6 Best Weightlifting Chains in [year]

6 Best Weightlifting Chains in 2024

Reviews | Training Gear

Reviewed by Sergii Putsov

So, using chains for barbell exercises has piqued your interest, but you’re not sure where to start. This article will provide a comprehensive roundup of barbell chains, including which chains to get, how they work, how and when to use them, and more. To find the best weightlifting chains in 2024, our team of professional weightlifters, coaches, and gym owners, including myself, pooled their experiences.

We tested 10 commonly sold chain kits, evaluating them on important factors such as material quality, adjustability, versatility, durability, and overall value, and then compared our findings with other reviewers. After spending a couple of sessions testing each chain with different exercises, we narrowed them down to the top 6 we liked the most. If you have experience or suggestions, make sure to leave a comment below.

IN A HURRY?

Our Best Choice!

Rogue Chain Kits

Rogue Fitness Chain set is the most well-rounded one we’ve found. First, we have to mention the build: manufactured in the U.S.A., the chains are made from steel with electroplated zinc coating. The finish protects the chain from moisture rust, as well as corrosion when it comes into contact with barbells made from various materials.

Top 6 Best Weightlifting Chains Reviewed

  1. Rogue Chain Kits – Gold Medal
  2. Ader Fitness Weight Lifting Chain Set – Silver Medal
  3. RopeFit Weight Lifting Steel Chains – Bronze Medal
  4. Titan Fitness 6ft 3/4 Inch Heavy Chains – Best 3/4 Chains
  5. Titan Fitness 6ft 5/8 Inch Heavy Chains – Best 5/8 Chains
  6. LoGest Weight Lifting Chains w/ Collars – Budget Pick
ProductTotalMaterialAdjustabilityVersatilityDurabilityValue for Money
Rogue4.955554.5
Ader4.8554.554.5
RopeFit4.7554.54.54.5
TitanFitness 3/44.64.54.54.554.5
TitanFitness 5/84.544.554.54.5
LoGest4.444.54.545

1. Rogue Chain Kits

GOLD MEDAL

Rogue Chain Kits

Our Ratings: 4.9

Material: 5

Adjustability: 5

Versatility: 5

Durability: 5

Value for money: 4.5

Rogue Fitness Chain Kits starts our best weightlifting chains list. As the product title suggests, there are multiple options and purchase combinations to help you find your ideal pairing of chains. Rogue is arguably our second most decorated fitness brand, behind Warm Body Cold Mind. In this case, since we don’t have weightlifting chains (yet), we’re happy to give these the first place.

  • Material: Coated steel
  • Finish: Electroplated zinc
  • Total weight: 20/30 lbs (pair), + 5 lbs for each leader chain and carabiners
  • Length: 4ft + 4ft of adjustable leader chain
  • Color: Steel
  • Sport Type: Weightlifting, powerlifting, cross-training
  • Price: $$$-$$$$ (depending on weight and attachments)

This chain set is the most well-rounded one we’ve found. First, we have to mention the build: manufactured in the U.S.A., the chains are made from steel with electroplated zinc coating. The finish protects the chain from moisture rust, as well as corrosion when it comes into contact with barbells made from various materials.

The quality is superb and the optional attachments are great, though they will cost extra. If you don’t mind spending a bit more, we highly suggest getting the chain sheaths as well. They’re great both for the management and storage of the chains and act as a protective sleeve.

Rogue Chain Kits Instagram
Photo by @roguefitness

The length of the chain is highly adjustable thanks to the combined length of the 4ft-long chain and the 4ft-long leader chains each. This also makes them an excellent pair of chains for gym owners, since a wide variety of users can utilize them. One gripe we do have with them, though, is the weight chains on their own fall a bit short, so you can’t make them work without purchasing the extension chains.

