Recently, nothing new has been invented in strength sports. All the principles that athletes now use have long been known to our ancestors of the previous couple centuries. There was no distinction between power sports - all serious athletes in a wide variety of sports increased their strength with weight exercises. Method of trial and error resulted in several complexes, strength exercises and training systems that we use up to this day. One of these methods is training with chains.

Ok, sure, weightlifting chains are an old tool that helps develop power capacities. It's clear. But how do they do it, and how is it applicable in practice?

How do chains work?

Chains, due to the specifics of the load that they provide, can bring great benefit even to the most experienced athletes, who have already seemed to have tried everything and have long gone to the limit of their capabilities. Even those who have devoted years to weight training have noted how much the style and effectiveness of training has changed since the incorporated chains into their training rig. But what is the trick?

Well, there are three important factors that chains directly affect:

  • Variable resistance
  • Momentum
  • Routine diversity

If these words don't tell you anything, let's take a closer look at them.

Variable resistance

Everything is very simple here. Unlike conventional static weights, weightlifting chains give the bar some dynamics. After all, the chains do not hang on the bar with all their weight all the time, and most of the lift they partially lie on the floor. This means that the weight of the bar is not constant and grows while being lifted. It sounds very simple. In practice, even the easiest exercise with chains becomes much more difficult. Our brain is a very linear thing that likes to act according to prearranged schemes, and any variation is perceived as a challenge that shocks muscles.


Momentum is very crucial for any strength exercise. Since we tend to lose power and concentration as the exercise progresses, it is the power of impulse and inertia that determine whether we can cope with the movement or give up without reaching the peak. Chains in this application are very helpful. As the weight of the bar increases as it rises, all these inertia tricks become almost useless. No, with the chains you have to struggle every single inch and control the entire amplitude. And as a result, as soon as you remove the chains, you start to notice that common static weights no longer seem so challenging to you, and the mechanics of the exercises become very simple.

Routine diversity

As mentioned before, experienced athletes, in spite of all their experience, often suffer from the so-called "plateau" problem. This concept implies a strong or even a complete slowdown of the progress in training due to the reach of the physical maximum of the athlete. What is the solution? All have their own. Someone is constantly changing the training plan, someone takes a "temporary rest", someone just gets desperate and quits. And here is where the chains can really shine. They are able to bring the very diversity, which is so lacking for athletes who have spent years exercising. A new, completely unusual load very effectively diversifies the routine and gives a new impetus to development.

Chains – are they a key for all?

Well, not really. Do not take chains as a win-win. Much depends on the level of the athlete and his attitude. Chains are just one of the tools. But fairly speaking a tools that is very effective and useful.