Change the Tune: Accommodation & Stagnation
By Will Vatcher
Here’s what you need to know:
- There is a delicate balance between the correct blend of specificity and the correct amount of variation to progress
- You can continue to progress if you change your exercises regularly
- A process of elimination is useful to discover where you are stuck
During the late 1960’s, a Soviet scientist named U. I. Ivanov performed and published results from an interesting experiment. Ivanov used three similar groups of people and had them perform strength training exercises twice a week for a period of three months.
- Group 1 performed (concentric) dynamic weight exercises
- Group 2 performed static strength exercises (isometric) with maximal tension
- Group 3 performed yielding (eccentric) exercises using weights exceeding 10-40% of what they were capable of lifting in an ordinary (concentric) manner.
After the period was concluded, the results were very interesting. Compared to their previous personal performances:
- Group 1 managed to lift on average 8.5 kg more in the squat and 5.5 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 3.7 cm higher and could pull with 14.6 kg more force in a back strength test.
- Group 2 managed to lift on average 9.2 kg more in the squat and 12.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 5.4 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 30.0 kg of increased force in a back strength test.
- Group 3 managed to lift on average 15.0 kg more in the squat and 9.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 1.6 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 19.1 kg more force in a back strength test.
What did and does this experiment reveal? The athletes tested strongest in the motor skills and tasks that were the most similar to the exercises they did in the experiment.