Women shouldn’t be intimidated to pump this iron
Sure the main thing barbells are good for - allowing you to lift heavier - isn’t something most women would call a benefit, but it really is. Compound exercises that can be done better with barbells work more muscles, burn more calories and help boost resting metabolism, meaning they help you get a trim, toned body.
Simply put, barbells are the fastest way to tone your entire body. They compliment a balanced strength training program that includes other types of free weights.
Types of barbells
- Standard bar - Standard steel bars are usually five to seven feet long and weigh about 14 to 25 lbs. They have once-inch ends that accommodate standard-size weight plates. Most bars are coated with some sort of finish, such as chrome, to prevent rusting. The diameter of standard barbell hand grips range from 25 to 33mm.
- Olympic bar - As the name implies these bars are the best there is. They are strong and thick and range from four to seven feet long, often weighing as much as 35 or 45 lbs. The ends of the bar are two inches and only accommodate Olympic plates. Recreational home lifters don’t require Olympic barbells and most would do well to avoid them.
- Professional barbells - These barbells have plates permanently attached and are meant for commercial gyms. It would be too costly for most people to buy them for home use. They also require a lot more space.
- Curl, shrug, trap bars - These bars aren’t straight. Instead they have various curves intended to make certain exercises easier. Some lifters prefer curl bars because they are easier on the wrists during bicep curls and upright rows. They allow the wrists to work in a more natural orientation. Shrug and trap bars are good for shrugs and help taller users perform deadlifts.
- Plates - Plates come in standard or Olympic. A standard plate can’t be used with an Olympic bar and vice-versa. Some plates are encased in rubber or have rubber bumper plates to protect floors if dropped and make them easier to handle. Plates with tapered edges can also be easier to work with.
- Clips and collars - To hold weight plates on a barbell you’ll need a washer and nut, spring-loaded clamp or quick collar. Washers can he hard to remove if tightened too much and if too lose they can slip. Springs don’t loosen but some require a lot of hand strength to use. Quick collars are the easiest to use but also cost more. Some barbell bars come with spin lock collars, which means the bar has grooves that the included collars thread onto.
The type you choose is just one of many important things to consider when buying barbells.