Strength is the ability of the body to produce force against resistance. For athletes, it is hard for them to know what type or aspect of strength they are trying to build. The goal is to be at maximum performance when the performance matters most. Understanding of how certain variables influence adaptation is key to putting together a strength and conditioning program that’s effective and worthwhile.

Variable resistance training offers variable resistance throughout the entire range of motion (ROM) during exercise. Constant resistance is a more traditional training tool that demands fixed resistance on the muscles and joints during an exercise routine. Chain accommodation training, a variable resistance technique, is becoming more popular among athletes as a possible alternative to traditional training methods (Ataee 2014). This involves chains that are either added on a free-weight bar and combined with traditional plates, or added to the bar as the entire load. The chain adding method at the end of a barbell was first popularized in sports clubs, bodybuilding centers, and strength colleges. Despite the prevalence of theories about accommodation resistance training, only a few experimental studies have been conducted on this type of training. In addition, the effectiveness of this training method over other training protocols has been controversial. Some studies have found no significant difference when comparing chain loaded and traditional resistance in the Olympic clean exercise. Chain accommodation resistance training should be further explored as a means to enhance an athlete’s strength and power.

Ataee (2014) compared the effectiveness of accommodation and constant resistance training methods during a four-week period on maximal strength and power in trained athletes. This study was comprised of 24 trained athletes, including 16 trained males [8 Wushu athletes (Kung-Fu) and 8 wrestlers, age: 20.5 yrs. old]. Participants were initially tested on weight, body circumference, fat percent, upper and lower body maximal strength, determined by the 1-repetition maximum (1RM) test, which determines the greatest amount of weight a person can successfully lift, and upper and lower body power. Participants were equally randomized to either accommodation or constant resistance training groups. Both groups underwent resistance training for a four-week period that consisted of three sessions per week. In the accommodation resistance group, there was a significant difference in lower body maximal strength compared to the constant group (163.12 kg in the accommodation group vs. 142.25 kg in the constant group). No significant differences were found in upper body power, lower body power, and upper body maximal strength between the two groups. Although there was only a significant difference in lower body maximal strength between groups, accommodation resistance training may induce a physiological training response by improving the strength and power of stabilizing muscle groups required to balance the bar if consistently used over time.

The results of a 4-week training protocol, and its effectiveness in the accommodation and constant resistance training groups (Wushu athletes and wrestlers) on weight, body circumference, fat percent, upper and lower body power, and maximal upper body strength did not show any significant differences between groups. A significant difference was seen in the maximal lower body strength between groups possibly due to more muscle mass in the legs compared to that in the chest. The value of the effect size has to be considered when evaluating this data because the actual meaningfulness (increase in strength/power) between groups is demonstrated.

Since strength training is a complicated subject, COR provides the tools and helps the athletes through this process of strength training. COR evaluates the athlete, his or her sport and the position played. COR then addresses how to maximize the correct type of strength and we look at strength needs at different times during the sport cycle.

Reference:

1. Ataee J, Koozehchian MS, Kreider RB, Zuo L. Effectiveness of accommodation and constant resistance training on maximal strength and power in trained athletes. PeerJ. 2014 Jun 17;2:e441.