Every four years when the Olympics are televised, one of the most impressive events to watch is the weightlifting.
Many people watch in awe wondering just how much does an Olympic bar weigh.
You see athletes lifting enormous weights with the bar bending as they do so. It must be heavy to support all those weights, right?
The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) demands uniformity in these bars. There is a tiny tolerance in terms of lengths and diameters. With the weight of the bar, it should come in at 25kg including the two collars. The collars are 2.5kg apiece leaving a bar weighing 20kg even before it’s loaded.
If you spot a supposed “Olympic Bar” at your local gym, be aware that this is unlikely to meet the same standards and, more often than not, it’s just a regular piece of strength training kit which does not conform to these rigorous standards.
What Do You Need To Work Out With a Bar?
If you want to really hit the weights hard, the great news is that working out with a bar requires very little by the way of equipment.
The straight metal bar described above is commonly called a barbell.
There are two main types.
- The machines found in most gyms are limited to pre-set weights being loaded on.
- These are more versatile and allow you to determine which weight configurations suit your needs best.
In addition to your barbell and weight plates, the only other thing you’ll need is a decent weight bench. We review 5 of the best benches here.
If you want to limit yourself to curls and cannot afford a bench then you can get started right away. You can also buy more weight plates as you progress so you do not need to go and spend a fortune straight off the bat.
Make sure to pay careful attention because your body will not be supported by a machine so proper form is essential. Do not rush and make sure that you perform each workout slowly and accurately to avoid injury.
What Are The Benefits of Using a Barbell?
The initial advantage, as you can see, is that you do not need to go out and spend lots of money on a range of different equipment. A relatively inexpensive bar, some weights with a bench and you’re good to go.
You can perform a very wide range of different exercises whatever your level of training.
Barbells increase strength and build muscle. They are awesome fat-burners which hit the whole body hard.
Barbells are great for working out the stabilizing muscles which sit above the main muscle groups you normally target. It’s no use watching your larger muscles swell if you neglect the smaller ones. With a barbell you get the best of both worlds.
When you train, it’s important to mix up your routine. This not only avoids boredom but prevents your muscles from becoming accustomed to a certain exercise. If you want a huge list to kickstart your training, check out this incredible selection of dedicated barbell workouts.
One of the more effective methods of pressing your bar into action is to perform barbell complexes.
What Is a Barbell Complex?
Put simply, a barbell complex is a series of different exercises executed consecutively with a single barbell loaded up with weights.
Compound movements – moving multiple joints – help you to get the very most out of these grueling workouts. Presses and squats help you to focus on using as many muscles as possible. This elevates your anabolic and metabolic response, a crucial element for bulking up.
If you can pull off total body movements like deadlifts or cleans, you’ll also increase the amount of calories expended so these routines are great if you are looking to shed some fat.
Although you need to be careful with your form, hitting the exercises hard and fast will boost the intensity and payload.
Limit the time that you rest between sets. This will enhance the cardio side and can also help with post-workout burn.
Do you want to get going right away with your barbell?
Here are 3 very basic exercises that you can implement immediately…
Place your feet shoulder-width apart. You can go slightly wider if that’s more comfortable.
With the barbell resting on your traps, grab the bar with hands forward and elbows down. Done correctly, your arms should form a “W” shape.
With a straight spine and braced core – great for the abs too! – push your hips back and bend your knees.
Push through the heels and rise back to the starting position.
Muscles targeted: Quads, hips, glutes, hamstrings.
Put the bar on the floor and let it roll up to your shins.
With feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, point your toes forward, bend your knees slightly and your hips more. Grasp hold of the bar.
As you lift the bar, brace your core, squeeze the glutes and thrust forwards with your hips.
Muscles targeted: Lower back, glutes, hamstrings, hips.
This is one of the most classic exercises using a barbell and often used to gauge strength.
Lie down on your weight bench. Rack the bar over the upper chest with hands roughly shoulder-width apart.
Lift the bar. Lower it across your sternum. Make sure that your arms form a 45 degree angle and are not flared out at the sides.
With straight wrists, push the bar up and back towards your head finishing up over your shoulders.
Muscles targeted: Shoulders, triceps, chest.
As you can see, investing in a barbell is a very cheap and highly effective method of enjoying a shower of health benefits.
Remember, too, that diet forms a critical part of any balanced workout program so browse our site for many helpful articles on what you should and shouldn’t consume to best aid your weight training.
Get yourself a barbell today. Stop worrying about how heavy it is and get moving!
Don’t hesitate to get in touch at any time if you have any queries. We aim to respond promptly at all times.