Using chains to increase your strength
Chains are essential pieces of gear in the weight room! If you don’t have them, then stop right now and go get a set. They don’t have to be the welded, high tensile strength ones like the loggers or truckers use to secure their loads; they just have to be chains. You can pick them up at your local hardware store and spend a small fortune or you can keep an eye on the garage sales.
Not only does the added resistance of the chains increase your strength but they also serve an even more important role in providing protection for your joints during explosive lifting. Chains do this by decelerating the bar later into the bar path as your joints near full extension. This late deceleration may come only millimeters later than without the chains or bands but it still allows the bar to be pushed faster and longer into the ending part of the lift than without the added resistance.
Let’s back up a tad here. When the bar nears completion, a mechanism inside the joints recognizes that the range of movement is nearing the end. Once detected, it automatically begins to slow the bar down.
As a side note, this same joint protective mechanism may also hinder the strength process by preventing enough time and distance necessary to complete a heavy lift. Your muscles, at the peak of their strength curve, run out of the high-powered energy sources known as ATP/CP within eight to ten seconds. Your lift had better be over when this energy source is depleted, if not then it more than likely won’t be finished.
Back to the main topic again, if this deceleration did not take place the joints would be overwhelmed with the weight and the speed of the bar as they reach the end of their range of movement potentially causing hyperextension of the joint to occur. Expert lifters manage to delay this deceleration longer than less experienced lifter thus causing faster movement for a longer period in the lift. They do this in part by developing the muscles that surround and protect the joint. These are the agonist and antagonist muscle groups.
Of course, development of the powerful antagonist muscle groups is critical to protecting the joints because the joint ultimately relies on these muscles to prevent the damage from happening in the first place.
More next week.
Thanks for reading this article.
Here is another blog that may be of interest, especially if you are nearing retirement age or are already there.
https://activelyfitseniors.blog/ focuses on the older generation with such topics as Aerobic Training, Anaerobic Exercise, Balance, Training Benefits of Exercise, Body Composition, Equipment, Fitness, Flexibility, Miscellaneous Info, and Physical Activity presented by professionals in the field.