Get Greater Strength Gains with ChainsBy Rich Thurman, MA, CSCS, CPT on August 8, 2012@bangkoktrainer
There’s a lot of talk about training with bands these days and they are a great asset to training as they can add more stimulus and since resistance increases throughout the exercise, this requires your neuromuscular system to recruit more muscle throughout the movement. In other words your muscle has to continue to accelerate through the movement as opposed to slowing the weight down.
This is a similar principle that exists with chains. By attaching chains to a barbell you can add variable weight. The key is to add the chains so that they are just barely touching the floor at the top of your movement. So if you’re setting up for squats, when the bar is on your shoulders none of the links should be on the floor.
The cool thing about chains is that they swing from side to side so they require a little increased stability. Another great thing when working with chains is that as more links are on the floor, the weight is unloaded. In other words the weight gets lighter as you bottom out in your movement. However, when you are in the concentric phase of the exercise the weight is increasing, requiring more muscle recruitment and acceleration of the weight continuously throughout the range of motion.
Working with chains is a great way to increase strength and power. For athletes it’s a must as the one thing that athletes are most interested in is acceleration. I consider everyone to be an athlete as we all need to learn to accelerate, apply power and force to move and perform better.
The one drawback to chains is that they are noisy so they can be quite unwelcome in most gym settings. Bands make a great alternative as they’re not noisy and easier to attach to equipment. Either one of these great tools will help you add new stimulus, help you increase muscle recruitment, strength, metabolic cost and get an awesome variation to your workouts.
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