Barbell basics for women

WomensFitness_Dec10_ASome women believe that barbells are made solely for men. However, this is far from being true. A barbell is one of the most effective and versatile pieces of equipment a woman can use to work out the upper and lower body muscle groups and strengthen the body. The problem is that the barbell area of the gym is usually occupied by beefy men without necks, and so entering the zone and giving it a try can be intimidating.

Why you need to lift barbells

Barbells allow you to do things you would never be able to do with dumbbells or kettlebells. Since barbells are so long, they can take the load off your hands, wrists and arms, so you can lift more weight than you could have done with dumbbells. That’s why lifting a barbell with 100 pounds is way easier than lifting two 20-pound dumbbells.

So to help you get over your fear of barbells, here are some basic tips you can use to feel more confident about barbell lifting.

Start with just the bar

Don’t rush into the weight area and attempt to lift a barbell with monstrous weight plates on both ends! When it comes to working out with unfamiliar, new equipment, you need to master the movement before increasing the weight. A standard barbell without weight plates can weigh anywhere between 27 and 45 pounds all by itself, so it should prove a challenge for most women.

Adjust weights slowly

Whether you want to remove some weight from a barbell, or you’re already comfortable with the current load and are ready to add some more, you need to proceed with caution and adjust weight plates slowly. Why? Because if the barbell is balanced on the station and one side suddenly weighs 20 pounds more than the other, it’s going to fly off the racks and could hurt someone nearby. Don’t be afraid to ask a gym neighbor to add or remove the weight on one side while you do the same on the other.

Use collars

For the sake of your safety and that of those around you, make use of two metal collars located somewhere around the barbell. These collars are used to hold the detachable weight plates in position, and keep them from rattling around or sliding off the metal bar and causing injury. There are many types of collars, and the one you use will depend on your preference and the type of barbell.

Maintain balance

When performing a barbell exercise, it’s very important to maintain good posture and body balance. While it’s easy to shift and sway parts of your body to make the exercise less difficult to accomplish, you won’t get the desired results by cheating. Make sure to assume the proper body position for the particular exercise that you are doing, so you can lift heavier weights and avoid any nasty injuries caused by improper form.

If you want to perform barbell exercises with confidence, get in touch with our fitness experts today.

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