Benefits of the Barbell – By Coach Jason Yule
You know the feeling. The shutter you get when you walk in the gym and hear a loud clang. The vibration you feel when a heavy barbell hits the floor. I get it. Heavy weight can be pretty darn intimidating, let alone just trying to learn how to use the darned barbell in the first place. Well, today’s post isn’t to scare you even more, my goal today is to explain why the barbell is so important and then help you conquer your fears of it.
First, we’ll go over the benefits of the barbell –
- Life Expectancy. A lot of people attribute health to cardiovascular prowess. The better shape you are in, endurance wise, means the healthier you are and longer you will live. Well, recent studies are proving that leg strength is actually the primary driver when it comes to life expectancy. Not to say that cardio and endurance aren’t important, but the stronger you are generally means you will be self-sustaining for a long period, and the less likely you are to get severely injured and the less likely you are to need assistance as you age.
- Fat Burning. Strength training has another little known benefit that people don’t think about, and I relate it to the compound interest earned on money you invest. Think about doing cardio – 30 minutes of running on a treadmill. You’ll burn a certain number of calories, let’s just say 100. Once you are done running, however, you stop burning those calories because your body isn’t working any more. Strength training is a little bit different – say you do a 30 minute squat routine. Again, you’ll burn a certain amount of calories while your body is working, but then something magical happens. Just like when you invest money and it grows, the calories you burn from strength training will continue to grow. This is because our body needs to rebuild the muscles that you broke down during the routine. So while you are done working out, your body is still rebuilding and still benefiting from the strength training session.
- Confidence. We hear it all the time with our ladies. Once they start getting stronger and more fit, their confidence goes up. This makes a lot of sense if you think about it – they come in a little intimidated, not sure what to expect. They spend the next few weeks learning how to use this intimidating piece of steel that we call the barbell. And then after weeks of practice they start to understand how it works. They start to learn the positions and the moves and all the little tips and tricks. It’s no longer intimidating, and to that affect, other stuff becomes less intimidating as well because hey, they just learned how to use their body to throw barbells around. Most other things seem pretty easy in comparison, don’t you think?
Ok, so we covered the benefits of strength training and why using the barbell is so important, but you probably already knew that it was important. The real question is how you get over your fear of it so you can start taking advantage of the benefits we just talked about.
The first thing is to understand that it will be learning process. No one expects you to be perfect with the barbell on day 1, by day 7 or heck even by day 30. All you have to do is be patient and listen to the coaching you are given and then do your best to make the adjustments. During this learning phase, don’t push the weight at all. Stick to an empty barbell and just drill technique. Once things feel a bit more natural, then you can add weight.
The second thing is to look at your ability to use the barbell as a challenge. Challenge yourself to learn it, perfect it and master it. This will keep you motivated and hungry to continue practicing even after you’ve had some bad experiences, because just like anything, some days will be good and some will be bad. But the real benefit of taking it as a challenge comes when you first truly feel like you got it. That first perfect clean or snatch – something clicks and an incredible sense of accomplishment floods over you. And the longer you struggle with the barbell the better and more accomplished you’ll feel when this “click” happens. So again, don’t get discouraged if it seems to take you longer than others, because you will get it, and you’ll feel so rewarded when you do.
The final and most crucial thing to get over your fear of the barbell is to avoid minimizing it. A lot of people who are afraid of using it just brush it off as something they’ll get through when it comes up. If this is your approach, you’ll never give the effort needed to learn it and you’ll never truly conquer it, meaning your fitness and your goals will suffer. As soon as you embrace the barbell, you’ll start to understand it better and you’ll start to use it better as well. But until then, you’ll never get over your fear of it.
If you know someone who is afraid of strength training or afraid of the barbell in general, please pass this article along to them so that they can see why it is so important for their health and wellness! Thanks for reading guys!