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Strength Training with Barbells: A Guide for Beginners

At some point, anyone training strength can benefit from picking up a barbell.

With barbells, you can do basic moves like deadlifts, squats, presses, and rows that are a lot heavier than you. Lauren Pak, a NASM-certified personal trainer and co-founder of Achieve Fitness Boston (19459004), tells SELF about dumbbells and kettlebells , While dumbbells and kettlebells are bigger and harder to grip and to maneuver, the dumbbells remain the same size at the end thanks to the practical weight plates. Dumbbells may be the most efficient way to achieve this in the weight room, in order to grow and grow stronger at a certain point.

However, you should take care of a dumbbell and approach a dumbbell with confidence are two completely different things. "Whenever I see a new-to-barbell lifter heading for the power rack, they seem a bit shy, insecure and overwhelmed," says Chase Karnes, C.S.C.S., a Kentucky-based specialist in conditioning and conditioning. "It's completely normal and is about leaving your comfort zone."

Here's what we need to know to start dumbbells to minimize discomfort and maximize results.

How to tell if you are ready for barbells

No barbell training is required to start barbells. The only thing 100 percent prescribed is the good form, says Anna Swisher, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., coach education and sports science manager at USA Weightlifting, SELF. She explains that the ability to perform basic movements using solid body weight, your kettlebells and your dumbbells with solid, painless technique will make you successful.

"By the time you reach a barbell, you should feel that you are already well versed in the squat, compression, and joint mechanics of squats, bench, and deadlifts and are willing to load them harder," says Pak ,

Here are some example sequences that may help you work your way to the barbell. Once you are able to execute each one with the right shape, you can begin to incorporate variations of that movement into your routine.


Katie Thompson

Advances: Body weight box squats, body weight squats, squat squat (shown here), staggered kettlebell squat, double kelly squat


Katie Thompson

Advances: [19659016] Kettlebell Squat, Double Kettlebell Squid (pictured here) [1965901719659018] Katie Thompson

Progressions: Single Arm Floor Press, Two Arm Floor Press (shown here), One Arm Bench Press, Two Arm Bench Press


Katie Thompson

adverts: one-armed dumbbell row, curved dumbbell row (pictured here)

head press

Katie Thompson

advances: one-arm head press, double-arm dumbbell press (pictured here), one-armed or similar kettlebell press, double-arm press Overhead Kettlebell Press

When you start with dumbbells, it's also important to keep the flexibility of the Joints that you use and work in a particular exercise. "Dumbbells are very restrictive because you have to adjust to the dumbbell, while dumbbells and kettlebells allow a little more freedom of movement," says Pak.

You need the mobility of the shoulder and spine to get your hands behind your head without bending your back. In deadlift, you need to be able to swing your hips while maintaining a neutral spine as you lower yourself to the ground, says Pak. If you need to round off your back to reach the bar, you will most likely have to work on some hip mobility before performing deadlifting with the barbell. And if you always have pain in your shoulders when you press or pull, it's best to stick with dumbbells. Their joints are not necessarily symmetrical and may not be structured to follow exactly the same path of movement.

Likewise, "If you know that you have a complicated injury history or have certain pain movements, you definitely want to work with a coach or trainer to get started," says Swisher.

A breakdown of the different types of barbells

If you decide to use barbells, your current strength naturally comes into play. Fortunately, there are several types of barbells, so you're sure to find one that works best for you.

The standard barbell in gyms – the ones you'll find in most power racks called the Olympic barbell. weighs about 20 kg. "If you can comfortably use it for exercises such as squats and presses, you need to do it," explains Swisher, explaining that you can then attach weight plates on each side to further increase weight. "If that's too heavy, check that the gym is lighter."

One of the lighter options is a women's Olympic peg that weighs 35 pounds (~ 15 kg), is shorter, and has a smaller diameter than the standard. Olympic pole has bars so you can grasp them more easily if you have small hands. Fixed or pre-installed dumbbells (such as these ) are also practical as they are even shorter and easier to move, they do not have to mount weights on each side, and some are as light as 35 pounds or less.

