In today’s log we are going to discuss Old Man Conjugate: Training with the Bandbell Bar, and go over high kinetic versus low kinetic training. The benefits of both as well as what they are.

Let me start off with this:

I love these bars and wish they were around 30 years ago. I’m convinced that if they were and if I used them, I’d be much more injury free today. I also think they should be on the list of things every gym needs. And, no, I am not sponsored by them. I buy my bars just like you have to. They are just that good. And, they are made in the USA too.

With that out of the way:    

I started using the Bandbell Earthquake bar years ago to help rehab my old shoulder injury. I knew it worked and made me feel better, I just didn’t know how or why. Now I do and I’ll explain it to you.

Bandbell bars create Oscillating Kinetic Energy (OKE) by design.

OKE is a type of Kinetic Energy the bar produces due to it’s use of composite material and the being weight suspended on bands instead of loaded on the bar. This OKE makes the bar shake, sometimes violently depending on how it is loaded and you have to work extra hard to control it.

Sounds dangerous.


It’s actually very beneficial.  

OKE Training with the Bandbell Bar does a few things that a standard barbell does not.

Here’s a short list of benefits:

  • By design it improves range of motion in the joints
  • The Bandbell bar massively increases stabilizer muscle recruitment and increases their power
  • Depending on how it is loaded it, it increases innervation at low weights, and therefore greatly increases it a heavy weights  

For strength and hypertrophy purposes, I feel that the last one is the most important.  Increasing innervation means that it increases motor unit recruitment. That is a fancy way of saying it activates more muscle fibers. The massive amount of OKE is a secret weapon for getting strong(er) while also “bulletproofing” your joints.  

Old Man Conjugate: Training with the Bandbell Bar:

High Kinetic versus Low Kinetic

When discussing “kinetic” I am referring to the Oscillating Kinetic Energy (OKE) of the Earthquake bar. As I said, the bar is High Kinetic by design, but we can adjust the level of OKE depending on how we load it.

Lower Kinetic Loading has many benefits, but the main one is that it activates the stabilizer muscles and makes them work. It doesn’t do much to make them stronger. Lower Kinetic Loading is great for rehab/prehab work and increasing blood flow and to improve mobility. It’s also pretty good for warmup work, especially on all types of presses.

2-3 sets of 15-20 reps with a weight that doesn’t tax you too much gets the blood flowing and helps to get you moving quicker and with less risk of injury.

On the other hand, High Kinetic Loading offers all of the same benefits, but it recruits more motor units (higher innervation) and it strengthens not only the working muscles, but the stabilizers as well.

Both of these are also really easy to recover from, at least for me. Doing heavy triples and singles in a High Kinetic set up is much easier to recover from than say, squatting or benching with heavy band tension on a stiff bar.

Example of Lower Kinetic Loading when Training with the Bandbell Bar

I think the majority of people who use the Bandbell Bar use a Lower Kinetic loading set up (remember, all use of the Earthquake bar is High Kinetic, it’s just not all equal).  

Low Kinetic setups would be using a kettle bell suspended from a light or average band, or using a 25-45 pound plate on a light or average band. Or you can use the Bandbell Straps for the lowest level of kinetic energy.

Old Man Conjugate: Training with the Bandbell Bar; CJ Murphy, bandbell;
One example of a Lower Kinetic Setup
Old Man Conjugate: Training with the Bandbell Bar; CJ Murphy, bandbell;
A second example of Lower Kinetic loading.

Loading the bar close to the center lowers the energy produced too. The further the weight is out on the bar, the more OKE it produces.

Example of High Kinetic Loading when Training with the Bandbell Bar

The best way to explain this is a video. This is a VERY High Kinetic Bench set up from yesterday.

Or this video showing a VERY High Kinetic Squat set up.

But, just in case the video won’t load, I’ll explain it. High Kinetic set ups use lighter bands (mini bands or micro bands) occasionally heavier ones depending on the exercise, and you use a lot of plates with one on each band. I also suspend them at different heights to increase the OKE effect, as shown in the Squat video.

Someone called these Windchime Squats and Benches the other day. I sort of like that name.

High Kinetic loading is best done in waves, but it can be used as a max effort exercise if you like. Waves should be at 3 weeks long.

Here is a sample High Kinetic session from my good friend Bo Comire who, beside being a BEAST writes programs and T&E’s equipment for Bandbell.  

10 sets (Squat, Deadlift, Press or Bench Press)

Set 1-5: Loading Phase sets

Ramp weight up until you get to sets 6-8. These are your working sets.

Set 9 is a Max Effort 1-3 reps depending on your goal.

Set 10 is an AMRAP (As many reps as possible) with 50% of set 9.

Keep the reps slow and controlled!

For more info on sample programs from Bo, check out the Bandbell site. This is just to give you an idea.

Summing up Old Man Conjugate: Training with the Bandbell Bar:

If you don’t have an Earthquake bar, get one. Especially if you are old like me.

In my professional opinion, you will do well to use both techniques on a regular basis, high and lower kinetic set ups. As explained they both have different benefits.

One thing that I didn’t mention is that in my experience, if I neglect high rep, high kinetic work, especially on presses, I can feel my joints getting less mobile. This was confirmed after a length discussion with Jim Seitzer yesterday. Jim is the creator of the Bandbell bar and CEO of the company. He’s also an all around swell guy.

Jim explained that possibly the most important thing for me to get across in this article is consistent use of high kinetic, higher rep training for optimal joint health. I believe that he is right.

A huge thanks is owed to Jim who spent almost an hour on the phone helping me get my facts correct in prep for this article.  

Did you see my episode of Table Talk?

Watch it here

Zero to 100 MPH, CJ Murphy, the great brandino
Zero to 100 MPH CJ Murphy

Did you miss last week’s log?

Read it here.



Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy

June 16, 2023  

Total Performance Sports