D, I read your response on the elite q&a where you
talked about doing barbell single leg squats with “suspended” chains...what
the hell are they? If they get you strong, and I’m
sure they do, I want to know how to do them!! Thanks,
I actually learned about them while reading the rehabilitation
section of Elitefts.com’s Q&A as well!
Michael Hope, who is the rehab specialist on that
site, wrote about doing single leg squats in this
fashion to further recruit the stabilizing muscles
of the trunk. When Michael talks, I listen; the
guy has given me tremendous advice over the past
couple of months with regards to my back problems & other
issues that my athletes deal with. Anyway, once
I read about them, we had to try them. They definitely
work! Let me explain what is meant by “suspended” chains,
as opposed to the “classic” way to
Most people are now familiar with the “classic” way to use chains when lifting. The point of using chains is to overcome resistance & mimic an athlete’s natural strength curve. Simply put, the heavy chains should be set up so that when the athlete is at his/her weakest point of the lift, most of the heavy chain is lying on the ground. This makes the weight on the bar lighter when the athlete has a poor leverage (which occurs at the bottom of the lift). (See the photo below).
As the athlete rises during the lift, the heavy chains unravel off of the ground, thus making the weight on the bar heavier as the athlete’s leverage increases (see photo below).
The description above is the “classic” way of utilizing chains to build incredible strength & explosive power.
A “suspended” chain means that there is no “deload” of chain in the bottom position. In essence, this is no different than having regular weight on the bar because the weight remains the same during the entire repetition. BUT, there is one major difference; by not having the chains hit the ground, the bar becomes very unstable because the chains sway slightly back & forth during the repetition. This places much more emphasis on the stabilizing muscles of the trunk, compared to regular barbell or dumbbell single leg squats.
Suspended chain single leg squats, top position
Suspended chain single leg squats, bottom position (no deload)
Q: Joe, First I want to say it was a thrill to meet you personally in Toronto. Thank you for spending the time to answer all of my questions throughout the weekend; you were very down to earth and willing to help a young, aspiring coach like myself. I truly appreciate it. I was just wondering if you can explain the whole “positive shin angle” thing you were discussing when you covered acceleration & 10 yard sprinting? I think I understood what you were saying but I want to make sure I got it. Thanks and the new 40 manual is great!
John from Quebec
Thanks for the feedback and it was a great weekend for me too. Hanging out & “talking shop” with some of the best minds in the industry was definitely a great experience…I also love Toronto; I think we may have to open a DeFranco’s Training Centre there someday.
SWIS Symposium Roundtable (from left to right): Scott Abel, Dave Tate, Paul Chek, Charles Poliquin, Dr. Rob Rakowski, Dr. Tom Bilella, Dr. Eric Serrano, Dr. John Berardi, Joe DeFranco, Dr. Ken Kinakin, (Charles Staley not pictured)
Joe DeFranco takes on questions from the crowd after his presentation on “Sprinting Problems; Strength & Flexibility Solutions”.
As far as your question is concerned, here’s a recap of my explanation of a “positive shin angle”…
A positive shin angle is the angle of the shin that you should try to achieve when accelerating into your sprint. When you accelerate, you should have an incredible body lean (approximately 45-degrees in relation to the ground). When your upper body is in front of your lower body, you need your knee to be in front of your foot during each foot strike; this prevents overstriding & the creation of a “breaking force” with each step. If your foot lands out in front of your knee during acceleration, you will actually decelerate with each stride and slow yourself down (breaking force). Check out the picture of Randy Moss below. It gives a great visual of a positive shin angle.
Notice the angle of his left shin; when his foot strikes the ground, it will push BACK into the turf, which will propel him FORWARD. This is a great acceleration position to be in. The key to acceleration is to take the biggest steps possible, without overstriding. A positive shin angle enables you to accomplish this.
The fewest steps wins the race!
Q: Joe D - What happened man?? I remember when you would always make fun of someone or curse at someone in your q&a. Now your touring the world doing seminars, giving politically correct answers on your q&a, appearing on fit-tv (soft channel) and your making mainstream supplements? WHAT GIVES!! Sellout
Frank, NY, NY
A: Frank, 2 things…
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