No matter how much modern equipment and specialized machinery gyms are equipped with these days, they all still carry a simple staple of gym equipment called the barbell. Barbells have been part of gyms for many years. In essence barbells are simply a metal bar with weights on either end, but they an essential component of strength training equipment and are used for a wide variety of exercises.
Barbells have been used in gyms for as long as we can remember. Here is a brief history of how the barbells originated and how they have gained popularity over the years.
The earliest records of barbells being used in gyms can be found in gyms in Europe around the mid-1800s. Early barbells were more like oversized dumbbells that had fixed weights. As these early versions were only made in specific weights, they were only used by professional strongmen. If you have ever seen images of vintage strongmen, you might recognize the original barbells they were usually drawn holding.
The Innovation of Barbell Design
Originally Barbells were designed to be hollow and were filled with sand to weight them. Some innovators in Germany attempted to adjust the weight of the barbell by changing the quantity of sand from the globes. However this was not an effective method to adjust the weight as the sand spilled easily and make the barbell uneven.
In the early 1900s, the Milo Triplex barbell came into play. Designed by American innovator Alan Calvert, the Milo Triplex barbell had removable weight plates that could adjust the weight evenly. This design allowed weightlifters to progressively increase the weights as they became stronger over time.
While this new design was the forerunner of the modern barbell, there were other improvements made over the years that made the barbells even better. One such improvement. was the addition of the barbell collar. Barbell collars are also called barbell clamps or clips and are used to keep the adjustable plates locked in to the end of the bar. While the origin of the barbell collar is hard to pin down, these simple devices are still used today to keep athletes safe as they lift.
Emergence of Barbell Brands
As weightlifting became a popular activity in the fitness circles, many different brands launched their own barbells. York Barbell founded in 1932 is still a popular brand today. In 1952, an electronics company Eleiko manufactured a specially formulated steel, and made a barbell that could carry heavier loads without bending and breaking. Eleiko Barbells were launched in 1963, and have been a popular choice for World Championships and the Olympic Games.
The Standard Modern Barbell
The standard weight for a modern barbell is 44 pounds or 20 kilograms. The Olympic weightlifting barbell for women weighs 15 kilograms.
So the next time you go to work out at the gym, you might want to appreciate the simple barbell. It is interesting to see that a centuries old invention still has use in these modern days.