Training with Accommodating Resistance is an advanced training method that involves modifying the resistance throughout an exercise’s range of motion to match the strength curve of the lifter. The goal of using accommodating resistance is to provide a more effective and challenging stimulus during various phases of the movement, leading to increased strength, power, and muscle development. This technique is commonly employed by athletes, powerlifters, and individuals seeking to push their training to new heights. The most common forms of accommodating resistance include using resistance bands and chains.
Here’s how accommodating resistance works and its effectiveness:
- Matching Strength Curve: Different exercises have specific points in their range of motion where the muscles are either at a mechanical advantage (stronger) or a mechanical disadvantage (weaker). Accommodating resistance helps match the resistance to the lifter’s strength curve, making the exercise more challenging during the stronger portions and less challenging during the weaker portions.
- Increased Resistance at the Top: In exercises like squats or bench presses, the lifter is generally stronger near the lockout or the top position of the movement. By adding resistance bands or chains, the load increases as the lifter reaches the top, providing a more significant challenge to the muscles at the point of maximal effort.
- Reduced Resistance at the Bottom: Conversely, during exercises like squats or bench presses, the lifter is often weaker at the bottom of the movement. Accommodating resistance reduces the load during this phase, allowing the lifter to move through the sticking points more efficiently.
- Enhanced Muscle Activation: Accommodating resistance can lead to increased muscle activation throughout the entire range of motion. This can improve muscle recruitment and create a more significant training stimulus.
- Explosive Power Development: When using accommodating resistance, the lifter must accelerate through the entire range of motion to overcome the variable resistance. This can enhance explosive power and speed-strength qualities.
- Variation and Overload: Adding accommodating resistance introduces a novel training stimulus, preventing training plateaus and adding variety to the routine. The added resistance at the top also allows lifters to handle heavier weights than they typically would, promoting further strength gains.
- Joint-Friendly: Accommodating resistance exercises, particularly when using bands, can be gentler on the joints during the eccentric (lowering) phase. This can be beneficial for athletes with joint issues or during the rehabilitation process.
Examples of accommodating resistance exercises include squatting with bands or chains attached to the barbell, bench pressing with bands, deadlifting with chains, and using bands for assistance or resistance during bodyweight exercises.
While accommodating resistance can be highly effective, it’s essential to use proper technique and gradually introduce this training method into your routine. If you’re new to accommodating resistance, seek guidance from a qualified coach or trainer to ensure safe and effective implementation.