Trading Made Easy ATR Bands

As always, this is not financial advice and use at your own risk. Trading is risky and can cost you significant sums of money if you are not careful. Make sure you always have a proper entry and exit plan that includes defining your risk before you enter a trade.


This is my take on two relatively famous indicators that paint the colour of your candles in order to help identify trend direction and smooth out market noise. The Elder Impulse System was designed by Dr . Alexander Elder in his book Come Into My Trading Room and attempts to identify the change of trends and when these trends speed up and slow down ( The system used a 13 period EMA and a MACD histogram, and compared each of these indicators to the previous period. In short, when both the histogram and the EMA were rising, the trend was accelerating to the upside and when both were falling, accelerating to the downside. Conversely, when the indicators were not in alignment, say the MACD falling but the EMA rising, it signaled a slowing down of momentum. The downside of this indicator is that it be can rather jumpy, focusing on a short period EMA for 50% of its calculation, leaving a trader to potentially sit on the sidelines during opportune pull backs to enter winning positions, or exit early when there is still a lot of gas left in the tank.

A similar concept has been employed by John Carter and his organization, SimplerTrading, with the 10X bars indicator. However, here they use the famous Directional Movement Index (DMI) created by J. Welles Wilder as the basis for their bars ( John Carter states that the use of this indicator can lead to getting in earlier on more, bigger, and faster setups. The downside of this indicator is the reliance on the ADX calculations to keep you out of rangebound trades. Anyone who is familiar with the DMI system understands it has unparalleled ability to identify longer term trends, but it is also quite slow, leaving the trader to miss a good portion of the initial runup due to this ADX portion that is very slow to get moving and also slow to signal exits.

In short, both of these systems are designed with one thing in mind: keeping the trader on the right side of the move --- but both suffer from the same issue but on opposite sides of the spectrum. One is too fast and the other is too slow. Ultimately, leaving profits on the table for the trader when such a situation could be avoided.

Here I present my own take on these and have made the “Trading Made Easy ATR Bands”. I name it this because trading is much easier when you trade with the prevailing trend, and this system identifies these periods quite effectively while doing a better job of handling the speed flux of most markets. The base formula uses the DMI as its main calculation and the relationship between the DMI+ and DMI- lines, respectively, like the 10X bars. While the trader can investigate these on their own to understand these more intimately, essentially the DMI+ and DMI- lines are calculating the highs and lows respectively of each bar compared to a period in the past and smoothed with the true range, a measurement of volatility . What this ultimately presents is a picture of uptrends and downtrends, where price is making consistently more highs or more lows over a period of time. Where I have modified this relative to the 10X bars is I have ignored the ADX calculations. Further, values over 25 have been discussed as “strong” momentum, in my calculations, I have sped this up to 20 to get a trader into the move earlier. Second, I have added an additional calculation based around the 21-period exponential moving average calculated against its previous output. This then, like the Elder Impulse System, has two forms of market momentum as its calculation to smooth out noise, but has the benefit of being less jumpy, like the original 10X bar system. I have added a series of exponential moving averages following the Fibonacci sequence from 8-144 as a system of dynamic support and resistance showing the sentiment of both the shorter and longer term market participants. Last, I have added a series of Keltner Channels , from 1X-4X, that encompass the 21 period EMA as a base line. The 21 EMA is a stable in all of John Carter’s work and I do believe he is correct that the market is mostly structured around this line, since it roughly approximates one month of trading data. It is not uncommon to see price expand and contract back to this line over and over again.

Trade Signals:

Strong Bullish Momentum – The system will generate a green bar when the DMI+ line is over the DMI- line, the DMI+ line is equal or greater than 20 and the 21 EMA has increased relative to its last close.

Weak Bullish Momentum – The system will generate a blue bar in several scenarios. First, when the DMI+ line is over the DMI- line but the DMI+ line is not over 20 and the EMA is equal or less than the previous close. It will also print a blue bar if either the DMI or the EMA are not aligned, such as the DMI+ is over the DMI- but not over 20 but the EMA has risen compared to the last bar. Last, it will also print a blue bar if the DMI- is over the DMI+ but the EMA is rising.

Strong Bearish Momentum – The system will generate a red bar when the DMI- line is over the DMI+ line, the DMI- line is equal or greater than 20, and the 21 EMA has fallen relative to its last close.

Weak Bearish Momentum – The system will generate an orange bar in several scenarios. First when the DMI- line is over the DMI+ line but the DMI- line is not over 20 and the EMA is equal or greater than the last bar. It will also print an orange bar if either the DMI or the EMA are not aligned, such as the DMI- is over the DMI+ but not over 20 but the EMA has fallen. Lastly, it will also print an orange bar if the DMI+ line is over the DMI- and the EMA has fallen relative to the last bar.


1) Like the Elder Impulse System and 10X Bar systems, these should be used as trade filters only.. It is in the trader’s best interest to trade with the trends and these bars identify these periods but may not always generate the most opportune time to enter a market. For instance, trying to short a market when the market is in a phase of Strong Bullish Momentum would not be wise, and vice versa with trying to open long positions when the market is exhibiting Strong Bearish Momentum. Use multiple forms of evidence to confirm the signals shown before entering any trade and to not take these signals on their without confluence of ideas. A viable system could use the Elder Triple Screen System (for reference, see this decent write up --- with the Trading Made Easy Bands as your “Tide” or longer term filter, and a further trading plan to establish an entry on a short time frame pull back.

2) Interim Trend Exhaustion – Keltner channels work as moving standard deviations from the 21 EMA . 3X multipliers will encompass 99.7% of price and 4X will encompass 99.9% of price away from the 21 EMA . During a trend it would be a good idea to lock in partial profits when price reaches these outer extrema as it is very highly probable that a retracement back to the mean is approaching. While not part of the system, and not recommended to be used by this system, a mean reversion trader could in theory look for reversals at these extrema points and trade a mean reversion strategy back to the 21EMA, but is a much riskier trade with lower probability of success. A trend trader should look to enter trades when a signal is given within the 1ATR or 2ATR zone as this is when price has not really started accelerating yet and is likely to see continued momentum in that direction.
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