Rugby League Training Drill 4: Bench Press with Chains

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Rugby League Training Drill 4: Bench Press with Chains

Rugby League, as with any collision sport, requires a strong base from which to perform powerful movements such as tackling and wrestling. As well as developing basic strength and hypertrophy, the addition of chains means that this exercise addresses stability through the shoulders and pectoral girdle allowing the player to perform the specific movements needed for the sport in a safe and functional manner. It also provides for the maintenance and development of strength through the season for players who may be carrying shoulder or chest injuries.

Rugby League Training Drill 4- Bench Press with ChainsThe difference between a normal bench press and a bench press with chains is that the resistance increases through the concentric phase of the movement. Weighted chains alter the kinetics of the barbell during the entire range of movement as well as increasing the mechanical advantage of the movement.

This system accommodates a lifter by decreasing load at the weakest joint position and increasing the load at the lifter’s strongest joint position. Weighted chains provide optimal resistance throughout the entire range of motion through the accommodation of the changing length-tension relationship of the musculoskeletal system.


To perform this movement set up the bench press station as normal. However instead of adding weight to the barbell, place the chains on the sleeves of the bar. Lying on the bench get you head beyond the bar if possible. Tuck your feed underneath you and arch your back. Using the bar to help support your weight, lift your shoulder off the bench and retract them, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Use your feet to drive your traps into the bench. Maintain this tight body position throughout the movement. Lower the bar to your lower chest or upper stomach. The bar, wrist, and elbow should stay in line at all times. Pause when the barbell touches your torso, and then drive the bar up with as much force as possible. The elbows should be tucked in until lockout.

Depending on the size of chains used,I prescribe 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps at 60-80% of your bench press 1RM.

Jeremy Hickmans
Jeremy Hickmans is the Performance Director for Wayne Bennet and the Newcastle Knights Please click here to learn more about Jeremy Hickmans and purchase his Rugby League Training Programs.

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