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5 Reasons why you should pick up a barbell

So who’s being a barbell babe this week?

When a chick walks into a gym, she may be confused about where to spend her time — does she head to the section full of uncomplicated, easy-to- figure-out resistance machines, or wander over to the barbells, where she might be a bit intimidated by how to use them, also by the fact there’s usually a large group of blokes gathered there.

 

My advice? Suck it up, sister. If you’re not doing it already, then you need to make barbell training a part of your life!

 

“Look like Barbie, lift like Ken”

 

The thing I love about barbell exercises is that they are uncomplicated - no fancy moves required.

 

  1. Benefits your mental state and energy level – “it’s time for happy hour at my favourite bar” Regular resistance training e.g. with a barbell is a great way to improve your confidence. Lifting weights makes you stronger which allows you to do things with less effort, which boosts confidence and makes you feel more capable in everyday life. It’s extremely rewarding. Anxiety, depression, brain function, memory, fatigue and sleep quality can all be improved upon with regular
    resistance and strength training. Naturally, all these mental benefits come along with the amazing physical benefits that barbell exercises also provide – oh hello, bubble butt!
  2. More muscle mass – “Eat, sleep, squat, repeat” This is an obvious one. Lifting weights makes you stronger. And getting stronger is awesome. However, getting stronger is not just about lifting more weight on the bar. Increasing the amount of reps you do, or the total number of sets, also indicates that you have got stronger. Your body will adapt to the demands you’re placing on it by increasing the size and amount of muscle you have over time.
  3. Keeps you leaner “Eat clean, train mean, get lean” And who doesn’t want to be lean? Basically, strength training increases the muscle mass on your body. You gain lean muscle mass and you lose fat. Not only does having more muscle itself improve your physique, it can improve it even further by making it easier to burn fat on a day-to- day basis. This is because having more muscle will rev up your metabolism and burn more calories while you rest.
  4. It saves time – “Beast mode ON” And let’s face it chicks, time is precious. We are BUSY! Barbell training ensures that time is not wasted. Forget the cardio machines at the gym, forget the teeny tiny dumbbells – pick up a barbell and get sh*t done!
  5. What I really love about barbell training most of all is… the sense of achievement! “It never gets easier, you just get better”

Sarah’s favourite barbell exercises for total body training:

  • Squat - Stand up, feet shoulder-width apart; place the barbell straight on your shoulders. Flex at the hip and then bend your knees and go all the way down as if sitting on a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight the entire time.
  • Stiff leg deadlift - Stand up, feet shoulder-width apart holding the barbell in front of you. Bend forward at the waist by flexing the hip. Keep your back flat and your head looking up.

Tighten your buttocks and bend forward. Stop going down the moment you feel your hamstrings fully stretched and return to the starting position.

 

  • Lunges - Place the barbell on your shoulders. Place one foot in front of the other. Bend your back knee and direct it toward the floor. Do not force your front knee to go forward – it should never go over your toe.
  • Chest press - Lie down on your back and hold the barbell above your chest with palms facing forward and elbows bent. Push the load upward to the full range of motion, keeping it above your chest at all times.
  • Bent over rows - Stand up, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, bend your torso forward and keep it at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Pull the barbell up towards your chest while flexing your elbows and pulling your shoulder blades in toward your spine then return to the initial position.
  • Military press - Stand up, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the barbell in front of your shoulders, palms forward, and slowly push it upward. Then slowly lower back down in a controlled manner.
  • Biceps curls - Stand up, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the barbell shoulder width apart in front of you, palms facing forward. Lift the barbell up by flexing at the elbow joint until you reach a full biceps contraction then lower it down slowly.
  • Good morning - Stand up, feet shoulder-width apart; place the barbell straight on your shoulders. Bend forward at the waist until your chest becomes approximately parallel to the floor while keeping your back straight then slowly get back to the starting position. Keep your elbows back to ensure the bar stays secure.

 

We all know getting to the gym regularly is hard work, it’s made even harder when you aren’t really progressing. With strength training, you will be constantly progressing and the numbers will be right there in front of you to see – one week you’ll be deadlifting 30kgs, the next week you add another 5kgs, then 5kgs the week after that – the numbers don’t lie!
Heading to the gym then becomes exciting and much more motivating when you can physically see your progress from week to week.

 

It also feels AMAZING to hit a new deadlift or squat PB! So who’s being a barbell babe this week?