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Variable Resistance vs
Standard Resistance Training

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Variable resistance comes from the knowledge that we have gained from doing movements with weights where we are stronger in some parts of the movement but not others. Doing movements while using bands will increase the variable resistance but there are also machines that have been developed specifically to do this.

With the explosion of the fitness industry that started in the 1980's more and more research has gone into creating the most effective way to train and comparing variable resistance to normal resistance training. These studies have been done on both adults and children to see the best results.

A study was done in Birmingham Alabama USA where the researches selected healthy adults over the age of 60 to see if there was a marked difference between the two methods. They trained 3 times a week with half using variable resistance and the other half using high resistance training with 80% 1RM.

The whole study lasted for 6 months with constant monitoring taking place including body composition and strength which was done by isometric tests using something called DAT or daily activity tasks measured by heart rate and oxygen uptake as well as some other factors like perceived exertion.

The results from this study tell us a lot about the difference between training with a variable resistance and a constant weight. Both the separate groups gained the same amount of muscle mass however the group that did variable resistance training only showed a marked increase in the DAT or the stress of doing daily tasks.

We all have a slightly different biomechanical makeup that depends on our genetics and/or somatotype that we inherited from our parents. The result is that we all will find that we are stronger at certain parts of a movement than others and using bands to increase or equalize this will increase functional ability.

This means that in order to get the best results from your weight training you should always check on where your sticking points are when doing any movement as this will allow you to deal specifically with that genetic ‘weak’ link and correct the imbalance.


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