Intesting info for those Westside Trainers

Adding Chains and Elastic Bands to Weights Does not Increase Effectiveness of Squat Exercises

Researchers from Marquette University have determined that using chains and elastic bands is no more beneficial than traditional barbell training for the squat exercise. Theoretically, augmenting either chains or bands to the barbell will increase the loading during the ascent phase. In sum, the load increases as the mechanical advantage increases. But no research has evaluated the purported advantages of these training claims. The purpose of this study was to assess motor unit activation, rate of force development, and peak force development of these variations of the squat.

Researchers examined EMG data for the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups, as well as mean and peak vertical ground reaction forces, for three conditions of the back squat. The squat conditions were 1) barbell and plates, 2) the barbell with plates and weighted chains, and 3) the barbell with elastic bands. The band and chain conditions were adjusted to equal the barbell condition. Eleven Division I athletes familiar with the squat techniques participated in the study.

After statistical analysis there were no differences found between any of the groups in ground reaction forces or EMG activity. This lack of difference throws doubt on the usefulness of performing squats combining barbell and weight plates with chain and elastic resistance.

Ebben W, Jensen R. (2002). Electromyographic and Kinetic Analysis of Traditional, Chain, and Elastic Band Squats. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 16(4):547 – 550. (12/10/02)

I’d be interested in seeing the training protocol they used with these athletes. More likely than not the scientists came up with a protocol that didn’t utilize the chains and bands effectively. Try telling Dave Tate or Louie Simmons that these techniques don’t work.

I saw the same thing in my NSCA newletter; I just didn’t have the balls to post it!

Seriously, though, in spite of the results, I have a hard time believing that chains at least increase the effectiveness of the exercise by increasing the resistance at the optimal portion of the strength curve.

I already posted this “study” on the last thread about chains and bands. It got bashed by everyone, including myself, but check out the last thread or Dave Tate’s website in his last mail bag. He tells you why the study is wrong. I will try and find it again for ya’ll but don’t know if i can today.
good luck

First of all, the researchers in this study only used chains and bands to replace 10% of the squat load. Take a look at the percentages of bands and chains that Westside uses and you’ll see that 10% is nowhere near the amount that Louie Simmons prescribes.

If you go back and reread the study, the authors state “The results of the present study question the potential advantage of performing squats with a load of approximately 10% squat RM added in the form
of chain or elastic resistance” (p549)

So what does this tell us? Using only 10% is not advantageous. How about using bands to replace upwards of 50% of the bar load as in a circa-maximal phase. In my opinion, this study is pretty limited in its scope and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you want to read a study that shows the positive benefits of accomodating resistance, check out documents/effectsofaccom-resis.htm

Ah yes, but what about that little thing called “undeniable real world evidence”?

What is stated above mentions nothing about tempo. Also, as far as the Westside style is concerned, there are two days for each exercise - max effort and dynamic. The groups with the bands and chains were only mimicking the dynamic day (as pointed out before, using only 10% of the load), and no max effort day was mentioned. This study might lend credence to the statement that accomodating resistance alone is no better than the “normal” way, but says nothing about the two being used in conjunction.


This isnt interesting. Its a poorly designed study. Only 10% of the weight was from bands or chains. This study is a joke.

there is no way that you can ‘prove’ one method to be wholy supperior to another. certainly bands and chains are not requisite to be strong as evidenced by a plethora of pl’ers that dont use them like ed coan.

Have you every tried lifting with bands? It makes a huge difference in a small amount of time.

We’ve already been through this. The study was conducted by people who did not know what the hell they were doing.

Even if the study could have been better, one would think there would have been some, small difference between the three groups if indeed chains and bands are effective…

Think about this people. If I’m using 200 lbs. for a dynamic squat day and I add 10% of band tension, as this retarded study did, I would be adding a whopping 10 lbs. of band tension on each side. No shit this study didn’t find a difference. There hardly is one. As pointed out, by using the average bands and having the tension upwards of 100 lbs. would likely be a different story.

the real problem with this study is it just tested fairly irrelevant features of lifting with bands and chains, not the results. louie simmons and others use chains and bands because they make you stronger in the long run. this study has no say in that. it could very well be that bands and chains cause increased neural drive during the exercise that leads to better adaptation, the study has nothing on that.

When the researchers can squat over 700lbs they can come talk to me…Until then, I am keeping my bands…

Actually, if there was no difference between the groups, then wouldn’t this study suggest that bands and chains are just as effective as plain old weight lifting - not less effective? If so, then the next question would be how the two work in conjunction, which is how they are typically used in practice.