Zach Homol – @ZachHomolPower
Variable Resistance Training (VRT), or as some of us may refer to as Accommodated Resistance Training, has made a name for itself through strength and speed training performance for athletes. Before diving too deep into this article, let’s talk briefly on what VRT is.
Have you ever seen an athlete adding elastic bands or chains to the bar? This is referred to as VRT. By adding bands or chains to the bar, it will increase tension throughout the concentric contraction (the lockout). VRT is a training tool used by athletes to increase speed, jumping ability, explosiveness, CNS training and the list goes on and on!
In this article, I want to explain the benefits of using BAND exercises over your typical Pulley System exercises!
For thousands of years mankind has used Pulley Systems to change direction of force to make objects much easier to move. Our cable cross over machine has 3 pulleys so the Mechanical Advantage is 3. (MA is 3). In our case, lifting weights, we are searching for just the opposite, increased tension throughout the movement, big concentric contraction (squeeze) and mind to muscle connection. To achieve a more challenging contraction the object must increase tension through the concentric contraction (Shortening of the Muscle). By adding band tension the band increases tension through the concentric contraction making the exercise most difficult (or heaviest) at the top on the movement.
So, what does this mean? For example, if athletes are using a cable cross over machine, doing cable crossovers as we already know, the most important portions of this exercise are THE BIG STRETCH followed by THE BIG SQUEEZE, to pump as much blood into the chest as possible, throughout each set. Using a cable machine, the weight of the load becomes easier due to the pulley’s Mechanical Advantage. Where if we are using a BAND, the band will increase tension through the concentric contraction, hence forcing a bigger squeeze, pushing more blood into the desired area!
There is also an extreme noticeable difference in the eccentric portion of the movement. Cables will force the eccentric movement by the weight of the load on the stack (or bar) where BANDS will increase the speed during the eccentric due to increasing tension though the concentric contraction. Think of pulling back on a rubber band. This means the athlete must remain “tighter” through the eccentric which will then in return force the athlete to pay closer attention to MIND TO MUSCLE connection (in this case).
Bands are a phenomenal tool to utilize in any training regiments. Whether you are a powerlifter, bodybuilder or a general health seeker, you will find GREAT advantages by adding bands to your training regiments.
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