Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Dynamic Effort Method

In the coming weeks, Chris Marang will be expounding on and explaining the methodology behind the use of Accommodating Resistance in barbell training.  Chris is a Certified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer who has studied directly with Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell.  
Accommodating Resistance can very easily be incorporated into your existing strength training program.  Chris will be demonstrating movements using the Hammerhead Adjustable Tension Lifting Platform.  Our unique, patent pending platform is lightweight, installs easily in any garage, basement or commercial facility and can bring about some amazing results.

**Read the testimonials at the bottom of the page to see the amazing results band tension has brought to the athletes that Chris has been training.**

Dynamic Effort Method
Chris Marang

The methodology we will be discussing is the dynamic effort method.  It has been perfected by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. The fundamental basis of this method is derived from the former Soviet Union system designed by their highly respected sport scientists.  Many coaches claim to have vast knowledge about proper strength training but have yet to read a single book about training.  Everything about to be discussed is based on real research and these are real numbers.  It has been said “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 
A.D. Ermakov and N.S. Atanasov studied 780 highly qualified weightlifters, master of sport class, and they observed that the largest distribution of training volume occurs between 75-85 percent of the maximal load. Out of all training percentages starting from 55 percent to 100 percent, increasing by 5 percent increments, it was calculated that 50 percent of total training volume occurred between 75-85 percent. Keep that range in mind as we begin to discuss how the dynamic effort method works.
The dynamic effort method is using sub maximal weights with maximal speed.  This method requires a 3 week wave per cycle before switching to a different lift.  The bar weight percentages will be 50 percent the first week, 55 percent the second week, and 60 percent the third week.  For each week we use 25 percent accommodating resistance, based off of your 1 rep max. The resistance can either be bands, chains or a mixture of both. Now before you say “oh those percentages are way too light” think about what I just said. Bar weight is 50-60 percent of your max with 25 percent accommodating resistance. That’s 75 percent at the top the first week, 80 percent the second and 85 percent the third week which fall directly into the ranges discussed earlier. There is band shrinkage so the resistance decreases at the bottom of the lift, but increases as you get further into ROM making you accelerate through the resistance. Here is a chart based off a 400- pound squat to show how it is set up.
Band Tension

Bar Speed is between 0.7-0.9m/s
The first week in your wave you are doing a total of 24 lifts, the second week is 24 lifts and the third is 20 lifts because we are now into that 80-90 percent zone where the total range decreases. You have to squat a certain amount of volume per week to maintain and improve your squat and that is why the lifts are set the way they are. So if you were using bands you would have 100 pounds of band tension as your accommodating resistance because that is 25 percent of 400 pounds.
Each row represents one week in a 3 week wave. The reps and number of lifts have been chosen based off of A.S. Prilepin’s research that established what the optimal number of lifts were and the ranges before the training effect decreases:
Optimal # of Lifts
Total Range of Lifts

It is important to stress that the bar speed is the most important factor on this day. This is your speed day and speed is the focus! In physics force equals mass x acceleration or F=MA. The bar has to be moving between 0.7-0.9 meters per second. If you do not have something to gauge that speed go to YouTube and look up Westside dynamic effort day so you can watch and get an idea for what it looks like. For some of you this may be an ego check for you to deal with. If you cannot generate the proper speed at the given bar percentages then reduce the bar weight. I do not care if you are the strongest guy/girl in the gym, check your ego and do it right. The focus is speed and I cannot stress that enough. We are using this method as a way to increase force development because the more force you can produce in a minimal period of time the stronger you will be. The definition of absolute strength is the greatest force that can be developed during a maximal muscular contraction. Using the accommodating resistance appropriately will aid in this speed. Remember that as we get further into our range of motion that resistance is getting harder and harder which makes us accelerate through that resistance. Case in point, this eliminates bar deceleration and teaches us to accelerate faster and faster throughout every range of motion.  
Whenever we are using this dynamic effort method for squatting we squat to a box. Why? Because it breaks up the eccentric-concentric phase which in physics is known as collision. By controlling your way down to the box, not collapsing onto the box or plopping onto it, you are creating a loss of kinetic energy because it is dissipated as a result of the collision. This is the reason why box squatting is superior because it requires you to explode up off the box rather than the traditional “bounce” technique we all use when squatting which solely relies on your stretch reflex abilities rather than your squatting muscles. As you sit on the box relax your hip flexors while keeping everything else in your body tight then explode off the box. That temporary relaxation of the hip flexors is what breaks the eccentric-concentric phase and builds absolute strength. Box squatting is also safer and requires you to use better form which will greatly reduces injuries, less soreness and allow for a faster recovery time. Squatting to a box ensures that you will always be squatting to the correct depth because we’ve all seen or been guilty of not going low enough. An important note is whenever you are box squatting we use a wide stance because you use more squatting muscles when squatting wide rather than when using a close stance. It places greater loads on the correct squatting muscles such as the hips, glutes and hamstrings. Doing this will make your close stance squat drastically go up along with your deadlift. I have only deadlifted a few times in the past two months but by using the dynamic effort method and box squatting my deadlift went from 440 to 505 weighing 160 pounds.
The pacing when you are doing this should be quick as well. So many times I see people just standing around when they are doing strength work but that’s not “working out” that’s “hanging out”. In any type of sport you need to be strong and explosive while in a fatigued state so why not get conditioned while you are getting strong. In the beginning of your wave try resting 45 seconds between sets, the second week try 30 and then 25 seconds the third week. There’s no right or wrong way to do the pacing, except do not be resting for over a minute. If you are a Crossfitter try starting out with 30 seconds and working your way down to 20 seconds. When I give the rest times it is important to say that that isn’t at 30 seconds start getting set up again. That is at 30 seconds that bar needs to be moving again because then all of sudden now its 40 second then 50, 55 seconds before you get moving again so be disciplined with your rest times. The group of teenagers I coach do this and for a group of 3 kids they get a total of 36 sets for their squat and 30 sets for their deadlifts done in under 18 minutes combined. That’s 66 total sets with one work set being done every 18 seconds. Their strength and conditioning has drastically improved from that alone. In the past two 3 week waves I have recorded this for their increase in pulling power alone. Just last week I had them do a max deficit deadlift on a 4” box and there was an average of 20-30 pound increase over their traditional deadlift max from the floor! The only time I have had them deadlift was once a week on their speed day and just to be clear so that people understand the loads they were moving it was ranging from 265-285 pounds for their maxes on that deficit deadlift with the average age of the group being 13 years old. A good friend of mine who is a well established trainer came in to observe their speed day a few weeks ago and even he noted how incredible their pacing was and the speed they were moving at. I recorded the times just to show him how fast it went. 9:28 for their squat session and 7:18 for their deadlift session which followed immediately after the squatting. They work together in teams and constantly rotate through changing out weights and box heights for the next lifter and it is an excellent tool to building teamwork. 
This method is proven that it works. Westside Barbell has been using this for years. They have 19 members that squat over 1,000 pounds and is the strongest gym in the world. If the strongest gym in the world uses this methodology and it is supported by actual scientific data proving it works rather than just a creative imagination of some coach why would you use anything else? If you play any type of sport, have any desires of getting truly strong, discover your athletic potential or just want to stay fit this is what you need to do.  Progressive gradual overload system used widely throughout the US is a waste of time and you will not become nearly as good as you could be.  Use a system that has physics and mathematics behind it.  Stay healthy, stay strong and train smart.

