Setting Up Bands and Chains and Alternative Options

the rack front door
1. Bands

*For squat/bench/deadlift there should never be slack in the band, make sure there’s tension at the bottom and top of the movement.

  • For the squat- If you have band pegs you can single loop the band from the back peg then go underneath the front peg to then go up in a straight line onto the bar. You want the band to be pulling the bar straight down to wherever you’d be squatting to. If you want to do bands pulling forward, simply attach a band from the front of the rack straight onto the bar. If the athlete is short and there’s slack in the bottom of the squat, you can quad the band; or strat from the front peg loop under the back peg than back under the front peg so the tension is greater and it will be tight in the bottom. You’ll usually have to use a smaller band, so it’s still 25 % of their max lift.
  • For the deadlift- If you have a deadlift platform with bands, simply put 1 strand under the bar while the other is over the bar. If you don’t have a deadlift platform, put 4 heavy and I mean heavy dbs on each side of the bar. Also, put another heavy plate in front of that db so it doesn’t roll. Then loop 1 end of band on one db and go over/under the bar to the other side with other db.
  • For the bench- If you have a power rack with band pegs you can do the same set up as the squat. If the lifter has really long arms or is short and there’s no tension in the bottom, you can also quad the bands so that two strands will go over the bar. For most of the athletes this means using the smallest band. I’d use bands only with lifters that are very strong or have really good technique because it will slam right into your face if you can’t stay tight.
2. Chains

*In the squat/deadlift/bench there should also be 2-4 links on the ground. If they are all in the air it can be too chaotic, this would be used more with elite level lifters, but is more dangerous than it is beneficial with athletes.

  • Squat- Use the long chain attachments for squatting because especially with tall athletes, like basketball players, at the top the chains will be off the ground if you don’t use long attachment. I usually put on chains first as their first warm up weight and then put straight weight on. For athletes squatting 200 and below use 1 chain. 300LB Squatters use 2. For 400+ squatters use 3 or more chains for an overload wave.
  • Deadlift-Though I don’t use chains at all in the deadlift, if you don’t have access to bands and only have chains here’s how you do it. Simply loop the chains over the middle of the bar in the deadlift. Since you won’t be doing conventional and only sumo or trap bar just loop them over middle of bar.
  • Bench- typically you can use the short chain attachment for bench but for some of the taller players you’ll have to use the long chain attacher. Same rules apply for how much chain to use as squat as with the bench. I prefer using the chains over bands with athletes on the bench. It tears their shoulders up a lot less.
3. What to do if you don’t have access to either
  •  For all three lifts- I made this up myself when I didn’t have access to a facility that had band pegs and chains. I would use the 35-50 % range in straight weight but I’d half the 25% weight for said lift that would have been band or chain. Because at all the lifts at the bottom the weight will be about half approximately. So I found the combo of those two percentages I could maintain good speed. Which at the end of the day your dynamic days are about speed!

Kalil Sherrod

-Westside Barbell Personal Training and Athletic Coaching Certified
-Byrd Sports Performance Certified Coach

Similar Posts