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Barbells are a popular piece of fitness equipment for both at home or in the gym. Find out what attachments can make your barbell workouts even better.
A barbell is a long bar that can hold weight plates. Especially in exercises that require a lot of weight to be effective, a barbell can drastically improve the effectiveness.
Among other benefits, you can use barbells to strengthen muscles at home or in the gym, you have the weight capacity that other free weights don’t allow, a barbell generally lasts a long time, etc.
For many of these benefits, a barbell with weight plates is more than enough.
Even so, the right barbell attachments allow you to do certain types of exercises better or in different ways, focus more on certain muscles, make certain barbell exercises more comfortable, etc.
This can make certain attachment options a worthwhile investment depending on your training goals and budget.
1. Landmine attachments
In fitness terms, a landmine setup is a combination of a barbell, weight plates, a landmine base, and possibly a handle. This setup is used to do a variety of exercises with a relatively unique range of motion compared to regular barbell movements.
If you already have a barbell, in essence, you only need one other attachment. A landmine base, a holder that secures one end of the barbell and allows you to turn in different directions.
The main thing to keep in mind when buying this is making sure your base and barbell match. This is not that hard since most of the standard barbells will have two-inch caps and most of the landmine bases will be made to fit these.
That being said, there are also one-inch cap barbells. Some landmine bases can also support these. Many others don’t.
Besides that, weight plates will allow you to make the barbell heavy enough for significant muscle growth. There are also a wide variety of landmine attachments and accessories. Depending on the exercises you want to do this can be optional or necessary.
For example for the popular landmine barbell row, you need an attachment that allows you to row with two hands on top of the regular landmine base. This can be a T-bar or double D bar.
2. Barbell collars
When doing certain barbell exercises, for example a barbell back squat, the heavy weights can move back and forth on the bar. This can be uncomfortable in the best case, and cause accidents in the worst case.
Luckily the solution to this challenge is relatively simple. There are barbell collars, also known as clips, that are small objects that can be clamped securely around the part of the barbell that holds weights.
To use this weight lifting accessory you simply load your barbell with the desired weight and put the collars right next to these weights so that they can’t move back and forth.
A benefit of this barbell attachment is that it is relatively inexpensive. Especially compared to the discomfort and accidents barbell collars can help you avoid.
3. Power rack barbell holder attachment
For certain exercises, especially leg exercises like a back squat, you want your heavy barbell to start at about shoulder height. To be able to do this you need some type of sturdy holder at this height.
While a power rack barbell holder is technically not an attachment you put on the barbell, it is an essential tool for certain exercises.
A power rack is a steel construction made to attach several pieces of fitness equipment. There are types of barbell holders that are made to fit these.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all of these attachments fit all power racks. Make sure you check the dimensions of both to see if they are a good match.
Once you have these holders you can put an unloaded barbell on it, load the weight plates, potentially put barbell collars on it, and start your exercise.
A potential downside of this combination for barbell workouts is that it can be relatively pricey if you don’t have a power rack yet. Even so, if you are serious about building muscle in a home gym it can be a worthwhile investment.
4. Barbell squat pad
The barbell back squat is one of the most popular uses for this piece of fitness equipment. One potential downside is that some people find it painful to hold the bar on their back.
To resolve this issue there are barbell squat pads. These are soft foam attachments for barbells to be a cushion between the steel barbell and your body.
Besides that, barbell squat pads can be even more useful during the hip thrust exercise. This is an exercise where you hold a barbell on your hips and lift it with the help of your glutes. In this exercise, the pad can protect your hips instead of your back.
If you plan to do either hip thrusts or squats regularly, a barbell squat pad is likely not an unnecessary luxury. Especially since this barbell accessory is so inexpensive.
One downside of these pads is that they generally do not last that long. You may need a replacement every once in a while.
5. Thick grips
A barbell can be a helpful piece of grip strength workout equipment. You can use it for exercises like wrist curls, reverse, wrist curls, wrist swings, etc where you train the muscles responsible for grip strength.
A barbell attachment you can use to step up your forearm training even more is a thick grip. The name of these attachments describes what they are, pads that you can wrap around a barbell to make the grip wider.
Because of these thicker grips, your forearm muscles will have to work harder when you hold the barbell. You can add these grips to all types of exercises or only to your existing grip workout plan.
6. Lifting hooks
One of the more unique benefits of a barbell is that you can load it with extremely heavy weights. More than other fitness equipment.
In some exercises, the issue becomes that your grip muscles fatigue faster than the main muscles targetted. This can happen in exercises like deadlifts, bent-over rows, shrugs, and rack pulls.
This is generally not helpful for growing and strengthening the target muscles of the exercise as much as possible. One way to overcome this challenge is to use lifting hooks.
These attachments are basically wrist straps with hooks that go around the barbell under your fingers. Lifting hooks make it so your grip muscles have to work less hard. They are also generally more comfortable than holding a steel barbell.
If you mostly want to use your grip muscles less, and not so much the extra comfort, you may also be interested in regular weight lifting straps. However, these are less of an attachment.
7. Safety squat bar attachment
Another challenge some people have with the traditional barbell back squat is that their shoulders don’t have the mobility to hold the barbell.
This next option is less of an attachment and more of a different type of barbell. The safety squat bar attachment is a bent barbell, soft shoulder pads, and handles in front of the bar to keep it in position without moving your hands back.
Besides that, the soft padding of this option has a similar effect as the barbell squat pad.
One downside of this option is that it is relatively expensive. If you can already do back squats in a reasonably comfortable way the safety squat bar attachment may not be worth the extra investment.