Simmons, Louie. Westside Conjugate Method
Simmons, Louie. Box Squats for Big Gains. 2014
Komi, P.V. Strength and Power in Sports. 1996
N.P. Laputin V.G. Oleshko. Managining the Training of Weightlifters. 1982

Verkhoshanky, Y.V. Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport. 1977


Training with bands has increased my strength and muscular endurance an enormous amount. While I have been going to CrossFit, I have not seen nearly the amount of improvement and success as I have training with bands. My original deadlift was 195lbs but now I Have increased it to 255lbs in 3 months. The system of training at specific percentages of your max and increasing each week while rotating through various movements and muscle groups creates a significant increase your ability athletically and in general life. The bands add weight as you get further into your lift forcing you to constantly accelerate instead of teaching your body to slow down as you progress through the lift. This is incredibly beneficial to training. I am a 15 year old female and   am now able to squat 185lbs, press 95lbs, clean 130lbs, all of which is more than I would have ever expected. The rotation between dynamic effort work for speed and maximal effort work for personal bests keeps training interesting and exciting. I am always surprised and extremely excited when I beat old maxes I thought would have never happened. This type of training gives results that are unbelievable!
-Kori P., 15

Bands have helped me in training and they helped set some huge max weights for myself. I have been able to deadlift 300+ pounds for numerous deadlifts and do a 295lb squat.
-Alex S., 14

I am 13 years old and Have drastically improved my health, strength and speed as a result of this new training method. In the four months I have been participating in the work of accommodating resistance through bands I have become significantly stronger. At the start of my training I was participating in CrossFit and I had put on lots of muscle, but when I started using these new methods I saw insane improvements! My deadlift improved over 60lbs putting it at 305lbs. After more speed days I have gotten my back squat to 200lbs which is a 30 pound increase. My press is now 105lbs which is a 30lb gain. These weights round my CrossFit total to 610lbs at 13 years of age. Lastly my sumo deadlift was recently tested and I pulled 350lbs which is a 90lb personal best. All in all, the system of banded barbell movements have greatly improved my athletic skill/strength and I believe it is a great technique to use if you are trying to be a better athlete or you just want to be fit and strong.
-Kasy P., 13

Through the two months that I have been training with bands I have improved greatly compared to when I wasn’t improving at all. I have deadlifted a 3 rep max at 325lbs. I have improved my push press to 165lbs and pressed 130lbs. My squat has gone from 200lbs to 240lbs, which has been stuck at 200 for over half a year. One last lift that has majorly improved is my sumo deadlift which is now at 355 pounds.  Band work is constantly varying and keeps the training interesting. Without the accommodating resistance making movements harder throughout range of motion I would not have the strength capacity I have now.

-Mason M., 14

Since I began lifting in 2012 my squat and deadlift had remained relatively stagnant. In May of this year I tested my deadlift at 395 and my squat was at 305. I then began working three times a week using banded lifting and supplemental exercises to help improve my lifting. Four months later I tested again with my deadlift at 480 and my squat was 360. Both of these lifts far exceeded my expectations and are the largest jump in max lifts that I have ever seen in my life.
-Pat T.       

I have been training with resistance bands three times a week for the past two months and have noticed improvements in my lifts. My backsquat max has gone from 200lbs. to 220lbs., my deadlift has gone from 225lbs. to 275lbs and my shoulder press has gone from 90lbs. to 100lbs. The unique exercises we do during max day, speed day, and special exercise day allow us to work on muscles we may not otherwise get to. I like this program because the skills transfer over into all aspects of crossfit; lifting, jumping, speed, strength, mobility, etc. I like how each exercise has a specific purpose and how each week leads into the next.

-Nicole A.
In three months I’ve increased my deadlift max by 50 pounds and backsquat max by 35 pounds using band resistance training. I spend one day per week training at 50-60 percent of my max. The effort I put in feels minimal, but has dramatically increased the speed and rate of force development of my lifts. Now I lift more weight with greater ease.

-Julie N.