All The Different Bars At The Gym, Explained

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Is 25kg heavy?

20-25kg is considered heavy for most people.

Generally speaking, the amount of weight you are able to transport depends on 4 factors: The task – if it is carried out too frequently or for too long, it may impose unnecessary strain on the person’s body, regardless of whether it hits the 25kg mark or not.

Video

For the Lower Body

Let’s start with lower body! As you are about to see, you can get a very effective leg day in with JUST a weighted bar.

1. High Bar Back Squats

Muscles targeted: Glutes, quads, hamstrings

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place the weighted bar across the top of your back.
  • Keep your hands gripped on the bar close to your shoulders and have your elbows tucked in.
  • Keep your weight in your heels whilst pushing your hips back and bending at the knees.
  • Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, stand back up into standing position and squeeze your glutes hard.

Red flags: Lower back hyperextension, collapsing knees, weight in your toes

Variations: Low bar back squats

2. Front Squats

Muscles targeted: Quads, glutes, hamstrings

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grip the weighted bar with an overhand grip.
  • Lift the bar (and your elbows) to have it in front of you across the top of your chest – your hands will now be palm up with the weighted bar resting in them.
  • Your elbows should be pointing forwards and hands should be resting on your collar bones.
  • Keep your weight in your heels whilst pushing your hips back and bending at the knees.
  • Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, stand back up into standing position and give your glutes a good squeeze.

Red flags: Lower back hyperextension, collapsing through the chest, knees coming inwards, weight on your toes, too much load on the arms

Variations: Front squat and press

3. Deadlifts

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding the barbell in front of you with an overhand grip.
  • Start your repetitions in the bottom position which is with your hips pushed back, your knees bent and a rough 45-degree angle at your hips. This should bring your chest to just above parallel to the ground.
  • The barbell should be in front of your body at mid-shin height on extended arms.
  • Engage your glutes, retract your shoulder blades and driving your hips forward, stand up to being fully upright before returning to starting position in the same order that you came up.

Red flags: Lower back hyperextension, rounded upper back, starting off as low as in a squat position, knees coming inwards, weight in your toes, shrugging at top of lift.

Variations: Sumo (wide stance) deadlifts

4. Stiff Leg Deadlifts

 Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back

  • Stand with your feet less than hip-width apart holding the barbell in front of you with an overhand grip on fully extended arms.
  • Maintaining a neutral spine and a small bend in your knees, push your hips back to lower the barbell down the front of your legs.
  • When you feel a stretch through your hamstrings, engage your glutes and pull back up to standing position.

Red flags: Lower back hyperextension, rounded upper back, too much bend in knees, locked out knees

Variations: Single leg stiff leg deadlifts

5. Seated Calf Raises

Muscles targeted: Calves

  • Sit on a bench with your knees bent at 90-degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be hip-width apart.
  • Place the weighted bar over your knees and secure it with your hands.
  • Push up onto your tip-toes/the balls of your feet and hold there for a second whilst your calves are fully contracted, before returning to having your feet flat on the floor.

Red flags: Too big or small an angle at the knees, weighted bar too far back on your legs

Variations: Standing calf raises (bar on back or in front of body), single leg calf raises (seated or standing)

6. Good Mornings

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back

  • Place the bar on your back in a high bar back squat position, across the top of your back. Hold the bar just outside of your shoulders and tuck your elbows in.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in your knees and your weight in the back of your feet.
  • Push your hips backwards whilst simultaneously lowering your torso towards the floor.
  • Once you feel a stretch through your hamstrings, engage your glutes and stand back up to fully upright.
  • Squeeze glutes at the top of movement before going into your next repetition.

Red flags: Knees locked out or bent too much, hyperextension through lower back, rounding through upper back

Variations: Seated good mornings

7. Hip Thrusters

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, glutes

  • Lie on a mat on your back with your knees bent at 90-degrees and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and you should have the weighted bar across your hips, secured with your hands.
  • With your weight in your heels, push your hips upwards into extension so that only your upper back remains on the ground.
  • Squeeze glutes tight at the top and return to starting position, without fully resting on the floor.

