Chains Reduce Force Output During the Deadlift

Large muscle, multi-joint, free-weight exercises such as the deadlift and bench press provide constant resistance during the exercise, but athletes can exert more force toward the end of the range of motion because of an increased mechanical advantage. Many athletes use bands or chains to increase resistance at the end of the range of motion during these lifts. Ramsey Nijem and co-workers from California State University, Fullerton studied force and power during the deadlift with and without chains. Chains altered the biomechanics and force output during the lift. Activation of the gluteus maximus muscle was 20 percent less when using chains. Gluteus maximus strength is critical for sprinting and jumping power. Chains alter muscle activation and tension during the deadlift, which might decrease the effectiveness of the lift. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 30: 1177-1182, 2016)

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