Last November, I had the pleasure to speak with Ann Leverett and her husband Earl. I was competing at the United States Powerlifting Federation’s (USPF) Southeastern Cup held in Adel Ga. For those of you who don’t know Ann, she has been competing for years, holds numerous records in multiple federations, and is one of the most top master woman lifters today.
At the meet Ann and Earl had asked me what I though about chain squats to help build up her squat. Not having too much time to get into details, I told them it was a great idea. I am very much a chain squat advocate.
The following week, Earl sent me a message on Facebook to discuss the topic further.
Our conversation went as follows:
Earl: Joe, I need some insight on squatting with chains for Ann. Let’s say her max squat is 300 lbs., what weight would she put on the bar and how much weight in chains? I’m sure we will need to experiment some, but I really don’t even know where to begin.
Me: Have her start out with roughly 120 lbs. of chains and work up to 350 lbs. total weight (230 bar + 120 chains). Start with bar and chains jumping one chain at a time each side until all chain weight is achieved, then add bar weight.
Triples all the way up until they get hard then drop to singles. If 350 lbs. is easy, keep going up. You want to overload at the top as much as possible. Remember the chains need to be hung so that almost all chain weight is off the bar in the hole.
Earl: Thanks! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Me: Another option with the weights is to use more chain weight, maybe 200 lbs. and work up to 200 lbs. in bar weight. This will make it even more of an overload but still lighter in the hole then her max of 300 lbs. by 100 lbs.
I chose the bar and chain weights for Ann to give her a wide de-load and re-load range. On her top set of 350 lbs., the weight in the hole will be approximately 60% of her current max and at the top of the lift it will be 15% – 20% over her max. With the weight being only 60% in the hole, she can concentrate on blasting the weight up hard and fast. The speed achieved will help her through any sticking-points during the lift. But, what I believe to be the biggest benefit is the top end weight. The weight she will have to un-rack and hold will be more weight than her max, thus conditioning her body to “feel” and handle heavier weight.
GO MOVE SOME METAL!