Variable resistance training is one of the most underrated training patterns that most of the people have never followed.
When it comes to gaining strength and size, most of the people are concerned about lifting more and more weight. Variable resistance training has got the ability to drastically improve your performance and overall strength.
What are the benefits of variable resistance training? Training with bands or chains comes under variable resistance because the resistance changes constantly. Variable resistance training has been proven to support the development of explosive power and muscle hypertrophy. VRT also improves mind & muscle connection and helps in stronger contraction, VRT also prevents uncertain exercise injuries.
Ahead in this article, we are going to talk about each and everything about variable resistance training.
What is variable resistance training?
One of the most significant improvements in the fitness community in the last two decades has been the introduction of variable resistance training.
Variable resistance training (VRT) is just a scientific term which means the load changes at the different points of the exercise.
Force in VRT is weaker at the bottom of the range and strongest at the top. The more you stretch your range of motion, greater the force will be experienced.
Suppose you are doing a simple bicep curl with the resistance band, the force at the bottom will be minimum and force increases as you flex your biceps.
Variable resistance training equipment
Chains and resistance bands are the most common and effective variable resistance training equipment.
Have you seen bench pressing with chains? When you lower the bar towards your chest, the most chain starts to pile on the floor which actually reduces the resistance.
Another great example from one of the world’s best strength coaches, powerlifter, world record holder the one an only Matt Wenning, He demonstrates the best use of resistance bands and chains for strength gains.
Variable resistance training vs weight training
Why not both?
Why are we soo much inclined towards choosing one option only? Combining variable resistance training with free weights can help in the development of strength and mass at an extraordinary pace.
Combining both methods can help in enjoying the benefits of both methods. Check out the video below where the world’s renowned trainer and Ph.D. holder Mr. Jim Stoppani, is a leading authority on exercise science, sports nutrition, and supplementation.
Benefits of variable resistance training
If you have seen someone exercising with resistance bands or chains, then its time to know about its unique benefits.
We are going to specifically talk about using VRT for strength and size development.
1# Strength and size
Variable training resistance is not a bro-science, it’s strength development benefits have been backed by multiples researches.
Study (1) conducted at the Department of Physical Education and Sport, University of Granada, Granada, Spain, on the effects of Variable Resistance Training on Maximal Strength. Researchers found – Long-term VRT training using chains or elastic bands attached to the barbell emerged as an effective evidence-based method of improving maximal strength both in athletes with different sports backgrounds and untrained subjects.
Another 2017 study (2) published at the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research conducted to examine the strength, velocity, and power adaptations in youth rugby league players in response to a variable resistance training (VRT) vs traditional free-weight resistance training. The study was concluded on 16 rugby players who were divided into two groups, a group that followed VRT training patters was found to have better power and velocity.
In short, VRT is a scientific training pattern that surely helps in performance improvement.
2# Improved explosiveness
VRT has been getting really popular within the powerlifters community because of its ability to improve explosiveness.
The reason behind improved explosiveness is VRT’s ability to target fast-twitch muscles.
Being able to target fast-twitch muscle fibers helps in the development of explosive power, size gain and increased metabolism for fat loss.
VRT exclusive causes the body to use fast-twitch muscles. Those who are unaware of “fast-twitch muscle”, human skeletal muscle fibers categorization: slow-twitch (type I) and fast-twitch (type II).
- Slow-twitch- Slow-twitch muscles are mainly used while the endurance workouts like long-distance running or cycling.
- Fast-twitch- These are the muscle groups doest not have great endurance but these are majorly responsible for creating an intense short burst of power. Targetting Fast-twitch muscle fibers make you go stronger and bigger. Powerlifters extensively focus on the development of fast-twitch muscle fibers.
3# Variable Assistance
VRT is not confined to providing variable resistance but also works wonders to deliver variable assistance.
Being able to perform a few pull-ups has always been a big milestone in life os many of us (especially for heavy people). Resistance bands have assisted my hundreds of clients to complete their first few pullups and ultimately leading to the development of better strength.
Most of the lifters are stronger at lockout position in comparison to the starting position, hence, variable assistance provides maximum support at the bottom of the movement and makes those first few reps possible.
4# Injury prevention
Your muscles are naturally stronger at certain parts of a lift and certain ranges are more vulnerable to injuries. Most of the people injure their back at the lowest point of deadlifts and at the bottom of squats.
This applies to the shoulders at the bottom of the bench press, and the hips and knees at the bottom of the squat.
Combining chains or bands with your resistance training can help in preventing injuries by reducing the resistance at the weakest part of lift.
5# Stronger contraction
While VRT helps in the improvement of speed and explosiveness in compound movements (like bench press, deadlifts, and squats) but it works quite differently with isolation movements.
Bands and chains can help in improving the muscle activation and muscle contraction by increasing the resistance at the peak contraction.
Better muscle pumps and improved hypertrophy are the byproducts of a strong contraction.
Variable resistance training works like magic to achieve greater muscle activation and hypertrophy.
If you have any further questions about the VRT technique then feel free to connect to us through direct mail or Facebook chat.