All the ‘speed’ and ‘power’ football boots in the world won’t make a difference to your game if your legs aren’t up to strength in the first place – which is why there’s always a place in the market for a product like the one that dropped through our letterbox 3 weeks ago; the Dynaband.
Billed as an alternative to the gym or high impact jump training, the Dynaband is a full-body workout designed for footballers contained in something smaller than the average pencil case. Sceptical? I know I was, check out our review to see what the Dynaband can really offer the player at home.
The main pieces of gear that you’ll get with the package is the Dynabands themselves; two thick, high-tensile, latex resistance bands designed to offer varying levels of tension based on which band you’re using and how tight you pull them.
Despite the fact that both bands feel like balloons, they’re surprisingly durable; the latex is more than happy to be pulled, wrapped, twisted – and even stretched under football boots and trainers – very impressive stuff.
Along with this, you get a couple of nifty accessories; the door-jam and the ankle strap. These two little straps are essential to a successful home work-out (for reasons I’ll explain later)
As for the tension offered; the Purple band (the heavier of the two) is surprisingly tough, offering around the equivalent of 15-20kg of weight depending on how you use it and is mostly used for building strength, whereas the green band is more of a medium strength and better for warm-ups and' exercises that require more range of movement.
The Dynaband is geared towards football, and comes with two sets of instructions, but neither of them do the best job in the world of instructing you towards a great workout.
First of all is the DVD, which is the most comprehensive of the two methods. The DVD itself is well put together, with a short video for each exercise to show you how it’s done.
A little voiceover work here wouldn’t go amiss, as there is literally no sound at all on the DVD – but that’s only a minor fault.
My main issue with the DVD is that it shows all the exercises being performed outside on the football pitch, and using goalposts as an anchor – which is a great idea in theory.
However, if you’re watching the DVD – you’re probably not on a football pitch, and nowhere near some goalposts.
Splitting the DVD into two halves – one taking you through the exercises outside on the pitch, and one set inside, focusing on exercises you can do with the door-jam or on your own (and how to do them properly) would really benefit people who are using this as a way to get up to strength in their own home – i.e. if you’re coming back from injury or – in my case – snowed in!
The paper manual (one that you could take to the training pitch) is pretty good, with little black and white pictures taking you through the exercises and describing what areas of the body you’re working on – unfortunately it doesn’t contain all the exercises the DVD has on it – so if you’ve got some favourites from the DVD, you’ll have to memorise them – but even then you won’t have anything to check your form against whilst you’re on the pitch.
There’s actually some really good exercises in this package, especially some football specific ones geared towards improving kicking strength.
The beauty of the resistance bands is they work in a slightly more organic manner than a piece of gym equipment. Doing leg-curls on a weights-machine is very linear and contained, whereas working with the Dynabands means you can actually kick a ball whilst working out.
This is good for several reasons;
Firstly it lets you work on your technique – every player kicks the ball in a different way; so whether you like to put loads of follow-through on a strike to give it real accuracy, or ‘knuckle’ the ball into a spin-less flight, you can work on leg strength for your technique with the Dynaband.
Secondly, it can bring the burn to some seriously under-worked muscles. The Dynaband engages muscles whilst performing exercises in a completely different way to weights – you’ll feel the tension at the top of the movement rather than the bottom – so if you’ve been using weights for a couple of months, spending a week or two with the Dynabands will help you reach some of the harder to engage muscles.
Finally, it stops you getting bored! Having a ball at your feet is enough to keep most of us football-types entertained for hours, whereas gym-work is repetition, repetition, repetition.
Before concluding, I’ve got to say that the core exercises are something special. I’ve done free-form core work for a long time, with leg-raises, cruches and twists as standard – but using the Dynabands with these exercises really ads some extra challenge into the movement.
The Dynaband itself is a good product that you can use in the comfort of your own home quite happily – but the same can be said for any resistance band on the market!
On the DVD, you’ll probably find a few good exercises that you can work into a solid routine or to compliment something more high-impact – as long as you don’t mind having to play around with the door-jam a little to get the same effect that the players in the videos are having by using a goal-post.
The Dynaband’s saving grace is it’s versatility. The fact that the bands are so durable means you can tie them in knots, wrap them around your feet or use them with the ankle strap to work on any area of your body.
If you’re willing to cut the DVD and worksheet a bit of slack for their shortcomings, you’ll probably find the Dynaband Fitness for Football package well worth your time.
But with there being such fierce competition in the fitness sector, Dynaband might want to consider a little more polish to their instructions to become a serious alternative to the gym for players who make fitness their priority.
The Dynaband Fitness for Football package costs £24.99 from Dynaband’s official website