Try This Simple Workout Hack to Add Strength

Load your barbell with chains to realize extra gains from your weightlifting training.

Most people think there's only one way to place weight on a barbell, but if you apply this workout hack, you might find there are two ways to add weight and make progress.

RELATED: Are You Loading Barbells Wrong?

Placing weight on chains and hanging them from a barbell challenges your muscles differently from a traditionally barbell load. It activates the same big muscles you normally use on the lift, but it increases activation in small stabilizer muscles and challenges your central nervous system.

You will likely find you can use as much weight but can do fewer reps because of the additional challenge. It challenges your working muscles because you have to control the weight more and concentrate harder on how you lift it.

Bonus: you can use this protocol on any barbell exercise. If you don't have what you need already, it shouldn't cost you more than $15 to buy the equipment.

RELATED: Get Strong With This Barbell-Only Workout

What You Will Need

  • 2-3/8-inch-thick steel chains 3-3.5 feet in length. (Average cost: $1.50 per foot)
  • 2 metal linking clips to connect the chain. (Average cost: $1 each)

What to Do

  • Feed one end of the chain through your weight plate until the plate is in the middle of the chain.
  • Connect the two ends of the chain with the clip.
  • Place the chain with the weight on one end of the barbell. Secure it with a collar as you would if you were placing weights on the bar.
  • Repeat with the other chain and weight on the other end of the bar. Make sure your weights are even on both ends and with each other.
  • I always suggest trying this with Barbell Curls to start with, before moving on to other exercises like the Bench Press, Barbell Row or Squat. Perform your workout like you normally would, but use less weight and try this technique to see whether you think it can help you. Have a spotter with you when you start training with chains until you're comfortable with the resistance.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SQUAT | BENCH PRESS | BARBELL EXERCISES | BICEP CURL | BARBELL | CHAINS | ROW