Chains are great for more than just benching and squatting. In the lateral raise shown we are using accommodating resistance to beat Henneman’s size principle. It states that under load, motor units are recruited from smallest to largest. In practice, this means that slow-twitch, low-force, fatigue-resistant muscle fibers are activated before fast-twitch, high-force, less fatigue-resistant muscle fibers. It was proposed by De:Elwood Henneman.
If we do a traditional lateral raise with straight weight, typically the weight used is going to be too heavy to 'isolate' the supraspinatus. The other larger muscles around it are going to be recruited from the get go to move the weight. It's important to address supraspinatus because it is so commonly injured.
With this variation, it is much lighter in the first few degrees of motion, which is the supraspinatus' primary job. Then the chains get heavier as you raise the weight so we can still tax the larger delt muscles in the later ranges of motion.
If holding the chains in the middle is too heavy try grabbing the end of the chain. This will cut the load in half.
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