T Nation

Chain Length


I plan on buying some 5/8 chain in the near future. I know 5' seems to be the standard length but I have also seen people recommend 6'. I am trying to figure out what length would be best suited for me.

I am 6'0" with proportionately long legs, shorter torso. I pull conventional, have more of Olympic squat style, and bench somewhat narrow.

I know the safe answer is to "when in doubt, buy longer" but if you think 5 ft of chain is sufficient, I would rather save the extra money. With 4 segments, this could mean almost $40 difference in the total price. Thanks in advance for any input.


I don't know if this info might help or not, but...........I met Andy Bolton, last year and I spent about a good 13 hours with him, he said specifically on chains, doesn't matter which kind of chain you get, as long as the last chainlink om the chains you use when squatting is hanging about 2 inches off the ground.

Hope that helps. But for general reccomendation, most people I know do the 5/8's.

Have a good day.


5 ft would be kinda close for your height when squatting I would recommend going with the 6ft to be.


Thanks guys. Yeah sounds like I should play it safe and buy in increments of 6'.

Appreciate the info.


Hanging? I thought you wanted a link or two on the ground already, so they don't swing around. I've seen DeFranco use hanging chains as a way to train extra stability, but I couldn't imagine this is desirable most of the time. Sounds like a fun ab exercise, I guess.

Not that I'm arguing with Bolton, but just curious why you'd want the chains to swing.



I trained with chains on squat one time, and since Im tall as fuck, the chains were off the ground when I unracked it...it was incredibly diffiucult to stablize things at heavier weight...probably not an issue for actual DE movements, but not good for your ME IMO


i use chains alot, i love em.

i bought 3/8 chain, biggest i could find, i have 6 foot leads, and 5 foot leads.

5's are good for deadlift and bench.

6's are for squat.

thats what ive found in my training.


For what it's worth the chains for sale on most PL sites ar 5'. When doubled they are 2.5' and that seems to work well for most folks. The general guideling is that the chain is all or mostly on the floor when you are at parallel or on bar on the chest and then leave a link or two on the floor at lock out to prevent from swinging. That is unless you specifically want it to swing as others have mentioned. The beauty of chain is that YOU decide how much you lift off the ground by adjustiong the length of the feeder chains.
There's nothing wrong with going a bit longer or in some cases shorter. I found an industrial chain and rigging place here in Nashville. They had "used" 3/4" chain that they sold me for $5 a foot. Since this stuff is heavy as hell I bought 4 pieces at 3' lengths and each one is 25#.


You can always adjust the length using the feeder chain.


strengthdawg, i now hate you....i tried to get my local railroad office to sell me some 1" chain but they said that i had to be an employee.


I'm 6 foot 2 and 5 foot sections are fine. Just use a feeder chain and the work for everything.


Louie Simmons and Dave Tate have both said that almost all the chain should have deloaded on the floor at the bottom of your squat, so your feeder chain needs to be long enough to allow that to happen (it needs to almost be touching the floor at the bottom). 6 foot of chain is ideal, you just hook it on in the middle so that it will hang down 3 foot below your feeder chain. 3 foot of 'stroke' for your bench, squat or DL is more that adequate for someone over 6 foot. Unless its being used as a stabilization exercise, the chain should be in contact with the floor at all times