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A guide to introducing the barbell into your workouts by personal trainer Elle Fennel.

Each month we are asking our professional fitness trainers to give us tips and guides to a healthy lifestyle and working out. This month, Elle, introduces us to her favourite piece of gym equipment - the barbell.

"A piece of equipment I enjoy using is the barbell due to it’s versatility and ability to perform major compound movements such as the squat, bench, deadlift and much more. You may not be familiar with these exercises or the actual equipment itself, so let me explain.

"The barbell is a long metal bar measuring around 5ft and weighing just under 20kg. Discs of varying weight can be attached at either end depending on what you’re comfortable with. It may seem intimidating at first but a major benefit of using a barbell in your training is that it allows you to load movements maximally due to it being a fixed bar.  This in turn will cause both a strength increase and muscle growth.

"Ladies, this equipment isn’t just for the men! Lifting weight will not make you bulky and by working your largest and core muscles you will burn calories. You don’t need to rely on excessive and sometimes unenjoyable cardio. Athletic performance may also improve as more stability, core strength and coordination is required to perform movements using a barbell. For example a bent over row or overhead press, both far more superior movements when using a barbell than any other piece of equipment in the gym.

"A great way to introduce the barbell into a weight training session would be to add in a couple of movements, preferably at the start of your session due to them requiring more coordination and stability. Please ask a member of the team to give you a quick demonstration if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, we are always happy to help. Remember having the correct form is far safer and more beneficial than lifting heavy!

Some good starting exercises would be: 

Row - https://youtu.be/VKFeB7ST830
Bench Press - https://youtu.be/IrWnxpeWyP4

I hope this helps and please come and see me if you would like further advise on using the barbell!

Elle Fennell
Personal Fitness Instructor at Moor Hall Leisure Club


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