You should pay attention to those smooth rings on the balance wheel

Watch your barbell closely the next time you\’re at the gym. Much of the surface is roughened with a diamond pattern. This is called knurling and helps grip. But near the ends of the handle, you\’ll see a ring or line of smooth metal on each side. Maybe two on each side, actually. These aren\’t just for decoration; they have a purpose.

If a bar has two sets of rings, one is for weightlifting and one is for powerlifting

As we\’ll see in a moment, there are two different strength sports that each require their own markings near the end of the bar. Olympic weightlifting use marks 91 centimeters apart; powerlifting traditionally uses marks 81 centimeters apart.

In a regular gym, where no one competes in anything, you might see one set of rings or both. It is common for gym barbells to have both sets of knurling marks (or rings, as they are often called). This Rogue 2.0 bar, for example, has both. The innermost rings are those of powerlifting; the outermost rings are for Olympic weightlifting.

For the bench press, your hands should be on or inside the rings

On a bar made for powerlifting, the rings are there to define the widest legal hand position for the bench press. (These are the inner rings if your bar has both.) Second the technical rules of the International Powerlifting Federations:

The spacing of the hands [for the bench press] must not exceed 81 cm measured between the index fingers (both index fingers must be within the 81 cm marks and all index fingers must be in contact with the 81 cm marks if maximum grip is used).

Those 81cm marks are the smooth lines in the knurling, and that rule is exactly why barbells used in powerlifting are manufactured with them.

According to these powerlifting rules, your hands can be placed on the inside of those rings, or they could be touching those rings, but it would be illegal in competition for your hands to be so wide as to be outside the Rings. In addition to their use in competition grading, it is common to describe your favorite bench grip in terms of these grades: For for example, you could say you do a pinky bench press on the rings.

In some federations like the USPA, a different bar can be used for the bench press than the other lifts (squats and deadlifts) but they all have those 81cm marks. In the other elevators they don\’t matter to the rules but the signs are still there for your convenience. For example, you may have a habit of placing your hands just outside those marks when you squat.

What does this mean if you are not a competitive powerlifter, but just someone who benches at your local gym for fun and/or to get lifted? Nothing significant, just if you were to squeeze wider than the rings, some brother passing by might be like you man, that\’s a really wide grip, and they would be right.

However, you\’ll probably end up using those rings just to make sure you set the same way every time. We call the rings and other features landmarks of the bar because they help you get into the habit of placing your hands in the same spot every time.

The markings on the weightlifting bars are there as a guideline only

In Olympic weightlifting, there is no rule where you can put your hands. But knurling marks are still standardized across bars for convenience. Otherwise, there would be a lot of distance between the smooth center section and the end of the bar, making it difficult to set your hands evenly and consistently.

This is especially important in the snatch, a lift performed with a wide grip. When preparing to snatch, I spread my hands just enough so that the skin between my thumb and forefinger touches the rings. Someone with longer arms than me might prefer to be an inch to the outside of the rings. Someone with shorter arms may want to place their hands on or even inside the rings.

The rings are in the same place on mens and womanen bar, On purpose; both of these bars are the same length with marks in the same place. (Their measurements differ only in the diameter of the handle and the length of the sleeves.)

If you snatch and other Olympic lifts, the one thing you need to know about rings is that some of your training bars may have those double knurling marks, as described above. Your rings are the ones on the outside. This is handy to know when you visit gyms you\’re not used to or borrow a bar that\’s marked differently than the one you have at home.

#pay #attention #smooth #rings #balance #wheel

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