JC's Musings

Variable Resistance - Elastic Band Resistance (EBR)

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For many years, innovators have been trying to overcome some of the inertial/mechanical disadvantages associated with constant or free weight resistance (FWR). For example, it is well known you can spend a lot of effort overcoming the inertia of a bar initially and once you get it going, you can spend as much as 67% of the concentric effort decelerating a load of ~20% 1RM [1].  This is a mechanical disadvantage in terms of optimising acceleration and therefore force output for a movement, and also these deceleration profiles have little resemblance to sport specific movement i.e., lack specificity.  

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to overcome these mechanical disadvantages is to use EBR and/or combine EBR with FWR. EBR is a form of variable resistance, as the resistive force it offers, varies during a movement as a function of stretch, to match changes in the joint leverage, and in essence compensate for the accelerations, or lack of, found at the end of the concentric FWR loading.

EBR has many advantages and a host of applications from rehab and injury resistance, to optimising muscle function and sport specificity. Over the next series of posts, I look forward to sharing what I know and hopefully some of you will hop on that bus also and give us the benefit of your expertise.

1. Alamasbakk B, Hoff J. Coordination, the determinant of velocity specificity? J Appl Physiol 1996; 80 (5): 2046-52