A Thoughtful Look at Bands vs. Straight Weight on Deadlifts
So I've been asked twice this week why I recommended that lifters drop bands from their deadlift routine. Before people call this a bash on Westside, don't even go there, I have the utmost respect for Louie and his methods are proven without question. This is more my belief/preference than argument. I'm honestly trying to rationalize this problem out in my own mind, and for what it's worth when I stopped using bands I jumped from 725 raw to 804 raw in 6 months (documented on my YouTube).
When looking at the application of force we know that you cannot apply a true maximum force to a lightened object. The purpose of the bands is to be light on the floor, and heavier at the top to promote acceleration. However let's look at this problem from a different perspective... sprinting.
Let's say a typical band setup for deadlift is 50% on the bottom, 75% at the top for speed work, and 75% at the bottom, and 100%+ on max effort.
Applied to sprinting (I'll focus on a maximum attempt), to achieve 100% speed the sprinter will never accelerate from the weakest/slowest point (the starting point) at less than all out maximum. Why? Because maximum speed at take off is needed to facilitate maximum acceleration, and maximum finish.
If that's confusing imagine Usain Bolt in the 100m, if he was casual out of the blocks he might be able to correct this error, but he only has a limited time/distance to catch up, and in the world of 100 meter sprinters a botched start is your doom.
So for powerlifting purposes I reasoned that a median weight between and average weights would be ideal if pushed to fatigue, rather than under utilizing fatigue with lighter bands.
Success always feels better than the pain.
Example bands are 50% bottom / 70% top, I took 60% straight weight. So for my sets I'm forced to pull ten percent more from the floor which means I'm pulling harder/faster, but since my lock out is lessened, I reset each rep, and push into forced reps to make fatigue, specifically at the top a factor, over the course of a cycle you will pull more weight where most lifters struggle (off the floor), and by forced reps actually get into hypertrophy rep work ranges that will actually do more good for the lifter than less reps at a perceived (band) higher weight.
Again, I'm not saying that I'm right, but I've put a lot of thought into this and the best answer for me is straight weight, reset each rep, and forcing reps will out perform banded sets.