Richard A. Stecker Ɨ1, Charles R. Smith Ɨ1, Patrick S. Harty Ɨ1, Brad T. Gieske Ɨ1, Jonathan N. Mike ǂ1, Scott Richmond ǂ1, Chad M. Kerksick ǂ1 1Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO

Strength and power are crucial attributes for nearly all types of athletes. Resistance training using chain-loaded barbells has become popular as a means to increase strength and power production. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of weighted-chains on muscular strength and muscular power during the bench press exercise. METHODS: A total of 11 recreationally active men (26.8 ± 5.9 yrs, 181.9 ± 5.1 cm, 91.4 ± 11.7 kg, 20.6 ± 3.4 % fat) completed 4-weeks of training using one of three styles of bench press (BP) (60% 1RM, n = 3; 40% 1RM, n = 4; or weighted chains, n = 4) to assess changes in strength, power, and velocity. To measure power participants were tethered anteriorly to a linear position transducer and performed five explosive push-ups while maintaining hand contact to the floor. Upon completion of the first testing session each study participant was matched according to baseline strength levels to one of the three training groups. Participants completed a supervised 3-day per week resistance training program for 4-weeks with each training session separated by at least 48 hours. The training groups performed 5 sets of 5 reps BP with one of the following intensities: 60% of 1RM, 40% of 1RM, or 60% of 1RM with 20% from weighted chains. All participants completed the same accessory lifts. RESULTS: A two-way mixed factorial ANOVA (group x time) with repeated measures on time revealed no significant differences from baseline at two and four weeks of training for BP 1RM (p= 0.87, 0.82; respectively), average push-up power (p = 0.19, 0.21; respectively), peak push-up power (p = 0.55, 0.12; respectively) and peak push-up velocity (p = 0.39, 0.21; respectively). A significant difference was found in average push- up velocity among all groups (p = 0.008), with a Tukey Post-Hoc finding significance between the weighted-chains and 60% 1RM group within 2-weeks (p = 0.006). CONCLUSION: Over a 4-week period, no differences in upper-body strength and power were observed between the groups. Average push-up velocity was shown to increase after 2-weeks of training using weighted chains in comparison to training at 60% 1RM. Further research is needed with a larger sample size, longer training protocol, and other intensity and volume prescriptions to better determine the impact of resistance training using this approach.

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