The concept for the Spud, Inc. Jump Rings came from the vault of Marc Bartley’s twisted strength training mind. This $21 pair of rings will catapult your training to a whole new level if you will only let them. Visit a Perform Better catalog, and you’ll see a contraption that does the same thing. Yet in their catalog, you’ll pay over $1,500 for the same capabilities.

I’m not a particularly gifted athlete. I have NO explosive drive whatsoever. I squat like a turtle and bench even slower. However, the jump rings are putting a little bit more speed-strength into my workouts, making me much faster out of the gate. If they can do that for a non-athlete, imagine how they can benefit you and your athletes.

So, what are the jump rings? Well, they’re crafted from the same high quality webbing used in all Spud, Inc. products. Spud, Inc. Jump Rings are simply a loop of webbing around a steel ring with a snap hook on the end. They’re very simple and incredibly sturdy. To set them up, you attach the rings to the back of a weight belt and clip them onto Jump Stretch bands or whatever bands you use. The bands are attached to the bottom (or top depending on the exercise) of your favorite power rack. The list of exercises is only limited by your imagination, but here are some of our favorites that have made their way out of Marc’s brain.

Three-point stance starts: This exercise will help to simulate jumping off the line for your football athletes. To perform the movement, first start in a normal three-point stance with jump rings attached behind you. Set your stance up enough away from the power rack so that you feel the bands begin to pull. At the start command, explode out of the stance forward, jump back, set-up, and repeat for reps. Teach your athletes to explode against the pull of the band. The more explosive they are off of the line, the more force they throw into their opponent.

Kettlebell swing: This twist on an old favorite really loads your glutes and hamstrings. For this exercise, use a medium to heavy kettlebell. I have my male clients use 28 Kg and above and my female clients use 20–24 Kg. Attach the jump rings behind you and set up with the kettlebell far enough away from the rack that you feel the bands really pulling on you. Begin to swing and try to keep the bands from pulling you back. Then explode through the swing, rocketing the kettlebell up. Your hamstrings will be hurting with the effort.

Box jumps with band tension: With the jump rings attached to the back of you, set up with a box close enough so that the bands pull you down vertically, not horizontally. You must really explode off of the floor to be able to overcome the point in the jump where the bands take over. You must also be super stable when you land on the box to keep from being pulled backward. Start on a low box until you get used to the force of the bands and then work your way up.

Step-ups with band tension: Step-ups using plain weight is for whimps, especially after you have done these step-ups using your Spud, Inc. Jump Rings. Set your athletes up doing step-ups against band resistance, and they will hate you forever. Make sure that the box is close enough to you so that the pull is more vertical than horizontal.

Lunges with band tension: Set up with the jump rings behind you and lunge out. Do as many as you can (we get three—right-left-right) and then do reverse lunges back to the starting point. The coordination factor is superb. The lunges out are hard. Because of the tension, you almost have to do deep, wide lunges to recruit the muscle you need to power through. Doing the reverse lunges back into place is also a killer because you’re moving backward and the tension is decreasing. Staying on your feet is a challenge. If you have athletes who are less than sure-footed this is a great move for them.

Vertical leaps with band tension: Stand in a power rack with the bands hooked on either side and perform a series of vertical leaps. The band will not give you much pull until it is right at the top. This will teach your athletes to create even more explosive power to push through the top and pull down. Have them do 5–8 reps at a time without stopping. We have a rack with a pull-up bar on top. If you have one of these as well, have your athletes jump to reach over the pull-up bar. It is amazing how quickly your body begins to fail with this simple exercise.

Hip flexor/abdominal pulls: Set this up in the middle of a cable crossover machine. Attach the bands on one end with the jump rings around your ankles. Lie on your back and reach up and hold onto the other end of the cable crossover so that you’re stretched out in the middle of the machine. Moving one leg at a time, pull your knee to your chest. Continue by alternating legs. Make each movement a strong pull. Really stretch the movement so that your knee comes to the chest. This is when the band will pull the most.

Mountain climbers with band tension: Set up with the jump rings on your ankles behind you. Get in a semi-push-up position with the bands pulled tight. Begin to do your mountain climbers. Ten per side is enough to reach fatigue. Make sure that the movement is fast and consistent for maximum benefit.

You can also use the jump rings for assisted exercises if you’re rehabbing an athlete or working with someone who might need extra help. Use them for assisted pull-ups and assisted squats by attaching the jump stretch bands to the top of your power rack.

These are just some of the exercises that you can do with the jump rings. All of them work on explosive drive from your hips, glutes, and hamstrings. They will also all create stress on your central nervous system so be careful when and how you add them to a workout. Make sure that your athletes have good core stability and can work against the force of the bands pulling them down. Proper form and technique are very important on all of these exercises so make sure that you’re always there to monitor your athletes while they’re performing them. Because of the pull of the bands, people tend to break their form, which can lead to injuries.