The Collars

They're called collars, but they're really more like cufflinks. Collars are metal clips that you put on the barbell to keep the plates from falling off the bar and onto a part of the human anatomy. They also ensure that you don't break the plates, the floor, or anything else should they come flying off the bar due to recklessness and gravity.

There are several types of collars. The following are the most common:

>- Squeeze This is a flexible metal circle with two handles. When you squeeze the ends, the circle becomes larger, enabling you to slide it on the barbell. Once released, it compresses to keep the plates in place.

>- Metal Often found in serious "muscle" gyms, the collars slip over the bar and are secured by twisting a threaded L-shaped nut that presses against the bar.

>- Olympic These are the sturdiest types of collars and involve two wing nuts that open and close to clamp down on the bar and hold the plates. These monsters weigh five pounds each, so remember to include their weight when adding up the weight of your bar.

Bar Talk

When a spotter helps you do a few repetitions that you couldn't finish by yourself, they are known as assisted reps. The key to getting the benefit from assisted reps is to work as hard as you can, and make sure that the spotter only helps you enough to keep the weight moving.

Although Olympic collars are preferable when using a hefty amount of weight, it doesn't really matter what type of collar you use—as long as you use something. At some point in your gym career, you're likely to see some thick-chested guy lifting serious weight on the bench press without collars to secure the weight. With each bounce of the bar on his chest (a big no-no), the plates drift farther and farther toward the end of the barbell. This is a disaster in the making—especially if one of these behemoths is squatting 500 pounds. If one of the plates comes sliding off, it would be next to impossible to maintain balance. With that much weight on the shoulders, a serious injury to the lifter is inevitable, and anyone in the way of the plates is in trouble, too. (For whatever it's worth, we've rarely seen a woman shun collars on an exercise where it was necessary. If we have to shame the guys into proper collar use, so be it.)

Use collars on a barbell no matter how light the plates.

0 0

Post a comment