"Pre-installed dumbbells are fine for exercises such as biceps curling and overhead presses, but they are usually not suitable for the main strength machines such as squats, bench and deadlifts," Pak notes that they are too short to fit in with safety bars Power supply racks to fit. "Deadlifting is especially cumbersome with preinstalled barbells, as the panels are usually smaller, so you need to go very far down to lift the rod off the ground, which can cause problems with the shape." (Note: When deadlifting from the ground, it's important to use rubber buffer plates – they look like this – on the sides, which all have the same height no matter how heavy they are barbell.) [19659035] After all, many gyms have called whistles, also called hexagonal bars, that look apt like a giant hexagon (you can see here ). If you use one, stand in the middle and hold the handles on both sides. These bars vary in weight, anywhere between 35 and 55 pounds, and have a straight bar on each side to hold weight plates. When you lift those poles, the weight is distributed in front of you rather than in front of you, and you hold the pole with a neutral grip, so most people can squat and lift more weight with a pole than with a straight olympic pole. Even if they look complex, they are absolutely beginner-friendly.

Use of Dumbbell Trays

"In the beginning it was the hardest thing to set up the trays," says Pak. This is especially true because every gym has slightly different versions. It is therefore difficult to give comprehensive advice on how to do it properly.

The most common devices for holding dumbbells are squat racks and power racks (as reference in ) photo the squat rack is on the left and the power rack is on the right), and they can be quite interchangeable be used. You have all the weight pins on which the bar rests when not in use, and safety bars or pins that, if you lose control of the bar, catch the weight so that you or your toes are not squashed. These pins and rods are always adjustable and fixed in holes in the frame frame. If you have problems correcting your settings, ask a gym staff or personal trainer who runs the floor of the gym. Even veterans, according to Karnes, often have problems with squat and power racks, so they do not have to be ashamed.

When selecting the height at which you place the barbell and safety bars, consider your end-of-range ranges. "When you're squatting, make sure you have the safety bars just below the lowest depth you're going to squat in," Swisher says. "This way you can lower the pole onto the safety bars and avoid them if you can not repeat it. For bench press, choose a pole height that you have 6 inches before your arms are fully outstretched when lying flat on the bench, and the safety pins at a height that keeps the pole from hitting your chest. "Always pay attention to it Especially with the barbell bench press one should be on guard.

Another great safety tip is that you always attach your weight plates to the bar with weight plate clips that slide on the bar just outside the plates. They are available in various variations, including Plastic Cuffs and Metal Clamps (which are particularly bulky). So, if you have trouble using them, it's no shame to ask for help. Says Pak. Typically, the clips are hung on the weight plates or in a container near the dumbbells.

In addition to weight plates and power racks, many gyms also have a Smith machine with a similar setup setup, but the difference is that the barbell is attached to a rail. This often feels more beginner-friendly, but because the pole has a solid path, it can be difficult to use so that you do not have to move around in unnatural and injury-prone movement patterns. Use this only if there is a specific reason why you should use it instead of a free weight. (For example, if your personal trainer or physiotherapist states that you need to perform a specific exercise in a more stable environment to isolate a particular muscle, or if it is really difficult to set up and perform the exercise with a barbell Do not really affect their shape: Hip Joints are an example.]

Also remember that the bars on Smith machines generally weigh less (usually 15-20 lbs.) In combination with the fact That your body does not have to work to stabilize the bar during exercise, you can often lift more weight with a Smith machine than with a regular barbell.

The many ways to hold a barbell [19659046] There are several ways to grab a barbell, and the best for you depends on the exercise you are performing, your goals and yours The type of barbell used, says Pak.

Pronated: The handle with the palms should be the basis for lifting your barbell. However, it is not your strongest grip and limits the weight that you can hold on to during exercises such as deadlifts.

Supinated: This handle is a palm tree position and is suitable for curls and row variations where you want to aim at the biceps. However, this does not work for most other barbell exercises.

Alternative: In this technique, the barbell is held in one pronated handle with one hand and in a supinated handle with the other. This way you can hold more weight than with a double overhand grip. This asymmetric grip can increase the likelihood of biceps tendon and shoulder injury. Therefore, in use, change how you have positioned each hand for each set. This ensures that you train both arms equally.

Hook: Executed by grasping the pole with a pronounced grip but placing fingers over the thumb. With this handle you can hold heavier weights in deadlifts and rows. But it can be very painful for the thumb. It is mainly used in weightlifting competitions. Use sparingly, if at all.

Neutral: Hold the pole with your palms facing toward the sides of the body. This is not possible with dumbbell exercises if you are holding dumbbells with both hands. However, it can be used with latch / hex rods and may be a more comfortable shoulder position for anyone with crooked shoulders .

