What is Accommodating Resistance?
Accommodating resistance means to add resistance (bands and chains) the easiest phase of a movement in order to make the entire movement feel equally as difficult. Why bands and chains? At the bottom of the movement bands will have less tension on them and chains will rest on the floor. This allows you to lift through the bottom part of a movement with less resistance than there is at the top of the lift. The differences between bands and chains are very noticeable, bands will cause a feeling of constant growth of tension and tension will grow quickly. Chains on the other hand will cause the lift to feel very unstable and the lifter will have to work very hard to maintain positions with the wobble of the chains. They are both very effective when used correctly, and neither is better. You should think about what you struggle with to decide which to implement in your own training. If you struggle with stability more try out some chains, and if you struggle with acceleration though lifts try out bands. In order to incorporate bands and chains efficiently you should pick and choose when you use them for a few weeks at the beginning or middle of a training program to get the adaptation from training with them so you can move on to peak toward the end of your program.
How Can I Apply Bands or Chains to a Program?
In order to get the maximum benefit from using bands and chains I prefer to have athletes train with bands at the beginning or middle of their program. Programs usually last somewhere from 8-12 weeks so training with bands and chains for a 3-4 week block is plenty to allow you to adapt and improve before you move on to heavier training. If you are applying them into the start of a program you will have to start very light, this is why I prefer to program bands and chains into the middle of a program once an athlete has a better grasp on what they are capable of lifting. Let’s say you are doing a 8 week program, you should have a de-load week programmed in somewhere around week 4 and a taper week for week 8 to prepare for maxes. This leaves you with 3 weeks of hard training before your first de-load and 3 weeks before the 2nd. In this case I would program bands and chains in week 2 and 3 once the athlete has lifted a week, then de-load, then try to peak the last 3 weeks with heavier lifts less volume. Now let’s say someone is doing a 12 week program, you will probably have 2 de-loads weeks 4 and 8, then a taper on week 12. This leaves 3 weeks for volume early, 3 weeks in the middle for bands and chains, and 3 weeks at the end to peak with heavier lifts. The more time you give a block without overtraining the more your body will adapt to the stimuli you are exposing yourself to.
When To Use Bands and Chains in a Program?
I’ve said a lot of positive things about training with bands and chains, but I definitely don’t think you should always be training with bands and chains. In my opinion, nothing beats perfecting the basics of training with a barbell and mixing in different implements for accessories: dumbbells, kettlebells, cables, bands, and calisthenics. I would prefer every athlete complete at a minimum a program or 2 before trying to start training with bands and chains, there is plenty to do with pauses and eccentrics before adding too much to a program. Bands and chains should be used once an athlete begins to plateau with more conventional training and is need of a slight change to movements. These implements will help with the lockout of lifts and speed through the hardest portions of lifts, they should be used when athletes have competent movement and failing from being out of position Is infrequent. Every athlete will have their newbie gains, don’t rush beyond the basics while they are still improving. There is plenty of time to apply more complex training once athletes have a firm grasp the basics of training.