Still, the parts are purchasable separately, so you can make swift replacements without repurchasing the entire kit. They’re available in two versions, varying in thickness and weight. The first is the 1/4 inch variant, which weighs roughly 10 lbs per chain. The thicker 5/8-inch weighs 15 lbs per chain.

Additionally, the leader chains weigh 5 lbs with the carabiner, so keep that in mind. Although it makes the kit highly customizable, it may be a bit light for powerlifters without combining a few chains.

Pros

  • Electroplated zinc coating for improved resistance
  • Quality control, made in the U.S.
  • The combination 4+4 feet length is highly adjustable
  • Two weight variants
  • Replacements are purchasable separately

Cons

  • A bit shorter on their own
  • Somewhat light

2. Ader Fitness Weight Lifting Chain Set

SILVER MEDAL

Ader Fitness Weight Lifting Chain Set

Our Ratings: 4.8

Material: 5

Adjustability: 5

Versatility: 4.5

Durability: 5

Value for money: 4.5

In second place, we put the Ader Fitness chain set. The Ader company’s portfolio is mostly weightlifting accessories, including barbell accessories, sleeve collars, chalk, etc. These chains are a good choice if you’re looking for a simple set without additional hardware purchases, though they are somewhat expensive upfront.

  • Material: Alloy steel
  • Finish: Black oxide
  • Total weight: 60lbs, 44lbs, 30lbs (pair)
  • Length: 5ft
  • Color: Steel
  • Sport Type: Weightlifting, powerlifting
  • Price: $$$$$

The chains are made from heavy-duty alloy steel, further coated in black oxide, and dipped in oil to make them resistant to rust and corrosion. There are three weight choices to pick from: 60 lbs, 44 lbs, and 30 lbs. Note that the listed weight refers to the pair, not individual chains, so individual chains will weigh roughly 30 lbs, 15 lbs, and 10 lbs. Overall, excellent variety for beginner, moderate, and heavy weightlifters.

Their biggest selling point is the tension knob sized to fit Olympic barbells. With it, attaching and detaching the chain is easy. Just slide the chain on, twist the knob, and it’s ready to go and secure. The only downside, apart from the higher price, is the approximate 5ft length, which may not be enough for taller athletes when performing squats, for example, so keep that in mind.

It’s important to note that, at the time of writing, these chains ship only on the U.S. territory, though you can ship them to APO, FPO, and PO Box. Thus, not everybody can get them, unfortunately.

Pros

  • The steel is treated with a black oxide finish
  • Dipped in oil fur further metal coating
  • Built-in tension knobs make for easy attachment
  • Three weight choices, including a heavy 30 lbs per chain

Cons

  • At just 5 feet, they can fall a bit short
  • Currently only available in the U.S.

3. RopeFit Weight Lifting Steel Chains

BRONZE MEDAL

RopeFit Weight Lifting Steel Chains

Our Ratings: 4.7

Material: 5

Adjustability: 5

Versatility: 4.5

Durability: 4.5

Value for money: 4.5

Taking home the bronze is the RopeFit stainless steel chain set. RopeFit is primarily known, as the name suggests, for things like power ropes, jump ropes, rope attachments, etc. Currently, this is their only chain, and it is a decent alternative to our #1, with similar specs and attachments at a slightly lower price.

  • Material: Stainless steel 
  • Finish: Galvanized coating
  • Total weight: 28-60 lbs (pair)
  • Length: 5, 6, and 7ft 
  • Color: Steel
  • Sport Type: Powerlifting, weightlifting
  • Price: $$$-$$$$ (depending on length, weight)

The first major selling point of these chains is the stainless steel build, further galvanized for added protection. Galvanization is the process of covering a metal, usually iron or steel, with zinc. It immediately makes them highly resistant to wear and tear, corrosion and oxidation. Plus, it’s very easy to clean once you’re done. Simply wipe them down, no conditioning or polishing is required.

