When it comes to weightlifting, the focus is often on the amount of weight being lifted or the number of reps completed. However, one important aspect of weightlifting is often overlooked: counting the bar.
When it comes to lifting weights, many questions come up – including whether or not you should count the bar. The answer is simple: it depends. If you’re doing a lift like a bench press, then yes, you should count the bar’s weight. But if you’re doing a lift like a deadlift, then you don’t need to count the bar’s weight.
Counting the bar refers to keeping track of the weight of the barbell itself and the weight of the plates. This may seem like a minor detail, but it can significantly impact your overall lifting performance and results. In this article, we’ll explore the surprising truth about counting the bar when lifting and why it’s essential for achieving your fitness goals.
What Does “Counting The Bar” Mean?
Counting the bar in weightlifting refers to keeping track of the weight of the barbell itself and the weight of the plates.
For example, if you lift 100 pounds with a 45-pound bar and two 25-pound plates on each side, the total weight would be 170 pounds (45 pounds for the bar + 50 pounds for the plates on each side).
Why Counting the Bar is Important
Mumbling the numbers as you lift might seem trivial, but it can save you from injury, make sure you got the proper form, and allows you to track your progress. These aspects are anything but trivial.
Counting the bar when lifting is crucial to prevent injury. When you lift weights, your body is under a lot of stress. If you don’t count the bar, you may lift too much weight, which can cause injuries like muscle strains, sprains, and even fractures.
By counting the bar, you can ensure that you lift the appropriate weight for your fitness level and avoid injury.
Ensures Proper Form
Counting the bar is also important to ensure proper form when lifting. Proper form is crucial to get the most out of your workout and avoid injury.
When you count the bar, you can ensure you correctly lift the weight with the proper technique. This will help you to target the right muscle groups and avoid putting unnecessary stress on your joints.
Allows for Accurate Tracking of Progress
Counting the bar is also important to accurately track your progress. When you lift weights, you want to see improvement over time. By counting the bar, you can track how much weight you lift and how many reps you do.
This will help you to set goals and track your progress over time. You can also use this information to adjust your workout routine and make changes as necessary to continue to see improvement.
Different Methods of Counting the Bar
So, how should the bar be counted, anyway? Here are two considerations, when the bar is a part of the weight and when it isn’t.
Counting the Bar as Part of the Weight
When it comes to counting the weight of a lift, some lifters include the weight of the bar in their total count. This method is commonly used in powerlifting competitions, where the weight lifted determines the winner.
Counting the bar as part of the weight can add an extra challenge to the lift, as the bar’s weight can vary depending on the type of bar used. For example, an Olympic barbell weighs forty-five pounds, while a standard barbell weighs twenty pounds.
Not Counting the Bar as Part of the Weight
Other lifters choose not to count the bar’s weight in their total count. This method is commonly used in bodybuilding and fitness training, focusing on building muscle and improving form rather than lifting the heaviest weight possible.
Not counting the bar as part of the weight can make the lift slightly easier, as the lifter is only lifting the weight of the plates. However, this method can also make it hard to track progress over time, as the weight lifted will not accurately reflect the lifter’s true strength.
Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Count the Bar
Considering finally mumbling the numbers as you lift? If you are, consider the following factors to decide whether to do it.
Type of Exercise
When deciding whether to count the bar, consider the type of exercise you are doing. For compound exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, it is common practice to count the bar’s weight and the plates’ weight.
However, the bar’s weight is typically not counted for isolation exercises, such as bicep curls and tricep extensions.
Level of Experience
Your experience level can also factor in deciding whether to count the bar. If you are just beginning, counting the bar’s weight along with the plates may be helpful, as it can help you accurately track your progress.
However, as you experience more, you may no longer need to count the bar’s weight as you are more in tune with your body and lifting abilities.
Ultimately, whether or not to count the bar is a matter of personal preference. Some lifters prefer to count the bar’s weight, as it can help them keep track of their progress and ensure that they are lifting the appropriate amount of weight.
Others prefer not to count the bar’s weight, as they feel it is unnecessary or adds complexity to their workouts.
Whether or not to count the bar’s weight when lifting is a decision that should be based on various factors, including the type of exercise, your level of experience, and your personal preferences.
Consider these factors, and you can make an informed decision about whether or not to count the weight of the bar and ensure that you get the most out of your workouts.
For compound exercises like the bench press or squat, counting the bar’s weight is necessary for accurately tracking progress and ensuring proper form.
For isolation exercises like bicep curls or tricep extensions, counting the bar’s weight is less critical since the focus is on the specific muscle group being worked.
Some lifters prefer to count the bar’s weight regardless of the exercise to keep things consistent and straightforward. Others prefer only to count the weight of the plates to challenge themselves and push their limits.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Whether you choose to count the bar or not, what matters most is that you are lifting safely and effectively to achieve your fitness goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to count the bar when lifting?
Yes, you should always count the weight of the bar when lifting. The bar’s weight is a critical factor in determining the total weight you are lifting.
For example, if you squat with a forty-five-pound barbell, you lift ninety-five pounds (forty-five pounds for the bar and fifty pounds for the weight plates).
Not counting the bar can lead to inaccurate tracking of your progress and may hinder your ability to achieve your fitness goals.
How am I supposed to calculate the weight of the bar?
The bar’s weight varies depending on the bar you are using. A standard Olympic barbell weighs forty-five pounds, while a women’s Olympic barbell weighs thirty-five pounds.
However, some gyms may have different bars, such as a fifteen-pound training bar or a fifty-five-pound powerlifting bar. To determine the bar’s weight, look for the manufacturer’s label or ask a gym staff member for assistance.
Can I skip counting the bar if it’s light?
No, you should always count the weight of the bar, regardless of how light it may seem. Even a five-pound bar can significantly affect your lifts over time.
Accurately tracking your progress is essential for setting and achieving fitness goals. Skipping the bar can lead to confusion and inaccuracies in tracking, preventing you from making progress and reaching your goals.
What is the best way to track the weight of the bar?
The easiest way to track the weight of the bar is to use a fitness app or a notebook to record your lifts. Include the bar’s weight in your calculations and write down the total weight lifted for each exercise.
You can also use a weightlifting logbook to track your progress and adjust your workouts accordingly. Remember, accurate tracking is crucial for achieving your fitness goals and progressing in your strength training journey.