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How To Workout Using Heavy Chains, and different ways to use them while exercising

Updated on January 30, 2014

Using chains to workout with has been around for years now. Many users have used it to increase explosiveness, speed, or perhaps you might of heard people say it allows them to workout harder? The main reason for this comes back to high school physics and work = force X distance, or power = force X speed. Either way by increasing one of the variables you increase your impact on your muscles, thus leading to more muscle development. To take advantage of working out while using chains, is to perform exercises where the chains roll or bundle up on the ground during the exercise movements.


Explanation on How Lifting With Chains Work

As the chains gather together on the ground the amount you are lifting begins to feel lighter since you are moving around less of a workload. However as you progress through the exercise the chain will begin to unravel, and with every link that unravels the more weight will be added to your workout until max weight of the chain is added. A good example of this would be using the classic bench press. Say you are benching 150 pounds with a 25 pound chain on each side of the barbell, for a total of 200 pounds on the bar. At the bottom portion of the lift when the barbell is just above your chest the chains will be rolled on the ground. Now as you lift and begin to press the bar up, the chains will begin to unravel off the ground. As you continue pressing up the barbell the weight will increase until arms are fully extended and chain is fully lifted off the ground. Remember to also check with your physician before performing any new exercise!

Some Widely Used Lifts Using Chains

  • Chest Press & Bench Press – Have equal chains put on each side of the barbell. The weight gets easier as you go down and increases as you press bar up. Good idea to have a spotter or safety bar in position.
  • Chin-up / Pull-up - This exercise is similar to using weighted vest were you can remove and add weight as needed. While performing this exercise the drop set method is usually best to be used. Ensure you are able to safely use the chin up bar and able to get down when needed with chains on you.

  • Pushups – Chains are fun to use while doing pushups. It works similar to drop sets method of working out. As you fatigue you just remove some of the chain from off your back and then back to performing more pushups. Do this till fatigue. Try to limit the amount of chain placed on the back of your neck during this exercise.
  • Squats & Dead lifts - Both squats, dead lifts and a few similar types of exercise movements work the same. As you are performing the exercise the chains will gather on the floor. As you explode up, resistance will increase. Using chains on squats really makes it a different feeling. Be sure to start out with lighter chains and a squat safety rail used as well. It can be a surprise when you get into a low squat and you begin to stand back up and the chain weight begins to get added.

Have you ever added chains to your exercises?

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