If you try to see the good in everything, you might as well see it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been through a great deal of stress, however, if we want to move forward from this unprecedented event it takes acknowledging the silver lining.
If anything, this pandemic has made us more health-conscious and focused than ever before. An example that perfectly paints this is the at-home gym workout revolution brought about by those dreadful lockdowns and quarantines. Being unable to hit the local gyms or go outside on walks made some of us invest in a home gym to benefit our health and well-being.
So, just because there are individuals who aren’t paying gyms a visit doesn’t mean we’re all couch potatoes. It means we like to work on our physique in the comfort of our abodes. If you too want to join this revolution but are afraid of space being a major buzzkill, think again.
You don’t need much to get started. Just some basics like a quality barbell package, different weight plates and barbell racks are enough to use for weight training, weightlifting, or powerlifting. To make the most of this kind of exercise equipment, you need to know what you’re looking for since there are different sets consisting of varying items. The following guiding points can help you with shopping, so read up.
Since we’re talking about barbells, it’s only logical to start with the basics. When I say this I refer to specs of the construction like whip and diameter, knurling, material and finish.
The flexibility of the barbell during heavier load and its ability to return to the original shape is what is known as whip. The reason I mention it alongside the diameter of the barbells in a barbell package is that the latter can influence the first. Not following me? The smaller the diameter of a barbell, the bigger the whip, and vice versa.
Smaller diameter barbells with more whip are great for deadlifting and Olympic lifting, whereas larger is ideal for powerlifting because it’s stiffer. The diameter of women’s barbells is somewhat smaller than that of men’s, although the sleeve diameter tends to be the same. Weight and length also diverge.
This refers to the part where you grip the barbells. It varies in depth, aggressiveness, as well as pattern. More aggressive and marked patterns add more to your grip, yet they aren’t that nice on your hands, which isn’t the case with the passive knurls. However, the latter tend to be a no if you care more about the grip.
If you can’t decide between the two, then perhaps the medium knurl is more your cup of tea. Some designs include knurling in the centre too, in addition to the sides, as in the case with Olympic lifting bars. However, if you intend to use them for CrossFit look for a design without this feature for more comfort.
Both of these aspects are crucial when it comes to the durability of the barbells. If you want something that would last you a long time, invest in quality stainless steel models with zinc, black oxide, hard chrome or cerakote finish. But remember, the more durable, the higher the price.
When shopping for the ideal barbell set you can’t overlook the plates either, especially some of their basic spec such as the following.
What you have in your home gym, specifically the type of flooring, would determine the suitable material for the plates. If you have concrete flooring which is sturdy, then you won’t have to worry about any damage when dropping heavier uncoated plates. This isn’t the case with rubber plates, as well as iron and coated steel plates that are gentler on the wood flooring.
Material is also crucial in maintenance, with uncoated metal plates being more demanding than rubber and plastic coated plates, so keep this in mind the next time you’re doing the shopping. It can be a very decisive factor!
When it comes to Olympic plates, there are two categories you can choose from for your barbells set: milled and non-milled. The main distinction stems from the fact that milled have a 2% tolerance and as such offer a rather accurate lift, whereas the non-milled may have 5% more or less weight than what you may expect them to have.
Having suitable plates for the chosen barbell is a must, so you ought to pay attention to whether you’re buying the standard plates or the Olympic design. Respectively, standard fit the standard (also known as powerlifting barbell) and are typical for the one inch diameter centre hole, while the Olympic fit the Olympic and are known for the two inch diameter centre hole.
Last but not least, you need to take care of the storage of this essential exercising equipment so when choosing your barbell package you might also want to take a better look at the available racks. This is particularly important if you have a whole set of barbells and plates. The basic options are both the vertical and horizontal models, and the main decision between the two comes down to how much space you have for your home gym storage.
Moreover, having the ideal rack is also a handy investment because it protects your precious barbells and weight plates from dirt, and moisture, eases your maintenance chores and prolongs their lifespan. And of course, as the final touch, don’t overlook the capacity – the last thing you need is a design that isn’t created to withstand the weight you plan on putting it through.