The bench press is a staple exercise in any gym-goer's workout routine, known for its ability to build upper body strength and target multiple muscle groups. But there's an ongoing debate among weightlifters and fitness enthusiasts: should you bench with collars? Collars, also known as weight clips or clamps, are placed on the ends of the barbell to keep the weight plates secure and prevent them from sliding off during the lifting process.
Today, we will delve into the pros and cons of using collars while bench pressing and discuss whether or not you should include them in your workouts:
The Pros of Benching with Collars
There are a number of reasons people advocate for collars, and they include:
The primary reason people use collars during a bench press is to ensure safety. Collars can prevent weight plates from sliding off the barbell, which could potentially lead to serious accidents and injuries. By keeping the plates securely in place, collars can help maintain an even distribution of weight on the barbell, minimising the risk of tipping and allowing you to focus on proper form and technique.
Having collars on the barbell may provide a sense of stability as you lift. When the weight plates are firmly locked in place, the barbell feels more stable and balanced, allowing you to focus on your lift without worrying about potential shifts in weight. This stability can help improve your lifting technique and prevent uneven muscle development.
Lastly, using collars can help boost your confidence during your bench press workout. By knowing that the weights are secure, you can focus on pushing yourself to lift heavier loads without the fear of the plates slipping off. This added confidence can lead to better performance and greater progress in your strength training.
The Cons of Benching with Collars
While there are some good things about collars, there are some downsides that one needs to seriously consider:
Difficulty in Bailing Out
One of the main arguments against using collars during bench presses is that they can make it more difficult to bail out of a failed lift. If you're unable to complete a rep and don't have a spotter, it's often easier to tilt the barbell to one side and let the plates slide off, allowing you to escape safely from underneath the bar. However, with collars in place, you may find it much more challenging to perform this maneuver, which could potentially lead to injury, sometimes proving fatal.
Uneven Weight Distribution
While collars can help ensure an even distribution of weight on the barbell, they can also lead to problems if not used correctly. If the collars are not tightened properly or are of poor quality, they may fail to secure the weight plates, causing an uneven distribution of weight. This can result in instability and increase the risk of injury during your bench press workout.
Extra Time and Effort
Using collars can add some extra time to your workout routine. Putting on and removing collars may seem like a minor inconvenience, but these small tasks can add up, especially if you're performing multiple sets with varying weights. This extra time may not be worthwhile for some lifters, particularly those who prioritise efficiency and speed in their workouts.
Ultimately, the decision to bench with collars comes down to personal preference and individual needs. If you prioritise safety and stability, using collars may be a wise choice. However, if you're an experienced lifter who is confident in your ability to bail out of a failed lift and prefer a more efficient workout, you may choose to forgo the collars.
Either way, it's important to consider your own lifting experience, strength levels, and comfort when deciding whether or not to use collars during your bench press workout. Additionally, always make sure to ask for a spotter or use a power rack with safety bars when lifting heavy weights, regardless of whether you choose to use collars or not.