Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 735 - 744

Research article
Adding the Load Just Above Sticking Point Using Elastic Bands Optimizes Squat Performance, Perceived Effort Rate, and Cardiovascular Responses
Javier Gene-Morales1,2, Andrés Gené-Sampedro1,3, Rosario Salvador4, Juan C. Colado2,5, 
Author Information
1 Research Institute on Traffic and Road Safety, University of Valencia, Spain
2 Research Unit in Sport and Health, and Research Group in Prevention and Health in Exercise and Sport (PHES), University of Valencia, Spain
3 Department of Optics, Optometry, & Vision Science, University of Valencia, Spain
4 Department of Physiology, University of Valencia, Spain
5 Department of Physical Education and Sports, University of Valencia, Spain

Juan C. Colado
✉ PhD Research Group in Prevention and Health in Exercise and Sport, University of Valencia, C/ Gascó Oliag 3. 46010, Valencia, Spain
Publish Date
Received: 16-07-2020
Accepted: 05-10-2020
Published (online): 19-11-2020
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Modifying basal elongation of elastic bands (EB) has been proven useful to increase some parameters of the intensity in variable resistance training. Therefore, the question arises as to whether the pertinent resistance could be applied with EB immediately above the sticking point in squat exercises to optimize the performance. The purpose was to analyze some variables of the external (kilograms and number of repetitions) and internal load (heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of perceived exertion) after six different conditions of the squat exercise when using weight plates (WP) or EB (placed at different points of the range of motion) and applying maximal or submaximal effort. Twenty physically active males (25.50 ± 5.26 yrs) underwent two sessions for familiarization and one for assessment. The six conditions (three with WP and three with EB) were randomly performed. The sticking point of each subject was measured using the knee joint angle and the resistance was applied with EB at this height. Immediately after finishing each set subjects reported perceived effort rate and cardiovascular measurements were taken. Repetitions completed, and kilograms used were recorded. Repeated measures testing evaluated differences between conditions. EB permitted performing 8 more repetitions compared to WP when the same load was added at standing position. Adding the load immediately above the sticking point significantly (p < 0.05) increased 24.7% the kilograms used and permitted participants to perform 3 more repetitions. Internal load measurements suggested that EB could significantly (p < 0.05) reduce the perceived effort rate and/or physiological stress depending on their application. EB are a suitable device to load the bar for squat exercises in fit young men. According to the necessities of the subjects, if the load with EB is added at different points of the range of motion, it could be possible to overcome the sticking point, to maximize the performance and/or modulate cardiovascular and perceptual responses.

Key words: Weightlifting, resistance training, variable resistance, heart rate, blood pressure, physical exertion

           Key Points
  • This paper presents a new strategy of applying the elastic bands for resistance exercises (i.e. immediately above the sticking point).
  • Adding the load immediately above the sticking point with elastic bands allow to achieve more repetitions and use more weight than weight plates do.
  • Blood pressure and heart rate responses are similar to a 10RM with weight plates or an 18.40RM with elastic bands.
  • When both elastic bands and weight plates are equated in weight (at standing position), volume and level of effort (submaximal), elastic bands are perceived by the subjects as less demanding.
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