Blog By: Kavitha Iyer.
A barbell is usually a steel bar that is 5 to 7 feet long. The diameter often varies from thick to thin, but it is usually about one inch, and is engraved with a knurled crosshatch pattern to help lifters maintain their grip. Weight plates are slid onto the outer portions of the barbell on either side to obtain the desired total weight. These weight plates are usually secured with collars to prevent them from sliding off during the exercise (which can result in injuries). A barbell is used in weight training, Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting.
Barbell Training is Best Used For:
The barbell shines most bright when used for heavy weight training. Thus, it is the tool of choice for competitive powerlifters, olympic weightlifters, and to an extent bodybuilders. There is no better tool for measuring the body’s ability to lift raw weight up and down than the barbell. The best barbell exercises are compound lifts such as back squats, front squats, overhead squats, zercher squats, deadlifts, rack-pulls, stiff-leg deadlifts, sumo-stance deadlifts, bent-over rows, bench presses, overhead presses, cleans, jerks, snatches, power cleans, push presses, and power snatches.
Benefits of using Barbells in your Workout Sessions:
The barbell is very simple tool, so it is easy to learn the basic lifts quickly. With proper coaching, anyone without any debilitating pre-conditions can learn most barbell exercises in under an hour. The olympic lifts may be an exception for some. Each one in about an hour’s time.
The weight is fixed and stable, so the tool itself is less likely to deviate from a normal range of motion. This is an advantage for the barbell because, when under heavy load, you do not want the barbell to deviate at all, as this could result in immediate injury. This could also be seen as a disadvantage, because intelligent training should have components programmed in that will take the trainee outside the scope of their sport or activity – effectively training extreme ranges of motion as a safety-valve for when a movement does deviate from what is expected.
Another benefit of the barbell is that unlimited progression is possible because you can always add more weight to the bar. Of course, every lifter has their own genetically pre-determined maxes that they can handle. So, in theory, one could reach a point in their training where further progression is impossible. Being able to add more weight easily makes progressing with this tool very simple.
The barbell is just a tool, and often incorrectly used as a system itself, instead of the other way around. As part of an effective training system, one can use the barbell to reach a variety of training goals.
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