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Despite the advent of the high-tech fitness industry, barbell exercises still rank high.The barbell is arguably the most intimidating piece of gym equipment to a weightlifting novice, which is perfectly understandable. It’s large and it’s cold and, in most cases, is covered in the sweat of a person you’ve never met.
A lot of people just embarking on their journey to a better body and mind hold the mistaken belief that you can only do one of two things with a barbell: lie on your back and push it up and down, or stand up and haul it straight over your head.
In reality, the barbell is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in the gym and could conceivably be used to sculpt your entire body. But before we get you all revved up to go to the gym and start doing rep after rep with a barbell, there are some things we need to cover.
Tips For Barbell Exercises
In truth, some of the apprehension with which gym novices face into barbell drills is not unjustified. Many who have failed to adhere to basic guidelines while working out with a barbell have come away with serious injuries, putting themselves out of action for days, weeks, and even months at a time. So what can you do to make sure you don’t wind up on the bench like so many overzealous bodybuilders before you?
• Research technique
Many gym-goers make the mistake of failing to research a new exercise before trying it out. They see somebody else doing it at the gym and decide to give it a shot themselves, not knowing exactly what they’re supposed to do.
This is ill-advised. Before you try any new exercise with a barbell, you need to do some research on it. Go to a trusted source, be it a website or just a person who knows what they’re talking about, and get some tips on technique and form. Ideally, practice lifting an imaginary weight in front of the mirror so you can pinpoint and remedy any errors in your technique before it’s too late.
• Don’t Strain
If your prior exposure to weightlifting involved watching competitions to determine the world’s strongest man, you might be tempted to imitate the participants while you’re in the gym. Although gritting your teeth and emitting a series of grunts and groans as you hoist a barbell looks cool, it should be avoided unless you want to risk injury. If you strain too much while you’re lifting, you could wind up with a burst blood vessel (or two).
• Know Your Limits
This goes back to the previous point about not trying to mimic what you see on TV. Maybe in a couple of years you’ll be able to boast about your 24-inch pythons, but you’re not quite there yet. Right now, your aim should be to perfect your technique, not trying to lift as much weight as possible. Failure to know and acknowledge your limits can result in a variety of injuries ranging from slightly inconvenient to absolutely devastating.
Barbell Exercises For Beginners
Okay, now that we’ve looked at some of the things to keep in mind when you’re trying to incorporate barbells into your exercise routine, we can discuss some basic exercises to get you into the swing of things (don’t swing barbells, that’s a bad idea).
Barbell Bench Press
The bench press is possibly the most popular exercise there is, recognized by both amateurs and non-sports fans is one of the most effective workout routines to develop overall muscle mass and strength.
To execute the exercise in a safe manner you must lie down with your back flat on the bench and keep a natural lumbar curve. Do not arch your back during exercise.From the starting position Lift the bar from the rack using a medium grip and lock your arms.
Breathe in and bring the bar down to your middle chest.Don’t bounce the weight off your chest to gain momentum. This will only increase your risk of injury.Pause there for a second then exhale and push the weight back up to the starting position. You must squeeze and feel your chest muscles fully contracted at the top of the movement but don’t lock your arms at the end, by doing this you’re just keeping your triceps from getting more work.
A wider grip limits the bar range of motion but the pectorals and deltoid muscles get more involved reducing triceps work. A narrow grip works more on the triceps and inner part of the chest but you’ll still be hitting your chest muscles and front shoulders.
• Barbell Rows
If you’ve never used barbells before, rows are a great way to start. We’re actually going to suggest you try two kinds of barbell rows: bent-over and upright.
The bent-over barbell row is something a lot of people discover by themselves and end up including as a staple of their exercise routines.
However, because they have no formal knowledge of the bent-over row, they often end up doing it incorrectly. To perform the bent-over barbell row without putting yourself at risk, you should be bent over at a 60-degree angle with your feet shoulder-width apart. Gripping the barbell tightly, raise it slowly from the ground to your waist and back again.Upright barbell rows are obviously quite similar to their bent-over cousins. For an upright barbell row, you should stand straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart and your legs ever so slightly bent.
Using your shoulders as the driving force, lift the barbell to your chin and hold it for a moment before bringing it back down. You don’t need to lift the barbell from the ground for this exercise, holding it at your waistline and lifting from there is perfectly acceptable.
• Barbell Curls
You might think this is way too obvious to be included on any list of barbell exercises, but a lot of “weight lifters” don’t know how to execute a barbell curl properly. Fortunately, it’s not a complicated process, so anybody willing to learn will quickly become a master.
To begin, stand upright with your feet shoulder length apart and the barbell held at your waist in front facing palms. When you are ready, raise the barbell towards your chest and continue to do so until your forearms are fully contracted. Lower the barbell slowly and repeat.
It’s important to remember that the only parts of your body which should be moving during this process are your forearms. If you employ your biceps or shoulders to aid in the lifting of the barbell, the effects of the exercise will be minimal.
• Barbell Squats
If you have perfected barbell rows and curls and are ready to try something new, barbell squats are a logical step forward. Barbell squats begin with that most ancient of exercise techniques: standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Positioned at the rack, hold the barbell behind your neck, resting it on your shoulders. Once you are confident that you have a good grip of the weight, begin to squat as you would if you were performing the exercise without a barbell.
When squatting, it’s important to keep your upper-body as rigid as possible. This goes double for barbell squats as you want to make sure the added weight poses a challenge for your quadriceps. Barbell squats are undeniably basic but are a great way to build your legs when used in conjunction with other leg exercises such as lunges and leg curls.
So what do you think? Are Barbells beginning to seem a little less frightening? Bettering your body’s never going to be an easy task, but the first steps are most difficult. When you first walk into a gym and you hear the clanging of metal and the pounding of electronic dance music, every muscle in your body will be telling you to run away.
After you set eyes on a free barbell, those muscles will continue trying to persuade you to leave only with greater ferocity. Don’t listen to them. Walk over to the Barbell, pick it up and put those muscles to work.
The exercises covered in this article are a great way to get yourself acclimated to barbells.If you want a stronger body and improve your overall strength and muscle mass barbell exercises are an essential component to building the foundation of your physique, once you have mastered them, come back here for some more challenging ones