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        FITNESS TIP FOR 12/11/2002

by Ken O'Neill

Louie Simmons Routine Powerlifting and Weightlifting with Chains

Use of chains in training seems thus far limited to those following 
the regimes of Louie Simmons and his Westside Barbell Club, or 
his impact on strength training for football teams. As such, they 
remain secret yet to be discovered by many.

Admitting to being an addicted reader and experimenter, news of 
Simmons' rotine reached me months ago. A couple of workout 
visits to Dave Goddin's Hyde Park Gym while vacationing in 
Austin last summer gave me the opportunity to work out with 
chains while squatting. I was sold.  

How do you use chain? Eccentric resistance, basically the key to 
early Nautilus machine design. An added boost for me is that 
training with chain in pressing movements has profoundly healed 
rotator cuff irritations. Using a power rack, you set the chain so 
that it doesn't start coming off the ground adding resistance until 
you're well past the mid range/sticking point of a movement, 
adding resistance gradually through the lock out phase. 
Powerlifters report rapid progress in breaking sticking points in 
their lifts doing this. I recently purchased two three-foot chains 
each weighing 25 pounds. I attach them to my bar with a steel ring 
and a pair of hooks attached to a 5-foot length of " chain. That 
allows for fast changing of the length of chain for specific 
movements (i.e., bench press, incline press, seated press). For 
example, load your bar to 200 lbs for the bench press; by the 
last quarter of the movement you'll be lifting 240-250 pounds
into peak contraction and lockout. Good for squats and rack 
deadlifts, too. A basic starter kit involves two 25 pound chains 
and two 12-13 pound chains. The lighter ones are better for delt 
press and tricep extensions, but can be added with the heavier 
ones as strength increases mount up. Simmons says his lifters 
also gain another benefit: speed with heavier poundages. Some 
folks reportedly experienced upward of 50 pound personal 
record increases within 2 short months of chain work on the 
squat and deadlift. This is what Nautilus claimed it could do. 
With a home gym power rack you can suddenly make some 
great gains.

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