Were you reading the comments this week regarding how the internet sucks us in? Check out Samir C‘s previous blog post on The Distraction of Distraction
Holiday Weekend Schedule
Saturday: Normal Group Classes
Sunday: Normal Group Classes
Tuesday: Normal Group Classes (Monday’s Deadlifts will be programmed)
Dynamic Effort Deadlifts This Cycle
By: David Osorio
This cycle will be the first time we’ve seen Dynamic Effort Method Deadlifts with Accommodating Resistance programmed for Group Classes. Lets explore what these methods are and who they’re appropriate for.
Dynamic Effort Method
As the name implies, Dynamic Effort (DE) work focuses on developing speed and explosiveness. This is accomplished by using a sub maximal weight lifted at maximal speeds. Your muscles ability to produce force is dictated by a number of variables including overall size, angles of insertion on the bone, muscle shape, muscle fiber type and finally neuromuscular control. The DE Method aims to help optimize that last variable by training your body to fire a large number of motor units quickly and efficiently. You see, your muscles arent simply hunks of meat that are either “on or off”. This is intuitive when you think about it a little.. consider holding a child’s hand versus holding a heavy dumbbell. Your body senses that you need to work harder in the second scenario and will engage more motor units to accomplish the task at hand (pun intended). Motor units are subdivisions of muscles that are recruited depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Fewer motor units are used for light and fine motor patterns like writing and putting on clothes while more motor units are requited for heavy and fast patterns like lifting weights and jumping. When you’re first learning a new skill, that awkward, uncoordinated feeling you experience is your body not knowing how to best produce a firing pattern that will express effective, efficient movement. The more you practice a skill, the better your bodies internal “software” gets at using the “hardware” resulting in better movement. Lifting weights is no different, when you go to attempt a 1 Rep Max Deadlift, part of the equation regarding whether you’ll hit it or miss the lift is how good you are at firing up lots motor units. By training a particular % continuum of your 1RM at high speed, you develop an explosive capacity to generate lots of force quickly.
We’ll also be playing with some Accommodating Resistance (AR) this cycle by way of bands and chains. The point of AR is to modify the amount of resistance you experience throughout the range of motion. In any exercise, you’ll notice that there are “easier” and “harder” parts during the rep. For example in Deadlifts, people often miss lifts at the bottom or around the knee, rarely after they get the bar onto the thigh. Similarly, the first 1/4 of a Back Squat is a hell of a lot easier than everything that happens at parallel and below (this helps explain the popularity in commercial gyms of partial squats). The reason for this is that at certain points during the bar’s path you find yourself in more mechanically advantageous positions based on joint angles, muscle positions and where the resistance (barbell/body weight etc) is relative to the primarily muscles trying to move it. Bands and chains can make those “easier” areas harder by changing how that resistance is expressed throughout the movement. Watch this video of Bands and Chains used in Deadlifts and notice how at the top of the lift, when it’s usually the easiest, either the band is stretched out the most pulling the bar down or more chains are hanging from the bar increasing the amount of weight being lifted. The result of this kind of training is more well rounded strength and an increased ability to accelerate the lift through the range of motion.
DE and AR are advanced training techniques used with seasoned Group Class lifters. Think of the continuum of development like this:
- Phase 1: Basic technical practice at submaximal weights and speeds (2-4+ Months)*
- Phase 2: Strength and connective tissue development with medium and heavy weights (4-9+ Months)*
- Phase 3: Fancy shit used to overcome plateaus and individual weaknesses (9+ months of consistent training)*
If you haven’t spent extensive time with a particular lift and exhausted a linear progression, Dynamic Effort and Accommodating Resistance won’t give you the most return on your time. You’re better off getting as strong as you can at the base lift before using advanced methods. You want to milk your body for all the strength potential you can get before digging into the bag of tricks to squeeze out your remaining capacity. It’s inherently human to want to try advanced techniques in order to accelerate your development, but as anyone proficient in their craft knows, without a solid foundation, you won’t come close to what you’re capable of. If your deadlift numbers are still gradually moving up, keep doing what’s clearly working and ride that train as long as you can. If you’ve been stalled out in your Deadlift for sometime, despite regular lifting and many, many attempts at lifting 1RMs, consider trying DE and AR methods. When in doubt, ask a coach and as always, we’ll be doing our job and telling folks which to do if we feel you’re better off doing one or the other.