Using chains when doing squats

June 3, 2010

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Create your own spreadsheet for your training cycle to help with the speed of your workout.

When doing squats it is a very effective training tool to use suspended chains.  The way to set up is to hang two 8 foot chains over the mono-lift.  Each chain should be in line with the grip rings and half the chain should be on each side of the bar so the bar tracks between each side.

On a dynamic lift day use the chain squats as a substitute or to replace box squats.  Lifters that have lower back or disc issues will find suspended chain squats a safe and also less painful alternative because they eliminate compression on the disc that box squats may cause.  The chain height can be adjusted to any height that follows your current training protocol.  You also have to remember that as the weights get heavier, your squat depth will change due to spinal compression.  Now that you have experimented with the set up and feel of the type of resistance that you would normally use with chains you should use the same rep scheme as well as a slight to moderate pause when using chains.

Chain squats can be used to create a speed or strength phase for implementation on dynamic or max effort day.  Using the set-up listed above, create your own wave or use the one we use regularly at points in our training cycle as a replacement for dynamic days.

Example workout:

Week 1: 35%, bar weight plus a pair of heavy bands plus the following chain weight added on; all performed for two reps per set.

Set 1–3: pair ½” link chains

Set 2–4: pair ½” link chains

Set 3–6: pair ½” link chains

Set 4–8: pair ½” link chains

Sets 5–10: pair ½” link chains

Week 2: 35%, bar weight plus a pair of heavy bands and a pair of average bands plus the same chain weight as week one

Week 3: 35%, bar weight plus two pair of heavy bands with the same chain weight as weeks one and two

Week 4: deload, 45%, bar weight plus the following chain weight only

Sets 1–4: five pair ½” link chains

Sets 5–8: 10 pair ½” link chains

Use chain squats for max effort day by creating a 4–16 week training cycle based on a peak at the end of the cycle for your target meet. All squats are done at 6 inches and 4 inches above parallel in briefs only (belt optional). All squats are done at 2 inches above parallel with briefs, a suit and your belt. All reps performed at parallel should be done in full gear with knee wraps, and all squats performed free of chains should be done in full gear with knee wraps and a trusted team member to judge depth. The following is only a guide. The percentages are based on a target max for your training cycle, and the weights may need to be adjusted at some point. Create your own spreadsheet for your training cycle to help with the speed of your workout.