The evidence as well as plain common sense eluding some coaches and athletes when it comes to using bands, chains, or weight releasers. Accommodating resistance is a new way of training that all athletes must consider.
Some of the strongest people on the planet step out of the Westside Barbell Club in Columbus, Ohio. They have been using bands, chains, and weight releases for years upon years but they have gained a reputation for only being effective for lifters that are using gear because of the federations that the lifters in the Westside Barbell Club choose to lift in. However gear or no gear these guys and girls are producing numbers that are unseen virtually anywhere else.
Now, why? There are many reasons. And none of them are because they have some magical formula that Louie Simmons conjured up in his secret lair. No, science and advances made by eastern European and Soviet sports scientists made over 40 years ago are the answer to all of their successes. Now I do not know Louie at all but seen enough videos to know that he doesn’t even consider himself a genius.
However, he was smart enough to realize something was wrong with the way western sports teams and lifters were training. I Took a look at what the best lifters and athletes were doing to become so(eastern and Soviet athletes). He was smart enough to read the books from the previously stated Sports Scientist. Implemented the main ideas and also applies his own tweaks as any coach should do!
Where there is strength there is speed. The stronger you are the more capable you are of moving weight at a greater rate of force development. It is impossible to move a heavy weight slow. If you try to you will fail! So Building absolute strength is just as important as building speed. Now, how does accommodating resistance aid in achieving both? Well it is simple accommodating resistance is the act of either added or taking away weight using various implements (bands, chains, or weight releasers)
It is important to understand that the use of accommodating resistances is to eliminate bar deceleration. A deceleration in bar speed is teaching your nervous system to change the amount of force being produced as a movement is reaching the end of the range of motion and that will set up any athlete in any sport up for failure.
Let’s take a look at some ways to add accommodating resistance to your training!
The conventional use for bands would be to have them secured to the floor and pulled up over the bell or the plates on the bar. This allows on the eccentric portion of the lift for the weight to decrease and on the concentric portion for the weight to increase. Forcing the athlete to push right through the movement.
There is also the “lightning method” where the band is attached from the top down. This method is used with heavy weights at the top of the movement and as the athlete moves to the bottom of the lift, the bands take away some part of the load. This method is great for those looking to handle heavier loads and increases absolute strength.
Chains are hung from the barbell to the floor and provide a couple of added benefits to an athlete’s training. Besides, the added resistance through the range of motion chains provides an added stabilizing factor. As the athlete moves the chains will move in all directions as well. Causing the athletes to have to force stability. Also, chains provide a different feel than bands because they are a static load where bands are constantly pulling down.
Weight releasers are used to increase the load during the eccentric portion of the movement and at the bottom of the movement, the weight is released leaving a lighter load. This is used to provide a contrast and allows the athlete to explode out of the bottom with a slightly lighter load. These are also great for athletes looking to handle heavier loads.
When should you use accommodating resistance?
Accommodating resistance can be used all the time. However, I have a few recommendations for those who are in strength athletics and are not using gear. Accommodating resistance can build tremendous strength and explosiveness at the top portion of the lift but can leave the bottom of the lifts lacking. So here are my recommendations.
Take roughly 60 to 70 percent of the weight in straight weight and use roughly 10-15% of accommodating resistance weight. This will keep the weight higher at the bottom. When going heavy use 75-85 percent straight weight and 10 percent accommodating resistance. This is one form of training that I think athletes and coaches should have fun with! Mix it up and be creative. Use both bands and chains, use one or the other. If you are new to using bands or chains then the best way to learn how to use them is to do just that… USE THEM!!
Why so Butt Hurt?
Many strength coaches and athletes will look at anything done by Westside and automatically write it off as garbage. However, facts and science has shown time and again that the use of any accommodating resistance is the key to eliminating bar deceleration. Which in turn is the key to both increased speed as well as absolute strength? All, in turn, equal to increases in athletic performance and as coaches is that not exactly what we want for our athletes? And for those to dismiss a particular training style or to say that the western method is the way to go shows the narrow-mindedness of this industry.
There is no such thing as the one program to rule them all. We need to be diverse in coaching and find what works for every athlete we coach. No one is built the same as another and every single athlete will respond differently to any particular training stimulus. So in the short do not put things into a category as useless. When in fact it could just be the difference between producing an Olympic gold medalist or professional athlete!