Man wearing a chain at the gym

Exercise Bands and Chains: What You Should Know

You’ve been going to the gym consistently, eating clean, and making sure to take rest days. You had been making fantastic size, speed, or strength gains, but there’s one problem: your progress has stalled out.

You aren’t seeing increased muscle size, strength, or definition and wondering what’s going on. What could you be doing wrong? 

According to US News and World Report, you can reach a point where you stop seeing progress, especially if you do the same workouts day after day. In other words: you have reached a workout plateau. 

When your progress in the gym has slowed down, it can seem overwhelming to figure out exactly why. Workout plateaus happen for a variety of reasons, most often it is because your body gets accustomed to the same stresses and will not grow. Luckily, getting back to peak performance usually only requires changing up a few simple things during your regimen. 

Bands and Lifting Chains: What’s the Hype? 

Back when I was starting out in the gym, over a decade ago, I saw some guys in the back section. They had draped some chains over their barbell and were pushing some pretty heavy weights. I was confused about what they were doing.

What makes them so beneficial? They do some pretty amazing stuff, actually.

Adding extra resistance in the form of a chain provides a different distribution of weight during the exercise. It spreads the weight throughout the movement instead of during the initial lift. The resistance you normally feel at the bottom of the exercise won’t be as grueling. 

This is fantastic for people who have painful joints. Since the weight gets heavier the higher you lift, there is far less strain on joints at the lower portions of the movement.

What about bands, though? How do they play into the gain train? Turns out, when you perform any movement, your body passes a point where some of your muscles are no longer needed for the lift so they ‘turn off.’ Adding in resistance bands cause you to keep all muscles activated for the entire duration of the lift. In turn, this causes far more metabolic stress and overall muscle damage, which leads to far more size and strength gains.

The benefits of bands and chains can be seen quickly after they are implemented with compound movements. 

As Chris Beardsley of SandC Research put it, “bands, reverse bands, and chains all reduce the weight of the barbell and add resistance higher up in the lift.”

Overall, it makes the exercise more difficult to perform. Increasing metabolic stress, Central Nervous System activation, and muscle damage by switching up the routine, adding weight, or adding volume is how to find your way out of a plateau.

Workout bands and lifting chains will add great benefits to your existing workout routine during and after your plateau. They are both simple additions that provide results you can see and feel. 

Determination Leads to Results 

The effort you put into enhancing muscle growth after you learn how to use bands and chains will be incomparable to using just the weight bar for your compound movements like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. The best part? You don’t have to spend much money to get optimal results as any good strength gym will have chains handy, and most big gyms have bands readily available.

One thing to keep in mind with bands and chains is that over training is real risk with them. Stick to no more than 3 weeks of using them in a row before you take some time off from them.

Optimal Benefits of Bands   

Exercise Bands Help Improve Mobility and Focus

More weight on the bench means that you have to exert more control during the exercise. The use of bands helps your body learn how to better control those movements so you can ensure you are performing them correctly.  

They Activate Your Stabilising Muscles  

Anyone who has used resistance bands knows they can be a little unstable. You will learn to regain stabilization and feel exercises in your core, legs, and other parts of your body.   

Optimal Benefits of Chains 

It is all about the Strength Curves  

Chains are meant to add difficulty throughout the full range of the exercise. Adding them to your routine guarantees that your body will start seeing the results you’ve been missing. 

They Make Your Workouts Smooth

Using a chain on your bar is another way to put your muscles under tension for an extended amount of time. This will make the movement feel fluid. This fluid feeling will give you the illusion that the movement is smoother.

You Can Switch your warm-up to the use of bands and chains 

Incorporating bands and chains into your warm-up routine will provide you with the extra confidence you need to excel. You will get more power and force out of your movements. 

Unique Side Effects You Might Not Expect 

Bands Teach You to Feel 

Bands have a unique way of letting you know what is working within your movements and what isn’t. They will teach you to really feel the movements throughout your entire body. 

Chains Help with Control of the Bar 

The thought of adding a large chain to each side of the bar may seem strange at first, but it works. You won’t lose control of the bar as easily as before and feel the added strength you’ve gained in your arms. 

The Use Is Limitless 

Although training with a resistance band and chain on the bar is difficult at first, it plays a role in your overall fitness level. The use of both is limitless and you will always be able to come up with exercises that challenge you. 

The confidence you will gain after seeing results with bands and chains will almost be worth the plateau you experienced. If you still need a little motivation out of the plateau take a look at the pre-baked workout and tip cards on the site.    

The Cost Is Worth the Gain

Implementing bands and chains is an inexpensive way to ensure you are skipping right over that plateau with ease. While lifting chains are already in most powerlifting gyms, home gym owners can usually find a good set of bands for less than $50 and a pretty solid set of chains for under $100.. 

The increased confidence you see in yourself is well worth the cost and added difficulty. 

Men’s Health dives deeper into the topic of bands, explaining 28 types of resistance bands that you can pack in your gym bag.

Let us help you out.

If you have a desire to get moving, or you hit a plateau and need some help busting past it, and your doctor has cleared you to do so, hit us up. We’re here to help, offering a variety of customized workout plans to suit your goals.

Personal trainers, like those found here, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your fitness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just generally feeling better.

We can get you setup with a periodized workout plan, supplement information, and advice on nutrition to help you reach your goals.

The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.

Get into contact with us to find out what membership is right for you. In a CONDITIONerd program, you’ll be surrounded by others who can help you to get where you want to be.

Generally, our clients start to see some pretty awesome changes in 2-3 months time, some sooner.

You can easily incorporate the benefits of bands and chains into a routine by trying one of the training programs by CONDITIONerd. The programs are offered completely online and month-to-month. Free yourself the hassle of creating your own program and let a community of like-minded people help push you forward.