Like a freezer to an ice cream van, what is a must for a gym? The most common answer to this question would be no doubly “a barbell ”. Personified as the favorite device of gym dwellers “Barbells” are a highly acclaimed tool among the gym going community. Digging into the roots of the barbell the name bar came from the German name barre which gives the meaning of metal rod or bar.
The bell part was burrowed from its older counterpart dumbbell. Ancient Egyptians were the ones who invented this weight lifting equipment through their use of these stones or iron bars was to determine strength not like modern times to improve strength. The ancient Greeks also followed this practice and they modernized the dumbbell which was the progenitor of the barbell.
Barbells we see today are the pinnacle of a long line of modifications and improvements. This lineage comes from different routes namely French influences, English influences, Austrian touches, German engineering, American modifications which all played their parts in shaping the barbell to its present status.
It’s important to highlight some of the milestones of the journey of barbells. One such occasion is when Milo Barbell Company was formed in USA in the early 1900s by Alan Calvert.
Another came in the late 1920s when the seven-foot barbells were promoted by German trainer Kasper Berg. Featuring in 1928 Olympics as a weight lifting device was a very significant moment as it gave barbells enormous respect among the weight lifting community. The Olympic Barbell sets the standards of the modern barbells.
It consists of a weight of 20 kg, a length 220cm and a diameter of 28mm, and the ends which the disks are worn are of 50mm in diameter. The discs were rubber coated and the loads consisted of 25, 20, 15 or 10 representing the respective colors of red, blue, yellow, green. The standard diameter of 450mm.
The smaller discs consist the standard weights of 5, 2.5, 1.0, 0.5kg. The mass standard lock is 2.5kg. For the females, the Olympic barbell is similar in stature but the bar is shortened at 2.05m and weight lightened at 15kg and has a reduced diameter at 25cm.
There are different types of barbells. They differ in many minor and simple things. The bushings and bearings make significant difference among barbell types. For example there are bushing bars and bearing bars. Normally the bushings are made of bronze or brass.
As they play an important role in the spinning of the shaft at the end of the bar, they are always nice and smooth. When it comes to bearings there are different types such as ball, trust and needle they also help the shaft to roll along smoothly at the end of the bar.
Normally the Olympic lifters go for bearing bars but at present it has become a trend for more general users as well. Knurling is another minor improvement that differs according to user. Knurling are the cross cuts in the Barbell which are offered in different patterns in different bar types.
The powerlifting bars generally have a “center knurl”, a dedicated knurl area at the center of the bar. This modification is absent in the Olympic bar there is no need for that function. Finishing is another aspect that makes a difference in the barbells. Chromium or Zink has been the traditional coating material for barbells.
They are cheap and generally used by the common weight lifting community. But the latest improvement has been the induction of Cerakote as the coating material.
Further Cerakote allows the patterns and logos to be embossed better hence giving the manufacturers the opportunity to produce barbells with cool colors and artwork.
The effects of these minor modifications are depended upon the recipient. For example if you are an Olympic weight lifter like professional, then the flexibility or the rebound nature of the bar shaft becomes very important.
These professional people may worry upon the spin mechanism of the barbell, the way bar shaft is bent and coating material of the bar but to the general weight lifters anything with weights on sides would possibly be everything to worry about.
The thing that makes barbells stand aside from its counterparts such as dumbbells or kettlebells is the authority it brings to the equation. In other words the thrill or the intimidation it gives to the lifter.
Barbell stands out in the Gym among all other equipment like a majestic beast. It’s not easily maneuverable or else simple to move around. Every lifter knows they’re up with a challenge and they have to work with proper force if they are to tame this beast. The barbells are not for tryouts or amateurs.
It is normally advised to progress to barbells after mastering bodyweight exercises. Further, it’s important to talk to your physical instructor or the doctor in case of past injuries before starting on barbells as you should know the waters you are getting into.
According to experts with ample experience in the fitness field though they are challenging at first, they have much potential in overall development muscle and strength of the body.
So let’s wrap up as we know all that is left to know about Barbells. They are a marvelous tool to develop muscle and strength of the body. But remember to follow the instructions and keep in mind that safety comes first. Last but not least happy lifting everyone…cheers!