Powerlifting & Weightlifting Chains for Strength Training
Weight lifting chains are a fantastic way to take your workouts to the next level. Although they can look intimidating, there are clear benefits and advantages to using them so it’s not a question of whether you should buy them, it’s a question of when you should buy them!
Strength training is centred around increasing the tension for an exercise. This is usually achieved through putting more plates on a barbell or picking up the heavier dumbbells. However, chains offer increased tension in a versatile and adaptable way.
According to strength and conditioning research and testing, strength training is about shifting the force velocity curve up and to the right. To achieve this, you need to train with heavy weights and train at high intensities. Resistance training achieves both aspects in a very effective way. To do this, you can use resistance bands or heavy chains. Resistance bands are great for beginners and for traveling, however, if you’re serious about applying a larger load to your training, then look for heavy weight lifting chains.
Heavy chains can be used in a variety of exercises and workouts, and you can be as creative as you like. Commonly, they are used to optimize dips, bench press, deadlifts and military presses. The benefits of lifting with heavy chains are most realized during exercises that have an ascending strength curve, meaning exercises that require a large amount of force to be produced during extension. This includes exercises like squats, deadlifts, and dips.
Why Do Chains Work?
Chains work because they increase the relative strength required to complete a lift. You are required to push harder and more intensely through the end of the lift and this means that a larger relative force is maintained during the workout.
Chains are great at developing power, as opposed to just strength. Power is key in sport and is based on the ability to push or pull weight at speed. Using chains in your workouts will help develop your explosive strength, and this is a key component to any sport or competitive powerlifting.
Athletes who successfully develop and exploit explosive strength, such as the All Black’s Sonny Bill Williams, have a big advantage at being able to perform powerful movements in a short amount of time.
In short, explosive power is something that is just as important as the ability to lift heavy weights.
Chains aren’t alone as a powerlifting tool to optimize workouts. They are plenty of other pieces of powerlifting gear that can help progress your workouts. They are all based on similar science that is focused on increasing the tension of an exercise and encourages your muscles to adapt to new kinds of demands to complete an exercise.
Buy Weight Lifting Chains
Chains come in many different sizes and weights. Depending on your experience, strength, and aims, you’ll favour certain types of chains over others. They also come in different lengths so make sure you acknowledge the length as this is quite influential on how you can incorporate it in your workouts.
Another important thing to ensure is that the chains come with high quality collars to attach to a bar.
Chains are a great investment and you want them to last a long time. This means looking for ones with coatings that will prevent rusting. If the chains start rusting, they won’t last much longer.
For the big and strong. These heavy duty chains are perfect for wrapping around bars during compound lifts. Look for links that are welded together for extra durability.
These barbell chains can be used to give a progressive lift. For example, as the bar lifts, more links will we lifted off the ground, which systematically increases the weight applied to your muscles.
These heavy chains are also useful for throwing on sleds or incorporating into other workouts to offer an increased load.
These chains will be around +40kgs.
Lightweight chains may be preferred for certain exercises or beginners. These chains are made of smaller links and weigh closer to 10-20kgs. These would be more suitable for dips as adding a heavy chain around your shoulders for dips may be too much of an addition to actually complete the movement.
As chains are being increasingly used in WODs and other functional fitness workouts, these lighter chains are probably easier to incorporate.
Chains are certainly a useful tool for developing strength and power. They go beyond being useful just for powerlifters and should be considered by anyone wanting to get fitter and stronger. It is possible to make your own DIY chains if you want, however, I’ve found the reliability and quality of the weight lifting chains (as opposed to using industry chains) is very noticeable.