Barbells are the long bars that you add weights to. Think of the bench press exercise. Many women because of lack of experience and training find barbells, free weights and exercises such as the bench press intimidating. Many also fear that they will get injured or they are not strong enough to use free weights. Yet in my experience, after I show women how to lift correctly and safely, women love using free weights! In fact, many women later confess that their favorite exercise is the bench press. They love feeling strong and find lifting weights and using barbells empowering on every level. Barbells, though not as versatile as dumbbells have their role in strength training for women. They can add variety to your workouts with exercises such as the bench press, incline bench press, shoulder press, squat, lunge, bar curl, etc. When using barbells you can incorporate more overall body strength because you are using more muscles to lift the weight.
Types of Barbells
Olympic Bars are the most common type of barbells and the ones you will find at gyms and health clubs. Olympic bars are typically 7 feet long, weigh 45 pounds and have a diameter of 2”. Though 45 pounds may sound heavy at first, most women are surprised at how strong they are. This type of bar is most often used for bench pressing, squats, and lunges. There are also short Olympic bars that are about 5’ 6’’ in length and weigh 30 pounds. This size can be useful for beginners and/or for using in smaller spaces such as home gyms.
Standard bars can be the same length as Olympic bars, but are narrower in diameter, approximately 1” and weigh 15 to 20 pounds.
These are the “bent” bars that you see in gyms. They are typically used for arm exercises, such as curls as the “s” curve in them makes them easier on your wrists and elbows. EZ Curl bars come in both the Olympic type having a 2” diameter and weigh 20 pounds or Standard type having a 1” diameter and weigh 10 pounds.
You will need weight plates for your barbells. When purchasing weight plates, make sure you purchase the right type for the barbells that you have. If you have an Olympic bar, which has a 2” diameter, you will need to purchase Olympic plates to fit them. If you have a Standard bar, which has a 1” diameter, you will need to purchase the standard size plates.
Collars are the rounded fasteners that you put on each end of the barbell. These hold the weight plates on the bar and they are a must for safety when you are lifting weights. Again, make sure you purchase the correct size for the barbells you have.
To keep your weight plates organized you will want to purchase a plate rack. Purchase the rack for the size of your weight plates; Olympic or standard size.
The most economical way to purchase your barbells and weight plates is to purchase a set. You will get the bar, weight plates, and collars all for one price.
Working out with free weights and barbells at first may seem intimidating, yet with a little instruction, and practice, you will feel confident, safe and secure. In addition, using barbells in your weight training program is a great way to build strong, healthy bones and muscles that will support you and keep you active and strong for life. To learn more about using free weights contact Kari.
KARI LARSON - PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER
Empowering, Educating and Inspiring Fitness for Life