Every purchase comes in pairs, and the options include 28, 36, 38, 42, 50, and 60 lbs total weight, meaning every chain in the set is half of that. There are three lengths to choose from, 5, 6, or 7ft, and each set comes with two 4ft leader chains and two spring links for attachment.

This makes each set highly customizable in terms of length, easily accommodating a variety of athlete sizes, as well as exercises. That said, we have to mention multiple user reviews noting the chains arriving and weighing less than advertised. Although we haven’t had this experience, it’s something we must point out.

Pros

  • Made from stainless steel
  • Six different weight increments
  • Three length choices 
  • Included 4ft leader chains and 2 spring links
  • Easy maintenance

Cons

  • Multiple reviews mention faulty quality control
  • Apart from the slight price difference, hard to recommend over Rogue

4. Titan Fitness 6ft 3/4 Inch Heavy Chains

BEST 3/4 CHAINS

Titan Fitness 6ft 3/4 Inch Heavy Chains

Our Ratings: 4.6

Material: 4.5

Adjustability: 4.5

Versatility: 4.5

Durability: 5

Value for money: 4.5

For our favorite 3/4 inch thick chain, we opted for Titan Fitness 6ft heavy chain for workouts. Titan is a trusted brand in the weightlifting community, which makes good-quality products at reasonable prices. They are a common choice especially among home gym owners. The long length and heavy weight make them the ideal powerlifting chains.

  • Material: Alloy steel
  • Finish: Zinc coating
  • Total weight: 54 lbs (pair)
  • Length: 6ft
  • Color: Steel
  • Sport Type: Weightlifting, powerlifting
  • Price: $$$

The chains are made from alloy steel and coated in a zinc finish. Although it gets the job done, it’s definitely not the highest-quality material on the list. It can last long with proper care inside a home gym used by one or a few persons but may not survive the humidity and wear and tear of public gyms. That said, they’re pretty thick, so the chance of them straight-up breaking is low.

Titan Fitness 6ft 5/8 Inch Heavy Chains Instagram
Photo by @betitanfit

The chains are 6ft long without attachments, which covers the needs of many athletes. The total weight is 54 lbs for the pair, meaning 27 lbs each. The weight is distributed gradually (tapered), meaning it’s a bit heavier at the top and less so at the bottom of the chain. This feature is useful for using the heavier portion of the chain without having to lift it all off the ground.

The package includes a pair of chains as well as a steel carabiner for attachment. The product manual recommends using a connector (leader chain), which isn’t included in the package and isn’t directly purchasable either, which can be a bit confusing.

Pros

  • 6ft long without attachments
  • Tapered weight (heavier top, lighter bottom)
  • Thick; won’t break as easily despite lesser quality

Cons

  • There are higher-quality metals on the list
  • Does not include connector chains

5. Titan Fitness 6ft 5/8 Inch Heavy Chains

BEST 5/8 CHAINS

Titan Fitness 6ft 5/8 Inch Heavy Chains

Our Ratings: 4.5

Material: 4

Adjustability: 4.5

Versatility: 5

Durability: 4.5

Value for money: 4.5

Next up we have the Titan Fitness 6ft 5/8 inch heavy chains. If they sound familiar, they’re basically a lighter version of the previous entry on the list. These are also our favorite 5/8-inch chains overall. They’re heavy enough for a serious challenge, but also not overwhelming.

  • Material: Alloy steel
  • Finish: Zinc coating
  • Total weight: 40 lbs (pair)
  • Length: 6ft
  • Color: Steel
  • Sport Type: Weightlifting, cross training
  • Price: $$

To avoid repetition, know that most of the specs are the same as the 3/4 version, including the build quality. Once again we see the same alloy steel with zinc coating. The length is also identical, 6 feet, but these chains are thinner and a bit lighter at 20 lbs each vs. 27 lbs on the 3/4 version.

