5 Little-Known Barbell Safety Tips

If you’re serious about lifting weights, you must use a barbell at some point in your fitness journey.

It’s the only way to lift heavy weights effectively to build top muscle strength and power.

So whether you’re a gym member or building a home gym for yourself, working out with a barbell is unavoidable.

That said, using the barbell incorrectly can be quite dangerous.

There have been some tragic stories of people who died while working out with a barbell.

One that struck a chord was about a young man doing bench presses. At some point, he lowered the barbell and somehow missed the rack. The barbell, being too heavy for him, rested on his throat instead of his chest, and he couldn’t take it off. By the time anyone found him, it was too late.

It’s a tragic story, but it serves as a reminder of how quickly things can happen in a gym.

We must build muscle, but it is even more pertinent that we stay safe while at it. In that spirit, I have some barbell safety tips for you…

5 Barbell Safety Tips

1. Use barbell collars 

Some of the most important tips on this list sound so simple that you might scoff. The simplest things, however, are sometimes the most impactful.

With our first safety tip, you’re not even lifting the barbell yet. You must prepare yourself, your barbell, and your environment before you start your workout.

When you pile those weights onto your barbell, make sure you lock them in with collars.

This is non-negotiable. If there are no collars, don’t lift those weights.

It’s all too easy for one plate to slip off as you work out. Trust me, you don’t want heavy plates falling while you work out because they could fall anywhere.

So keep your plates locked in with collars and only use reliable products too, so there can be no mistakes.

2. Get a spotter 

Remember the story I told at the start of this article? That would never happen if the young man had a spotter.

A spotter is someone who stands over a lifter as they perform workouts to help them hold the barbell if they miss a rep.

Bench press, for example, has you lying down face up and lifting your barbell. A spotter would then stand over you so that when you miss a rep or want to end your workout, they’ll help you hold and rest it in the rack.

It’s especially important for beginners always to use a spotter. That said, using a spotter is not always necessary. Sometimes it’s even a bad thing.

Some workouts, like deadlifts, don’t need a spotter because you’re starting your movement from the floor.

With other workouts like the overhead press or the snatch and clean, it can be downright dangerous to use a spotter.

It’s dangerous because the movements are so fast. There’s no way a spotter can help.

Instead, it’s better to just get out of the way and let the barbell fall to the ground if something goes wrong.

3. Maintain proper form and technique 

You will have heard this repeatedly, but it really is that important. If you maintain proper form and practice proper technique, your chances of getting into trouble are reduced by a mile.

Most of the tips on this list apply to beginners, and that’s simply because they haven’t mastered the right form and technique yet.

Experienced lifters are so good at sticking to proper form and technique they hardly ever run into trouble in the first place.

So if you’re a beginner, let this mantra keep ringing in your head. Maintain proper form and technique. It will save you from a lot of unnecessary headaches.

4. Use lifting accessories

The heavier the weights you lift, the harder it will be to maintain proper form and technique.

The good news is there are accessories designed to help you keep the right form and technique despite the weight.

So it’s often advisable for beginners and experienced lifters to raise their max weight to use these accessories until they’re comfortable enough.

Lifting straps help you keep a solid grip on your barbell. Wrist wraps help you keep your wrist in the right position for the weight to flow through instead of sitting on it.

Lifting belts help support your back and activate your core. And you can use several other lifting accessories to make your lifting experience better and safer.

5. Pay attention to your body 

I won’t spend too much time on this, it should be straightforward enough.

Pay close attention to what your body is telling you. Is the weight too much? Are your hands getting tired? Is your breath getting short? Are you losing control of your barbell? Pay attention!

Ignoring your body will eventually lead to your body taking things into its own hands, and that’s never a good thing.

Final Word

Weightlifting is a rewarding experience that will improve your life, but your safety is more important.

One final tip for you, especially if you’re a beginner, is to get a coach. Learn the proper form and technique from a coach until you can stand independently.

They’ll also help you with practical tips for improving and safer your workouts.

Always remember safety first. Lift hard, but stay safe too.

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