Why the barbell is so important..
Since starting my PT business I have noticed how much my clients enjoy lifting the barbell! At first a few of them are dubious about the idea and feign helplessness and weakness but with a bit of motivational talking explaining the benefits of it they are keen to try and realise how good it feels after a weight session!
This week was a great week for seeing progression in a client. I set her a challenge in August to be able to deadlift 75kg by Christmas, now 75kg is a whole load of effort. This week the weight has progressed to 70kg and she lifted it with ease, I think I was more excited than her and even messaged her in the evening to remind her to brag about her achievement to her other half. You see it is an achievement, this lady has gone from lifting nothing to a 70kg deadlift in around 3 months. It has made her feel great about herself, boosted her confidence, her body shape is changing and her strength is increasing. I think she will easily hit her target of 75kg and after that we will target another weight thus increasing her motivation for the program she is following.
As the above shows when you lift weights - especially barbells targets and goals are likely to be more achievable. Progression using the overload principle I have spoken about before - where you increase the intensity making the muscles work harder, making the adaptations in the muscles so they become stronger- is used so motivation is bred. Body shape changes, increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing fat. You may weigh the same but boy do you look different! Your eating habits should change too, increasing your intake of proteins especially after session this helps recovery and to help build muscle, it is recommended to eat around 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Another positive for lifting barbells especially for women is the improvement in bone strength. We start losing the strength and density in our bones once we get older particularly through the menopause leading to chronic conditions such as Osteoporosis. This weakens the bones leading them to break fairly easy, it's mostly found in older women but can be reduced by resistance training using free weights and the good old barbell!
Another positive from lifting weights is the effect it will have on your cardio exercises such as running, rowing etc. Lifting weights will increase your strength and the muscles around the joints will become stronger leading to fewer injuries in places such as knees, ankles or shoulders.
Then there is the quality of life you will be improving once old age hits you. All those functional movements such as picking up boxes, climbing stairs, getting up from sofas or out of cars will all be helped greatly by compound barbell exercises such as back squats or deadlifts. Both these exercises are compound movements so work a lot of muscles at the same time as well as your core. These will all help to improve your posture, balance and mobility later in life and hopefully give you more independence for longer!
So come on and start using the barbell it can become the one piece of equipment to change your whole outlook of fitness helping you achieve your goals in the present as well as helping you to enjoy the years later in life too!