As I flip the ol Facebooks, Instagrams, and YouTubes I constantly come across a lot of people using chains in there lifts. Although I think this is awesome, it seems as though lots of them never got the memo on how to set them up and use them correctly. So in this little blog I will go over setting up chains, why and also pop some vids. I'm going to try to not get to technical on you and just give you the basics and maybe some tips to help you out. After you read all this please take a look at the vids I posted for your viewing pleasure.
The goal when setting up chains is that we get as much of the chain to unload at the bottom of the lift while maintaining some chain touching the ground at the top in either the squat or the bench.
Here is a picture of how NOT to set your chains up.
In the picture above you will see the chain attached from on end with the rest of it hanging down. You will see chains sold with some contraption to hook it to the bar as well. Shy away from places that sell these. First reason is because you don't need that shit you need leader chains to hook them on the bar and two because these sellers don't have a clue and are just trying to make money off you because they think they are the "cool" thing. In the pic above if you were to picture somebody squatting you would see as the bar lowers only about 5-6 links of that chain would be unloaded at the bottom of the lift. Now lets say each link is about 1 lb. That's a total of 5-6 lbs of resistance accommodated or change of weight through the movement. So a total of 10-12 lbs out of the 40 lbs of chain that's hanging on there. Sure doesn't sound like what they are meant to do to me. Now lets take a look at how it should be done.
In these pics you can see how as you descended in the squat you would be able to unload most of the chain if not all at the bottom of the lift. As you ascended back up you would load all the chain back up. That's how it's done. A good rule of thumb is to have 3 links as shown in the pic above on the ground when you are setting the height of the chain with the bar in the rack where you will squat out off. You always want at least a link of chain touching the ground while you are standing before your squat unless you are using the chains for more of a stability work purpose.
Wanted to toss in a couple tips that we have come across when setting chains up for the bench. One thing I ran into when setting that chains up for bench was the range of motion is shorter in the bech than the squat. Meaning the bar doesn't have to travel so far up and down, exspessially for my tiny ass. To work around this and get the chains to be able to fully deload at the bottom we attach the bottom of the chain up higher to make the whole stack of chain a bit shorter. Below are a few pics to help explain.
So in the first pic we lay the chain out longer than normal, second pic we take the remaining leader chain and put it through the end links of the chain and attach up higher off the ground. Now when at the bottom of the bench the chain is fully de-loaded. If I was not to do this we would get about half of the chain de-loaded at the bottom.
Another easy tip, set up both sets of chains on one side together. This helps get them both the same length quick and easy.
Next tip, although may sound stupid, was something that just had to be done. Now we have all sorts of sets of chains. All 5/8's and a few smaller sets. Now they all look the same from a distance, but they are from different places and are all different. We have 3 sets that are the same and others that are from different places. What happens is some are longer some are shorter. Some of them have different leader chains and let me tell you this turns into a mess. Constantly having to lay them out and match them back up is a major pain in the ass. What we have done now is color coded them in pairs and each pair has a corresponding color for where it is hung. Now this may sound anal, but if it saves me from having to pull them all down and lay them all out every few days it's worth it to me.
OK that's it, short and sweet! I'll leave you with some videos that I hope can hammer home what I am trying to get across. Set your shit up right and get the most benifit out using chains.
Above the man Louie Simmons on chains
Below another of my favorites from EliteFTS.