CHAINS? Yep, training with chains is hardly a new phenomenon. However, this is a relatively new method for me that have really helped improve my strength gains in recent years adding an all important new method to my compound lifts. And with this strength, comes new size/new muscle as compensation. If your gym has chains (some will, some won’t) give them a go and see how this can push you to a new level. Used and seen a lot by myself in the old school power lifting gyms I frequented during my uni days, I have found a new lease of life with them at my current gym in the city, and I’m already feeling the DOMs and growth by reincorporating lifting with chains as part of my weight training cycles. Chains are certainly starting to make the move into more sports performance facilities these days, so, when you’re next at the gym, ask the question, see if they have any and get started!
For me, using chains in various compound lifts, has increased pump and really helped me get through some strength plateaus especially as a person trying to increase his size NATURALLY. It’s important to change your methods in the gym, going through different methodologies will stop your muscles adapting. That’s not to say you change the protocol every week, stay consistent with one for a few weeks, note the improvements and try something else new. This will also hopefully help improve your enjoyment at the gym, stopping you getting bored or hitting mental plateaus too.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Lifting while incorporating chains. Basically, they are a quick and easy way of adding variable resistance. If you’ve seen people do this at the gym, study, take a look at how they are setting themselves up on the exercise, ask you PT or a member of staff for advice to set up and complete correctly. Let’s keep the examples simple and hopefully easy to follow, taking bench press as an example – the chains at my gym are around 5 feet long, so, I attach the link of the chain with a hook around the bar and have two chains at either side of the bar, hanging so they construct a small pile on the ground as the weight comes down. As you move the weight down off the bar, the weight of the chains is taken away essentially lightening your load. As the bar is lifted from your chest, and released from the floor, the load increases, making the lift harder as you use your chest to push upward and at its most difficult at the top of the lift. The sciencey bit to explain how this works is:
“Chains cause the athlete to maintain the force produced during the lift to counteract the increasing weight, when applied properly, has the potential to improve the velocity on the bar by enhancing the force-velocity relationship. This will improve your stability under the bar and your ability to blast through the sticking point you face while training.”
I have personally seen chains used in many different exercises my favorites being: deadlift, bench press, skull crushers, dips and good mornings and the set up is never that different than the above described bench press.
Taking the bench press example I used above, when setting this up, I use approximately use half of the weight I would use on a standard bench press working a rep range of 8-15, and again, something to consider to incorporate for 3-4 weeks at a time and see how you get on.
For more Brutal and muscle specific workouts check out our infamous LDNM Muscle Group Packs.