Increase Relative Body Weight Strength with Chains

Body weight training is one the best ways to prepare for wrestling season, but what happens when you get so STRONG that your body weight is not enough? This week we will learn how to PROGRESS traditional body weight exercises with CHAINS.

Chain Training Part Two: Increase Relative Body Weight Strength with Chains

By John Gaglione


Last week we discussed how chain can be attached to barbells in order to develop speed, strength, and explosive power.

Chains are also a great way to load body weight exercises.

Chain Pushup

Body weight exercises are a great way to develop strength in both athletic and general fitness populations. They require the user to control their own weight and stabilize their entire body. This is obviously important for athletic performance, but it is also important for overall health to be able to control one’s own body weight.

There are ways to make body weight exercises easier for beginner(which I will discuss in a different article), but for today I will show you how to make body weight exercises more challenging once you have mastered a particular exercise. Once an athlete can do 8, 10, and 12 repetitions with their own body weight without breaking a sweat it is time to add additional load.

Dumbbells and weight vests are fine choices for loading athletes, but sometimes those options aren’t available or practical in certain situations. There are also times when the coach has a very strong individual and a weight vest is simply not enough load to make the exercise effective. Chains can help solve these problems.

Weight Vest Back Elevated Single Leg Glute Bridge with Chain

There are two basic ways to utilize chains to add resistance to body weight exercises. The chain can be simply draped over the athletes body or the athlete can use clips to attach the links together and put them on like a vest that looks like the letter “X”.

When draping chains over the body I recommend using the middle link of the chain to ensure the chain is put on evenly on both sides. For exercises that are prone(face down) I recommend “criss crossing” the chains on the body forming the letter “X”. These exercises would included push up variations(see picture below) as well as planks.

One leg Chain Push Up

For exercises that are standing you can choose to attach them like a vest or they can be draped over the neck of the athlete as shown in the picture below.

Chain and Weight Vest Loaded Single Leg Box Squat

If the athlete has a cervical(neck) limitations the “weight vest style” is a better option. Other exercises that could be loaded in this manner are pull up variations, lunge variations, squat variations, as well as others. This picture is a demonstration of a single leg high box squat.

Chain and Weight Vest Loaded Single Leg Box Squat

Chains can also be draped over the torso to load exercises like glute bridges and hip thrusts. Here is a picture of an athlete performing back elevated single leg glute bridges with chain.

Single Leg Back Elevated Glute Bridge with Weight Vest and Chains

These are just some quick examples of ways to load body weight exercises. If you have some of your own body weight exercises please share them with a comments below! What are your favorites to load with chain?


Coach Gaglione

Educate, Motivate, Dominate

About the Author


Coach John Gaglione is a Sport Performance Specialist out of Long Island New York and the director of strength and conditioning for Plainedge High School’s Football and Wrestling Programs. An avid strength sport athlete John also competes in powerliftering and kettlebell strong sport competitions. If you would like to learn more about John you can reach him at www.gaglionestrength.com or e-mail him at gaglionestrength@gmail.com.

Author: John Gaglione

Coach John Gaglione is a Sport Performance Specialist out of Long Island New York and the director of strength and conditioning for Plainedge High School’s Football and Wrestling Programs. An avid strength sport athlete John also competes in powerlifting and kettlebell strong sport competitions. If you would like to learn more about John you can reach him at www.gaglionestrength.com or e-mail him at gaglionestrength@gmail.com.

8 thoughts on “Increase Relative Body Weight Strength with Chains”

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I hope this knowledge helps you with your training!

      Educate, Motivate, Dominate
      -Coach Gaglione

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