How To Set Up Chains For The Squat
The squat is hailed as being the king of all exercises, and for good reason. Here at THIRST, we use some form of squatting in every training program we write, but there are times where we may use it as an explosive based movement or look to get more from it with different training effects. Using chains for the squat is a great alternative to improving leg strength while decreasing the load in the bottom where some athletes might be more at risk. The problem lies in setting up the chains correctly.
When chains are set up correctly, the chains will deload into the ground meaning the athlete will have less weight on their back in the bottom of the squat, and more at the top end. The hardest part of the squat is the bottom part of the range of motion, and this is easy to see when you walk into most gyms and people are performing half squats. By using chains, we can decrease loads in the bottom helping instill confidence in the athlete as well.
We particularly like to set chains up to aid in power and speed development for some of our older and more seasoned athletes. By adding chains and having the athlete apply as much force into the barbell as possible, we can train and develop power in a safe manner with a relatively small learning curve (assuming they already know how to squat – which we would not use chains with an athlete if they did not know how to do this already). The chains will prevent the athlete from having to decelerate the bar at the top of the range of motion, which means more time that the athlete can apply maximal force at sub-maximal loads, developing more power and speed qualities over time.
Setting up chains for the squat is similar to the bench press, but you’ll need a longer feeder chains or system. You do not want the chains ran from a straight line from the barbell to the ground. The chains need to be at least doubled up, and ideally using some of the implements below to aid the set-up process.
What Will You Need?
You’ll need the following things to set up your chains correctly:
- EZ Loaders
- Minimum of one pair of 5/8″ chain or thicker
Once you have these, you’re good to go. However, based on your strength, you may need more than just one pair of chains. Ideally, you will have 20-25% of chain weight that you can use to get the desired training effect.
For example, a 400 pound squatter would want to have 80-100 pounds of chain on the bar at the top. Since each set of 5/8″ chain is approximately 20 pounds, this lifter would want at least 2 pairs of chains, or two sets per side.
Watch the video below to learn more about setting the chains up, and how to get the most of them in your training.
While there are a couple different ways to set up your chains, you mainly want to ensure you’re using the right chains and that you have enough of them to get the desired training effect. Having the chains run in one straight line from the barbell is incorrect, and is not doing you any favors to your training. If anything, it’s a call of attention that you don’t really understand the science behind accommodating resistance. Set your chains up correctly, so you can see your squat reap the benefits from your hard work, especially when it comes to improving speed and power.
Feeling confused? Have questions? Did we blow your mind with something? Let us know in the comments section.