The best barbell pads on the market help you achieve better results on leg day. Instead of risking injury, a barbell pad can help you build more muscle because of the amount of weight you can move.
You will find that a good pad will keep the stainless steel barbell from cutting into your pelvis or upper back because the dense foam will help you lift heavy loads without direct contact with the bar.
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What are barbell pads?
A barbell pad helps you protect your neck and shoulders when you’re doing posterior chain exercises such as squats and hip thrusts.
They are usually made out of high-density foam specially designed for sustaining heavy weights.
Barbell pads come in different sizes – both in thickness and length.
What are the best barbell pads for hip thrusts and squats?
Barbells can cause strain on our bodies and can lead to pain. This is where the best barbell pads can help. They are made with high density foam and wrap around a barbell to help with your lift.
Here are some of the best barbell pads on the market:
- 80% high-density foam and 20% polyester (polyester covered)
- ¾ or 1 ½ inch thickness
- Velcro seam closure
- A lifetime replacement guarantee
- Designed to fit 2-inch Olympic barbells
- 17 inches long (great for hip thrusts)
- Designed specifically for hip thrusts and glute bridges.
- The bar can rest right on the pad and it stays put.
- Pad prevents bar from rolling like with other pads
- 1.75 inch thickness
- 18 inches long
- Fits securely around Olympic bars
- Velcro straps to secure pad around bar
- 17.5 inches long
- Notch for neck to protect cervical spine
- The pad is 2.1 inches thick, making it one of the thickest on the market.
- Exterior of the pad is made with non-slip leather
- Pad offered in two lengths: 15 inches and 11 inches
- Great for super heavy hip thrusts
- Available in a variety of color options
- Deep middle notch provides great support for squats
- Easily attaches and removal
- 16 inches long
Benefits of using a pad
The ultimate goal is to create some room between your body and the barbell. The benefits include:
Protecting bones and areas
A barbell puts a lot of pressure on your body. A barbell pad will act as a barrier between the barbell and your body, reducing bruising and ensuring you can keep working out without taking time off.
Used with different exercises
Barbell pads are usually quite versatile and can be used for back squats variations, lunges and hip thrusts. It can be used in the squat rack as well as on the bar of the Smith machine.
Offers comfort and support
The barbell pad’s thick, thick foam prevents direct contact with your body from the barbell, reducing the pressure on your body. This makes it much more comfortable to lift heavier weights or include more reps or sets.
In squats, the foam pad can help prevent your upper back and neck from bruising. It also will help distribute the weight of the barbell over your pelvis area in hip thrusts.
What to look for when buying a barbell pad?
Buying a barbell pad can seem straightforward because they look similar but there are differences you should consider before you purchase.
Is it for squats, hip thrusts or both?
For squats, you might want to consider a pad with a groove, something you might not need for hip thrusts. The middle groove can help a little bit with stability.
Thickness of the pad
The thicker the better. Usually, one inch thick pads are enough for any weight. This will take away most of the pressure in most lifts.
Most barbell pads on the market will have an overall pad thickness of anywhere between 3/4 inches (1.9 cm) to 2.1 inches (5.3 cm).
Most come with locking straps or velcro. Most barbell pads offer some sort of closure for keeping the pad secured to the bar.
The most secure option involves straps that wrap around the outside of the pad. Another option on some pads are Velcro strips that hold the pad closed during a workout. Velcro might not offer the same longevity as straps just because of the number of times it is opened and closed.
What workouts can you do with barbell pads and bar pads?
The best barbell pads can help you keep proper form with barbell workouts. It’s not required for all lifts but a few exercises you can use it for include:
- Hip thrusts
Why should you use a barbell pad?
For hip thrusts, a barbell pad or hip thrust pad is necessary. You can’t do this exercise without hurting your hip bones especially during a heavy set.
For squats, a barbell pad will allow you to squat as heavy as you can without feeling any pain in your shoulders, cervical spine or traps. The weight of the bar will be distributed equally over your entire back and will help you from feeling any pain at all.
Most barbell pads are designed specifically for squatting. Some have a groove right in the middle which will protect your cervical spine.
There are a number of choices when picking the best barbell pad for you to keep in your gym bag for leg days at the gym. I’d recommend buying a barbell pad with a notch so that it can provide great support whether you are doing squats or a hip thrust exercise.
Do you use a barbell pad for squats or hip thrusts?