The Human body functions as a complete system and as such, it likes to be trained that way. It doesn’t like to be separated into individual body parts and have those parts exercised individually, since strength gained this way will not be utilized in a useful way. If an individual is to become stronger, they must acquire the strength in a way in which it can be used.
Barbells allow weight to be moved in the exact way the body’s designed to move it, since every aspect of the movement is determined by the individual’s body. Resistance machines, on the other hand, force the body to move a weight according to the design of a machine, which is a serious limitation of the exercise if we want to be specific to someone’s individual needs.
A good example is the knee extension machine, which isolates the quadriceps (thigh) muscles. There isn’t a natural movement a human being can do that isolates the quadriceps from the hamstrings (back of thigh), they always work together. So why should they be exercised separately? The knee is the home of many muscles, all of which have developed whist working as the same time, therefore any exercise which moves away from the normal function in which a joint is designed, is a potential source of issues.
Furthermore, barbells offer a way to load the body’s normal movement patterns with progressively heavier weights, a method that forces the body to adapt and get stronger. Small increases in stress can be applied to the whole body, involving a greater amount of skeletal loading when compared with other exercise modalities. Our bones also adapt to this loading and become denser and harder in response. This aspect of barbell training is particularly important for older individuals and women, whose bone density is a major factor in continued health.
Most of us only have a limited amount of time to dedicate to training in the gym. So, it is important to decide how we can quantify an exercise and determine what is worth us spending our valuable time doing. It is, therefore, important to understand how to increase force production (get stronger) most efficiently. The exercises must be able to load the largest amounts of muscle mass over the longest effective range of motion. Barbell exercises most thoroughly satisfy these criteria we have established for creating an increase in strength over time.
Simply put; barbell training is straightforward, logical, effective, and most importantly, measurable.
Perhaps the only problem with barbell training is that requires coaching and takes time to learn how to perform the lifts safely.