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Old 03-25-2009, 05:20 AM   #1
Craig Bailey
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Default Why Chains?

Iíve frequently noticed PLer's adding large bulky chains to the bar when doing squats and bench press instead of adding additional plates. What is the purpose of the chains and why is it preferred over just adding more plates?
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:21 AM   #2
Michael Drew
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Because when the chains are at the bottom of the movement they are all at the ground, weighing very little. But when you stand up the weight increases as more and more chain is off the ground. Some people also use bands. I have seen bands used the reverse way as well.
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:42 AM   #3
Howard Wilcox
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What Michael said.

I think they are most useful for equipped lifters (since the suit/shirt helps you at the bottom, which is mimicked by chains), I would be curious how much they help raw people??

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Old 03-25-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
Peter Dell'Orto
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Howard, as I understand it, with raw lifters/non-PLers they help you learn to accelerate the bar. At the bottom of the squat, deadlift, bench press, etc. the resistance is lighter. As you move the bar up, the resistance gets heavier - either the weight of the chains increases as they come off the ground or the bands resist more as they are stretched. So in order to deal with this you have to move the bar explosively; if you lift slowly you'll hit a wall of resistance and stop. Instead you lift the (lighter) bar up from the bottom fast to help get past the increasing resistance at the top, when it's heaviest.

That's my understanding, but I'm a beginner at this kind of training. There maybe a lot of other reasons to do this. But I know at the gym I train at, they have non-PLers do this kind of training. So it's got to be more than carryover from "this works for shirted PLers."
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:25 AM   #5
Mike ODonnell
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also in ancient times they were used to keep the lifters feet shackled to the bar so he can't run away.....
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:34 AM   #6
Dave Van Skike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dell'Orto View Post
At the bottom of the squat, deadlift, bench press, etc. the resistance is lighter. As you move the bar up, the resistance gets heavier - either the weight of the chains increases as they come off the ground or the bands resist more as they are stretched. So in order to deal with this you have to move the bar explosively; if you lift slowly you'll hit a wall of resistance and stop. Instead you lift the (lighter) bar up from the bottom fast to help get past the increasing resistance at the top, when it's heaviest.
this is basically it. "accomodating resistance" as your leverage gets better, the weight on the bar increases. it's really helpful for dynamic efforts where you are trying to accelerate the bar. also works great for deloading a movement so that the bottom is less stressful and the lockout is very heavy.

the amount if resistance added with chains has a fairly linear feel, the weight added from band tension can be staggering. just unracking a bar with 300 pounds of band tension is nasty.

conversely you can also hang the bar from bands (my fav) so that it takes maybe 70-200 pounds off the bottom but takes virtually none off the upper 1/3rd. this is a great method for learning how to hit the hole in a squat or to pause a bench or pull quickly.


in one article louie simmons called this the "future method" where you put your goal weight on the bar and squat it for reps using suspended bands to get used to unracking and initiating a squat with a weight that's maybe 150 over your true max.

there are a number of opinions on whether accommodating resistance is really useful for raw lifters. Personally, I don't use gear but I've found that bands especially can be useful for overhead pressing and jerks; chains are great for deloading front squats. So it's not solely a PL thing.
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