T Nation

Noob Error: Taking the Bar Into Account

Just thought I’d share this with you, I thought it was quite funny. Im 5,8 and weigh 135pounds. I’ve been training seriously for just over a month (2 months before getting into it).

I recently transferred from machine weights to free weights, I’ve been reading these forums religiously for about a month now. Not wanting to look like a complete pussy I looked into what most people were starting out benching at (turned out to be around 65) so I put 35kg on the bar and went at it (3x5). I found this quite difficult considering it was my first attempt at bench pressing. The next time I went to the gym I stuck on another 5kg and lifted again. I found it very hard but struggled through with horrible form (no spotter so I get a little tentative towards failure).

Anyway… after looking into why I was finding it so difficult (assuming it was me being ridiculously weak) I realised that all the beginners were taking bar into account and that I was supposed to add the bar weight i.e. 45pounds. So rather than start with 5kg on each side I’ve been attempting 20kg on each on my second attempt at benching and almost killing myself in the process. Made me feel a little better about myself, but I think i’ll be dropping the weight a bit. I’m just glad I got the weight up without breaking my neck.

We all make mistakes and we all have to start somewhere, I guess.

Why would you drop the weight if you were able to press it?

I could “press” it, but I was all over the place. I’m trying to do 5x3 with solid form. I think as I am a complete beginner I should try and get a bit of practice in before I go for higher weights. My stabiliser muscles are really not up to scratch. I’m going to drop the weight by about 10kg till I feel comfortable enough, then go back up.

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:
I could “press” it, but I was all over the place. I’m trying to do 5x3 with solid form. I think as I am a complete beginner I should try and get a bit of practice in before I go for higher weights. My stabiliser muscles are really not up to scratch. I’m going to drop the weight by about 10kg till I feel comfortable enough, then go back up. [/quote]
If things got that dangerous, surely a gym staff member or user would come over and give you a hand racking the bar

I always believed that the first one or two times training with weights(or for new movements) the weight should be very comfortable(but not TOO comfortable) anyways…

If you want to you can just drop down to the bar, and go from there, adding 5kgs(or 2,5kg) every time. Should prepare you for heavier weights, relative to your own strength. You won’t be working with high intensity weights for the first couple of times, but you’ll be there soon enough.

Feel free to PM if you have any questions about anything.

Thank you for your generosity.

[quote]Jereth127 wrote:
If things got that dangerous, surely a gym staff member or user would come over and give you a hand racking the bar

I always believed that the first one or two times training with weights(or for new movements) the weight should be very comfortable(but not TOO comfortable) anyways…[/quote]

I was on my own because I was a bit shy about looking like a weakling on my first attempts, so I snuck in when no one was around. I currently teach English in Poland so the language barrier in the local gym is also a bit of an issue, other than shouting POMOC!!!(help) if I’m getting choked to death. Thanks for the advice.

[quote]Tmmmey wrote:
If you want to you can just drop down to the bar, and go from there, adding 5kgs(or 2,5kg) every time. Should prepare you for heavier weights, relative to your own strength. You won’t be working with high intensity weights for the first couple of times, but you’ll be there soon enough.

Feel free to PM if you have any questions about anything.[/quote]

Thanks for the advice. I’m going to try and drop the weight today to something more manageable. As I managed to lift the weight with terrible/dangerous form I’m pretty confident I won’t have to go as low as the bar, but I’m going to try some pyramid sets today starting with about half the weight to get a better grip on technique.

[quote]Itchy wrote:
Thank you for your generosity.[/quote]

You’re welcome.

I guess living in Poland (and not speaking much Polish) has left me looking to the internet to tell my mildly humourous gym stories. Sad, I know.

[quote]Itchy wrote:
Thank you for your generosity.[/quote]

You’re welcome.

I guess living in Poland (and not speaking much Polish) has left me looking to the internet to tell my mildly humourous gym stories. Sad, I know.

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:
I currently teach English in Poland so the language barrier in the local gym is also a bit of an issue[/quote]

Half my gym seems to be made up of Polish people. Just point at the bar and do a sort of spotting motion, that’s what they do to me, lol.

Just last week I learned the Smith bar is only 10 lbs. I barely ever use it so never really paid much attention, I figured the increased weight I could do was due to not having to use stabilizer muscles. Guess that’s only part of it :slight_smile:

no need to increase by 5kgs at a time if its too much for you, its a slow process getting up to a “heavy” weight. slow and steady with good form is what its all about.

neil.

Thanks guys, some good advice.
I’m going back to england in one month for a bit (should be easier to get a spotter) then I’m off to South Korea to teach, the fun with language barriers will start all over again. I’m going to start doing some Taekwondo when I get there which should help with conditioning.

Also, I’ve managed to pick up a shoulder injury which is annoying because I’m going to have to avoid any major weight progression on the bench. I need to rest it, luckily it is only affecting my push and not my pull. I can still do deads, squats, and military press (for some reason this doesn’t really hurt), I can feel it with dips and pull ups but nothing serious.

Any advice for dealing with bench pressing pains? I’ve been researching but it would be nice to hear from someone who has overcome an injury. I’m assuming it’s some form of impingement.

Form is always more important than weight. Just because he can lift a weight doesn’t mean its better for him to do that.

Strength is highly individual in beginners, I don’t know why you choose to look on the internet to find a starting weight. If I attempted 20kg plates on both sides when I started I probably would of hurt myself in some way. Looks like you figured this out though.

[quote]hardgnr wrote:
Form is always more important than weight. Just because he can lift a weight doesn’t mean its better for him to do that.

Strength is highly individual in beginners, I don’t know why you choose to look on the internet to find a starting weight. If I attempted 20kg plates on both sides when I started I probably would of hurt myself in some way. Looks like you figured this out though.[/quote]

I wasn’t trying to be cocky, I just wanted a reference. I just made the error of not taking the bar into account, hence the thread.

I agree the internet can be a poor resource under some/most circumstances, but you and I are posting on a website that has the tagline of “the intelligent and relentless pursuit of muscle” not “look like Brad Pitt in 10 days” so I felt it was a good resource.

my favourite is when people think the smith machine bar weights the same as olympic bars. im like, guys i can lift this thing with 2 fingers!

i agree you should drop the weights, i mean when u wanna jump over a wall do u start 1 inch away from it, or start 20 feet back and run