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Jami Reighard


November 28, 2022

Accommodating Resistance

If you’ve been working out regularly, you’ve seen people in the back of the house using bands strapped over their bars for deadlifts, squats and bench press. What the heck are they doing???

The use of bands in addition to weight is called Accommodating Resistance. It was popularized by a gym in Columbus called Westside Barbell (at times noted as “the strongest gym in the world”), and is used nearly everyday in their programming. The reasoning behind band usage is super-interesting, if you’re into getting stronger. You are right? OK. Read on, and enjoy.

What is it?

Accommodating resistance is the use of bands (or chains in some cases) to increase the loading intensity as your body gains leverage in the lift.

What does that mean?

Think about the lift - at the bottom, we have the least amount of leverage or advantage over the barbell. It’s the most challenging, the most dangerous and the largest contraction in the muscle. Since it’s ALREADY hard here, resistance is 99% loading. As you drive closer to completion of the lift, we gain an advantage over the weight, and the lift gets continually easier. The bands make sure that this doesn’t happen. When we use bands, the lift actually get HARDER and HEAVIER as we get closer to completion.

Why should we do this?

Well, in short, it makes you better at producing power, in increases the velocity with which you move the barbell. A faster barbell is a lighter barbell. It also prepares your body for heavier loads in a safer position, reducing injury risk and increasing the payoff of lifting heavy weights.

Should I try this?

I’m of the school of thought that accommodating resistance can improve everyone’s ability to move weight. Newer lifters can benefit by gaining exposure to heavier loads in safer positions. Experienced lifters gain the same benefits, with the addition of increased bar speed and a cleaner bar path. This definitely doesn’t mean you should just set up shop in the back and start ripping weights against bands. Find a coach who can help you find your way with this new training tool, and get stronger!

Want to learn more about accommodating resistance, weightlifting, or really, anything else in the gym? Set up a one on one session with a coach today here -

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