Strength-Building with Olympic Barbell Set
More than just the sheer thrill and challenge of raising enormous weights from the floor and holding it over your head with your two bare hands and all the strength your body can muster, it’s the focus and discipline that you get to develop while training and building your different muscle groups that makes Olympic weightlifting a truly effective and beneficial type of workout. In Olympic weightlifting, there are two basic types of lifts that require the use of an Olympic weight set. First is the “clean and jerk” lift, which requires lifters to lift the barbell set from the floor and up to his or her shoulders and then take it from the shoulders up to over his or her head, and the second one is the “snatch” lift, which requires lifters to raise the barbell set from the floor and straight up to over his or head in just one move.
If you’ve weighed all your exercise options and have finally come to a decision that Olympic weightlifting is the ultimate workout by which you can train, put to test, and improve by leaps and bounds not just the strength of your body but also the focus of your mind, then the next thing that you’ll have to ponder about are the factors that you should consider when looking for the Olympic barbell set that can fit in your budget, meet your training needs and help you reach your fitness goals safely, effectively, and efficiently.
The Olympic Bar
First off, let’s define what an Olympic barbell set is. An Olympic weight or barbell set is composed of two parts – the Olympic bar and the plates. Based on the official standards set by the governing body for weightlifting, which is the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the Olympic grade bar is seven feet long, and weighs 45 pounds or 20 kilograms for men and 15 kilograms for women. Since the Olympic bar is heavier than standard bars, which come in different lengths, weights, and composition and can normally hold up to only 120 pounds, it’s able to support 800 to 3,500 pounds of weight depending the brand.
A typical Olympic bar also normally has a two-inch sleeve on both ends with a spring, bushing or bearing collar on both ends, as well as knurling points for a more stable grip and better placement of the hands on the bar. The collars hold the plates in place and keep them from moving to the other side of the bar or sliding off the edges when you raise the weights. To reduce the risks of injuries and the amount of pressure that rests on your wrists when you lift the weights and hold it over your shoulders and your head, the sleeves on the bar’s ends are also designed to rotate so the plates can move freely and with less resistance and so you can avoid twisting or straining your wrists because of too much stress.
Another important part of the Olympic barbell set would be the plates, which are also commonly known as discs or bumpers. Depending on your preference and capacity, there are several Olympic barbell sets with plates ranging from 2.5 pounds to 45 pounds that you can choose from and use for your training. A starter set would normally be 250-400 pounds and include 2 pieces of 45-pound plates, 2 pieces of 35-pound plates, and 2 pieces of 25-pound plates.
The material of the plates is also another consideration. Basically, weights are made of cast-iron although you may also opt for rubber-coated ones, which are safer for your hands as you can move the plates with greater ease, and are also safer for your flooring as rubber won’t scratch the floor as much as iron could.
Another thing that you’ll have to factor in when looking for an Olympic barbell set to purchase would be the handles on the plate. Some sets have weights with built-in handles that make it more convenient for users to move the plates while some don’t. There are also weights that have cutouts for mobility purposes.
The quality, tensile strength, and material composition of the bar, the type of collar, as well as the number, weight, quality, material composition and the handle type of the plates would affect the total cost of an Olympic barbell set. Once you’ve identified your needs, budget, and preferences, you can start weighing your options and pick the Olympic barbell set that would be perfect for your training.
Keep in mind though that more than just the quality of the weight set itself, what you’ll be investing in is your safety and the quality of training that you’ll be able to do with it. So whether you’ll be buying from your local sport shop or from an online store, make sure you don’t cheap out and compromise quality and safety or spend too much on something that’s not likely to meet your requirements and yield positive results. The best pick would be one that can last you for years, maximize your fitness potential, and still be able to hold a significant resale value beyond its retirement time.
The Top Lifts
If you’re after getting some competition-level type of training, you surely can’t go wrong with an Eleiko WL Competition Olympic barbell set with bright zinc bar and rubber plates, and 5-year warranty. If you’re after something that’s durable and reasonably priced, the Rogue HG Set with black zinc bar, rubber plates, and 3-year warranty may be a good option for you. If budget is a major consideration in deciding which set to purchase, you may consider checking out the Troy VTX set with steel bar, rubber or metal bumpers, and 1-year warranty.
Whichever way you go, make sure that you’ll pick one that would give you not just value for your money but also the valuable opportunity to reach your fitness goals and build your potential, strength and confidence.