Powerlifting Chains for Strength

Q: A couple of years ago you wrote an interesting article on Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph.
I need to freshen up my routine, and this one look varied enough to keep me interested.  May I ask a question about the weight used?
Should I increase the weight on the lower reps sets; increase weights as I go; or keep the same weight for all of the sets?
I hope you can clarify this for me.

My Answer: You will need to adjust the weight from set to set to match the target reps.  So your weight should be heavier and heavier from set to set until you do the 15 rep set where you drop the weight. 

Q: Thank you very much for your quick response and great advice. It's much appreciated.

Would it be wise to follow the Low T/Fast-Twitch program outlined in your book for say 3-6 weeks at a time, then change it up for 1-3 weeks of higher reps and things like supersets, giant sets, rest-pause, etc? Would that be the best way to go?

Also, what is meant be barbell movements with a chain? What are the benefits of it?

Once again, thanks very much for your time and expertise.


My Answer- Do the reverse: do 3 weeks of higher reps with supersets and giant sets. Then follow the Low T/Fast-Twitch program outlined in Tactics and Strategies for 3 weeks. Doing the phases in this order takes advantage of the backcycling method, where you alternate density and decompression training.

I recommend powerlifting chains for you, because you're tall and so your limbs should be longer as well. This means you have a greater distance to push or pull than a guy with shorter limbs. Because of joint angles, the force or difficulty of an exercise is less or more at certain points of the movement. For example, the top range of a squat, a press or a curl is much easier than the beginning and midrange portions of these movements.

So the weight you use on your squats or presses may be limited by the portion of the movement where you're weakest: the beginning range. You may be able to do a half squat with a lot of weight, but as soon as you do a full squat with that same weight, you realize you're in deep doo-doo.

To even out the force curve, you can attach heavy chains to the barbell. As you lift, more and more links lift off of the floor and the weight becomes heavier and heavier. This is what is known as a form of "accomodating resistance," and it is an excellent way of increasing your strength. If your train with chains for a few weeks, and then train without them for the next few weeks, your poundages will go up significantly. Chains are best used on presses, squats and curls.

You can purchase chains at a hardware store, but very few have the really big ones. I got mine at Osh Orchard Supply and Hardware.

Q: "So I'm doing the TKD consuming my carbs pre and post workout. I've been getting a lot of mixed answers. For my pre meal I'm having purely oatmeal. Will having something like a banana or orange help with explosiveness? I'm doing your Strength Training for Fat Loss.

"I'm trying to consume the least sugar possible. So for my post workout meal I'm also only doing oatmeal but with brown sugar. Any post workout meal tips? Should I incorporate fruit or some other simple sugars? Also since I'm only doing carbs pre and post workout, what about veggies?

"I lift 1st thing in the morning after my 1st meal of course. So I've been consuming veggies up until my last 2 meals. Mainly dark leafy ones. I think I pretty much have my diet down to the T, just a little confused on this stuff. Thanks for the help!"

My Answer: If your workout is after breakfast, then eat a real breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee with cream, no sugar. Don't eat oatmeal or any other cereal for breakfast. No toast either. Just eat a high protein/low carb meal for breakfast 2 hours before your workout. You will be much more alert and ready to train.

After your workout, eat whatever carbs and protein you want. This means you get only one carb-up meal on the days you workout. Whatever carbs you want. You figure it out. If you want to make it simple, then drink a post workout drink high in carbs and moderate in protein.

On days you don't workout, you don't get any carb-up meal. Veggies are your only carbs. You should be eating veggies with lunch and dinner every day. For all intents and purposes, veggies don't count as carbs, because each gram of fiber negates each gram of carbohydrate.
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