A barbell is simply a metal pole or rod with sleeves on the end that help hold weighted discs in place during exercise. The barbell is most commonly used during weight training exercises that target the upper body, such as the biceps, triceps, pectorals and all back and shoulder muscles like rhomboids and lats. The discs can be removed and new ones added on to either decrease or increase overall weight, as long as both sides weigh the same amount. It’s very important that one side doesn’t hugely outweigh the other, as it won’t work both sides of your body evenly, and can even lead to serious strain or injury due to some groups of muscles working overly hard to compensate!
Are they the same as regular weights?
Not to be confused with dumbbells (singular handheld free weights that can also be used for upper body exercises), barbells are designed to work more than one set of muscles at the same time. For example, when you lift a barbell with your arms and target your biceps, it’s hitting both your left and right biceps, as both arms are involved in the exercise. If you’re performing tricep exercises like skull crushers, it will hit both your left and triceps as they’re both lifting the barbell. Dumbbells can also be used as a pair in order to achieve this, but as they are individual weights, they aren’t primed for hitting both sets of muscles in a smooth, synchronised manner the same way a barbell does.
Barbells are also necessary for exercises that require a two handed weight that allows for a wide range of motion, such as a deadlift or a bench press.
Do you need to use a bench whilst using a barbell?
Whilst many barbell exercises can be carried out without the use of a bench and are actually more effective without it (such as bicep curls), a lot of times an exercise that requires more weight on each end of the barbell will also require a bench for support. A bench press is a great example of this, as weightlifters may be lifting heavy amounts of weight, perhaps even 100kg or more at a time, and will need a flat surface to lie back on for support. This is why a bench would be required. An exercise like the overhead press is an example of one that can be conducted either standing up or seated on a bench, with the barbell being raised above the head and lowered back down to chin level again to target the shoulder muscles.
Advantages of Using Barbells:
- Barbells can typically hold bigger amounts of weight more easily than dumbbells can. If you try to lift two 40kg dumbbells above you for a bench press, you’d be shocked at how challenging it can be! A bench press carried out with a barbell and a bench however will be much easier for your muscles to lift, not only because they are both lifting the same amount of weight at the same time, but because the weight is more evenly distributed as the barbell is wider than a dumbbell.
- Barbells provide the lifter with stability during exercise, more so than the likes of dumbbells. This is because the weights at each end are being kept in balance by the barbell, so even though you are technically lifting the weight of the bar as well, there should be a greater sense of steadiness and stability.
- There won’t be any imbalances in the growth or strength of your muscles, as barbells ensure you can equally target both sides of your body during exercise and maintain Relifesports.
Disadvantages of Using Barbells:
- Although they provide stability, barbells can be slightly less comfortable to hold than their dumbbell counterparts, especially when it comes to those exercises requiring a more narrow grip – these can be quite sore on your wrists which isn’t ideal when you’re already carrying out intense exercises!
- Barbells do take time to load and unload, unlike dumbbells which are ready to pick up and go. Depending on what you use to keep the weights in place, it can be quite challenging to get the discs off the bar as well, which can be a workout by itself!
- Standard barbells aren’t too much of an issue, but longer Olympic barbells used for heavier exercises can be quite cumbersome to have around a home gym as they take up a lot more room. Trying not to hit anything in your living room when you lift them up can be quite a challenge!
If you’re looking to purchase some barbells for use at home, we have some great barbells on offer on our website, relifesports. These include standard barbells for lighter exercises and those looking for a narrower range of motion, or Olympic barbells for bigger and heavier exercises like deadlifts or bench presses.
PITHAGE Adjustable Barbell Set Total Weight
- Our PITHAGE Adjustable Barbell Set Total Weight is akin to a standard model of barbell. It is an adjustable barbell, meaning you can remove or add weight to suit your workout needs. With an overall weight of 45lbs, it comes equipped with two 11lbs weights, two 5.5lbs weights and two 2.75 weights to get you started!
VIGBODY Olympic Straight Barbell
- The VIGBODY Olympic Straight Barbell is also a bigger barbell used for heavier exercises. Although it doesn’t come equipped with weights, it does have anti-rust coated metal and two weight holders to keep your weights in place during exercise!
VIGBODY Barbell Curl
- There is also the VIGBODY Barbell Curl model, ideal for curls and exercises that need to be carried out with a narrower grip!
Barbells are not only a great tool to help you carry out many beneficial exercises for strength training and muscle growth, but they are also a necessary piece of equipment for those looking to carry out deadlifts, squats or any other exercise that requires a large amount of weight or more than one set of muscles to be targeted at once. If you’re looking to expand your home gym or whether you just want to try them out, the barbells we have available on the relifesports website will suit every need and help you achieve your fitness goals. If you see one you like, don’t hesitate in placing an order today!
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