You’ve probably seen some equipment in our gym and wondered to yourself, “what is that and what is it for?”
The deadlift is an all-time great exercise and one every regular gym-goer absolutely must include in their training programme. However, it is also an exercise that people get wrong with alarming frequency – and when performed incorrectly it can put you at risk of injury, with the lower back being particularly vulnerable. If you’ve found that your back is unduly sore after knocking out a few deadlift sets, consider sharpening up your deadlift form. In the meantime, try using a trap bar to perform the exercise. The trap bar was invented by powerlifter Al Gerard as a way to reduce the strain on his back during deadlifts. The hexagonal or diamond shape of the bar allows you to stand inside it and grip the bar with your hands by your sides, rather than having to pick up a straight bar from the floor in front of your feet, which shifts your centre of balance forwards and can lead to back pain as a result. That makes it a particularly good variation for beginners, because most people don’t stroll into a gym ready to nail the deadlift with perfect form, so it’s a smart move to build strength with this variation first and familiarise yourself with the basic motions.
Squat Safety Bar
Rotator cuff injury? Elbow tendonitis? Can’t get into the proper low bar squat position? Try the safety squat bar. First and foremost, this bar allows lifters with rotator cuff issues, severe elbow tendonitis, or those recovering from arm injuries to squat with a bar on their back, without having to put their hands in a conventional low bar or high bar squat position. Place the pad on your back as close as possible to the low bar position, which is just below the spine of the scapula. Hold the handles horizontal to the ground throughout the movement and try to maintain the angle on your forearm for the duration of each rep. It is more difficult to maintain thoracic extension with the SSB, so focus on not allowing your upper back to round. Pushing up on the handles helps a lot with this, to keep the bar from rolling up your neck during the ascent. Your torso will be more vertical using this bar, compared to the low bar squat, so there is less involvement of the posterior chain muscles. Focus on your bracing!