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    Bands vs Chains?

    I built my own deadlift platform, and I'm considering adding attachments for bands. I have a welder and the fabrication is fairly straightforward - but is there any reason I would want bands over chains? Chains just seem simpler - buy them and use them vs the cost of angle-iron and then bands. Used chains are fairly common where I come from, and even damaged chains I could weld together for desired weights.

    I've only been lifting since June and I'm curious what the differences are between them.
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    Bands vs. Chains?

    Rlly?





    You need a good rack, a bench, and a 300-lb Olympic weight set. Now, what was your question?

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    Good article on chains:

    http://www.westside-barbell.com/inde...003&Itemid=862

    Search that site, there is info on using bands on speed day.
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    Originally Posted by wrf85 View Post
    I've only been lifting since June and I'm curious what the differences are between them.
    The resistance curves are different. Below are the curves for Lifeline USA resistance cables. I think that the curves for bands used for barbell training will be similar. If you were to make a similar graph for a chain, I think it'd be pretty much linear. There's probably some interesting behavior that occurs as each link comes off the floor, but if you don't look at it too hard, it's going to be pretty much a straight line.

    I can't say what, if anything, this means for training. Note that the curves for the bands start to look pretty linear once you pass a certain amount of deflection. In practice there may not be a lot of difference aside from inertial effects.

    I think safety is a consideration. Bands will need to be replaced as they age. Depending on the lift, it could be very unsafe for a band to break while doing the lift. I think it is very unlikely for a chain to break when used for lifting purposes.

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    You can do "reverse band" lifts, but not reverse chain. Chains are precise on resistance added, bands are not.

    That said, you don't need them. They aren't really useful until you're in the advanced stage of lifting. As a novice/intermediate, simply deadlifting is a more effective use of training resources than "speed deadlifts" or deadlifts with chains, et al. This is true for all the lifts. When you become more advanced, they are useful for adjusting fatigue levels, but even that is wholly unnecessary.
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    Thanks for the advice guys! I think my idea was trying to help my deadlift lockout - which chains appear to be perfect for. I'm sure I can just keep deadlifting to increase my strength, and I can't say that I'm unhappy with a 465 deadlift at this point; but I'd love to work on my lockout to increase that. I'm also pretty keen on building my own gym up as a hobby. Unless there is a reason not to get chains I believe that is the route I'll go.

    Is there a reason not to use chains as a beginner? Arguing the value is one thing, but if it only helps "a little" I'll take it.
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    Originally Posted by wrf85 View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys! I think my idea was trying to help my deadlift lockout - which chains appear to be perfect for. I'm sure I can just keep deadlifting to increase my strength, and I can't say that I'm unhappy with a 465 deadlift at this point; but I'd love to work on my lockout to increase that. I'm also pretty keen on building my own gym up as a hobby. Unless there is a reason not to get chains I believe that is the route I'll go.

    Is there a reason not to use chains as a beginner? Arguing the value is one thing, but if it only helps "a little" I'll take it.
    TLDR: it's a more efficient use of training resources to perform the basic lifts without modification (I.e. boxes, chains, etc) - deadlifting will improve your deadlift better than speed deadlifts with chains.


    "While this sentiment about where geared lifters and raw lifters fail, respectively, is true- it is my experience that bands/chains are not without merit. For instance, if you lift alone and are trying to do DE work then bands and chains may be of use so that maximum acceleration -or at least more than otherwise- of the barbell can occur. I have played around with bands/chains and like them for short periods of time when dealing with an advanced trainee or intermediate who is has limited recovery capabilities from heavy sets across.

    Bottoms up squats, paused box squats/pin squats are all additional tools to help drive up the raw squat in situations where the trainee cannot squat effectively more than once per week. Just my .02."

    "1. What are your experiences with speed training for the basic lifts?
    I've done "strict" speed work on squats, benches, presses, and deadlifts- both with and without accommodating resistance (besides the press). I think if the intensity of the movements are correct for the application, i.e. the load is selected correctly, and the right amount of total volume is done then it can be a good thing. I don't think Westside or another guy on this forum choose the appropriate loads to optimize outcomes from power training.

