As a gym owner and coach, I see people experimenting with their fitness regimes, as they should. As a novice lifter, everything is new so working on the basics is the way to go. After a while, the basics get boring and people look to spice up their fitness life. In comes accommodating resistance.
What is it?
Accommodating resistance is any implementation to an exercise where resistance is increased throughout the motion as to accommodate for the more favorable anatomical position that the body is in. Simply put, it makes the lift easier at the bottom and harder at the top.
What implements do I use?
The most common implementations are through the use of bands and chains. Bands are an exponential accommodation since they resistance will increase exponentially through the range of motion. On the other hand, chains are a form of incremental accommodation since resistance will increase in the same increments as compared to distance throughout the entire range of motion.
How and when Do I use accommodating resistance?
The biggest issue I see in lifters who are new to accommodating resistance is the lack of purpose. "Fuck it, ill throw some bands on here," is not the way to go. The simplest advise is to set a goal and research how to use accommodating resistance to achieve that goal. For instance, bands are elastic which is great for speed work since it will overspeed the bar on the negative and elicit the stretch reflex response in return which overtime will increase the speed and amplify the force potential in a lift. On the other hand, chains are great for overload work or fatigue compensation. If your body is overly fatigued using chains to decrease the load at the bottom and most difficult part of the motion will allow the lifter to workout longer without incurring an irreparable amount of fatigue. For overload work, chains are a great way to build confidence so a lifter can feel the load at the top and build up the mental confidence to support that load on meet day.
Always have a plan. Do your research or hire a coach that will do it for you. There is a massive benefit through the implementation of accommodating resistance but the misuse of the same tool will not only be detrimental but could possibly result in injury. As always, comment on this post or ask questions if you require more information