Many high school and college strength and conditioning programs test the squat, bench press, and clean to evaluate muscular strength and power. These exercises may also form the foundational lifts of the strength training program given that they are compound, large muscle group movements.
In terms of testing and assessment, the one-rep max (1-RM) of each lift is often added together for a total (Bench = 220; Squat = 325; Clean 205 = 750). Many coaches will set marks of 700, 750, 800 and 1000 pound “club” as a way to monitor and motivate athletes. You’ve seen those kids walking around school in the “750 Club” t-shirt, right?
To improve these strength numbers (and get into the 750 Club), coaches and athletes are always looking for the best methods of training. Of course, consistency is the number one factor. It’s pretty simple, if you don’t lift, you won’t get stronger. And for those who are participating in regular training and understand the science of strength training, they are well-aware of variable resistance loading. Indeed, a recent review article by Dr. Tim Suchomel and colleagues (Sports Medicine April, 2018) suggests that variable resistance training offers advantages in producing the greatest comprehensive adaptations in muscle size, strength, and power. More bang for your buck, if you will…just add resistance cords.
Variable Resistance 101
In brief, variable resistance involves some type of implement – cord, band or chain – attached to the frame of the rack and the bar that “varies” the load throughout the range of motion of the movement. Typically, the variability occurs as a decrease in load during the descent phase of the squat or bench press, and an increased loading during the ascent. This concept essentially increases the load as the mechanical advantage of the lever system improves. In other words, as the exercise gets easier the load gets heavier!
Enter Bennington High School
At Perform-X, we offer facility solutions for new projects, remodels, and retro-fitting an existing rooms. In May 2017, we retrofitted the above ground platforms at Bennington (NE) High School with our innovative Trak-X, and also added a few Wall Trak stations. Head strength and conditioning coach Brandon Mimick ordered the corresponding Lift-X cords – Squat-X Bench-X Power-X
Badger Gains: The X-Factor
Here’s what Coach Mimick told us about incorporating variable resistance training at Bennington High School.
“We have utilized the Lift-X cords to provide progressive overload for the bench press, squat, and clean. We will use it two ways: 1) gearing up for a heavier lift, or 2) on days that we emphasize speed of the bar.”
“I believe the use of the cords has gotten our student-athletes out of their comfort zone and helped them break through plateaus. This past summer (2018) we made a big jump in our strength numbers. We went from having only 4 football players in the 750 Club on bench-squat-clean to 13! I believe utilizing the Lift-X cords in the past year has contributed greatly.”