Titan Fitness 6ft 3/4 Inch Heavy Chains Instagram
Photo by @betitanfit

This build difference makes them a bit less durable but more versatile and beginner-friendly, which is worth considering if you’re picking between the two. The price on these is also lower and generally trends towards budget-friendly, as is expected for Titan Fitness products.

Pros

  • Same build quality as the 3/4 version
  • On the more affordable side
  • Lighter, making them more versatile

Cons

  • Same issues as the 3/4 version

6. LoGest Weight Lifting Chains with Collars

BUDGET PICK

LoGest Weight Lifting Chains w/ Collars

Our Ratings: 4.4

Material: 4

Adjustability: 4.5

Versatility: 4.5

Durability: 4

Value for money: 5

As our final entry on the list, we have the LoGest weight chain set with collars. If you’re shopping on a budget, these chains come at a noticeably lower price than all the previously mentioned. Perfect for someone building up a home gym from scratch.

  • Material: Alloy steel
  • Finish: Powder coating
  • Total weight: 15, 25, 35, and 45 lbs (pairs)
  • Length: 46 inches
  • Color: Steel
  • Sport Type: Weightlifting, powerlifting
  • Price: $

This chain set is made of alloy steel, further powder-coated for additional protection against corrosion and rusting. It’s not the highest quality material on the list, but it’s quite fair considering the price is 2-3 times less than some of our other picks. There are four weight options to choose from: 15, 25, 35, and 45 lbs for the pair (so half of that for each chain).

A big selling point for these are the detachable tension knobs, which makes it easy to put them on and off and adjust the length. The tension knobs are sized to fit the 2-inch diameter of a standard Olympic or powerlifting barbell sleeve. Besides, you can remove them from the chain if you want to use them for something other than barbell exercises.

For example, attaching them to your weightlifting belt and doing weighted pull-ups or dips. So far so good, but the 46-inch length is a bit of a letdown. It is the shortest chain on the list, which won’t cover most people’s squats, for example, but is good enough for benches and deadlifts.

While it will cover usage in deadlifts and bench presses fairly easily, it may not be long enough for standing exercises like squats or overhead presses, depending on your height.

Pros

  • The most affordable chain on the list
  • The package includes attachable tension knobs
  • Powder coating helps with longevity (good at this price point)
  • Options include the lowest weight pair (just 7.5 lbs)

Cons

  • Too short for some athletes and exercises

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What Are Weightlifting Chains?

Weightlifting chains, sometimes referred to as barbell or powerlifting chains, are exactly what the name suggests: a pair of large chains that you attach to the sides of your barbell during lifting exercises. By doing this, we add what is known as variable or adjustable resistance to the exercise.

When the chain is grounded, its weight is disengaged from the lift. As the barbell slowly rises, so does the chain, adding extra weight with each link that lifts off the ground. Variable resistance is gaining popularity as it is proven to increase maximal strength and explosive power compared to constant resistance, with the effects being especially noticeable in novice/untrained athletes.

This effect can be applied in a couple of ways for more effective muscle and strength development (more on this in a second).

Quick answers about weightlifting chains:

  1. How much do lifting chains weigh? Commercial weightlifting chains usually weigh 15-30 lbs, though this depends on their size and thickness. There are also 45+ lbs powerlifting chains.
  2. How long is a weightlifting chain? Usually around 6 feet to accommodate users of various heights.
  3. Can I use the spare chains I have in my garage? It’s plausible, but you have to be careful about mixing their material with the barbell. Chains that aren’t properly coated can cause rust and chafing, ruining your shiny new barbell.
What Are Weightlifting Chains?

What Are Lifting Chains Good For? 

So, what happens when you add chains for working out? Weightlifting exercises such as deadlifts and squats have an uneven tension curve, facilitating most muscle adaptation during the eccentric phase (initial lift). However, once you pass the sticking point (the point when the exercise is hardest), the exercise pressure subsides.

