T Nation

Olympic Lifting with Chains?


This may sound like a stupid question, but why not train oly lift with chains? I have to be honest I only really know about chains from the training lab. As I understand they are use to increase speed? So I was thinking wouldn't it be beneficial to use with oly lift if you reached a plateau?


No one of any note has ever gotten anywhere with it. This would indicate it probably doesn't work for most lifters.

Go against convention and have a go :smiley: but seems wildly dangerous and pointless. Just add more weight tot he bar imo.



The main use of chains is in powerlifting as if you compete with equipment the equipment gives you more help at the bottom of the lift and less at the top. So chains help as it means you lift less weight at the bottom and more at the top. The olympic lifts do not work in this way which is why there isn't so much carry over.

The other use of chains is so you have to keep pushing to the end of the lift rather than decelerate as the bar reaches it's maximum height. Like on squats if you kept pushing as hard as you can the bar will pop off your shoulders, so people slow down at the top. So chains help in that respect. Again the olympic lifts already require you to keep pushing/pulling the bar up as you need to get under it. So again not much transfer.


First of all thanks for the input. I see where you are coming from with the chains and the lifts, but I would like to hear what you think of this article I have found and tell me what your thoughts are on it?


me personally have only got into the oly lifts in the last 6 months, so would this training this article talks about be more suited for a advance trainee?


Weird, that article is hosted by a site that sells chains . . .


Forget chains, lump on 20-30kg to your FS and get good technique.

The basics take you VERY VERY FAR.



An Olympic lifting friend of mine trained with Mel Siff back in the day and used bands, chains, hydraulic setups, etc. as part of Siff's reserach. He said he got strong but his olympic lifts didnt move.

These lifts require tempo and rhythm. Bands and chains will throw those off and hence affect your timing on the lifts.


I think even if injury and technique risks were out of the picture it just still wouldn't make sense. You use accommodating resistance when the strength curve requires it. for example - the bottom of a squat is harder than the top so you use chains to make the top almost as challenging as the hole. But with the olympic lifts I don't think that the first pull is every limiting. You would be making the hardest part of the lift harder while doing nothing to the 'easiest' part.. just my thoughts.


I thought that would come up :slight_smile: To be fair its the only article I have found on the net related to my question.


What do you mean that he got stronger but his oly lift didn't move?


Remember that olympic lifts are ballistic movements which require power. Pure strength is more characterised in the ability move a heavy weight (as in olympic lifting), but through a much slower grinding movement (powerlifting, strongman, etc).

And with regards to chains, they work with pure strength because the movements are controlled and the chains add weight as the come of the ground in a steady, uniform manner. This would not happen if the bar were to be violently pulled. This sounds like a stupid recipe for chain whipping yourself!


There was a study in the Strength and Conditioning Journal that assessed the validity of chains during cleans. They came up with that the chains made no physiological difference, but psychologically made the lift more difficult. As with the previous posts, bands and chains are meant to develop power throughout slower lifts. For cleans, add more weight to the bar and push as violently as you can.


For what it's worth, the number of times I've snatched with chains and the number of times a chain has caused me to bust my forehead open with a bar are the same, at 1. Also saw a lifer use too short a chain and he just got straight smashed in the face with the end of the chain.


i would throw some chains on during pause back or front squats but beyond that they probably don't have much use. chains are used by powerlifters to make their slow lifts faster and or increase top end strength. the sn and cj really take care of all the power and speed development you need. powerlifters may try to lift fast but weightlifters have no choice in the matter, we either lift the weight fast or the lift fails.


Well,have a go with it,make video and post it here.

why not try one-legged Oly lifts? :wink:)


Do you have the post of this article at all. I know from what I have read its pretty pointless to even bother with chains now, so now I am just curious to see how the study was done.


I was thinking of making a vid, but by the comments of people saying they cause you to get smashed in the face, I would rather not risk it :). I was thinking of the one legged snatch, dose it have any improvements on the snatch in general or does it have a specific e.g speed, power ect?


I believe CT mentioned in one of the Indigo spills that he tried this at one point and considers it a mistake. Don't quote me on that though.

More to the point, olympic lifts are meant to me quick and explosive. Something like chains that are going to slow you down will almost certainly be counterproductive in this effort. They'll probably slow you down at the end of the lift rather than allowing you to accelerate through the lift.

If you want to improve olympic lifts following a plateau, I would personally recommend high frequency strength work, which I learned of through CT. It's a lot safer than trying the chains (you won't run the risk of smashing your face with chains), and extremely effective. I've made a good bit of progress on power variations of the olympic lifts using this technique. I don't really know what your background on oly lifts is so I don't want to preach to or pretend to know more than you. I just know that it's worked very well for me so far, and would be glad to explain the idea behind it if you'd care to know. If you haven't tried it yet, might be a good next step to test out before getting crazy experimental lol. Just PM me if you want to know more.


To stir the pot in the other direction...I have seen at least one successful thrower (who was incredibly strong, for what its worth) that snatched against bands. I haven't tried it, nor do I plan on it...but it would seem for general power production purposes and not lifting to increase your snatch/clean, you would have to generate a fuckload of bar speed to "out-run" the band tension. If someone wants to try, I'd be interested to hear about it


sounds like a good way to lose control of the bar and have it smash down on the top of your head