The Right Way to Hang Powerlifting Chains

Alan Thrall goes over the proper hanging of powerlifting chains on a barbell to create accommodating resistance in your training, most often used in squats or bench presses.

In one sense you can have a single chain hanging from the bar, as long as it is touching the ground at the top of your range of motion.

Two problems with that:

  1. You need more than one chain. One doesn’t weight enough to add much accommodating resistance.
  2. Part of the chain will never touch the floor. You’re just adding more weight, and it makes it harder to guess how much resistance there is.

Here’s how you work with good chain setup, with a lightweight chain, rope, or strap to hang the heavier chain at the bottom of. This solves all of the above problems.

One thing to add: A chain will swing if it isn’t touching the floor at all times. So hang your chains low enough that at least one link is sitting on the floor at all times to help prevent swinging. For squats especially you’ll want to get it just right, or it could get awkward stepping back after unracking if you have to drag some chain along.

Beginner lifters do not have any reason to use chains, because they should be focusing on lifting regularly, increasing the weight every workout or two, dialing in good form, eating well, and getting enough rest.

At some point when you’ve been lifting for several months, you have all the above dialed in as well as you can, and you’re stuck with one of your lifts at a certain weight, and the bottom part of the movement is where you’re weakest, chains are a good way of helping you do reps with high enough intensity to help you get stronger. They’re also fun to use and feel badass.

Kids and Your Home Gym

A gym is a bit of a dangerous place for small kids to be playing around in, especially while you’re using it. They don’t have the self-awareness to remember to follow instructions to stay away from certain areas. Waiting for something bad to happen first isn’t a good strategy.

Small kids might be into mimicking daddy or mommy with a junior weight set in their own corner of the gym.

Toddler or small child lifting with junior play barbell set

If you can, do your heavy compound lifts while the kid isn’t around. There’s not much you can do when you’re in the middle of a heavy set of squats and he’s doing something he shouldn’t. Once you’re on to lighter accessory work you can parent with more awareness.

If you have an open wall, a rock climbing wall is a good way to keep a kid safely occupied, out of the way, and not at risk of tossing play weights around into your work area. They will slip off the top of the rock wall and end up on their ass crying, but it’s fine, they’re made of rubber, and small kids need this kind of athleticism.

In a very small gym area where you’re barely making efficient use of the space with your own stuff, you could have a problem with a kid in the area no matter what you do. Maybe time to be a lazy parent and stick them in the corner with an ipad?