Some years ago one of my colleagues introduced me to chains as a way to improve my deadlift. The first thing I thought was: “Here we are, some ridiculous stuff to make boys feel like men!”. But it looked so funny that the curiosity won and I gave it a try. From the first attempt it was clear that I was wrong. My perception of the load during the lift was completely different. Let’s try to understand what changes and why!
I discovered that Accommodating Resistance Devices, like chains and elastic bands, are largely used in powerlifting and sport performance facilities. Louie Simmons of the West Side Barbell, was one of the first to make ARD1)http://www.elitefts.com known around the world of strength.
The most important benefit of training with chains and elastic bands is that it allows you to maintain the overload during your lift, without them, the load is different throughout the range of motion. This is only true with those exercises that have a descending strength curve, training the bottom range of motion and limiting the strength potential in the top ranges of motion.
A descending strength curve means that the lift is harder in the first part but becomes easier after a certain degree of the range of motion. Squat and Deadlifts are two examples of movements with a descending strength curve. The consequence is that, if you are training with regular weight resistance devices, you are not working on the second part of the lift.
The final goal of ARD is to modulate the curve of the exercise and turn it from a descending to a constant or even ascending strength curve. By this change, ARD elicits an improvement in rate of force development and the velocity of your lift. Finally, enhancing the force-velocity relationship will increase your ability to overcome the sticking point in the exercise.
A study comparing ARD and WRD training demonstrated that the average “intensity” (force of concentric actions) was approximately 1.25 times greater in ARD training, and the average “volume” (number of actions x force of actions) is 1.6 times greater in WRD training. Both training methods result in more strength, but WRD is more effective for increasing muscle mass (greater Cross Sectional Area). 2)“Comparative effectiveness of accommodating and weight resistance training modes” (O’ Hagan FT, Sale DG, MacDougall JD, Garner SH) – http://europepmc.org
In the end, chains and elastic bands are smart, easy, cheap and fun. So if you are a professional trainer I suggest you use them to enhance the performance and confidence of your athletes. Believe me, if I can do it then anybody can!
In order to show you the effects of the ARD on the force-velocity relationship I wanted to compare some deadlifts with and without chains.
My chains weigh 18kg and are 1 meter long. I decided to make one loop, so when I’m on the top of the lift they are almost completely raised from the floor. Pay attention on the set up of your chains because it will vary the load on the barbell during the lift: put the chains out of the barbell and be sure they won’t go under the plates when you lay down the barbell.
Comparing the Acceleration and Velocity samplings during two different deadlift reps with my Beast Sensor we can notice that the value of Rate Force Development is lower in the attempt with chains (488 G/s vs 498 G/s), because the load becomes heavier during the lift, while the chains are raised from the floor, so the curve is modified. On the other hand we have a higher Index of Explosive Strength (0,229 G/s vs 0,132 G/s) and Time Under Tension (2,22s vs 1,02s). It means that Accommodating Resistance Training can lead to faster and more powerful firing of the motor units, which will then lead to an increase in overall strength.
It would then be interesting, after an appropriate period of time (Soria-Gila et al. (2015) suggest not less than 7 weeks, with a frequency of twice a week)3)“Effects of Variable Resistance Training on Maximal Strength A Meta-Analysis. (Soria-Gila Ma, Chirosa IJ, Bautista IJ, Baena S, Chirosa LJ). Journal of strength and conditioning research. observing how values and curves change.
References [ + ]
|2.||↑||“Comparative effectiveness of accommodating and weight resistance training modes” (O’ Hagan FT, Sale DG, MacDougall JD, Garner SH) – http://europepmc.org|
|3.||↑||“Effects of Variable Resistance Training on Maximal Strength A Meta-Analysis. (Soria-Gila Ma, Chirosa IJ, Bautista IJ, Baena S, Chirosa LJ). Journal of strength and conditioning research.|