Friday, February 14, 2014

Rubber Bands and Spit Balls for Strength and Power

This was an interesting study looking at the use of "accommodative resistance", specifically, using bands in addition to weight for barbell training.  I was only kidding about the spit balls.

Large rubber bands, literally, when placed so that they are pulled more tight as the lift is completed change the force generation curve the athlete can produce in any given lift.

As an example, in a squat, as the athlete reaches the mid point of the lift, the mechanical levers improve and force generation can increase.  But near the top of the lift, the athlete has to reduce force generation because there's a limit to the amount of velocity one can have near the top of the lift.  Too fast, and the barbell's momentum will be too high.  We instinctively slow down to prevent this.  Making that same lift with a band, however, we can give the barbell maximal effort throughout the lift, while the band provides increasing resistance and neutralizes barbell momentum.

There are many reasons why this series of forces on a barbell creates a different adaptive stimulus.  The take away is that if we wish to keep teasing adaptive demand out of ourselves, we have to avoid the common practice of utilizing a given pattern of sets and reps, and find novel ways to allow different patterns of movement and force.  Bands do this relatively easily and inexpensively.

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