Are you a BELIEVER of one of these BARBELL MYTHS???

When we are new to fitness and working out, many of us will research online or ask friends about tips and tricks about working out. As majority of the population are not educated in the field of sports science, he/she will pass on pointers that have personally worked for them – which is great. However, as the tips get passed on they become a circulating myth that may not be accurate. In this article, we tackle some of these myths and reveal the truth behind barbell exercises. A personal trainer in Richmond can clarify these myths.


Myth #1: The sumo deadlift is inferior to the conventional deadlift.

It’s not. Both movements have their own benefits and appropriate time of usage. The sumo and conventional deadlift train a large amount of muscle mass including the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, grip and core area. They both have strength increasing benefits and can be loaded in a similar fashion. I’d like to mention a difference in usage between the two movements. If there is a lower back injury, sumo deadlifts would be a safer start. The reason is because there is a less of a hip-hinge in the sumo deadlifts compared to the conventional. Once adequate strength has been built up, conventional deadlift can be attempted. Make sure you check your form with a personal trainer in Richmond.


Myth #2: You should not arch your lower back during the bench press.

Some would even say it’s bad for your back! When you arch your low back, it actually puts your body into the optimal position for pressing. Ultimately this causes a thoracic extension (puffing up of the chest) which leads to a decreased distance of bar travel. In other words, you would need to move the bar less for the same about of gains! Also, by puffing up your chest it activates the chest muscles much better compared to a flat back. By the arch of the low back, it actually helps you build a bigger chest!


Myth #3: The dumbbell bench press is safer for the shoulder than the barbell bench press

Most people give this recommendations because the barbell creates a fixed bar path and the wrist is forced into a pronation position – which is why “it’s bad”. This is simply not true During the barbell bench press, it is critical to learn to retract and depress the scapulae in order to bring the shoulder into optimal position for pressing. Once this is learned, along with proper form, grip, width, tempo and programming; the barbell is a safe and a great exercise. In addition, there is a factor is instability with dumbbell bench press that does not happen with a barbell. When you lift very heavy, around 1 – 5 reps, you must also focus on stabilizing them versus just pressing. Both are great exercises and some will simply prefer dumbbell pressing over barbell pressing.


Myth #4: You should try to maintain an upright torso during the squat.

This one is a definitely a myth. The idea of the squat is that the barbell maintains balanced over the middle of the foot and travels approximately an up-and-down pattern. For this to happen, the trunk angle will be different for everyone depending on their anatomical structure. Those with longer limbs will need a greater flexion angle in the trunk to maintain barbell balance. Others with shorter limbs are able to maintain a rather upright torso because they can keep the bar balanced. Ensure that you check your form with a personal trainer in Richmond.


Myth #5: The overhead press is bad for your shoulders.

Do you avoid this movement because you think it’s bad for your shoulders? You may need to think again. If you have no shoulder pain, have adequate strength and proper range of motion, this exercise is completely safe for your shoulders. The only reason I would stay away from this movement is if you have a shoulder injury such as a rotator cuff tear. The upward rotation of the scapulae may aggravate pain symptoms that could further injure the shoulder. Otherwise, ensure good form and overhead press away!

Until next time,

Coach Marco

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