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5 Reasons Why You Need A Good Barbell Collars

Have you ever tried lifting barbell weights and it slid off the barbell sleeve causing uneven weight and force distribution which may or may have not led to injury? If yes, then you may have forgotten to use one of the simplest forms of safety equipment in the gym – the barbell locks or barbell collars.

In its very basic definition, collars are utilized in order to prevent plates from moving outward unevenly so that the lifter does not experience uneven force and weight distribution. However, other than this safety-related function of barbell collars, it can also serve some functions related to performance. So with all that being said, here are the 5 reasons why you need to use a good barbell collars:

1. It makes lifting safe

When you do a lift, you put your plates in place in the barbell sleeve and prepare yourself for the weight exercise thinking that you can keep the bar stable enough so that the plates will not slide off. You have been doing this multiple times so you are confident that there would be no problems. However, you do not notice that at each rep you make, the plates slide off several inches away. Before even finishing your last rep, the bar tilts ever so slightly, causing for one or more plates to fall off the ground. Due to weight distribution that is not balanced, the heavy side then violently launches downward and the plates at that side slides off as well. At minimum consequence, this causes a loud sound that catches attention from other people in the gym. Worse case scenario, the plate falls off onto you or onto someone around you which causes serious physical injury.

This example of what can happen without using barbell collars is not a made up story. There are actual cases of people noted in gyms and recreational centers who did barbell lifts without collars and attained serious injury. Many of the steel bars in gyms may have been used so many times causing them to slightly bent which makes bar plates to slide off easily. This is why barbell collars are important. They lock plates in place making sure it does not move outward and cause uneven weight distribution. You should always remember that even if you are just lifting a light load, things can go wrong. Hence, you must always practice safety no matter what. One of the simple ways to do it is to always use the barbell collars on every set to make sure plates stay in place.

2. It improves performance

As stated above, without collars, bar plates can feely slide outward on your barbell sleeve. If it slides out further than the other, this causes for the bar to have an uneven load distribution. Even if the plates are still complete on each side of the bar, it will no longer feel equal when you lift it. This is because the distance from your grip is different from each side, causing a feeling of unequal weight. This leads to poor performance and poor development of your muscle, making strength training and muscle mass gain harder because the muscles of your body exert different forces at each side.

Proper execution of each rep is vital in order to maximize the benefit you get from the exercise. Hence, it is important that barbell collars or barbell locks are placed when doing bar lifts so that the plates will not move outward and cause the problem stated above. Moreover, placing barbell collars will make sure that the distance from your hand grip to the plates on each side is relatively fixed. This will allow equal and constant distribution of force towards the muscles that you are training.

3. It removes distractions

The basic function of barbell collars is to secure plates. Because they do help in securing these plates, they make sure that they do not rattle when people lift bars. One of the several things that can irritate someone when doing a heavy set is feeling and hearing the plates rattle. The more explosively you perform your reps, the more these plates rattle. This can cause mental distraction because (1) it causes an uneven feeling of the weight and (2) it can cause fear that the plates might slide off and cause injury. This, in exchange, can cause your attention to shift to the rattling plates and away from executing the lift, which leads to poor performance that impair your strength training and exercise form.

The goal when doing a heavy lift is to lift as much weight as you can while not compromising safety and proper body posture. If you want to improve your stability when doing this, then you must remove distractions. Hence, barbell collars can be helpful in making sure that even if you do heavy lift plates do not rattle so that such distraction is removed. Moreso, as what has been mentioned above, barbell collars add a sense of mental safety when doing heavy lifts because it keeps the plates locked in place.

4. It is a good investment

Barbell collars are manufactured in a different types of materials, shapes, and sizes depending on the type of workout they will be used for. There are a lot of barbell collars available in the market such as basic olympic spring collars, barbell collar clamps, and lock-jaw pro collars. They are a popular choice for general weightlifting workouts due to their low cost, ease of use, and effectiveness to keep weight plates from moving during lifts on a rack. They are staple found in home gyms, health clubs, and other recreational centers. Most importantly, they are handy in size, meaning you can use them in your own home gym or if you are going to commercial gyms which do not have their own barbell locks or collars. With these, together with the significant amount of safety it brings you when you do your exercise, a barbell collar is surely a good investment.

5. Reduces risk of damages in your Home Gym

If you are one of those people who have their own home gym, then you must be one of those who work out by themselves. This makes safety a top priority and hence, it is why you should always use barbell collars. Doing workout alone should emphasize the need for safety precautions. Using barbell collars is one of those precautions you must take. This does not only protect you but also your property.

Home gyms, being situated in our own space, should be kept damaged free and aesthetically pleasing. Due to the number of different people who use commercial gyms, it tends to have incurred damages compared to a home gym in which you have total control over everything. With this in mind, not using barbell collars can lead to dropped weights and bars which can cause serious unwanted damages in your property. When that occurs, it can lead to destruction of the space you share with others like your family and relatives. More than that, in the interest of safety of your children, your family members, or other people who may be in your home gym when you are doing heavy lifts, barbell collars is a must. Hence, it is important that you protect your space by using safety precautions such as regularly utilizing a barbell collar when doing weight exercises.

While some people may argue that they have not encountered any issue while lifting even without using a barbell collar, you must not forget that just because accidents did not happen, it will not happen. With all of the reasons listed above, safety is the most important reason why you should use a barbell collar at all times. You might find it lazy to attach those barbell collars to your bar sleeves to lock your plates in place, however, the more you disregard safety precautions the higher the risk for injury and damage. You must practice safety always whether you are in your own home gym or you are at a commercial one. Safety precautions such as barbell collars were not made just for the sake of making products. They were made to assist you and help you in your training while making sure that you are safe mentally and physically. Because successful lifting safely over a long period of time often comes down to accumulating good habits, therefore, you should absolutely get into the habit of using barbell collars every time you lift.

References:
1. Dark Iron Fitness. 2018. Benefits of Barbell Clamps. Retrieved from: https://www.darkironfitness.com/benefits-of-barbell-clamps/. Retrieved on 27 May 2020.
2. Gym Crafter. 2018. Barbell Collars: Why, When, And Which Are The Best For You?. Retrieved from: https://gymcrafter.com/best-barbell-collars-when-to-use/. Retrieved on 27 May 2020.
3. Haley, A. 2017. Why You Should Always Put Safety Collars on the Bar. Retrieved from: https://www.stack.com/a/why-you-should-always-put-safety-collars-on-the-bar. Retrieved on 27 May 2020.
4. Iron Company. 2018. Buyer’s Guide to Olympic Barbell Collars. Retrieved from: https://www.ironcompany.com/blog/buyers-guide-olympic-barbell-collars/. Retrieved on 27 May 2020.
5. Zavaleta, J. 2020. Barbell Collar Clamps are the Key to Safe Lifts. Retrieved from: https://spy.com/articles/health-wellness/fitness/best-barbell-collar-clamps-weightlifting-237396/. Retrieved on 27 May 2020.

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