    2. Which set and rep ranges on which percentages would you recommend me to use?
    Depends on the rest of the program, what block/cycle you're in and how much volume you need to drive adaptation. That being said, for a single effort kind of sport like WL or PL, intensities of 70-90% work really well, with 1-3 reps per set (depending on the intensity), and starting off with lower volume like 8 total reps moving up as necessary over time.

    3. Is accomodating resistance necessary for productive training in this modality?
    Not at all. I've gotten better results without it- though it does provide some training novelty and can be used to target weak areas."

    Those are a couple quotes from Jordan Feigenbaum on the topic. Next, read this thread in it's entirety.

    http://startingstrength.com/resource...ad.php?t=51126

    Although not about bands and chains, it covers variants of the main lifts. I even tried playing devil's advocate, but the logic presented by Jordan is pretty damn sound.
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    Originally Posted by wrf85 View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys! I think my idea was trying to help my deadlift lockout - which chains appear to be perfect for. I'm sure I can just keep deadlifting to increase my strength, and I can't say that I'm unhappy with a 465 deadlift at this point; but I'd love to work on my lockout to increase that. I'm also pretty keen on building my own gym up as a hobby. Unless there is a reason not to get chains I believe that is the route I'll go.

    Is there a reason not to use chains as a beginner? Arguing the value is one thing, but if it only helps "a little" I'll take it.
    try it and find out - that's the only way you will know for sure if it works for you.
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    Originally Posted by wrf85 View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys! I think my idea was trying to help my deadlift lockout - which chains appear to be perfect for. I'm sure I can just keep deadlifting to increase my strength, and I can't say that I'm unhappy with a 465 deadlift at this point; but I'd love to work on my lockout to increase that. I'm also pretty keen on building my own gym up as a hobby. Unless there is a reason not to get chains I believe that is the route I'll go.

    Is there a reason not to use chains as a beginner? Arguing the value is one thing, but if it only helps "a little" I'll take it.
    Try using a medium to moderately heavy weight. Start from the floor, pause right below your knees for one to two seconds, and finish your lift. Doing these should help your lockout.
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    Originally Posted by skrebs01 View Post
    Try using a medium to moderately heavy weight. Start from the floor, pause right below your knees for one to two seconds, and finish your lift. Doing these should help your lockout.
    I agree that paused variants are better than most other variants of the competition lifts.
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    also, if lockout is the problem with your deadlifts, then rack pulls and heavy holds for time should help. Personally, I got a lot of help from snatch grip deads, as they add more work to your upper back and grip, which is probably what is holding you back at lockout.
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    Here's my take since I've trained with both for years & years.

    Both are tools. That's the first thing most people don't realize or what to realize. They are not a replacement for more plates & they do not always translate over to real world gains of straight weight vs weight + resistance.

    Ok, we have that over with.

    Bands:
    I would say bands in general are better for blowing through a sticking point with lower weight. The resistance curve can be extreme, depending on how the bands are set up. This is good & bad. You can get very, very fast (GOOD!), but I don't always feel bands translate to that 90%+ range. They are also much harder on your joints. Keep that in mind if you want to apply them for benching.

    Chains:
    In contrast, I feel these really should only be used when you're working with heavier weight. You don't have to calculate & guess what the resistance curve is. You can easily figure out the weight of each link & know the weight at what part of the lift you are struggling with. You can also set up chains in a way where a lot of chain is being used at a certain part of the lift, so you aren't taxing yourself for, say, the first third of the pull. You can also add kettle bells or plates to cause a massive jump in weight. It's simply a very different experience. I feel, overall, chains do not increase a lifter's speed in any way comparably to bands.


    You have only been lifting a little while & have made really good results. I'd say focus on your hip strength & upper back strength. Are you having issues throwing your hips forward to lock out (obviously weak hips) and/or is your upper back rounding forward & you're unable to pull your shoulders back (weak upper back)? There's a lot of exercises to do that fix this that don't require resistance. Pin pulls with your max & heavier & excellent to train your CNS & get used to handling very heavy weights.

    If you don't know your weakness, you can't attack it. I'd first try to diagnose the weakest link & build from there. For example, if your hips are weak (most people's are), doing weighted hip thrusts are going to effect your gains & target your problem far more than deadlifts with resistance.


