Should You Use A Barbell Pad?
Barbell pads are a simple piece of gym equipment made from high denisy EVA foam. They've gained popularity over the last decade, should you be using one? The truthful answer to that is 'maybe'. Ultimately your decision to use a barbell pad comes down to personal preference and where you currently sit in your training journey. Traditionalists would tell you not to use a barbell pad, it sets the bar too high, they'd say something tough like 'harden up' and tell you to get used to the feeling of the bar on your upper back.
I prefer to have a more inviting approach which involves trying to understand where the question is coming from. Are you feeling soreness after using a barbell for back squats and lunges, are you bruising and are you uncomfortable whilst squatting? These are some of the main reasons barbell pads have evolved to where they are today. Let's look at the top two reasons people look to barbell pads as training aids - Comfort and brusing prevention.
Barbell pads help ease pressure from a loaded barbell during heavy lifting. The high density foam will effectively and evenly distribute weight across your upper back, neck and shoulders during squats and lunges. As a result, this can make back squats more comfortable for many people.
If you have sensitive skin and also tend to bruise easily, barbell pads are a good investment for you. This is due to the fact that as you increase the weight on your barbell, the pressure placed on your skin and muscles is much greater. It can be frustrating to let bruising and soreness get in the way of your training goals, if this is happening to you, barbell pads can definitely help.
Another popular use case for barbell pads is being able to utilise them for hip thrusts to help prevent bruising and soreness on your hip bones.
There are a couple of different styles when it comes to barbell pads including sculpted and general barbell pads. The team at Xpeed Fitness did a little breakdown recently which you can see below.
We hope that helps provide some clarity on whether or not a barbell pad is right for you. Still on the hunt for other types of gym equipment? See our Knowledge blog for more breakdowns and information.
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