A press stand is a piece of fitness equipment used in the gym or home gym to provide assistance with barbell moves during strength-training exercises. It is meant for use in conjunction with an Olympic or other type of barbell with added free weights and meant to act as a spotter for the weightlifter. As the equipment provides both lift-off points and safety catches, a press stand is often recommended to increase safety by decreasing the chance for a person to strain or drop the barbell and cause injury. Bodybuilders and gym-goers may use a press stand for help in moves such as bench presses, various squats and curls, among other exercises.
Press stands are comprised of an A-shaped frame usually made of a sturdy metal with relatively strong pegs or arms angled upward. These long arms create a cradle in which to set a barbell or, if preferred, dumbbells. Since the upward angle of the pegs, a weightlifter should be able to count on them to catch a barbell in case he loses his grip or finds he can no longer support the weight. Shorter pegs provide higher points at varying heights from which to lift a barbell; for many exercises, a higher starting point can help guard against injury to the lower back. Press stands are, above all other uses, believed to work best as a safety device.
Though there are a few different types of barbells, the most popular one used with the press stand is an Olympic bar, which allows free weights placed on the ends to rotate on their own axes. This feature decreases potential for the actual bar to spin in a person’s hands, causing discomfort and an escalated probability of unsafe conditions. Some press stands also have pegs specifically for holding various sizes of free weights.
A wide variety of exercises may be performed with the help of a press stand. A flat or incline bench may be placed directly under the frame for those who wish to do a bench press or incline press. One can also stand directly in front of the frame to do shoulder presses, in which the bar is raised straight up over the head, or squats, in which the bar is set across the shoulders directly behind the neck and the knees are bent and straightened. Curls are another typical move done with a barbell and press stand in which the barbell is held across the front of the body and raised toward the chest by bending the elbows, targeting the bicep muscles.
Press stands can be found in most commercial gyms, and those looking to do weightlifting exercises on their own in home gyms would do well to consider using press stands. The assistance they give allows one to do potentially dangerous movements with large amounts of weight without a human spotter present. Many videos are available that depict how one can most effectively use press stands.