    If you're serious about lifting, there's no reason not to buy chain &/or bands, especially if you can get them at a great price. There's not going to be a solid argument on here saying not to buy bands/chains. If anything, they can help diagnose problems as well since you're pulling against dynamic resistance. They just aren't something you need every workout & more so just a took to fix an issue. Sorry if I'm redundant. Just trying to get the point across.

    Good luck!
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    This popped up on my suggested video list just a minute ago. Seems relevant.

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    Originally Posted by oldschoolifter View Post
    Good article on chains:

    http://www.westside-barbell.com/inde...003&Itemid=862

    Search that site, there is info on using bands on speed day.
    An excellent article on chains. Louie Simmons is the definitive expert on this.

    Bands are excellent training tools to use. They are used more for dynamic/speed training but can be used for max effort too. They provide some similar benefits of the chains in that they overload the movement at the top. In addition to working with the natural strength curve, as chains do, they also train the elasticity of the muscles very effectively. Without getting overly technical, it creates power more effectively. Power is the ability to develop strength quickly. The ability to develop power, and training with bands, helps those who desire to lift heavy weights. I find that bands do a bit better job at helping to work through a sticking point.

    When using bands you're basically doing reps as quickly as possible. When you watch the guys at Westside do this you'll notice that once that bar starts moving, they are moving it as quickly as possible. Using about 50% of your one rep max weight for 3-5 reps is typically considered the best recipe for building explosive strength. Though you can use them in other training schemes as many powerlifters do. There isn't an accomplished deadlifter anywhere who doesn't incorporate both chains and bands in their training programs. You'll even find a some people using both chains and bands on the same lift.

    You need to make sure that your technique is perfect on banded deadlifts, and that you have the ability to develop total body tension before you lift. Not doing this will likely result in injury. Bands will pull you in certain directions if you're not careful.

    Also, you don't need a special deadlift platform to use bands. You can just hook them around your feet;


    There is a lot of misunderstanding as it regards to using bands. The best resource I've found on the subject of bands is Westside Barbell's Reactive Method DVD.
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    Originally Posted by smokeater View Post
    There isn't an accomplished deadlifter anywhere who doesn't incorporate both chains and bands in their training programs.
    ...wut?

    Smokeater making stuff up again.
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    ...wut?

    Smokeater making stuff up again.
    Of all the things I wrote, that is what you chose to respond to? Do you troll these boards looking to argue?
    Last edited by smokeater; 09-15-2014 at 05:47 PM.
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    Originally Posted by smokeater View Post
    Can you think of any?
    Ever heard of a guy named Dan Green?

    I'm sure I could dig up a giant list of raw lifters if I felt like it. Generally, geared lifters use it since it mimics the resistance curve of the gear they lift with. Raw lifters don't get the same benefit from training with them (or boxes, etc).
    Last edited by cmarti063; 09-15-2014 at 06:11 PM. Reason: spelling
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    Originally Posted by smokeater View Post
    Of all the things I wrote, that is what you chose to respond to? Do you troll these boards looking to argue?
    Nah, I just happen to disagree with quite a bit of what you post. In this case, I don't "disagree" with the concepts behind what you said about accommodating resistance, but if you are a raw lifter, they are less than optimal (again, you can get progress using them, you'll have better progress not using them). I posted a very detailed discussion about these concepts earlier in the thread, and I see you didn't read through it.
    Last edited by cmarti063; 09-15-2014 at 06:11 PM. Reason: spelling
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  19. #19
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Ever heard of a guy named Dan Green?

    I'm sure I could dig up a giant list of raw lifters if I felt like it. Generally, geared lifters use it since it mimics the resistance curve of the great they lift with. Raw lifters don't get the same benefit from training with them (or boxes, etc).
    You mean the powerlifter Dan Green, who posted a video on his facebook page yesterday of him doing banded deadlifts?

    I think you need to educate yourself about what raw lifting is. Raw lifting is not using suits, shirts, wraps, etc and are drug free. It doesn't mean not using bands or chains. If you are going to insist on being as obnoxious as you are, you should cover your bases a little better than this.
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    This popped up on my suggested video list just a minute ago. Seems relevant.

    Awesome vid !
    Thanks for posting.
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  21. #21
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    Originally Posted by smokeater View Post
    You mean the powerlifter Dan Green, who posted a video on his facebook page yesterday of him doing banded deadlifts?

