Getting fit: the barbell


Summer is almost here!

 Now is the perfect time to start getting fit and slimming down for the sunny season.

Over the next few posts, we are going to look at several types of exercise equipment you can use from the comfort of your home and start working towards that body you’ve always wanted. These post are specifically for people who are interested to start working out from home.

Series entries:

First off:

The barbell:   A classic symbol of strength

A barbell is simply a long metal rod to which you add weighted plates on both ends and then use to perform various exercises. Don’t worry, it becomes much more exciting once you get into the workouts and start sculpting your new self.

Barbell training (and any weight training for that matter) has always been a male dominated activity. Luckily, this has changed in recent years, as more women have started incorporating weights into their workouts and seeing amazing results.

Notable barbell types

The standard barbell

This most basic iron bar is what you will find in most gyms and sports stores. This will be perfect to start your home fitness collection with.

Olympic barbell

This bar is made to set specifications and certain materials to ensure fairness in weightlifting competitions.  Some gyms have them and they are generally more expensive than standard bars.

EZ curl bar

These are curved bars to make arm exercises (referred to as curls) easier by reducing the strain on your wrists.  This bar is a great addition to your workout arsenal, but not a necessity to start with.

Advantages of barbell training

You only require one actual bar; you can buy more lose weight plates to add over time as you advance in fitness. No need to dish out a lot of money upfront.

Barbells are great for whole body exercises (also referred to as multi-joint and compound exercises). Whole body exercises put strain on the major muscle groups. This is great for strength training, building muscle and burning away body fat. It is also worth noting that with whole body exercises your body continues to burn more fat than usual, long after your workout has finished.

With a barbell you are able to lift heavier weight at a time since the weight is evenly distributed over the bar, making up for muscle imbalances you may have.

A barbell is great for trying new movements or exercises, because you can remove all the weight, practice first and then incrementally add weight as you master the movement.

Disadvantages of barbell training

A  barbell requires a lot of space to fully complete the range of motions of whole body workouts and can take up a lot of space if not stored properly.

Standard barbells are not ideal for isolation or single joint-exercises. These are exercises for targeting and developing a specific muscle, which are important for bodybuilders, athletes or models.  Luckily, a barbell will do adequately for those who are just starting out or are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To be able to fully utilize a barbell, you will need additional equipment such as a workout bench and a barbell rack. They are well worth it, but they only become necessary when you want to use heavy weights.

Final word

A barbell is an excellent piece of equipment to start your home fitness toolbox with . Always check that the weight plates will fit on your bar before buying them.  As with any new exercise, take it slow at first to avoid injuries. Sustainable results take a while, so there is no rush.

Next we look at dumbbells!