In simple terms, there is a noticeable difference in muscle activation between the initial push and the rest of the exercise. By adding variable resistance using weight chains, we aim to flatten this curve, making the exercise more streamlined and continuing muscle adaptations past the eccentric phase.

As you lift higher, the chain links lift off the ground, progressively adding more and more weight, matching your body’s ability to handle more load. Practically, this can be used in two ways. Firstly, making the concentric phase easier by using less initial weight helps you clear the sticking point with fewer issues. Secondly, continuing muscle engagement beyond the initial push results in a more comprehensive exercise.

Pro Tip:

If you’re unsure how much added resistance you get from your chain, divide the total weight by the number of links and see how many are off the ground when you lift. Then adjust the length according to your preference.

What to Look for in Weightlifting Chains Before Buying?  

There are many important factors to look at when searching for the best weightlifting chains:

1. Material

Naturally, the most important spec you’d look for on workout chains is the craft material. The metal chosen, as well as any post-construction processing or coating, will dictate the overall quality and the price. Rogue’s chain sheets are a good example of how to easily increase chain durability.

2. Adjustability

Adjustability is best rated by how easily your chains can be added on and off as well as how easy it is to set their length. Sets that come with leader chains that increase/decrease length, removable carabiners for customizable anchoring points, and other attachment options may cost an extra buck but can be worth it.

The more adjustable the chain, the greater the potential to be incorporated into different workouts.

3. Versatility

Versatility is, simply put, how much use you can get out of the chain set you bought. Do they cover the essential weightlifting exercises and can you use the weighted chains for dips or pull-ups, for example? How easy is it to tie them to something other than a barbell, can you link multiple chains together, can they fit through a bumper plate hole, etc.

For example, heavy and long powerlifting chains may not be as easy to incorporate into something other than barbell exercises. Likewise, a set of combinable and light chains may provide more versatility

4. Durability

Durability is closely tied to material quality and vice versa. Naturally, you can expect materials like stainless steel to last longer on average and require less maintenance overall, but a properly coated steel alloy can work just as well, especially for a home gym where you’ll be the only user, so the frequency of use is lower. As long as you take care of the chains and use them properly, you should be good with any of these.

Pro Tip:

Chains are made out of metal and require upkeep. Higher-quality chains are typically easier to maintain but should still be taken care of as per the user manual or warranty sheet.

5. Value for Money

Value for money is essentially a combination of the previously mentioned factors, then measured up against the price relative to similar products. Quality plays a big role in determining the total score, but it doesn’t mean that every quality product offers great value.

Sometimes, the price is unjustifiable as there might be cheaper alternatives that are equally as good. Likewise, a budget set of exercise chains can also have great value for money if it outperforms other budget-friendly choices.

How to Use Weightlifting Chains Right?

Now that you have your chains, it’s important to know how to use them for your safety and their longevity. Here are some tips to properly employ exercise chains:

chains for working out

1. Where to Put Your Chain

When attaching weightlifting chains to the barbell, position them close to the center of gravity, ideally next to the barbell plates. This promotes stability, balance, and effective resistance during the exercise. Putting them too wide may result in unwanted swinging. Some people opt to squeeze the chains behind the barbell collars. This can be a good idea if they don’t have tension knobs for security.

2. Setting Length & Weight

The first thing you want to do when selecting barbell chains is to find the right length for your height. You don’t want them to be overly long, since then you won’t lift the entire chain of the ground at exercise peak. You also don’t want it to be too short, since otherwise, it will fully engage before you clear the sticking point of the exercise, which can be overwhelming.

Additionally, it might swing around and disrupt the balance unless you anchor it to the floor. When you set up the chain to your barbell, ideally, it should be fully engaged and just scraping the ground. That way, the load maximum peaks with the barbell's peak height, and immediately subsides as you start lowering back down.

Pro Tip:

When setting the length, you want the chain to scrape the floor when you’re in the top position of the exercise. So, for squats, try measuring the height between the floor and your shoulder, for bench presses measure the peak arm extension, and so on.

