretches, amongst other techniques, are being popularized by famed Crossfit coach and physical therapist, Kelly Starrett. More and more people from all walks of life, are getting involved in sports of all kinds, running, futsal, triathlon, Crossfit, team sports etc. The need for self maintenance increases as injuries ranging from minor to major surface. We know now that in order to get good at our game, it is not sufficient to just keeping training. We not only need strength conditioning, we need regiments that help us prevent injuries. Prehab exercises and self myofascial release (SMFR) techniques that keep our joints and tissues healthy and mobile are a necessity. Alongside the foam roller, massage ball and Flossband, the Super Loop is definitely an irreplaceable part of the restorative self maintenance/ mobility kit because of it’s unique ability to create traction and dynamic pull force.
Super versatile, super durable, super portable. Whether you need them for strength training or restorative stretch or both, Super Loops are the answer. Compact for travel and easy to store, the only question remaining is which ones to get and how many……..
By Fay Eu (Group Fitness Instructor & Structural Integration Practitioner)
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