    I think you need to educate yourself about what raw lifting is. Raw lifting is not using suits, shirts, wraps, etc and are drug free. It doesn't mean not using bands or chains. If you are going to insist on being as obnoxious as you are, you should cover your bases a little better than this.
    Ha! Touché. He's written numerous articles about how ineffective bands/chains were. On that Facebook post, he even said "for a change of pace." They are not typical of his lifting program.

    I'm quite educated, actually. And "Raw" does not mean drug free, and sometimes it includes wraps. Drug free is determined by federation (some have both tested and untested classes), as are wraps (some federations allow knee sleeves, some allow wraps. (IPF-tested, sleeves only, APF-untested, sleeves only, APA-both tested and untested, wraps allowed, etc), If you are going to be as obnoxious as you are, you should cover your bases a little better than this.
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  22. #22
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    During deadlift a pile of chains can get in the way of the plates, and you need a lot to notice their effect.
    Bands won't get in the way, but can hit you in the face when they snap, or their anchor point fails
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    Spend a bit of time painting the chains if you want to avoid getting rust stains on shoes, clothes, furniture etc,
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  24. #24
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Ha! Touché. He's written numerous articles about how ineffective bands/chains were. On that Facebook post, he even said "for a change of pace." They are not typical of his lifting program.
    I'll be honest, I didn't know who Dan Green was. It took me all of about 30 seconds to google this complete stranger and see a video of him using the bands that you said he didn't use. I'm really not interested in watching you backtrack.
    I'm quite educated, actually. And "Raw" does not mean drug free, and sometimes it includes wraps. Drug free is determined by federation (some have both tested and untested classes), as are wraps (some federations allow knee sleeves, some allow wraps. (IPF-tested, sleeves only, APF-untested, sleeves only, APA-both tested and untested, wraps allowed, etc), If you are going to be as obnoxious as you are, you should cover your bases a little better than this.
    In other words many definitions of "raw" does in fact mean drug free?
    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Nah, I just happen to disagree with quite a bit of what you post. In this case, I don't "disagree" with the concepts behind what you said about accommodating resistance, but if you are a raw lifter, they are less than optimal (again, you can get progress using them, you'll have better progress not using them). I posted a very detailed discussion about these concepts earlier in the thread, and I see you didn't read through it.
    First you say you disagree with me, then you say you don't disagree with me.

    I do enjoy how you reference your own previous posts as though they are some type of authority on a subject. The bolded text is more than enough for a person to not take you seriously. We are done for tonight.
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  25. #25
    Gandalf of the Gym cmarti063's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokeater View Post
    I'll be honest, I didn't know who Dan Green was. It took me all of about 30 seconds to google this complete stranger and see a video of him using the bands that you said he didn't use. I'm really not interested in watching you backtrack.

    In other words many definitions of "raw" does in fact mean drug free?

    First you say you disagree with me, then you say you don't disagree with me.

    I do enjoy how you reference your own previous posts as though they are some type of authority on a subject. The bolded text is more than enough for a person to not take you seriously. We are done for tonight.
    Drug free is entirely determined by federation (ipf geared class is drug free, too), there is a difference between doing something for novelty vs incorporating it in your program (Ilya Ilyin quarter squatted one time for fun, doesn't mean he "does quarter squats"), and the post referenced above is a conversation with Dr. Feigenbaum on this very topic, where he discusses how, basically, Louie doesn't know what he's saying about this (f-max curves, et al). Finally, you can get progress using a bowflex, to a point, but that doesn't make it optimal. Talking to you is like talking to a 6 year old. I'm done with you altogether.
    Last edited by cmarti063; 09-16-2014 at 04:07 AM.
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  26. #26
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    You don't need either until you're pulling at least 500, but more like 600 IMO

    Chains have more potential to get you hurt especially as a total newb

    Also 465 dead after two months lifting? Rly?
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  27. #27
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Drug free is entirely determined by federation
    It's funny how you agree with the point I'm making yet are going to so much effort to avoid saying so.

    the post referenced above is a conversation with Dr. Feigenbaum on this very topic, where he discusses how, basically, Louie doesn't know what he's saying about this (f-max curves, et al)
    Theory vs Real world proven results that contradict those theories

    I'm done with you altogether.
    I will miss you arguing, over things you don't even disagree with, simply because you are looking to argue.
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