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Old 01-26-2013, 04:46 PM   #1
Matthew Beals
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Location: Berkeley, CA
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Default Barbell spin

90% of my training is with a conventional shitty bar. Barely spins. About once a week I go into the UC Berkeley weightlifting room to lift with a good bar on a platform, and get some coaching. I just missed a clean with the shitty bar because of a slow turnover -- catching it high but not getting my elbows through -- and dropped it right on the top of my knee. The clean is a usually a very dependable lift for me. I was doing 75kgx3x3, and missed on the last rep of the last set. So maybe fatigue, but the first 2 sets didn't feel heavy.

I'm fine, just a little shaken up. I'm going to have a hell of a bruise.

Here's the question: how important is the spin of a barbell? I'm weighing two different scenarios:

1. I should dial back the weight and get more consistent technique
or
2. I need better equipment, specifically a bar that turns over more smoothly

Probably hard to answer without seeing my lifts, but I'd appreciate any discussion.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:43 PM   #2
colin dore
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You should definitely invest in a better bar, but for the time being, look on youtube - there are some videos on how to clean & grease the sleeves of your bar to get better spin. Also, if you are comfortable doing so, don't put collars on the bar - not having the plates locked down will allow a little bit more spin - I lifted this way for a while when I had a shitty standard bar, It wasn't ideal, but it worked.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:00 AM   #3
Javier Sanjuan
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I agree with Colin. First, it's always good to dial back on intensity to work on technique. The emphasis on it, along with strengthening exercises, will serve you well.

Second, it's important the have the right equipment. A bar's spin helps alleviate the stress on the wrist and elbows and (I feel) helps you in your transition to receive the bar. While you don't want to be a prima donna and feel like you can only lift on Eleiko or such brands, lifting on those bars with a bolt nut is very hard -- you simply can't get the feel down. While an Eleiko/Werksan will ultimately be different (better) than a Pendlay, you shouldn't feel as though you can't lift with the Pendlay, either. I also feel that lifting with one of those rough bars makes you think a little too much -- you approach the bar and automatically wonder if you're going to have a smooth turnover instead of having a clear mind and focusing on just the movement.

- Eleiko and Werskan are expensive, but if you have the money, might as well go for the #1 and #2 bars on the market. I have two Eleikos (one about 25+ years old and a newer one) and I love them.

- DHS and Zhangkong are nice, too. I own a DHS bar and actually have it with me to train while I'm deployed -- I have no complaints. Andrew Charniga and Todd Lyons out of www.dynamic-eleiko.com sell DHS equipment. They're fair and honest. My friend has a ZKC bar and loved it for it's softer knurling and whip. He also enjoys the Uesaka bar he owns.

- I also own a Pendlay bearing bar. The bar works perfectly fine to do the lifts as well. They come with a solid guarantee. The only thing I don't like about them is the lack of a center knurling, but that's personal preference.

Bottom line: see where you stand financially, then make a decision on which bar to get. They're all going to serve their purpose, but you should definitely move away from those bars you say you're working on. Eventually, that drop on your knee could be something worse.

Hope this helps,
Javi
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Javier A. Sanjuan
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:17 PM   #4
Matthew Beals
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Thanks for the reality check -- my attitude has been "I'm not that good, I don't need a good bar." But now that I think of it, every time I go to the Berkeley weightlifting room my cleans feel really weird at first. They have a mix of York and Eleiko... go figure.

I'll just focus on strength when I have the crap bar, and save my snatch/clean attempts for the days I lift at UC Berkeley. Probably a good program for where I'm at anyway.

Thank you for your service, Javier. Stay safe.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:21 AM   #5
Javier Sanjuan
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Matthew,

Don't sell yourself short. Like I said earlier, you should use the right equipment. Your cleans feel "weird" because you're used to exerting an unnecessary amount of energy to rotate yourself around the bar you use. The bars made for weightlifting make that transition a lot smoother, so you might be feeling faster, or your timing might be off, causing a crash on the shoulders or something to that effect. Invest in a good bar and it will last you a VERY long time.

Lastly, thanks for your kind wishes and I truly thank you for your unwavering support. Luckily, I'm almost out of here -- thank God.

All the best,
Javi
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Javier A. Sanjuan
Olympus Barbell Club

Dear God, please help me lift heavy and be awesome. Thanks. Amen.
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