IMCA is one of the most underused techniques to reach higher strength levels.
When writing the training program, we use a “X” tempo to denote the speed of the concentric repetition.
A1) Bench Press
Seeing the “X” on the training program reinforces the actions of intent for speed. For improved results when we coach IMCA with verbal cues we try to remind the Trainee to move the weight as quickly as possible while the exercise is being performed…
It is a widely recognized training principle that there in a inverse relationship between force and velocity; the higher the load, the faster the speed of contraction.
Both maximal effort at higher loads (80-100% of 1RM) and dynamic efforts at lighter loads (40-60% of 1RM) can lead to maximal muscular tension which is the basis for strength development. The forgotten factor is that PURPOSELY attempting to accelerate the concentric of every repetition of a heavy set will improve force output through increased firing rate of motor units.
The INTENT to accelerate the load concentrically, irrespective of the actual velocity of contraction, will directly enhance the recruitment of higher threshold motor units responsible for greater strength development.
IMCA is especially beneficial on exercises with an ascending strength curve (Bench Press, Squat, etc.) when the concentric feels easier as you near full extension and the muscle tension required decreases throughout the range of motion. As the tension decreases and you progress through he concentric contraction, the lifter can counter the diminished need for tension using IMCA to increase force output via compensatory acceleration. This increased rate of force development will result in higher total muscular tension.
For the strength athlete, there is a marked advantage to using compensatory acceleration for strength improvements compared to simply using a controlled and constant concentric speed over the course of a set. By favoring IMCA throughout your strength training cycle, your predicted 1RM value will present a significantly better outcome than simply going through the motion with your training.