The more customizable the anchor points on the chain are, the better. That’s one of the reasons we really liked the Rogue chains, whose length is mostly dictated by the leader chain that can be hooked to whatever link you want, thus setting the length near perfectly for most people.

Use Weightlifting Chains Right

Then there’s the weight. The recommended weight, according to experts, is scaled percentage-wise based on your 1RM. It goes something along the lines of 10% more for every 100 lbs you lift. Here’s a basic table guide:

One Rep Max (1RM)Recommended Chain Weight
100-200 lbs10% of 1RM
200-300 lbs10-20% of 1RM
300+ lbs20% of 1RM

3. Progressive Overload

One of the best things you can achieve with weightlifting chains is adding progressive overload to your exercise. Progressive overload, also known as Weider’s principle, is the method of adding more and more weight in subsequent sets to further stimulate muscles. Usually, this is done by adding smaller weight plates as you progress through the set.

But realistically, it’s much easier to just adjust the chain length or add another chain than to load and unload weight plates, especially if you don’t have the right combination of plate increments. Progressive overload is a proven way to facilitate strength and muscle mass, and this effect is even greater in novice athletes who’ve yet to hit their plateau.

4. Offset Loading

Another great way to utilize chains in your routine is through offset loading. Offset loading is the principle of adding more weight to one side of your barbell to further stimulate that side’s muscle adaptations. It’s most often deployed when an athlete has a weaker side, which can commonly be the case in beginners, but also in people recently recovering from an injury, for example.

utilize chains in your routine

To do this, simply add your chain to the side you want to train harder. This method is proven to increase muscle hypertrophy and strength in the weaker side.

Best Exercises for Using Weightlifting Chains

Here are the most common exercises you’ll employ workout chains in:

1. Squats

Probably the most famous example of using weightlifting chains for variable overload is squats. Squats are notorious for being difficult during the sticking point when lower body engagement is at its peak, but become easier as you pass this threshold. Adding chains during squats forces the body to continuously adapt, thus promoting further development, and making them a more well-rounded exercise.

The result, according to findings, is increased explosive power and maximum strength, no less. Additionally, the full length of the typical barbell chains can most evenly be redistributed during squats, as each link lifts off the ground.

2. Deadlifts

Second to squats we also have deadlifts. Similar problems: difficult concentric phase, but much easier as you clear the sticking point, especially for beginners. The obvious solution: adding chains for variable overload. That way, tension remains linear and adaptations are continuous. So, how do we use this to benefit us?

Well, studies have shown that deadlifting with chains for variable overload reduces ground reaction forces without changing the rate of force development. In practice, it means you can put lighter-weight bumper plates and stick a chain to achieve the same effects as you would with higher plate increments.

This significantly reduces initial exercise forces — for example, spinal load during the concentric phase — allowing you to clear the sticking point more easily and reducing injuries. 

3. Bench Press

Rounding up the powerlifting trio is, of course, the bench press. Issue: the exercise is most difficult during the concentric phase (initial lift), but becomes easier during the eccentric phase (downward motion). Solution for more even muscle activation: according to studies, powerlifting chains. Result: an overall more linear and well-rounded exercise.

4. Other Lifts (& When Not to Use Chains)

The principles mentioned above can be applied to pretty much any weightlifting exercise and its variants. You can use exercise chains with rows, overhead presses, lunges, etc. As long as the exercise relies on controlled ascent and descent, the chains will work.

That said, we wouldn’t recommend them for exercises that rely on speed and momentum for completion. For example, the snatch or clean and jerk. Simply put, variable overload adds value by progressively adding more weight during the exercise, and these types of lifts are performed too fast for the adaptations to take place.

On top of that, the swift movement of the exercises will easily shake up the chains, which can cause all sorts of balancing issues. Here are some studies to back this up for the snatch & Olympic clean.