Red flags: Lower back hyperextension, knees collapsing inwards, not reaching full hip extension

Variations: Feet (on bench/ step) raised hip thrusters, back (on bench) raised hip thrusters

8. Back Rack Walking Lunges

Muscles targeted: Quads, glutes, calves

  • Rack the weighted bar on your back as you would for a high bar back squat.
  • Take a big step forward with one leg, then keeping your weight in the heel of your front foot, bend through both knees.
  • Push back upwards into your next big step forward with the other leg.
  • Keep your chest up throughout the repetitions, i.e. your torso should drop down towards the ground straight as you bend your knees into each lunge.

Red flags: Lower back hyperextension, weight in toes of front foot, not bending back leg, chest collapsing forwards

Variations: Static back/front rack lunges, alternating back/front rack reverse lunges

: bar weights

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Conclusion

Whether you are an experienced veteran or a beginner who wants to lift a ton of weight to stack up to the muscles, the trap bar deadlifting is definitely what you need.

For beginners, it’s quite easy to learn how to use it. Also, it is easier on your spine.

In addition, the bar itself has a decent weight, meaning that it will be able to withstand the weight plates you add to it.

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How Much Does A Trap Bar Weigh?

Now that we have highlighted all the preliminaries about trap bars, it is now time for one of the concerns you always have. How much does it weigh?

The weight of the trap bar in your gym depends mainly on its type. Of these, there are mainly three types in most gyms.

The original Gerard trap bar, the standard trap bar and the extra-large (XL) trap bar.

The first type generally weighs 45 pounds, just as an Olympic barbell. The standard type weighs about 30 pounds, which is slightly lighter than the Gerard trap bar.

And lastly is the XL trap bar which comes in at 55 pounds.

Most of the trap bars in your gyms will weigh 45 pounds as the classic type, but the weight can vary from tool to tool.

If you are not very sure, you can go the old school way and measure its weight, provided you have a gym scale (we don’t think this can miss in your gym).

3) Trap Bar

A trap or ‘hex’ bar is aptly named due to the shap

A trap or ‘hex’ bar is aptly named due to the shape of the bar.

This bar is in the shape of a trapezoid or hexagon, which allows you to position yourself in the middle of the bar’s center of gravity for deadlift exercises.

I am a huge proponent of using trap bar deadlifts with athletes and general fitness clients as it is a little easier on the joints than a traditional deadlift. Due to the positioning of the handles, it is easier to get into the proper deadlift posture when lifting heavier weight.

Bar Weight: 45 pounds is most common.

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Common Exercises

Now it’s time to take a closer look at some of the most common exercises performed with Bench Press Bars and EZ Curl Bars.

As we mentioned above, the Olympic Barbell is one of the most commonly used pieces of equipement in most gyms.

Some of the popular exercises performed with an Olympic Barbell include:

• Bench Press • Bent-Over Row • Squats • Deadlifts • Bicep Curls • Hip Extensions • Olympic Lifts

Of course, there are many more than this, but these are some of the basics and some of the ones you will have seen people performing regularly at your gym.

So, what about the EZ Curl Bar?

Some of the popular exercises performed with an EZ Curl Bar include:

• Bicep Curls • Tricep Extensions • Upright Row • Reverse Grip EZ Bar Curl

Again, there is lots more that you can do with an EZ Bar, but the above are just some of the most common ones.

EZ Bars are particularly useful if space is at a premium, as they are much smaller in width than an Olympic Barbell.

How much does an Olympic bar weigh?

The official weight is 20kg or 44lb.

Unofficial bars – like many generic strength training bars found in commercial gyms – can weigh less, even though their manufacturers may describe them as 20kg Olympic bars.

You’ll also hear the term “competition bars”. These are calibrated for weight and issued with a certificate as proof of accuracy – which bumps up the price. Bars that are not checked for their weight, cannot be used in formal competitions, and are referred to as “training bars” – but they are essentially the same thing.

The collars that keep the weight plates in position, each weigh 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) – so the total weight of the bar plus its collars will weigh 25kg (55lb).

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Dec 04, 2013 – 16:47 # Cool article, Steve. When I was in college, we used to use the safety bar if we had some arm/shoulder injuries where a normal back squat couldn’t work, and it also seemed to put a little less pressure on the lower back. If I had to choose one, I think I would go with the good old fashioned barbell.

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