Search This Blog

Accomodating Resistance, Training with Chains

The concept of accomodating resistance is widely practiced amongst powerlifters; especially those who train using the principles researched and developed by Mr. Louie Simmons of the Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio. Accomodating resistance is using implements which cause the resistance applied to the lifter by the barbell to gradually increase as the barbell is lifted. The two most common implements used for this are large latex bands and chains. The scope of this blog post is to show you a great place to get chains, not to instruct you on the intracacies of training with them; however, since you may not realize how much you need them in your training I will explain to you the basics.
To perform a lift with variable resistance using chains you first load the chains onto the barbell using a thin chain from which to hang the heavier chains at such a height that the heavy chains will almost completely sit on the floor at the lowest portion of the lift and will almost completely come off of the floor at the highest point of the lift. If the chains are properly loaded, the barbell will become increasingly heavier as it ascends because of the links of chain that are unloaded from the floor. This is performed for two different reasons, the first of which is that when you are training for a higher bar velocity having the variable resistance will teach you to continue accelerating throughout the lift rather than slowing towards the top. Accomodating resistance will also overload the easiest part of the lift. For example, if you are performing a squat, it is much easier to lock out the last fourth of the movement than it is to push yourself out of the hole at the bottom. If you have a sufficient amount of chain weight at the top of the movement then locking the weight out at the bottom will be just as difficult as getting out of the hole. This causes the entire movement to be sufficiently loaded and the exercise is now more efficient at developing strength since you struggle through the entire plane of motion.

The chains used for this type of training must be very heavy, they are usually a  minimum of 1/2 inch diameter chains. 5/8inch chains are probably the most common. I have seen them for sale on the internet for ridiculous prices, sometimes over $200+shipping!!!!!! However, I have found a website that sells them for a much more realistic price and they even include the chin chains to suspend them from with some convenient little carabeaners for free! I recently ordered some chains from this website and was really happy with the deal I got and the quality of the chain set up. The package took a little longer than I had expected to get to my house (about 2 weeks) but considering how cheap the chains were I wasn't terribly upset about it. I will definitely be buying more chains from them in the future! I have posted the link below. Also, in the future (after I have completed my book) I will write a full blog entry on how to use accommodating resistance with chains and with bands.

2x4 A-Frame Squat/Bench Rack with Dip Station and Adjustable Safety Pins

A while ago I got tired of seeing all the ridiculous people at the gym. It's distracting! There are so many douchebags that sit around looking at themselves in the mirror constantly (I'm not talking about checking their form either) and old, slutty women who look like they are actually and entirely composed of some sort of polymer showing off their overly tanned skin while they listen to gay people music and wear over-priced workout clothes. I am the kind of guy who goes to the gym to workout, believe it or not! I usually wear the crappiest clothes that I have available and I actually intend on become sweaty and smelly during my training session. I WANT to end up stinking like crap and covered in chalk by the time I am finished and during this endeavor I would like to listen to THE LOUDEST AND HEAVIEST METAL KNOWN TO MAN!!!!!! Because of this, I decided to train at home. There really isn't a suitable training facility for powerlifters in Las Vegas because it is a city filled with pussies. Las Vegas is the kind of place where men wear clear coat nail polish, have spray on tans and spend more time doing their hair than my girlfriend. Through implication you now know that powerlifters do not do any of those things. We are the manliest of the manly and if you come up to us with any of the faggotry aforementioned we will spew the ultra dark beer out of our mouths and through our lumberjack beards as we laugh at you with our amazingly deep voices until our bellies ache and we slap our overly muscled knees...

Seriously though, I need a place to train where I don't have to prance around like a fairy so I decided to build my own gym in my garage out of 2x4's because it's cheap and I'm good at it. Here is a video of me explaining how I made my Squat rack. I didn't go into extreme detail so if you have any questions on measurements or anything of that nature you can feel free to shoot me an email at and I would be glad to help you out.

APF Texas Cup 2011

Although I have been training with weights for years and have competed in various different sports I have never actually competed in a powerlifting competition, that is, until now! Last Saturday I drove to Waxahachie, TX (which is about an hour and a half from where I currently live) to compete in the APF Texas Cup. I weighed in at a slim 335lbs (haha) which placed me in the super heavy weight class and I competed raw (weight lifting belt and wrist wraps only).

The meet was run by Liz and Randy Nesuda, both of whom were extremely friendly and helpful. There were 63 lifters in total and they had only expected for there to be about 40. Because of this there was only one platform set up and the meet took a little longer than was previously anticipated but was otherwise very smoothly run.

I had to take a token squat of 55lbs due to a lagging shoulder injury which makes it difficult for me to hold a bar on my back (it should finish healing in a few weeks) but I was able to bench press and deadlift and set personal records on both lifts!

