Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Building Muscle with Bands and Chains

 

These days it's very trendy to use bands and chains for building muscle and strength. Several years back, I got caught up using chains and bands with almost everyone in my gym. After a couple years of doing this I realized that nobody was progressing any faster than they were before. It occurred to me that what we were doing was overkill and from then on, I kept the chains and bands reserved for only the strongest members of my gym. Now I don't use them at all (or at least in that sense).MGS

The fact is that there is no need to use bands or chains unless you are extremely strong. If your max squat is 225, squatting with bands and chains isn't going to do much for you in the way of building muscle or gaining strength. In fact, it will be detrimental to your progress. Tons of people have gotten inhumanly strong for decades without ever using bands or chains and plenty of guys continue to do so today.

Unless you are capable of doing a full back squat, all the way to ground with no belt and pristine technique with 500lbs, you have absolutely no business using bands or chains. These are advanced tools to pull out of the toolbox only at the times when you really need them. During your first several years of training all you need is a hammer and nail. Don't search deeper in the toolbox for something you don't need yet. If you get to 545lbs and plateau there for a while then maybe it's time to pull out the chains and bands. But not before then. The problem is that when you incorporate advanced methods before you need them you miss out on the potential huge gains that they could provide later on down the road when you really need them.

So layoff the bands and chains until you are really advanced and stick with more tools for building muscle, at least until your strength levels are at the point where the entire gym stops to watch when you squat or deadlift.

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