Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some chains and a little closer to 300

Weight: 180 1/2 lbs

Late Afternoon

Z-Health: Neural Warmup Level 2

Conventional Dead-lift (lbs):

220 + (18.5 chains) x 1 x 1
250 + (18.5 chains) x 1 x 1
275 + (18.5 chains) x 1 x 1
285 + (18.5 chains) x 1 x 1 (PR)

225 x 1 x 5
205 x 1 x 5

40kg x 4 x 15 Two-hand swings
32kg x 1 x 2r MP
32kg x 1 x 3r MP
32kg x 1 x 5l Jerk

My local hardware store hit me up for $61 for what was left of their heavy chain which I had them cut in half into two 9 1/4 lb, seven foot pieces. Would've liked two 10lb pieces but I was too lazy to go to another store.

The chains were suggested by Caleb Fields, the Petaluma physical therapist (that I ran into on my business trip to the west coast office) and former swimmer and power-lifter (168 lb, 500lb+ dead-lifter), who suggested attaching 10lb chains to each side of my barbell to help me get over 300.

I had to fold each chain in half and then each half in half again to make sure it came all the way off the floor in the lock out position. I used a long bolt and one of my old cheapo spring collars on each side to attach the chains. If you think of the chain as folded into the shape of a large "M", each of the two chain links on the top most points of the "M" were slide over the each of the prongs of the collar (hung upside down) with one bolt going through each of the collar's two prongs to prevent the chain from falling off. I'm sure there are better ways to secure the chains but dadgommit I'm only fricken software geek.

The chain usage (first advocated by power-lifting guru Louie Simmons of West Side Barbell .. I think) is to get the CNS accustomed to the additional weight .. as the bar comes off the ground it gets heavier and heavier thus avoiding being stuck in the hole with the total weight. I know I also need to do pulls off the block but they seem to really aggravate my lower back .. perhaps dropping down some weight and returning to these might be a good idea.

I'll be damned if the chains didn't work! Getting it off the ground seemed no more difficult than just 285 (my no-chains PR) and the 303 1/2 total (barbell + chains) in the lock out position was no trouble. I'm also glad I didn't mess with too many warmup lifts before I tried this.

Pulling over 300 even with the help of chains as opposed to a pure barbell lift is a massive psychological barrier for me to have overcome. Given the success with this little adjustment, I will test my PR with the chains every two to three weeks.

Meanwhile my 32kg right side military press is getting better and better. On my last one there was no tilting to the left side at all. I did try to press the 32 with my left but no go. Instead I settled for a set of five jerks.


Frankie Mecono said...

Your training always inspires me. Check out my blog.
Kettlebell strength Journal

Frankie Mecono

Franklin B Herman, RKC said...


Me inspire you?! Wow! I'm both honored and humbled.

Great blog .. I just left a comment.

Aaron Friday said...

You went above and beyond with the hardware. Great effort, Franklin. It will pay off.

3 wheels with little effort is in your future.

If I didn't tell you this already, I want to say it now. You did a freakin' great job in the TSC, and I'm really proud of what you've done. Competing, and preparing for a competition is 100% voluntary, and it's difficult. You rose to the challenge, and you smoked that challenge.

The rankings are out of your control. SHOWING UP is totally within your control. Not enough people are doing it.

Franklin B Herman, RKC said...


Thanks! The chains are really cool .. I'll shoot a video next time.

Preparing and competing in the TSC was an incredible experience. You were a large part of that and I am indebted to you for all your coaching advice and support.

I'm alread so psyched for the upcoming sprint TSC.

Mike T Nelson said...

Good stuff!

Where is your sticking point on the DL?

Yep, I just started using chains a few months back and I really like them so far. They allow you to overload certain parts of the movement heavier than you could "normally" and it is also same but different.

Personally, I have had good luck waving the chains and straight weight in the same session.

Keep up the great work!
Mike N

Franklin B Herman, RKC said...


My sticking point is getting the frickn' bar moving. I'm now very confident that like yourself, the mixture of chains and straight will yield results.