After many years of working with female clients I constantly find that there are a few pieces of kit that are an absolute must to able to have more effective and more efficient gym sessions.
The following items are not expensive and it always surprises me when commercial gyms don’t have these at their disposal. Before I get on, I want to remind you ladies of the saying ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. The gym you train at may not have these bits of equipment but it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t listen to you if you discuss the benefit of having them (even better, show them this post).
1) Easy to squeeze safety clips/collars
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard female clients come back to me and explain how hard they find it to put certain clips/collars onto a barbell. They either spend several minutes trying to squeeze the clip onto the bar or they eventually give in and much to their embarrassment ask a male gym member to help them out.
Simple solution: The ‘lock-jaw collar’ – they’re extremely easy to put on and take off any barbell and only cost £10-20 a pair (link at bottom of blog).
Note – if you recommend these to gym staff or even a gym manager and they still don’t take action… just get online and order them yourself. You can simply keep them in your gym bag and that way you have access to them whenever you need them.
2) Thick Bar Pad
Now, this may not be used by everyone but the thick pad is vital when it comes to hip thrusts.
Doing barbell hip thrusts without a pad is extremely painful and will always distract you from the actual exercise itself. Although most gyms have barbell pads lying around, they are often very old and very worn out (to be expected when you have hundreds of members using them).
There is no harm in asking the gym manager if he/she would perhaps seek buying a new one. Another option of course would be to buy your own and simply keep it in your gym bag.
I have found the 2″ York Fitness pad (pictured) works just fine and you can grab one for around £15 (link to buy at bottom of blog).
3) Technique Plates
These are extremely useful. Ideal for beginners and any of you wanting to train with full sized plates at a lighter weight. Us coaches here love them as we find they’re great for teaching proper lifting technique from the floor.
Scenario 1 –You’re practicing a deadlift but are only strong enough to lift 30kg. You put two tiny 5kg steel plates on either side of the 20kg bar. Great, you have the necessary weight on the bar but the barbell is now too low to the ground. This makes it very difficult to deadlift with correct form, increases the risk of injury and completely changes the dynamics when you start lifting heavier weight with bigger plates.
Scenario 2 – Barbell hip thrusts…… you’ve set the bar up, you’ve got a 10kg steel plate either side and you’re ready to go. You sit down with your back against a box/bench, pull the bar over your shins towards your hips and wait… the bar won’t roll over your thighs! Each and every rep will be very uncomfortable as the plates will never touch the ground. It makes the movement very awkward.
The picture below shows a set of bumper plates… Although the plates range from 5kg all the way to 25kg, they are all the same size when it comes to circumference.
Prices of technique/bumper plates vary depending on the weight however it is not a huge expense for a gym.
So, there you have it. My 3 gym essentials when it comes to females and to be honest, any gym goer at all. They are all beneficial in one way or another and will make your training session flow that bit better.
~ Coach Jerome
Links to products
Lock Jaw Collars: http://bit.do/collars
Barbell Pad: http://bit.do/barbellpad
Bumper Plates (you should probably ask your gym to provide these): http://bit.do/bumperplates
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