More Than Just Picking Up Weights: Different Kinds of Resistance

More Than Just Picking Up Weights: Different Kinds of Resistance

Lifting has changed greatly of the past century.
Lifting has changed greatly of the past century.

It is important to understand different kinds of resistance besides weights to improve your training. We will talk about the four kinds of resistance: isometric, constant, variable, and accommodating.

Isometric Resistance

Isometric resistance are static exercises where you do not perform any movement. Like pushing against a wall for hours, it can help improve strength, but is not very effective. Isometric resistance also makes it difficult to train other body parts. (How would you do legs?)

Constant Resistance

Constant resistance is like lifting weights. No matter how you lift, a 405 pound deadlift is 405 pounds. The weight is constant, and studies show that it is highly effective at producing strength and hypertrophy gains.

Variable Resistance

Variables resistance means the resistance changes during the exercise. Variable resistance can help eliminate momentum and sticking points during lifts, making the muscle work throughout the whole exercise. There isn’t much research done in variable resistance, making it difficult to say if it is more or less effective than constant resistance. However, variable resistance is crucial for powerlifters. Powerlifters often uses elastic bands such as these or slingshots to introduce variable resistance to their training. For example, using these bands during bench makes the lift much more difficult the farther the bar is from the chest, building the user’s acceleration during the lift which is crucial to overcome sticking points.

Accommodating Resistance

Accommodating resistance uses air or pneumatic devices. They are usually used for push/pull mechanisms. The difficulty with accommodating resistance is that you can’t perform the negatives of an exercise. This makes accommodating resistant sub-optimal when compared to constant resistance. The only way to maintain negative accommodating resistance would be to use computer controlled lifting machines, which are both rare and expensive.

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Ward, Paul E., and Robert D. Ward. Encyclopedia of Weight Training: Weight Training for General Conditioning, Sport, and Body Building. Laguna Hills, CA: QPT Publications, 1991. Print.

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