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The Biomechanical and Perceptual Influence of Chain Resistance on the Performance of the Olympic Clean

Berning, Joseph M; Coker, Cheryl A; Briggs, Doug

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 2 - pp 390-395
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816344e6
Original Research

Proponents of chain training suggest that using chains hung from the ends of barbells rather than using conventional barbells alone enhances strength, power, and neuromuscular adaptations. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a conventional barbell with chains compared to a conventional barbell without chains would affect the performance of an Olympic Clean. The subjects were also asked regarding their perception of how chains affected their lifting. Four male and 3 female competitive weightlifters who used chains as part of their training participated in the study. The testing protocol compared the subjects' lifting 80% and 85% of their 1 repetition maximum (1RM) using conventional barbells and their lifting 80% and 85% of their 1RM using chains (75% conventional barbells + 5% chains and 80% conventional barbells + 5% chains, respectively). Video analysis evaluated the bar's vertical displacement and velocity and the rate of force production. Vertical ground reaction forces for the first-pull, unweighting, and second-pull phases of the lift were evaluated by using a force plate. After testing, the subjects completed a 2-item questionnaire asking individual perception of the effects of the chains. The results showed no significant difference for condition for any of the variables examined. In contrast, all subjects perceived that the chains required a greater effort. In conclusion, the results indicated that the addition of chains provided no greater value over lifting conventional barbells alone in the performance of the Olympic Clean, although the subjects perceived the chains to have a positive effect.

Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Address correspondence to Dr. Joseph M. Berning,

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association