Women have really turned a fitness corner and learned to embrace strength training. If you are one of these women, take a moment and pat yourself on the back! While making gains in this area is amazing on its own, we'd like you to take it even further. Many woman, while in the weight room, are shying away from the barbells. Sure, it is understandable. They are often surrounded by hulky men and left lying around with frighteningly massive weight plates on them. But trust us, they are nothing to fear.
“Most women feel like barbells are bro territory,” says strength coach and conditioning specialist Holly Perkins, author of Lift to Get Lean
and founder of Women's Strength Nation. And, as certified strength and conditioning specialist Lou Schuler explains, when barbells first hit the gym floor, they were made for men. The barbells’s dimensions were intended for men’s height, strength, and hand sizes, she says.
“The biggest difference between men and women in the gym is that men instinctively feel like they know what they’re doing, even when they don’t, and women feel like they aren’t doing things right, even if they are,” says Schuler. “In gyms, unfortunately, this is exacerbated by guys thinking it’s their privilege, if not their duty, to offer unsolicited advice.”
This doubt is exactly WHY you should grab the barbell! “Overcoming your fear of barbells can make women feel both physically and psychologically confident, strong, and empowered—and give them a major sense of accomplishment,” says Barbara Walker, Ph.D., a sports psychologist with the Center for Human Performance in Cincinnati.
Barbells will allow you to lift more weight than you could with kettlebells or dumbbells. Lifting heavier weights will not only help you build muscle and burn more fat, it will also make you feel like a boss! “It makes you feel badass,” says Perkins. “There’s something about picking up a real heavy barbell that just makes a woman feel more confident about herself and feel like she can do anything, whether it’s in or out of the gym.”
And who doesn't want more confidence? So, if you've never lifted a barbell before, Perkins has 4 tips to help you lift like a pro:
Start with just the bar:
Before you can lift, you need to master the movement. “You should be perfectly confident just using the bar for your first few reps or sets,” Perkins says. And really, the bar alone is not exactly feather weight. The standard Olympic barbell weighs 45 pounds while the shorter variations can be 27-35 pounds.
Adjust weights slowly -- and with help:
If you are comfortable with the barbell and ready to add more weight, or it is too heavy and you'd like to take some off, do so slowly. Think about it. If the barbell is balanced on the squat rack or bench press station and one side of the bar suddenly weights 45 pounds less than the other side, it will fly off and potentially hurt someone. When moving any weight plates that weigh more than 20 pounds, ask a fellow gym goer to give you a hand on the other side so you can keep things balanced.
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Move with care:
Never try to move a weighted barbell around the gym. Take the weights off slowly before moving the bar. To move the bar, tip it on one end so it’s standing straight up and down. Then, grab it with one hand positioned high on the bar and one positioned low, and pull it into your body and carry it around that way, says Perkins. It is easier that way and decreases your chances of hitting someone.
Somewhere around the barbell you should find two metal clips (they have two handles and a circle at the end). These will keep the weight plates in place. First, slide on all of your weight plates, then squeeze the clips handles to widen the circle. You should then be able to slide the circle over the bar and place it snug against the plates. Do the same on the other side and you're set to lift!
Are you ready to tackle barbells? Get your own set here
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Source: Women's Health