When lifting with a hex bar, it’s good to use large-diameter weights, as that makes for a better lift

East windows (upper floor on left) at Stratford-Perth YMCA overlook Downie Street. Jaan Pill photo

I often travel back and forth, in what has become a fun routine for me, between Stratford and Toronto. Sometimes I have appointments; at other times I meet for lunch with friends from high school.

In this post I will refer to some things that I have learned, from travelling back and forth, visiting fitness centres in both cities.

Interior layout of fitness facilities

I work out regularly at a YMCA fitness centre in Stratford. The location works well for me; it enables me to make good progress in my strength training and fitness routines.

View looking south from third floor, Humber College fitness centre. Jaan Pill photo

A Feb. 4, 2013 Stratford Beacon Herald article, entitled “Ribbon cut on $500,000 upgrade at Stratford YMCA,” provides some background about the facility.

Some of the treadmills at the facility offer a view of Downie Street, one of Stratford’s main streets. I like to look out toward a street scene when I have a cardio workout.

A similar street scene is available, when a person is using a treadmill at the top floor of the Humber College fitness centre, where I like to work out when I’m in Toronto. In this case, you’re looking at Lake Shore Blvd. West and on the horizon you can also see Lake Ontario

Hex bar (in middle of image) on equipment rack at Humber College fitness centre. Jaan Pill photo

The Stratford facility has adequate room for strength training and cardio workouts. It doesn’t feature the kind of restricted space that characterizes the Gus Ryder Health Club in New Toronto, where I used to work out before the Humber College facility opened a few years ago.

The Humber College facility has the most room by far; there’s a sense of easy movement, from one piece of equipment to another, with never a situation where people are bumping into each other. Having enough room to easily move around really makes a huge difference, I have found over the years, working out at many different facilities.

Hex bar deadlifts

I like using a hex bar for deadlifts, as the design makes for a more direct line of vertical travel than is the case with a barbell deadlift.

On a recent visit, I learned something about deadlift hex bars that had not occurred to me before. I hadn’t realized that hex bars can be quite long, or can be quite short. The hex bar at the Humber facility is relatively short. That means it’s easy to move into an upright position for storage.

Humber Lakeshore Campus Fitness Centre on Lake Shore Blvd. West in Long Branch. Jaan Pill photo

In contrast, the hex bar at the Stratford facility is quite a bit longer, meaning that it’s quite unwieldy to maneuver when you’re removing it, or replacing it, at the upright storage rack, where bars are kept when not in use. I prefer the shorter bar.

At the Humber centre, large-diameter 25-pound weights are readily at hand. When you use such larger weights (I currently use four of them on the 60-pound hex bar at Humber), your lift begins higher up, as compared to when you use smaller-diameter 25-pound weights.

I much prefer to start at the slightly higher elevation, when performing the deadlift. I would not have noticed such a detail, were I note travelling back and forth, between the two facilities.

If I buy a hex bar for home use in future, I’ll be sure to go with the larger-diameter 25-pound weights, as in my case they enable a smoother and more effective lift, than is the case with smaller-diameter weights.

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