Barbells are pieces of equipment that are used in weightlifting and weight training. A barbell consists of a metal bar and one or more weight plates on each end. Weights are secured to the bar with collars, so that they will not slide off during exercise. The length of the bar can range from 4 feet to 7 feet, and its diameter is usually about 1 inch. The plates vary in weight and size, and they can be added or removed to obtain a desired weight.
History of Barbells
It is believed that barbells were invented in the 19th century, and the earliest barbells featured hollow globes that were filled with lead shot or sand. In 1865, an American physician and strong man by the name of George Barker Windship introduced a new barbell, which he called the "practical graduating dumbbell." This barbell was a plate-loading barbell, and it was made up of an 8-lb cast iron shaft and 22 plates that ranged from ½ lb to 10 lb, allowing a maximum weight of 101 lb. Windship's invention is considered the first modern barbell, and it is similar to most barbells that are being used today.
Benefits of Using Barbells
Barbells are not only used by weightlifters; they are also essential pieces of exercise equipment for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Lifting barbells is an effective way to build major muscles in the body, which include the arms, chest, legs and back. When you're lifting barbells, the weight is spread evenly throughout your body, and this enables you do more repetitions and exhaust your major muscles. As a result, you will gain more muscle mass in a shorter time.
Barbell exercises can be performed in a standing, sitting or lying down position, and they can be done to target specific muscles in the body. Some of the recommended barbell exercises include the trunk rotation and side bend for building abdominal muscles, bench press and pullover for chest, upright row, military press, front and rear deltoid raise and push press for shoulders, biceps curl for biceps, triceps extension and reverse bench press for triceps, wrist curl and wrist extension for the forearm, barbell row, good morning, deadlift, high pull, power clean and press, and shrug for the back, and squat, lunge, step-up and calf raise for the legs.
Safe and Proper Ways to Do Barbell Exercises
Doing barbell exercises the proper way not only brings better results, but also ensures that you will not get injured unnecessarily. It is essential to do some warm-ups and stretching before you begin your barbell exercises, because this will improve your blood flow and prepare your muscles for a heavy workout. If you're going to try a new exercise, use lighter weights first to perfect your techniques, and then you can proceed to lift heavier weights. You have to practice proper breathing while doing barbell exercises. Exhale when you're lifting and inhale when the barbell is coming down. When doing squats and rows, you should use a weightlifting belt to protect your lower back.