Using Accommodating Resistance
We use this equation each and everyday when we workout. The force we apply to the bar is equal to the mass (plates used) times the acceleration (speed at which the bar moves). All too often we only focus on increasing the mass aspect of this equation. It is very rare to find athletes that are concerned at how fast their bar is moving. If we used less weight, but increased the speed at which the bar is moving, would we not be applying the same amount of force?
This is where accommodating resistance comes into play. At Westside Barbell they have dynamic effort days where they use percentages ranging from 50-65% of their 1RM for a particular lift. So instead of going heavy all the time and overtaxing their central nervous system, they go lighter and use bands or chains for resistance. The use of bands or chains can be a vital tool into improving almost every one of your lifts. Lets look at an example of how using chains can improve an athletes squat.
Our athlete for today is Michelle and she has a difficult time pushing through the mid range of a squat (just at parallel and above). She can come out of the hole (bottom of the squat) with ease, but always seems to get stuck at mid range which forces her to miss the lift. If she were to use chains during her squat sessions, she would be able to help fix this problem. When squatting with chains as you go through the range of motion more chain links are raised from the floor and the bar gets heavier as you complete the lift. This allows Michelle to use lighter weight overall, but it forces her to work through that sticking point over and over again. Michelle could also use bands in this scenario to help her through that sticking point.
If you find that you have a sticking point on a lift, then I highly recommend that you try using bands or chains to help get you past that point. If you have any questions about accommodating resistance and how you could apply it to your training feel free to ask me when at the box.
***Disclaimer: Above I stated that we want to increase the speed of the bar during the lift. This does NOT mean that you should try doing the fastest squat possible. We still want to set up properly and control ourselves into the bottom position. When we have broken parallel then we want to focus on accelerating up as fast as we can while still maintaining good form. NEVER sacrifice good form on a lift.***