One of the most fundamental exercises for serious weight lifters are squats and hip thrusts. Both exercises are crucial to establishing a powerful lower body, as well as strengthening stabilizer muscles and increasing core strength.
But a lot of people tend to avoid these kinds of exercises, often because of the pain that they can cause. Squatting involves holding a barbell on your shoulders. If you use a bare bar, your neck and shoulders will be aching from the weight.
Additionally for hip thrusts, if you use a bare bar, you will feel pain in your thighs that has nothing to do with the general soreness that comes with exercise. The solution to this, and the key that unlocks the world of barbell-related exercising, are barbell pads or barbell cushions.
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What To Look For in a Barbell Pad?
The prevalence of the internet creates a lot of options as to which barbell cushion to buy. In that, there are a few things you should look for.
The biggest thing to look for is material and thickness of material. Keep in mind, this pad is going to act as a cushion between a barbell that could have upwards of 300 pounds on it, and your neck and shoulders.
The best option is some combination of rubber and foam, at a length that will cover the entirety of your neck and shoulders. Within that, it is definitely important to look at in depth reviews of the products on multiple sources.
Don’t just look in the reviews section of Amazon. Check other sites as well and read as much as you can.
And don’t avoid the negative comments. Make sure to read them. Often, negative comments are unrelated to the product itself – you’ll see customers complaining about delivery or something along those lines.
But the negative comments, as well as the reviews that are less than five stars, are where you’re going to learn the most about the product you’re looking at.
But if that seems like a bit too much effort for you, don’t worry, I’ve taken the liberty of identifying some of Amazon’s most popular Barbell Pads.
Fit Viva Barbell Pad for Standard and Olympic Barbells
The first one I’m going to look at is the Fit Viva Barbell Pad for Standard and Olympic Barbells. It has a lot of reviews and has a high rating. Clearly, this one is a favorite. And it’s really no surprise as to why.
This pad has a 1.3 inch non slip protective cushion, and includes two Velcro straps for added safety. The pad is 17 inches long, and so should easily cover the total width of your shoulders.
The Velcro straps and non-slip surface allow for high intensity workouts without the near-constant fear of injury.
One of the prides of this product is its quality. It won’t lose shape or split after repeated use.
Additionally, the design of the pad allows for complete and even distribution of weight, which reduces your risk of injury and decreases your levels of discomfort while exercising.
Purchase of the product also includes two exclusive workouts with the intent of increasing lower body strength.
If you don’t have a smith machine in your basement (I have the IM2000), this product is absolutely necessary for any barbell workouts, and especially necessary for squats.
Fit Viva here has produced a fantastic product, and one which they take great pride in. They have been known to keep in contact with their customers to ensure satisfaction.
Overall, the Fit Viva Barbell Pad is thoroughly beloved by its community, and is definitely worth a look on Amazon.
Perfect Peach Athletics Squat Pad Barbell Pad
Next, we have the Perfect Peach Athletics Squat Pad Barbell Pad, which is tailored specifically for women, one of the only barbell pads out there that is marketed as gender-specific. Of course, a guy could use this product, but it is particularly popular among women.
It has a rating a pretty strong rating on Amazon.
One of the most alluring aspects of this product revolves around its style. It was designed by and for girls, and so has a shape and color that is definitely different than the other, more unisex products that are available.
The thickness of the padding, as well as the non-slip coating, work to keep the bar from moving, as well as eliminating the usual pain or discomfort that comes from squatting without a good pad.
It is highly durable and long lasting, but if it does break, or if you have any concerns about the product, Perfect Peach Athletics offers a full satisfaction, money-back guarantee – they are proud of this pad.
The reviews really speak for the product. This barbell pad perfectly and completely cushions your neck and shoulders, eliminating pain and discomfort, while keeping the bar perfectly in place, allowing you to work out stronger and harder, and it does all of this in style.
Dark Iron Fitness Extra Thick Barbell Neck Pad
The last one I’m going to look at is the Dark Iron Fitness Extra Thick Barbell Neck Pad.
It has a very strong rating on Amazon. It comes with a variety of designs that all have the same price.
The pad is .75 inches thick, which is much thinner than the Fit Viva pad, although that doesn’t mean it’s not as good.
This pad is made of an ultra-dense foam, and is designed to keep its shape after repeated use. It also was designed to not absorb moisture – with this pad, you won’t have to worry about the smell of old sweat that so often accompanies old gym gear.
It is designed to fit a standard Olympic sized barbell, and has the pride and backing of Dark Iron Fitness.
If you experience any problems with your Dark Iron Fitness Barbell Pad, they’ll send you a brand new one at no cost.
This pad is a solid purchase, especially at the almost unbeatable price point. Its’ weakness occurs in pad thickness.
If you plan on squatting with incredibly high amounts of weight, it might be safer to go with the Fit Viva pad, as you’ll benefit from the 1.3 inches of thickness.
Otherwise, Dark Iron is selling a highly durable, highly flexible barbell pad that will enable you to start squatting again, without the fear of pain or injury.
Overall, unless you’re into the style that comes with Perfect Peach’s barbell pad, the best option is Fit Viva’s Barbell pad. It is thicker, of better, denser material, and will prove more useful, durable, and versatile than the other options
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.
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