We’ve all been a beginner at something in our lives. And there’s no denying that starting out at the gym is right up there in the intimidation stakes. Add in some unfamiliar equipment to really confuse you, and it’s not surprising that newbies often retreat and seek solace on the treadmill…snore!!
But Peter Vayne is here to give us some great tips on all the Barbell Basics you’ll need as a beginner. You’ll be smashing out squats and demolishing deadlifts in no time.
Peter, a trainer at Zap Fitness Kidman Park, is passionate about helping his clients reach their best possible potential, “I want to empower my clients with the knowledge and skills to live their healthiest and best life.” Peter says.
When it comes to mastering the barbell, Peter believes it all starts with grip strength, “I will often access the grip strength of a new client. In many cases it is something that we need to work on. Things like adding bar dead hangs will help develop grip strength and endurance. This will ensure a greater improvement in their strength and subsequently, their lifts.”
Once grip strength has been access, Peter will usually move on to technique, “One of the biggest issues you can have when you add equipment to any exercise is how it affects movement. I am looking at my clients core strength, their muscle activation and their ability to ‘stack’ their body.” Explains Peter.
With the main goal of achieving pain free, effective movement, Peter recommends that beginners work with a qualified trainer to ensure their technique is correct, “Bad technique as well as loading the wrong/too heavy weights can end with the person feeling even more intimidated about working with a barbell or in the worst case scenario, they can get injured.” He adds.
Historically, the best and most fundamental exercises you can start with on a barbell include Squats, Deadlifts, Bent Over Row and Bench Press. So, let’s begin with some top tips to remember for each lift…
In the Back Squat, when the bar is resting on the very top of your upper back make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together to create a muscular “shelf” for the bar to rest on. Don’t sit the bar on your neck.
For the Deadlift, be sure to push your feet into the floor as you stand up tall and lift the bar. To ensure you activate your posterior chain, make sure you keep you knees turned out. This will also ensure you don’t cave your knees inwards.
Your grip for the Bent Over Row is important. A narrower grip will ensure you can pull the bar straight up to your chest while staying close to your body. Make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the movement.
For the Bench Press, be sure to position your body so that your eyes are directly underneath the barbell. From there, pinch your shoulder blades down and back together, arch your chest up toward the ceiling, and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Pushing your heels back into the ground during the lift, will help too.
You can get more amazing tips just like this from Peter at Zap Fitness Kidman Park, or check out his Facebook @PVFitnessAdelaide for regular fitness advice and updates.
– By Prue Houston