What Is an Alternative to Weightlifting Chains?

Weightlifting chains can be expensive and require regular upkeep. Here are some alternatives that will get you similar results, which might be more accessible too:

Exercises for Using Weightlifting Chains

1. Resistance Bands

The most common alternative to exercise chains is resistance bands. Similarly to how resistance increases as more chain links lift off the ground, the resistance band becomes harder to stretch the more it expands. Although the principle is the same, the big difference is that resistance bands provide curvilinear tension vs. the linear tension of chains.

In practical terms, the nature of resistance bands means that the tension is not as predictable, which can make this form of exercise demand varying instead of linear muscle adaptations. They also actively pull you down, and this force can especially be felt when lowering the weight back down (eccentric phase).

This forces constant muscle adaptation to maintain control and balance. Although this effect is also great for developing strength and explosive power, it is generally considered more dangerous to perform than using chains, something that the aforementioned study points out.

Additionally, there’s the possibility of the band snapping or failing, causing loss of balance and control and potentially leading to injuries. So, if you’re going to do this, be very careful to select bands that can withstand both the length and tension of the stretch.

2. Heavy Rope

Attaching a pair of heavy, thick ropes to your barbell can also offer a similar effect to using weight chains. It may even be cheaper, especially if you have spares lying around. Just make sure they’re a good length and weight. 

3. Rest-Pause

For this method of training, we’re not adding anything extra to the barbell. Instead, what we’re going to do is take one or two pauses (stops) mid-exercise to force muscle re-adaptation. For example, for squats, stop twice in the middle of the lift.

Weightlifting Chains Worth It

Once during descension just before you pass the breaking point, and once again during ascension when you pass the breaking point. What this does is remove the initial momentum from driving the weight up, thereby increasing the time under tension for the muscles involved in the movement.

FAQ

Are Weightlifting Chains Worth It?

Absolutely! Chains can be a great addition if you’re already into weightlifting. They can be especially effective for squats and deadlifts, as these exercises tend to be harder during the ascent phase but get easier as you rise up and push past the difficult section.

By adding progressive weight with chains, we maintain the difficulty level throughout. That way, we hit the active muscles harder during the upper portions of the lift without needing to add more bumper plates and making the initial lift harder.

How Long Should Weightlifting Chains Be?

Commercial chains for weightlifting measure between 5-6 feet to fit most people. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all since we’re all different heights. Ideally, when fully off the ground during the exercise, the chain should barely be scraping the floor. That way, you feel the full weight of the chain without it swinging around.

What Is the Difference Between Resistance Bands and Weightlifting Chains?

People use both resistance bands and chains for weightlifting to add variable resistance. The key difference is that resistance bands actively pull you down, especially during the eccentric phase of the lift. This can force greater muscle adaptation during the lowering phase but also carries the risk of the resistance bands failing and causing you to lose balance, drop weight, etc. which can be dangerous to you and your surroundings.

Are Chains Better Than Plates?

Calling either barbell chains or bumper plates better wouldn't make sense. Although both serve the purpose of simply adding weight to a resistance-based exercise, they function differently. Plates add raw weight while properly positioned chains add variable weight (the more links you lift the harder it gets).

Besides that, it’s important to remember that bumper plates protect the barbell and floor from accidental drops due to their impact reduction, which is something chains cannot do.

Conclusion

Those were the six best weightlifting chains for 2024. Adding chains to popular weightlifting exercises can provide variable resistance, which is proven to increase raw strength and explosive power. If we had to single out a pair of chains for weightlifting, we’d highly recommend checking out the Rogue Chain Kit, the build is excellent and the complimentary attachments provide even more value.

We’d love to hear from you as well. Tell us what your favorite weightlifting exercise is. Also, have you tried using chains for working out? Leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback below and make sure to follow us on social media for more fitness content.

