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Muscle Recruitment: Barbells with “Whip”

Bodybuilding and weight lifting have progressed tremendously in the past 20 years. When it comes to working out and the physiological side of things, fitness has take on a whole new look and feel. There is so much more out there in regard to workout programs and theories, that you can literally switch things up every month and still stay fresh and keep things new.


One cannot sleep though on the equipment side of things as well and all the advancements made. From machines, gadgets, and even wearable technology, this is another facet of the fitness industry that has surely obtained a face lift.


Getting to the simpler side of things, even the barbells have taken a new perspective. With the advancements of technology and the ability to track certain muscle activity, barbells have been developed and made to help improve weight lifting performance.


When looking at barbells, you of course have the standard steel bars. Secure, reliable, and rugged, these are the old school pieces of equipment that can with stand a lot of abuse (and time).


With the addition and use of technology, some barbells have become quite “nifty”. Technology has gotten involved to help develop barbells that help contribute to a thing called muscle recruitment. Muscle recruitment is the act in which a certain amount of muscles is engaged to move the weight. With a certain attribute that is measured called the “whip” factor, muscle recruitment is easily assessed and measured.


The whip of a bar is the stored energy a bar has that helps bring the bar back to a secure and still state. Certain bars have certain whip ratings that help tell the user what to expect when doing big lifts like cleans and deadlifts.


Bars with a high whip factor, like a Okie bar, are to help with exposing weaknesses in the lift such as a deadlift when heavy weight is added. The bend in the bar, or the “whip”, will expose any kind of “catch” in the hips through the pulling of the weight. On the positive side, the momentum from the whip in the bar (and stored energy) can help with the pulling which as well can lead to a bigger lift.


In a nutshell, all bars bend if they have enough weight. The perk of a bar that bends a little more with a little “whip to it” is that it requires more control from you which means it requires more muscle recruitment. 


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