I ran into a powerlifter that I used to train with when I lived in Las Vegas which was surprising since we're across the country from there. He encouraged me to take a huge PR (personal record) attempt on the bench press and I am thankful for that because without his encouragement I would not have even thought about it. I made all 6 attempts on the bench press and deadlift, they were:

-Bench Press: Attempt 1: 330lbs
                     Attempt 2: 365lbs
                     Attempt 3: 403lbs
-Deadlift: Attempt 1: 565lbs
               Attempt 2: 605lbs
               Attempt 3: 637.5lbs

 Holy Crap this is heavy!
 OMG! I got it off of the floor!!!
 This is taking forever!!
I got it! My head feels like it's going to pop...

Had I been able to think, this is probably something similar to what my thought process would have been. I realized after the lift that when the other guys set the weights down it was really loud but when I set mine down it was silent. This was because I couldn't hear anything with that much pressure building up inside of my head. I popped a blood vessel in my eye and bunch in the skin on my face. It took about a minute for my soul to re-enter my body after this pull. Hitting an absolute 1RM on deadlift is literally the most difficult thing you will ever do. Nothing else I have ever experienced has required that amount of concentration and dedication.

Although this meet was extremely long, I had a great time and I can't wait to do it again! I am planning on competing early next year, hopefully with the APF again but I have heard that the SPF and APA run some quality meets so I may give them a shot. I cannot imagine a meet being run any better than the one last weekend so whenever there is an APF meet in my vicinity I will be there. The judging was reasonable and consistent, the other lifters were friendly and everyone tried to help everyone.

Powerlifting and the competitors themselves epitomized the true meaning of sportsmanship. They cheered for each other, gave each other pep talks before the lifts, shared their smelling salts and chalk and helped tighten each others belts. It was very apparent that no one there was competing against the other lifters, they were all competing against themselves.

Sheiko Training

A while ago I came across an interesting training protocol (that you've heard of I'm sure) called Sheiko. This Russian training protocol was named after Boris Sheiko, a Russian powerlifting coach. The texts written by Mr. Sheiko have only recently been translated into English and, from the sound of it, I think someone used an online translation website because the grammar has not been modified from its' original form in Russian. The words have been literally translated one by one rather than spoken as they would have been in English. This makes it extremely difficult to understand. My step-mother and her family are from Russia and, unless you have hung out with a lot of fresh-off-the-boat Russians, you probably don't understand how different their language is from our own. When a Russian first learns to speak English you really have no idea what the hell it is they are saying even if they can pronounce the English words properly because they say everything backwards or in a way that a native English speaker never would have thought to say it. Getting back on topic; Americans are just beginning to understand how to use the Sheiko protocols properly because we don't know what Mr. Sheiko is saying exactly in his books.

There are several different Sheiko training protocols which are each designated by numbers. Training protocols #29, #29 version 2, #30,#31,#32, #37, #39, #40, CMS-MS Prep, CMS-MS Prep 2, CMS-MS Prep 3, CMS-MS Comp, MSIC Prep and MSIC Comp are the Sheiko programs which I have been able to find. How are they supposed to be used? This is kind of a mystery to me. I have read several different articles that I have found around the internet as well as some of the original material written by Mr. Sheiko. The articles found on the web present a lot of conflicting information since there isn't a lot of clarity regarding this style of training yet and the material written by Mr. Sheiko (which I am more accustomed to understanding that most Americans since I grew up around so many Russians) is very difficult to understand and doesn't divulge much information as to what order or for exactly what purpose these different training programs should be used.

What I have deduced is that #29, #29 version 2, #30 and #31 are preparatory cycles. They can be used to build a strong foundation for a lifter. They utilize moderate weight and extremely high volume training and will therefore help you to develop a large work capacity and recovery ability. #32 is a peaking cycle for a beginning/ intermediate lifter and can be done as a contest preparation cycle for someone who is relatively new to Sheiko style training. This would be done after a preparatory cycle or after several preparatory cycles performed consecutively.

Cycles #37, #39 and #40 are preparatory cycles that are more advanced than #29-#31. Cycle #40 uses insanely high volume, especially for the bench press so strap your nuts on before you try that one. These cycles should be worked up to using the less advanced cycles for someone who hasn't tried Sheiko training before. Attempting to perform one of them right away would basically be suicide and you probably wouldn't even finish it. The CMS-MS Prep and Comp cycles are used the same way that the rest of the cycles are, you will first perform a few preparatory cycles to gain strength and then peak in strength using a competition cycle.

I have not had the opportunity to try all of these training programs, but I have had some success using #29 as the accumulation phase during block periodization and then swapping to a westside template for the transmutation phase. This is a calculator which has all of the cycles and automatically calculates the weights for you (this saves a lot of time!) If you use an Android phone there is an app called "Sheiko Droid" which has all of the major programs and will calculate the weights for you right on your phone! This is really convenient since you can bring your phone with you to the gym.