What These Different Handles Look Like You Can Here .

On accessories such as slings and belts

Look at your fellow combatants who are carrying dumbbells, and you will probably see them with many utensils such as gloves, belts, and belts.

"While gloves can be a good option if your hands are sensitive or you want to avoid calluses, it's usually best not to use straps or straps and instead lift au natural," explains Karnes.

Straps are typically used to hold you to poles that are heavier than your hands alone. In the meantime, use lifting straps to lift more weight by creating as much tension as possible through the upper body.

Pak recommends that you do not use lifting straps or straps for beginners. "They will only be helpful if you are already very familiar with the exercise and are only using it for the last small benefit," she says.

As with everything that has to do with weight training, it masters the Fundamentals of the Barbell which bring you farthest, with no extra bells and whistles.

6 beginner barbell exercises to try out

Once you've completed the bodyweight, dumbbell and / or kettlebell exercises, if you've developed a solid shape, start with the following exercises for barbell beginners:

1. Dumbbell Squat

Katie Thompson
  • To perform the dumbbell squat, hold a dumbbell in a squat frame with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, leaning against the bar so that the bar is at the top of your bar upper back is located. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to create a muscular "shelf" for the bar.
  • Get up and walk a few steps back from the perch stand. Spread your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and twist them slightly outward, 20 to 30 degrees.
  • Then squeeze your hips back and bend your knees to squat down and push your knees slightly outward. Try to descend until your hips fall under your kneecaps or until your lower back wants to lay under them. Just kneel as deep as your agility allows.
  • Press both feet to get up again. This is 1 Rep.

2. Dumbbell Squats

Katie Thompson
  • To prepare to squat, stand directly under the bar with your feet parallel and the bar resting on your collarbone and gently pressing against your neck. This position may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but should improve after a few practice sessions.
  • Hold the bar with your hands slightly further than shoulder width apart, elbows bent forward, palms up and fingers pointed forward body.
  • Get up and walk back and away from the squat rack. Place your feet a little further than shoulder width apart and twist them slightly outward, 20 to 30 degrees.
  • Then push your hips back and bend your knees to squat down and push your knees slightly outward. Try to descend until your hips fall under your kneecaps or until your lower back wants to lay under them. Keep your chest upright throughout the movement.
  • Press both feet to get up again. This is 1 Rep.

3. Barbell modified sumo deadlift

Katie Thompson
  • Imagine a barbell above your feet, with your feet slightly apart and slightly outstretched.
  • Put your hips back, bend your knees and push them out sideways (so they will not give in), and bend your upper body forward, keeping a solid core and a flat back. Take the pole and place your hands exactly shoulder width apart.
  • Press your feet on the floor and stand up, pull the weight with you and keep your arms straight. Bring your hips forward and push your abs and buttock top up.
  • Slowly reverse the movement, bend your knees and push your butt back to lower the weight back to the floor. Keep the bar close to your body and keep your back flat – only your knees should bend.

. 4 Bent Dumbbell Row

Katie Thompson
  • Take a dumbbell with hands that are slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Bend your knees slightly from there, press your hips back and bend your upper body forward until it's approximately parallel to the floor.
  • Hold the barbell close to your body and pull straight up toward the chest. Bend your elbows so they pass right by your upper body. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly stretch your arms to lower the bar, keeping it away from the floor. This is 1 Rep.

5. Barbell Bench Press

Katie Thompson
  • Lie on a bench with a barbell rack, with the bar at about the level of your wrist as you extend your arms all the way up.
  • Position your body so that your eyes are directly under the dumbbell. From there, clamp your shoulder blades down and back together, arch your chest to the ceiling and place your feet firmly on the floor your lower body is engaged. In this position you should bend your elbows so that your arm is about 45 degrees away from your body and your forearms are vertical.
  • Push the barbell up to the ceiling until your arms are straight. Make sure your wrists, elbows and shoulders are stacked.

. 6 Angled barbell press

Katie Thompson
  • Slide one end of a barbell onto a towel in a corner of the room. Make sure the towel is between a wall and your barbell. If your gym has a land mine, you can use it instead.
  • Grab the barbell from there with your right hand and hold it to your right armpit. Imagine shoulder width apart legs, a slight knee flexion, a built-in core, and a flat back. This is the starting position.
  • Push the bar in and up until your elbow snaps into place.
  • Slowly return the rod to its original position.

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