September 13, 2022

When to Shorten Your X3 Bands and How

The X3 System comes with four bands. Despite the increase in width and thickness, each closed-loop band measures 41 inches in length. While this band length serves most people well, some prefer a shorter band. Shortened or doubled-over bands offer more resistance and may be more appropriate for shorter, small-framed users. Keep reading to learn when you might need a shorter band and, if so, how to shorten your X3 bands.

About the X3 Bands

The X3 band set
X3 Bands

X3 resistance bands are the strongest, most durable bands on the market. Fifteen layers of natural latex prevent the bands from degrading, snapping, or breaking and ensure a safe and strong workout. X3’s standard bands offer from 10 to over 300 pounds of resistance.

While bands differ in thickness and width, every X3 band is 41 inches long. This length is not an accident—a 41-inch closed-loop band partners well with the 21.5-inch X3 bar for a fit that suits most people.

The length allows the same bands to be doubled over for exercises such as the chest press, calf raises, deadlift, and bent-over row, or used as a single loop for front squats, overhead press, and bicep curls.

Of course, to achieve optimal tension throughout the entire range of motion, some customers need a band that is somewhere in between the single and doubled-over length. That’s where band shortening comes in.

When Do You Need to Shorten Your Bands?

When Do You Need to Shorten Your Bands?

For your X3 workout to be effective, you need to maintain constant tension through the entirety of each movement. If you find that you feel slack in the band as you reach the ‘bottom’ of a movement, the first step is to check your form.

In the chest press, for example, some people experience a loss of tension because they’re dropping their elbows, bending their wrists, or relaxing the chest.

In the deadlift, a loss of tension might occur if you bend your knees too much, round your spine, or let your shoulders roll forward.

If your technique is spot on and you’re under 6 feet tall, it’s possible that you could benefit from shorter bands.

Shortening the Bands for a Full Range of Motion

If you’re working with a shorter lever (shorter arms or legs) it’s not always easy to maintain tension as the bar gets closer to your body. So, there are two solutions.

  1. Continue with your current band length, but reduce your range of motion
  2. Shorten your X3 band

There’s no hard fast rule when it comes to band shortening. For example, someone who is 5’6” could have long arms and a wide torso. This person might do the chest press just fine with a doubled-over X3 band, while another person of the same height but narrow shoulders or shorter arms may want to shorten their bands.

Maximizing Tension for Greater Gains

Band shortening not only improves tension for those who are vertically challenged but can offer greater tension to just about anyone who wants to maximize the resistance they get from any one band.

For example, the light gray band offers over 80 pounds of resistance as a single loop. Regularly front squat 40 reps with this band, and you’ll want to move up to the dark gray band. But some people find they can barely complete ten reps when they switch.

One solution? Stick with the light gray band, but shorten it. This makes the exercise more challenging, but not as difficult as moving up a band. Working out in this in-between space can help you transition from one band to the next.

What’s the Best Way to Shorten X3 Bands?

If you’ve come to the conclusion that shorter bands will help you, there are several ways to do it. Which method works best depends on personal preference and how much shortening you need.

Whichever method you choose, make sure that your band shortening technique doesn’t compromise safety. Your bands should still be secured around the hooks throughout the entire range of motion, and your shortening method shouldn’t compromise your stance or your grip.

The Wrap Method

The simplest, most cost-effective way to shorten your bands is by wrapping them 1-3 additional times around the X3 Bar’s hooks. You can wrap on one side or both, depending on how much shortening you need.

Depending on your reach, you may want to shorten the band to extend the weak range of movement. To begin, make sure there is slack in the band, with the top part about halfway between the lower part of the band and the bar.

young woman using x3 bar
Then grab the bottom part of the band on one side and wrap it around the hook one or two times.

woman holding x3 bar with slack

Now repeat on the other hook.

woman holding x3 bar with left hand
This takes up some of the slack.

woman pulling x3 bar with left hand
Wrapping your bands takes up any extra slack you might experience during your lifts and is a great way to make a lift slightly more challenging.

Wider bands are more difficult to wrap since there’s only so much space within each hook. In this case, one of the below methods may be preferable.

Try the PVC Method

While we’re calling this the PVC method, we’ve seen it done with metal tubing, band shorteners from Witters Manufacturing, and Fat Gripz. In each case, these band shorteners work by inserting a short cylinder just outside of the hooks, effectively extending the length of the X3 Bar.

Shorten resistance bands with pvc
A User Photo of X3 Bar with PVC Coupling

You can apply a shortener to one or both ends of your bar. PVC couplings and other smooth, hard surfaces tend to slip, which some people avoid by using velcro straps or rubber bands to secure the bands in place. Maintaining constant tension can also do the trick.

Buy Shorter Bands

Some of us aren’t patient enough to wrap bands or insert PVC devices. If that’s you, investing in shorter bands makes sense.

While X3 doesn’t make a shorter band, some companies do. Users in the X3 Bar Facebook groups stand by the quality of Serious Steel’s 20 or 32-inch bands.

Buy a Longer Bar

No matter your size, a longer X3 bar is by no means necessary to get an effective workout. For this reason, the X3 Long Bar is only available to users as an accessory to the complete X3 system.

One benefit of the bar, however, is that the extra length shortens the bands by 8 inches. Even without changing your grip location, performing a chest press with the longer bar will feel more challenging.

But if shorter bands are all you need, purchasing the long bar is the least cost-effective way of achieving this purpose.

To Wrap It Up

^^ Pun intended. The X3 Bar is suitable for a wide range of users and, in most cases, doesn’t require modifications. If you think you need shorter bands, first have someone check your form. If you still need shorter bands, experiment with wrapping your bands, tie a knot, or use a PVC (or similar) extension. See what changes.

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