What is Compensatory Acceleration Training and how can it help you get stronger
What is Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT)?
Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) is a type of resistance training where the purpose of the exercise is not to develop maximum strength but rather to improve your ability to perform at a higher level when under stress. CAT exercises are usually performed with lighter weights than traditional weight lifting exercises. You will use less weight than you would normally do if performing a conventional weight lifting exercise such as squats or deadlifts.
The main goal of CAT is to increase your ability to recover from exertion and reduce the risk of injury during physical activity. If you want to lose fat, gain muscle mass or just keep fit then you need to start doing some kind of resistance training. However, there are many different types of CAT exercises available on the market today which differ in their intensity levels and other factors.
Some are designed for beginners while others are geared towards advanced trainees.
There are two basic ways of using CAT:
1. The “compensatory” way – you use heavier weights than you would normally use in order to build up your strength gradually over time.
For example, if you were training for a bodybuilding competition, you might lift 50% of your one rep max (1RM).
2. The “accelerative” way – you use lighter weights than you would normally use in order to improve your rate of strength gain.
For example, if you were training for a bodybuilding competition, you might lift 30% of your 1RM.
The idea behind using the first method is that it allows you to build up strength over time without risking an injury. The second method is better if you are looking to increase your strength as quickly as possible.
So which approach is best for you?
If you are a beginner, then you should probably start with the “compensatory” way as it will allow you to get into shape safely and gradually and prevent injury. Once you feel more confident about the exercises, you can change to the “accelerative” way of training.
On the other hand, if you are an advanced trainee then you should start with the “accelerative” way of training and only switch to the “compensatory” approach when necessary. You see, using the compensatory approach from the beginning is likely to cause you to plateau (stop making progress).
Research studies suggest that beginning with the accelerative approach and switching to the compensatory approach once you start hitting plateaus is the most effective way to train for advanced athletes.
But how will you know when to switch from one method to the other?
Well, this will vary depending on the type of exercise you are doing and your own personal circumstances (some people will be able to handle a heavier workload than others). The best thing to do is keep a training diary so you can see how your body responds to the different types of training.
However, as a rough guide, if you are using a weight that is about 60-70% of your 1RM for a given exercise (i.e. the compensatory method) then you need to switch to the accelerative method.
You should also remember that it takes your nervous system about two weeks to switch from the compensatory to the accelerative method. So if you are going to change your training, give it at least two weeks before evaluating its effectiveness.
In addition to altering the way you lift, you can also emphasize different parts of each exercise to promote different types of growth.
For example, if you want to emphasize strength gains then you should perform each repetition slowly and with perfect form. On the other hand, if you want to emphasize muscle growth then you should lift the weight more explosively and use a little bit of momentum (although this should be avoided if possible).
So there you have it…a complicated but powerful way to control your muscle growth. Just don’t go changing things all the time, that will just lead to more confusion and less results!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Contemporary training practices in elite British powerlifters: Survey results from an international competition (PA Swinton, R Lloyd, I Agouris… – The Journal of Strength & …, 2009 – journals.lww.com)
- Adding volume to your workouts can help you build strength and size, but more volume usually adds time to your workout. Use these 5 proven techniques to get bigger … (J Bryant – bodybuilding.com)
- Getting big and strong doesn’t happen by accident. Implement these 10 essential tips into your strength workout to skyrocket your gains! (J Bryant – bodybuilding.com)
- Exploding with bands (B Dermody – T & C, 2003 – worldclassbodybuilding.com)
- Programming for Maximum Strength (J Bryant – 2013 – BookBaby)
- Runner’s World The Runner’s Body: How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Faster (D Stephenson – idealstrength.com)
- DOMS: Why Muscles Get Sore After Working Out (R Tucker, J Dugas, M Fitzgerald – 2009 – books.google.com)
- Maximize Strength To Maximize Mass (E Cressey, M Fitzgerald – 2008 – Da Capo Lifelong Books)