12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

Chains and bands add steady resistance to help you break through plateaus and get stronger in the weight room.

Sooner or later, no matter how hard we train, everyone hits the wall in terms of strength gains. This article offers some tools you can use to bust pass plateaus and add variety to your workouts.

Bands and chains have been around for a few years, and they are used pretty extensively by powerlifters. You are starting to see them in college and high school weight rooms.

Bands are literally large rubber bands that attach to each side of a barbell and either to the floor or up high. The idea behind bands is that the more they stretch, the more difficult they are to continue stretching. If you Squat with the bands attached to the bar and the floor, the exercise becomes more difficult as you stand up, because the bands are providing more resistance. Check out the video player above to learn how to add resistance bands to your exercises.

Chains work on the same principle. Chains attach to the barbell and hang down. As you lower the bar, the links of the chains accumulate on the floor and reduce the weight. But, as you lift the bar, the links of the chains are taken up, which increases the weight. So, using the Squat example, as you stand up from the Squat, the exercise becomes more difficult because you are adding weight (i.e., more chains) to the bar.

RELATED: The Chain Box Squat Is the Best Exercise You're Not Doing

Bands come in different sizes and colors. Generally the darker the band, the thicker it will be and the more resistance it will provide.

These two tools give you variety and a way to bust through plateaus. They should be introduced for four-week cycles. When you are beginning, use them with 50 percent of your maximum. This gives you a chance to safely become comfortable with them. Eventually you may use them with 70-75 percent of your maximum.

What follows are 12 weeks of workouts to help you learn to use the bands and chains. The first four weeks get you comfortable with them. In the second four weeks, you cycle off the bands and chains. The last four weeks is a more intense workout with the bands and chains.

RELATED: Band Exercises to Make You a More Explosive Athlete

Weeks 1-4

Day 1:

  • Power Clean: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Back Squats: 3x4-8 @ 75-85%
  • Lunges: 3x8-12 each leg
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x4-8

Day 2:

  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Bench Press: 3x4-8 @ 75-85%
  • Bent-Over Rows: 3x4-8
  • Military Press: 3x4-8
  • Superset: biceps/triceps 3x8-12 each

Day 3:

Off

Day 4:

  • Power Snatch: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Back Squats: 3x3-6 @ 50% plus bands
  • Split Squats: 3x8-12 @ 30% of Back Squat on each leg
  • Good Mornings: 3x8-12

Day 5:

  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Bench Press: 3x3-6 @ 50% plus chains
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3x8-12 each arm
  • Seated Dumbbell Press: 3x8-12

Weeks 5-8

Day 1:

  • Power Clean: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Pause Back Squats: 3x4-8 @ 50-60%
  • Lunges: 3x8-12 each leg
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x4-8

Day 2:

  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Pause Bench Press: 3x4-8 @ 60-70%
  • Bent-Over Rows: 3x4-8
  • Military Press: 3x4-8
  • Superset: biceps/triceps 3x8-12 each

Day 3:

Off

Day 4:

  • Power Snatch: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Eccentric Back Squats: 3x3-6 @ 50-60% of Back Squat
  • Split Squats: 3x6-10 @ 30-40% of Back Squat on each leg
  • Good Mornings: 3x8-12

Day 5:

  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Close-Grip Bench Press: 3x4-8 @ 40-50% Bench Press
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3x8-12 each arm
  • Seated Dumbbell Press: 3x8-12

Weeks 9-12

Day 1:

  • Power Clean: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Back Squats: 3x3-6 @ 60-70% plus bands
  • Lunges: 3x8-12 each leg
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x4-8

Day 2:

  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Bench Press: 3x3-6 @ 60-70% plus bands
  • Bent-Over Rows: 3x4-8
  • Military Press: 3x4-8

Day 3:

Off

Day 4:

  • Power Snatch: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Eccentric Back Squats: 3x3-6 @ 40-50% of Back Squat plus chains
  • Split Squats: 3x6-10 @ 30-40% of Back Squat on each leg
  • Good Mornings: 3x8-12

Day 5:

  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6 @ 60-70%
  • Eccentric Bench Press: 3x3-6 @ 40-50% of Bench Press
  • Close-Grip Bench Press: 3x4-8 @ 40-50% Bench Press plus chains
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3x8-12 each arm
  • Seated Dumbbell Press: 3x8-12


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: STRETCHING | POWER CLEAN | BENCH PRESS | WORKOUT PLAN | WORKOUTS | MILITARY | POWER | EXERCISE | BENCH | CLEAN | PRESS | BARBELL | SNATCH | CHAINS