References:

  1. Cheryl A. Coker, Joseph M. Berning, Doug L. Briggs, “A Preliminary Investigation of the Biomechanical and Perceptual Influence of Chain Resistance on the Performance of the Snatch,” The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 20, no. 4 (2006), 887-891.
  2. D. Travis McMaster, John Cronin, Michael R. McGuigan, “Quantification of Rubber and Chain-Based Resistance Modes,” The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24, no. 8 (2010), 2056-2064.
  3. Dongting Jiang, Gang Xu, “Effects of Chains Squat Training with Different Chain Load Ratio on the Explosive Strength of Young Basketball Players’ Lower Limbs,” Frontiers in Physiology 13 (2022).
  4. Joseph M. Berning, Cheryl A. Coker, Kent J. Adams, “Using Chains for Strength and Conditioning,” Strength and Conditioning Journal 26, no. 5 (2004), 80-84.
  5. Matthew Sharp, Charlie Ottinger, Raad Gheith, Matthew Stefan, Ryan Lowery, Salvatore LoDuca,  Jacob Wilson, “The Effects of Offset Loading Versus Traditional Loading in the Bench Press Exercise on Muscle Thickness and Strength in Trained Males,” Journal of Science in Sport and Exercise 5 (2023), 302-313.
  6. Ramsey M. Nijem, Jared W. Coburn, Lee E. Brown, Scott K. Lynn, Anthony B. Ciccone, “Electromyographic and Force Plate Analysis of the Deadlift Performed With and Without Chains,” The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 30, no. 5 (2016), 1177-1182.
  7. Roland van den Tillaar, Atle Hole Saeterbakken, Vidar Andersen, “The Acute Effects of Attaching Chains to the Barbell on Kinematics and Muscle Activation in Bench Press in Resistance-Trained Men,” Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology 7, no. 2 (2022), 39.
  8. Vlad Adrian Geanta, Ardelean Viorel Petru, “Improving Muscle Size with Weider's Principle of Progressive Overload in Non-Performance Athletes,” Timisoara Physical Education and Rehabilitation Journal 14, no. 27 (2021), 27-32.
  9. Yiguan Lin, Yangyang Xu, Feng Hong, Junbo Li, Weibing Ye, Mallikarjuna Korivi, “Effects of Variable-Resistance Training Versus Constant-Resistance Training on Maximum Strength: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 14 (2022), 8559.

Why Trust Our Reviews? Our product reviews are meticulously curated by a team of seasoned athletes, certified coaches, and sports nutrition experts, boasting more than 20 years of collective coaching experience. In our mission to promote Olympic weightlifting and strength training, we engage in comprehensive testing and evaluation of weightlifting products and supplements, making certain that only the utmost quality items meet our rigorous criteria.

We take a hands-on approach, procuring and personally testing these products in gym settings, affording us genuine insights into their performance. Our credibility stems from the expertise of experienced athletes, supported by authentic photos and videos, offering you dependable assessments tailored to athletes of all skill levels.

Jason Li

Author: Jason Li

Personal Coach | Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist

Jason is an NYC personal training expert and National level Olympic Weightlifting Coach with over 10 years of experience training everyday clients to high levels of performance. He has trained everyone from youth (13 years old and under) to masters (60+ years old) to regional and national rankings for powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Short distance (up to 200m) sprinting, discus & hammer throwing.


Sergii Putsov

Reviewed by: Sergii Putsov

PhD in Sport Science, Olympic weightlifting, Strength & Conditioning coach and fitness expert

Sergii Putsov is a professional weightlifter with over 20 years of experience and multiple national medals. He was a member of the National weightlifting team, competing in the 94 kg weight class. Sergii holds a master’s degree in Olympic & Professional Sport Training and a Ph.D. in Sport Science. After his athletic career, Sergii transitioned into coaching and is now responsible for designing training programs, writing blog articles, providing live commentary for international weightlifting competitions, and hosting sport and fitness seminars worldwide.

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