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Intro To Free Weights: Barbells & Plates

The barbell is one of the most effective pieces of equipment for building strength and performing basic moves like barbell squats, presses, deadlifts, and lifts. Not only do barbells allow heavier weights to be easily gripped but they’re adjustable too, allowing small increases in weight that work the whole body. Aim for 10 repetitions of each move, or as many as you’re comfortable with, rest, then repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Working out at home and don’t have a barbell? Deadlifts and rows can be done with 2 bags of flour/sugar while your squats can be supported by a broom.  


This move is one of the basics of strength training and is excellent for building overall strength.

Technique is so important here – if done incorrectly it can cause serious injury. When setting up for your lift you want to remember to pull your shoulders back and your chest out, locking down your shoulder blades. This creates tension in your back that will help prevent you from rounding the lower back or having your hips come up too early. Your goal is to drive the hips towards the front wall, so lean back into the lift and squeeze your glutes hard while pressing through your heels into the floor.

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasp the bar with your hands just outside your legs. Lift the bar by driving your hips forwards, keeping a flat back. Lower the bar under control.

Supported back squat

Squatting is a great move for strengthening the muscles in the lower body, most notably, the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It also works the core muscles.

For those with limited mobility, a barbell can provide excellent support.

Holding one end of the bar, place the other on the ground to help support your weight. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly out. Keep your spine in alignment by looking at a spot on the floor about 2 metres in front of you, then “sit” back and down as if you’re aiming for a chair. Descend until your hip crease is below your knee. Keep your weight on your heels as you drive back up leaning on the bar for support.

This video was produced with the help of Maureen, Coach at David Lloyd Beckenham. If you have any questions about any of the equipment in your local club, one of the expert trainers on the gym floor will always be happy to help you.

Intro To Free Weights: Barbells & Plates
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Intro To Free Weights: Barbells & Plates
The barbell is one of the most effective pieces of equipment for building strength.
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David Lloyd Clubs
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