Now that you have decided to begin a weight training regime you must first purchase essential weight lifting equipment. The unique advantage of choosing to weight lift is that there is very little equipment that is essential. Many highly trained and world-renowned weight lifters started by lifting heavy tins and large rocks, so weight lifting essentially is about how much effort you put into the sport and less about high tech weight lifting shoes and costly equipment.
However, the basic equipment you will require to begin your weightlifting training is simple – a barbell. This will get you started and the rest can follow. It’s easy to be persuaded to purchase quite a high tech weight lifting machine and accessories, which can be very expensive. However at this stage it is best to concentrate on the core of the sport, being the barbell.
The barbell consists of a bar and plates of various weights that are placed at either end. Consider the bar as the backbone of your weight lifting equipment and spend the bulk of your money and effort finding a good quality and long lasting bar that suits your needs. At this stage it is better to splash out on a decent bar and let other gear wait.
Do not be tempted to purchase a starter package available from high street stores and even some supermarkets. These are not the quality you will require if you are serious about weightlifting.
Bars are available in different widths and lengths. Your choice of bar will depend on your size and height and with what size bar you feel most comfortable with. Different size bars are also better for different kinds of lifts. For example, the thick bar, with a two-inch diameter, is great for reverse curls, cleans and rows and will help to define large forearm muscle and hand strength.
Not all bars are completely straight. A curved bar can make weightlifting easier whilst taking the pressure of areas such as your back and shoulders. Developed in the 1930’s by a famous weightlifter J.C. Hise, using a curved bar does not mean you are weaker than a straight bar user. If you are dedicated to shoulder work such as lunges, Hise shrugs and partial squats, this may be the bar for you.
Buying your plates is a less exact science. Don’t be tempted to go too heavy, especially if you are just starting out. If possible try to buy a small range of weights so that you can go up slowly. Alternatively get smaller weights such as ten or fifteen kg bumper plates and increase gradually. Plates are available in metal or rubberised finishes. Rubber bumper plates will not damage your floor or bar when they are dropped so are perfect for beginners.