The Biological Law of Accommodation: The response of a biological object to a given constant stimulus decreases over time. The decrease in response of your body to a constant continued stimulus.
The Incline Lever Row is considered a general back exercise and my performance has stalled. I use both sets of handles with equal load and volume and cannot, with continued good form, go any heavier than current. What’s worse is that performance numbers appear to be trending downwards. (1)
I have already altered the lifts tempo from explosive, to rhythmic to mechanical with isometric pausea and changed grip patterns to the most challenging positions.
In my personal programming, undulating producing the best results (for me). My lat muscles noticeably thickened and widened over the past few weeks and I believe the combination of high volume/frequency paired with relatively short density (-60 sec rest between sets) led to improvements in form. I hope that the exercise transfers improvement to my bench press speed.
I have several options.
A) Change the exercise. Considering the loading potential and effect of the exercise, it might require two exercises to replace it. Since I bench twice weekly, I can split the exercises per session.
B) Continue going the way I’m going and train instinctively, hope for the best.
C) Use lifting straps to overload the exercise. While my stalling is not a case of grip failure, the straps will aid in allowing me to pull more than I can without them.
With respect the law of accommodation I believe that option A is the better choice, and I can rotate option C in a few weeks. A change in angle from 45 degrees to other positions (roughly past 30 and 60 degrees respectively) will create a new of stresses. Even a 45 degree pull with entirely different handles or lifting posture would elicit a different response, but it would still be within a range to which I’ve accommodated.
This is fine N=1 stuff, but how does the average Joe/Jane know when to tweak their program?
The “Are you still making progress?” chart (Credit: Greg Nucklos)
Yes: Don’t change anything
No: How do you feel?
Good: Train harder
I’m feeling worn out/fatigued
Outside the Gym?
Good: Lower Volume
Needs Work: Focus here (Look at Food/Sleep/Water/Other recovery methods/Life Stress)
(1) The 45 Lever Row isn’t my only pull exercise. I also perform Face Pulls (Warm Up before squat/bench press) Lat-Pull Downs, Seated Rows and Pull-ups. The key point is that I pull in multiple directions weekly. On a per session basis, my pulls outnumber my push exercises at least 2-1.