Accommodating Resistance: Bands and Chains

There are many keys to success, but two invaluable ones are accelerating strength training and accommodating resistance by adding chains or bands or sometimes both.

Because the human body is stronger at some positions than at others, we are limited as to the amount of weight we can use in a certain movement. We all know through practical experience that while doing a simple curl, at the start of the movement, is very hard, whereas at the finish it is somewhat easier because of changing leverage, and one athlete’s strength will certainly be different from another athlete’s at the same joint angle. 

The chains are 5 feet long, 5/8 link size and 20 lbs each.  For bench pressing, we will attach the chains to the bar so that when the arms are fully extended, half the chain is resting on the floor. After lowering the bar to the chest, all the chain is on the floor. By doing this, the original bar weight is maintained. For example: If you have 200 pounds on the bar plus 80 pounds of chains attached (2 sets of chains), with half the chain already on the floor, that adds up to 240 at the lockout position, but when the bar is lowered, all the chain is on the floor and the total weight on the bar is reduced to the original 200 at chest level. As you press, the weight gradually increases to 240.Training with chains in this manner accomplishes three things:

  1. We have maintained our original weight in order to use the correct percentage for explosive training.                   
  2. We have overloaded the top portion of the lift, which normally does not receive sufficient work because of increased body leverage at this position.
  3. A neurological response to build explosive strength is developed. This training will train you to drive to the top because you cannot slack off at the top phase as you used to.

Chains and bands are used in all of our training, be it the dynamic method for speed strength and acceleration or the maximum effort day to develop absolute strength. Bands are a little tough for some on speed day because of the added eccentric properties they create. Also the weight resistance is much more radical at different positions: much less at the bottom, but much greater at the top. Remember, the bands are literally pulling down on you.

We are careful to monitor our athletes when using bands because they produce a large amount of eccentric overloading and can cause excessive soreness, but they are more than worth it. They build the lockout as well as the start. One realizes very fast that you have to outrun the bands, so you develop a fast start to enable you to lock out a heavy weight.

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