When I started my foray back into powerlifting, I needed to find a way to spot myself without going out and getting a power rack. I simply didn't want to give up the space in my garage. But how was I going to spot myself doing heavy squats or bench presses without, der, a rack or stands?
Oh yes, chains. These ended up being a multi-purpose purchase, but I 'll get to that in a second. Every time I pass that section of Home Depot with all the rope and chain, tons of ideas flash into my head. It was only a matter of time before I found a reason to buy some. Finally, this was it. I ended up buying a box of chain from Walmart, 20' long, with a load capacity somewhere north of 1000 lbs.; then I bought a couple extra carabineers.
The chains attach to two eye hooks already in the ceiling joists, and a carabineer goes on either end of the chain. To adjust the length, raise or lower the carabineer to the desired link.
How does this work for spotting? Simple raise the chains high enough to get under, but no too high so you can still go to parallel when you squat down. The barbell goes through the loops of the chains. Because the chains are not at a fixed point, you can squat under and walk the weight forward to 'unrack' it. Then take a couple of steps back and perform the exercise. It isn't ideal, but it works pretty well.
You can adjust this setup fast for other exercises, or use it as a suspension trainer, or if you prefer, gymnastics rings, with the addition of some handles. For mine, I purchased a 2 foot length of thick flex pipe, cut it in half an slide the end of the chain through. Fast, simple, and effective.
Total cost for this setup? About $35 to $40.
The beauty of this over rope or another material are the dual functions (spotting equipment for barbells/suspension trainer) and the quick adjustment. Not to mention the price. Even new, that's pretty reasonable.
So if you are looking for rings, or want to start suspension training, or simply need to be able to do squats and don't want to spend the money for a power rack, look for some chains. Easy to put up, easy to take down, and a whole lot of fun.
Want more great ideas? Keep reading:
Setting up a Jungle Gym XT or TRX:
Stronger Back Muscleshttp://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Build-Strong-Back-Muscles