What’s up Gronk Fitness!
Chains! Where do we stand on weightlifting chains? Well, let’s start with the basics.
If you have an Olympic Bar, an EZ Bar or a Hex Bar, you can used chains in addition to your standard weight plates or even replace them completely. Alternatively, chains can also be used with bodyweight movements such as Pull-Ups, Push-Ups and Dips to make them even more challenging and more rewarding.
Lifting Chains Vs Standard Weight Plates
Although it might seem obvious, using lifting chains means that the weight of the chain progressively increases as more of the chain lifts off the ground. This means that the weight you are lifting will start becoming heavier and heavier, providing more resistance at the TOP of the range of motion, as opposed to the beginning of the movement.
Now, this effect is very similar to resistance bands but in our opinion, it is greatly intensified with the use of chains.
WHY USE LIFTING CHAINS IN YOUR ROUTINES?
1. Make Functional Strength & Power Gains
The most important benefit of lifting chains is that they simply match your lifting leverages. That means that the resistance is lightest when your leverage is at its weakest and it gradually increase as your leverage improves.
Think about the Bench Press for example. When the bar lies on top of your chest, the majority of the weight of the chain will be on the floor and OFF your chest. This is inarguably the hardest part of the range of motion of the Bench Press. Now, as you start to push the bar away from your body, more and more of the weight of the chains will have an effect on your chest, making your lockout harder and harder.
This is truly an amazing way of pursuing strength and power gains while preserving a healthy chest and set of shoulders.
2. Build Up Your Muscle Mass Faster
Although barbells and dumbbells are more than enough on their own, lifting chains will help you MAXIMIZE your muscle building potential. And that’s because they can perfectly combine with barbells and provide an extra stimulus for your muscles, forcing them to adapt and grow.
Always remember that your muscles require a stimulus to adapt and grow but they can get overused or even injured when the same stimulus is applied over and over again for a long time. That’s why it’s a good idea to spice-up your exercise selection by performing alternatives or variations of the same exercises you are currently doing.
For example, if you keep on doing heavy Bench Presses year-round, there is a serious chance that you will eventually stop making pressing gains or that you’ll get injured. If however, you perform the Standard Bench Press this week and then switch over to the Chain Bench Press the next week, and then you use Pause Bench for your third week, it’s very unlikely that’ll stop making gains or ever get injured.
3. Enhance Your Core Strength & Performance
Now, lifting chains are able to stimulate the body in weird and unique ways. Just think about all the possibilities that arise from the use of chains. The chains might start swinging from side to side or drag on the floor, stimulating your core muscles to have to stabilize much more than performing the standard variation of any exercise.
More than that, chains force you to use more fast-twitch muscle fibers which is always good for explosive athletes, including basketball, football, tennis players, even sprinters.
WHICH EXERCISES CAN BENEFIT THE MOST BY USING CHAINS?
- The Big 3 – Your Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press will immediately get to the next level with the implementation of chains. Military Presses with chains is also a smart move.
- The Bodyweight 3 – Your Pull-up, Push-up and Dips will become much stronger, much faster. In fact, try the chain variation for a few weeks, then switch back over to the standard variation and watch how many more repetitions you can do with just your bodyweight.
- Core Exercises – Try Farmers Walks, Sled Push & Pull and if you want a challenge, try Battle Rope Waves using lifting chains! Your shoulders, back and arms will be sore in places you have never felt before!
Before you start experimenting with weightlifting chains, make sure you have a solid foundation, good technique and have built respectable strength using less advanced techniques. And as always, before you even think about using lifting chains, be sure to…Get Your Mind Right.