This program is designed for those who have never touched a barbell or who doesn't feel comfortable doing so. Here you will learn not only the basics with barbell training, but also gym basics, so you can walk into the weight room with confidence.
Today we're going to go over the equipment you will use in the free weights section at your gym. There will be different sections with text and videos to help you process the information that suits your learning style.
Squat Rack/ Power Rack
Squat rack or Power Rack: - This is where you will squat, bench press, and possibly deadlift. - Your gym should have at least a couple of these if not a handful. - The squat racks can get pretty busy depending on what time you workout. - Some squat racks have a pull-up bar. J-Hooks: - Hold the bar to the height you need - Protect the bar - The J-hooks might be laying around the floor if they aren't already in the rack
First, let's get familiar with the barbells you will see and use around the free weights section. Video attached that explains everything that is written below. Choose the best way you learn and process information. - 45lb bars: the majority of the bars you see around the gym are 45lbs. - 33lb bars: there will only be a few lighter barbells How do you distinguish between the two barbells? 45lb bar is longer and the diameter of the barbell is going to be thicker than the 33lb bar. With some bars, you can look at the end of the barbell and it will tell you the weight of the bar. (Not all have this) -11lbs bars: technique bar. This bar is going to be a lot shorter and lighter than the 33lb and 45lb bars. The technique bar is great for you to use in the very beginning. Not all gyms have these bars. You might have to go on a hunt for one.
Where do you find the barbells? They could be in many different places depending on how your gym is set up. - Hanging up on a squat rack - Stored vertically in a barbell holder. If you look around you might see a bunch of bars standing upright together. - Stored horizontally on the wall. Usually these are Olympic lifting bars. You don't want to use these in the rack. Look for bars that are vertical or hanging out in a rack. - Some gyms might not have barbell storage. If that's the case then the barbells should be in and or around the squat rack.
Bumper Plates/ Clamps
Bumper Plates: Or the big round weights. Sometimes colorful. They can look different depending on your gym. - These are usually stored on the side of the squat rack. - Range from 2.5lbs to 45lbs Clamps: - Use these to hold the bumper plates on the bar. -Very important in keeping the plates from sliding off - You will find them hanging up on the squat rack and/or on the floor somewhere.
You will see various benches around the gym. Flat bench: used for bench press (you can pull it over into the squat rack if your gym is set up like so), you can also use the flat bench for a lot of dumbbell exercises. Incline Bench: some flat benches will adjust to an incline bench. There will either be a handle or you grab the long part of the bench and pull it up to adjust it. You can also adjust the seat portion of the bench to make it decline. Seated Bench: this bench typically doesn't adjust. It can be used for different dumbbell exercises.
All gyms have dumbbells in the free weights section. Usually, they are all lined up on racks increasing in weight. - You can grab a few of the dumbbells that you're using and bring them over to the area you're working out in. Try and stay fairly close. - Re-rack (put them back) after you're finished using them.
In the next couple of days go to your gym and walk through the free weights section. Identify and take note of where all the equipment that you will start using is located. Look for the barbells, squat racks, etc.
Field trip to your gym. Walkthrough the free weights section to go over the material from yesterday.
Re-Rack simply means putting the weights you are using back where they belong. - Always try and put them back exactly where you found them so you get that area ready for the next person. Not everyone is polite enough to do this. -- Some gyms have spray bottles and wipes around. Wipe all your weights down before re-racking them. - Many times you may find yourself cleaning up after other people, don't let this discourage you.
Here are a few barbell terms you will start to see beginning next week. We will go more in-depth, this is a quick overview to help you become familiar with some of the terms. Back Squat: the bar is on your back as you squat down. Front Squat: the bar is in front on top of your deltoids while you squat down. Deadlift: taking the bar from a dead stop from the floor and standing up with it. Overhead Press: bar slightly above shoulders to press up overhead Push Press: very similar to the overhead press where you push the bar over your head, but with the push press you get to use your legs with a slight dip for momentum. RDL: Romanian Deadlift: standing fulling with the barbell at your hips and lowering it slightly below your knees. BB Bent Over Row: Again, the descriptions above are extremely basic. We will start diving deeper in the next few weeks.
Today's homework I want you to write down everything that intimidates you about going into the free weights section at the gym. Write down the first things that come to mind. After you do that. I want you to cross out that intimidation and write something motivating for yourself. Write things you will/want to achieve with strength training. How will it make you feel? Physically and mentally.
We covered some of these things already throughout the week but here is a list of things to stay mindful of while going into the free weights section at the gym. - Re-rack weights - Clean/wipe up after yourself - You can bring a towel if you prefer to lay/use your own. - If you're waiting for equipment, you can kindly go over and ask how much longer the person using it is going to be. Say, "oh great, if you don't mind I'll use it after you."
Shoes: Shoes are probably the most important thing to consider when you're first starting to strength train. What kind of shoes? - Flat sole shoes - Vans, Converse, lifting shoes - You want a shoe that doesn't have any tread at the bottom of it. This way you can drive through the floor while performing the lifts and feel more stable. - For beginners, I always recommend converse or Vans because they are affordable and you can find them just about anywhere. Belt: - In the beginning, you don't need a weightlifting belt unless you have trouble with your back then I would recommend getting one the closer you are to getting to heavier weights. - A belt allows you something tangible to press against and gives you that intraabdominal support needed when lifting.
Coach Reet has been in the fitness industry for the last 10 years. Specializing in general strength, Olympic lifting, and powerlifting. Her passion is to help and inspire others get comfortable with strength training. She believes anyone can pick up a barbell and move weight when form and technique are a priority.
Increased deadlift from 145lbs to 225lbsVerified Athlete
""I continue to achieve strength I didn't think possible. Coach Reet's passion for lifting, as well as for my success, shines through every interaction.""