Using Accomodating Resistance for Strength Lifts

Aug 13th, 2012

Category: CrossFit

Using Accomodating Resistance for Strength Lifts

We have recently gotten some accessories to add accommodating resistance for lifts like back squatting, bench pressing, deadlifting, and a few other movements. What is accommodating resistance? It is adding things like bands or chains onto a barbell to add resistance to a certain lift.
To talk about the benefits of using chains and bands during a lift lets use the back squat as an example. When you squat there is a definitive point where the lift is harder and points where it is much easier. You can probably do 1/4 depth squats at 100# more than you can doing a squat all the way below parallel. Simply put this is because that bottom part of the squat is where the weight is most difficult to lift and where we must exert the most force on the bar/accelerate the bar the most. Once we get out of this “sticking point”, which is different in length for everyone, we start decelerating (when the movement gets “easier). Think, that top 1/4 of the back squat, once you get through the almost blacking out point at the bottom 1/4, isn’t that hard at all to finish standing up. By adding resistance that is heaviest at the top part of the movement we now have to work through the entire lift with the same force and velocity, not just the “hard part”.
If you wanted to add chains to a squat you would set them up so you had a set on each side of the bar and they were barely kissing the ground when fully standing up. Therefore, if you had 40# of chains on each side, there would be 80# of resistance added to the weight on the bar at the top of the movement that you had to accelerate through. When you squat down and those chains pile up on the floor their affect is less and less. So as you can (hopefully) picture, as you drive up out of the squat the weight of the chains becomes more and more until they are at their greatest affect through the top of the lift.
This is just one example of adding accommodating resistance to a lift. You can use chains and bands to almost any barbell lift that is a power lift (not an olympic lift). Making the “easy” part of a lift harder by adding these things makes it so we are having to work through a longer strength curve, making us stronger and using all of our stabilizer and antagonist muscles through the entire lifting process.
Come to an open gym time and try out some accommodating resistance methods to some of the lifts, especially if you seem to be stuck at a weight for a particular one. Accommodating resistance lifts are a great way to build absolute strength and break through plateaus, and it changes it up from the usual way of lifting making it more fun!
Be sure to ask a coach to show you how to hook up the chains or bands and what lifts you should do them with before you just jump into it.

Low Bar Back Squat

Tabata Thrusters (95,65)
Rest 1 minute
Tabata sit-ups
Rest 1 minute
Tabata chest to deck push-ups
Rest 1 Minute
Tabata toes to bar

Level 2 (75,55)
Level 1 (65,35)

Your score is the sum of your lowest round for each tabata interval.


  1. jason barrow 08/14/2012 at 12:57 am

    Squat: 215×3
    WOD: 22 Rx (4 Thrusters, 11 Sit-Ups, 6 Push-Ups, 1 Toe to Bar)

  2. jeffbogue 08/14/2012 at 12:21 am

    Back Squat: 205 x 3
    WOD: 22 (4 + 8 + 7 + 3) – L2 & K2E
    Next time this workout comes up I need to push a little bit harder and get an extra rep on both push ups and sit ups.

  3. Laura 08/14/2012 at 12:18 am

    low bar back squat: 70
    WOD: 17 (knees to ??, push ups on the knees, L1 thruster)

    This was brutal!

  4. Nicole D 08/13/2012 at 2:40 pm

    low bar back squat: 135
    WOD: 20 (knees to chest, PUs from the knees)

  5. Alec 08/13/2012 at 1:25 pm

    Fantastic start to a Monday morning, 325, 35reps. The 325 felt really light, going up next time!

  6. jason barrow 08/13/2012 at 12:38 pm

    Always posting my results to the comments paid off. I remember the last time we had Tabata Thrusters my reps went down every single round. So to plan for this time I at least wanted to know what I ended up with last time but forgot. I just searched tabata thrusters in the search box and immediately found when we did them last:

    • Joe 08/13/2012 at 1:40 pm

      Love your style, Barrow. What’s the point in testing and retesting if you don’t know how you performed the first time?

      • Goose 08/13/2012 at 11:40 pm

        Agreed. Everyone should be using these comments to track their progress. With the search function, you can easily compare to previous scores when you comment. By the way, we decided starting next week, we will be repeating Southie benchmarks, girls and heros more often which makes it the perfect time to start posting!