Barbell lifts are a popular way to strengthen the upper arms, biceps and pectoral muscles. It’s a relatively simple exercise, yet many people do it incorrectly and as a result, their bodies are riddled with numerous injuries. The most common injury associated with the barbell lift are back injuries. Learn some simple ways to get the most out of this lean muscle exercise by first learning the basics of how to lift weights.
Weightlifting in general is useful in isolating specific muscle groups and forcing them to grow. When you involve more muscles groups, the force of the lift is spread out over more muscle and thus the overall effectiveness of the lean muscle exercise diminishes. You waste more time getting less results.
The first question to ask yourself when your doing the barbell lift is, “which part of my body is the lever?” When you think of a lever you usually think of skewing something to get it to move, ie. shoving a spoon underneath a tin lid and skewering it open, or a crow bar to skew upon a jammed door. Think what would happen if you tried to use a sock filled with paper or something thin and fragile. Once you applied the force to it, it would snap or bend.
This is basically what’s happening when you lift. The lever in question is your back. Most men tend to find that they bend forward slightly when they lift, meaning that the height at which they lift is shorter. The fact that their back is bent also means the back will sustain unnecessary strain when you’re lifting the weight.
You arms are also at such an angle so that you end up lifting your upper arms as well. The purpose of this exercise is to isolate the upper arms, keep it still, and lift only using the forearms to make your biceps bigger.
The solution? Keep your back straight and stick your chest out while doing this exercise. Look out straight in front of you. Your back (lever) is in place. Start with the barbell in front of you and keep your upper arms as stiff as you can, by your side. Lift at your elbows for 2 seconds, hold for 1 and lower in 1. Do this for as many reps as you can in a set, to best make sure your biceps are positively screaming for rest. This is the same for the overhand grip as well. The only time your back should be bent is when you’re putting the weight back onto the ground.
Make sure you do this lean muscle exercise properly by first understanding how to lift weights. This applies to any lean muscle exercise. Figure out which part of your body is the lever and isolate it to prevent injury.