T Nation

Fast Concentrics vs. Bands/Chains


I see a lot of talk about how useful bands and chains are for increasing strength. The only problem, is that the gym i train in doesn't have either, and I could buy them, but am not sure if my gym will give me crap for bringing my own equipement.

Ive been reading some of CW's articles about lifting with speed, or at least attempting to lift with speed if the load is heavier. Basically in doing so, you'll recruit more motor units than if you were not "trying as hard" and thus build more strength. Would this technique have a similar effect as training with bands/chains.


Say i was squatting with 200lbs and this weight allowed me to do 5 reps of full range of motion. The bottom portion of the lift may be my weakest point, and since you can only lift the weight that your equal to your weakest point, every other portion of the range would be lighter than optimal weight.

Now I could use bands, so that as I got higher in the squat the resistance increased, thus training with more "optimal" resistance.


I could stick with the 200lbs, or even a bit less, and focus on lifting fast as CW mentions.

Will this be a good substitute for bands/chains, or not?


In CW's fast lift method, you put all your effort in the bar, enough such that you give it momentum, causing it to "feel" lighter (think about how tension is almost zero right after the explosion phase of an oly lift). This means muscle tension decreases, giving them less stimulus to grow.

One alternative is to lift the bar slower, just enough to keep momentum in its place. The problem with this is that you deliberately use less muscle fibres, giving you a suboptimal stimulus.

Here's where chains come in. Since some parts of the chain are stationary on the floor while you lift it, these parts have no momentum. If you lift them off the floor, you impart momentum in them, but they also take away some momentum from you, giving you more muscular tension.

Bands have an even more profound effect. Since the bands' weight is insignificant, their momentum can be ignored, yet it still forces you down. No matter how fast you lift, momentum won't "take over" and your muscles get all the tension.

Hence, with using bands and chains, you get the best of both worlds - maximal motor recruitment and constant muscular tension. Do both.

BTW, using chains and bands are an advanced tool and plateau buster. Don't abuse and overuse them.