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Which barbell set should I get.

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  • Which barbell set should I get.

    I'm a woman and want to get stronger/more sculpted to an extent so I really want to start the Strong Lifts barbell routine and am wondering which barbell set I should get. I've never lifted free weights before so I have no idea what my real strength is. Would a standard 100 pound set like THIS be enough or should I get a 225lb olympic set like THIS?
    Or would I be better off if I just buy the barbell separately and buy the weight plates as I need them?
    Last edited by Geeknik; 05-25-2013, 07:51 PM.

  • #2
    If you're just starting out with free weights, an olympic weight set (2nd link) would probably be your best option. You'd quickly outgrow the amount of weight in the first link with deadlifts. A set around 200 lb is a good starting point, and you can always buy more weights when you need them. Try to get some 2.5 lb plates so that you can make 5 lb increases. The olympic barbells in these sets aren't the best quality, but I didn't notice any bending in my cheaper bar until about 300 lb.

    Stronglifts is a good program, and there's a lot of free, useful information on its website. Make sure to check out the articles and videos on form. Best of luck.
    In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

    This message has been intercepted by the NSA, the only branch of government that listens.

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    • #3
      100lbs isn't enough because very quickly you will be able to squat 100lbs. The 200lb set is better, but you need some 2.5lb weights and you may also need to get some washers so you can make 2.5lb jumps for upper body strength. 5lb jumps on upper body can get a little difficult after a while for women. Also, if that really is an olympic bar, you might find olympic lifting fun so the oly bar will be helpful if you get into that.
      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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      • #4
        FWIW, I just today bought a 300# olympic barbell set from Dunhams, for $189 with a coupon from their website. They have it on sale for $199 now, but the coupon gave an extra 10%.

        So if you've got one near you, I recommend that. Impossible to beat that price from what I've seen, and it's a 1 piece, 7' barbell.

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        • #5
          Thanks all.
          Yeah, I saw they had a 300lb barbell set as well but wasn't sure if I'd ever need that much weight. I definitely plan on buying some 2.5 lb plates no matter which set I buy so that I can increase by 5 lbs each workout according to the SL program. I'll have to go visit my local Dunham's. If I can get a 300lb set there for cheaper than the 225lb set at Dick's then I might as well get the 300lb one even if I don't ever need all that weight.

          rcav8r: Do you use a squat cage at home? I won't be buying one yet since I'll be starting with the empty barbell to get my form down. But much later as I increase in weight I'm sure I'll need one.
          Last edited by Geeknik; 05-26-2013, 02:04 PM.

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          • #6
            Geeknik, no, I don't have a squat cage. Limited space right now anyways. Lots of exercises that can be done w/o a cage or bench.

            I may build my own cage eventually. That's the joy of having my own welding equipment.

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            • #7
              If you are seriously interested in weight lifting then please buy i nice bar right away. A simple $200-300 investment will change everything, they will be unbreakable, the sleeves will spin well and the knurling will be much nicer. Also since you are a woman, buy a womans bar, the diameter will be smaller for smaller hands, it will be a bit shorter and will be 10lbs lighter then a mens bar. Heres one from Roguefitness.com (The best equipment manufacturer, made in USA) with a lifetime warranty.

              Women's Silver & Black Rogue Bar

              As for weights, i would seriously recommend bumper plates as opposed to metal places. This way you can drop them without worry of anything breaking and they just look sexier, the will all have the same diameter from 10lbs up to 45lbs, this is important when learning lifts such as deadlift, clean, snatch, barbell row. I would suggest buying these as you need them if you are strapped for cash or buying a complete set. Again, Rogue is hard to beat on quality and price. They have three different versions, the Hi-temps which are unbreakable but very wide and bounce a lot. The Economy version which has a smaller width and a less bounce, they also look a bit better. And the Competition plates which is IWF standard plates so they the weight will be spot on, they will be much thinner and have a very dead bounce. They also come in IWF colors which looks cool.

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              • #8
                As for a power cage, if money or space is an issue, you could make a set or two of jerk blocks. They are for olympic weightlifting but i have found them very usefull for any lift from squats to overhead press. If you make a set and a half, you can use the half set as safeties.

                Heres a picture of them below. You can build a set for relatively cheap ($100-$150) depending on how tough you want them.

                jerkBlocks.jpg

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                • #9
                  sbhikes is 100% correct about taking 2.5 lb jumps. You'll eventually reach that point. Either attaching some washers together or just buying a pair of 1.25 lb plates will work fine. These have worked well for me.

                  Amazon.com: 1 1/4 lb. Grey Olympic Plates (Pair): Sports & Outdoors
                  In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

                  This message has been intercepted by the NSA, the only branch of government that listens.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks guys n gals. Right now I live in an apartment so I don't have the space for a cage. And since I'm a beginner it will be a while until I'll be lifting heavy enough to warrant using it. Will consider getting THIS when it becomes necessary. As far as bumper plates, I would prefer them but they are a lot more expensive and right now I'll be working out on carpeted floors anyway. Will look into the 1.25 lb plates as well if they become necessary for the arm exercises progression.

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                    • #11
                      The olympic barbells in these sets aren't the best quality, but I didn't notice any bending in my cheaper bar until about 300 lb.

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                      • #12
                        I don't see myself wanting to lift more than 300 lbs even if I ever could. Might not even make it to 300lbs given how weak in the arms I am. If the ones I've listed will suit my needs then that's what I'll get, unless I'd be better off springing for a better bar and then just buying second-hand plates off of CL.
                        Last edited by Geeknik; 05-27-2013, 10:02 AM.

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                        • #13
                          You might end up needing something for squats quicker than you expect. I wouldn't be able to raise over my head what I can squat. In fact, as a beginner I pretty much couldn't raise over my head what I could squat at all from the get-go. Someone posted some minimal squat stands, maybe not this brand exactly, but this type of thing. Looks easier to store than a huge squat rack that probably wouldn't even fit inside my house at all.
                          Valor Athletics Inc. Power Squats Stand Plus : Amazon.com : Sports & Outdoors
                          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                          • #14
                            I've been wanting to get a power tower with pullup bar and dip station as well but thought it would be cheaper and take up less space in the end if I just wait a while and get a squat cage with a pullup bar so I'd have it all in one. I'll have to dispose of an old futon to make room for it in the den area though.
                            Last edited by Geeknik; 05-27-2013, 11:27 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Geeknik View Post
                              I don't see myself wanting to lift more than 300 lbs even if I ever could. Might not even make it to 300lbs given how weak in the arms I am. If the ones I've listed will suit my needs then that's what I'll get, unless I'd be better off springing for a better bar and then just buying second-hand plates off of CL.
                              Quality bars (like those from Rogue) are definitely superior to the ones that come with beginner sets. If you're just starting out, though, you won't notice much difference. I love my Rogue Power Bar, but most of my initial strength gains were with a cheap Cap barbell. It did the job just fine.

                              I highly recomend a power rack. Yeah, they're expensive and take up a lot of room, but they allow you to safely squat and bench press alone. You can also do chinups in them. If price is an issue, look on websites like Craigslist. I got mine from there for about half of what it was worth.

                              There's a lot of equipment to buy if you want to train with barbells at home, and it can get expensive. The results are worth it, though.
                              In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

                              This message has been intercepted by the NSA, the only branch of government that listens.

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