When the Bar Speed Slows, the Power Goes


You can’t learn to move heavy loads quickly by using heavy loads you can’t move quickly. It’s a paradox. So how can stretch bands and chains help solve this conundrum?

By using sub-maximal loads (percentages of your 1RM) at maximum speed, we teach the body to accommodate resistance with speed, which requires less force. The key is to develop explosive bar speed.

The use of lighter weights allows us to train for maximum bar speed while developing the efficiency of movement (coordination and mechanics) necessary to move heavier loads quickly. Accommodative resistance allows us to add resistance to the bar without overloading ourselves during the lift.

Accommodating resistance can be defined as using special means to adjust resistance through an entire range of motion rather than at a specific point. And those special tools are chains and stretch bands. This is the basis for Dynamic Effort (speed) training popularized by Louie Simmons of West Side Barbell.

In simple terms, to accommodate resistance means incorporating chains and/or stretch bands during a lift like the squat or deadlift to adjust to the resistance of lighter weights. For example, during a deadlift the bands increase the downward tension of the bar, requiring the lifter to push harder to keep the bar accelerating. Put another way, the more the bands resist, the faster and harder you pull/push.

The main benefit of this training is explosive strength, and this power enables an athlete to move really heavy loads very quickly. Consider this: if you had to move a 400# sled across a playing field, you wouldn’t attempt to push it slowly. On the contrary, you’d push as hard and fast as possible in order to get the job done as quickly as possible.

To many, wrapping chains or bands around a barbell may seem odd. But to anyone interested in developing explosive power, it’s business as usual.

Who wants to be normal? We want to be exceptional. And exceptions confirm what is not normal.