The benefits of working with barbells include added balance work, added weight resistance, and a wide scope of possible exercises that can touch every muscle group. You can get in a great workout with minimal equipment. However, you can also go with No Equipment if you don’t have access to a gym.
So here is an example of an hour-long barbell workout with supplemental core and strength exercises. This workout promotes lean muscle mass, strength, balance, and flexibility. If you’re looking to put on mass, however, you can take this course: No Bull Course on Building Muscle.
For those of you with a lot of workout experience, you can take this and pretty much run with it. For those of you with less experience or newer to the gym, we’ll go over each exercise in-depth below. And for those of you who have already decided that you don’t have the time to learn this workout, I suggest you take a course on Weight Loss for Busy People, or better yet, Fit for Life – Steps for a Permanent Fitness Lifestyle . There are really no excuses not to take the time for your body, especially since so many of us work long hours sitting at a computer. Many research indicates that sitting is a real culprit in our declining health. Many cutting-edge workouts take this into account and can not only get you feeling better immediately, they can save you decades of pain and stiffness – and even expensive medical care – down the road.
Any well-equipped gym should have the following basic equipment needed for this workout:
- body bar
- kettle bell
- TRX straps
- ab roller
- swiss ball
- resistance band
Kettle Bell Deadlift
Barbell overhead press
Barbell walking lunges
Barbell step ups
Swiss ball Plank
Barbell bent over row
Now let’s break each exercise down so you can be confident in executing your barbell exercises efficiently and with good form. An important thing to remember with any weight resistance workout are to engage your abs in each and every exercise. This prevents lower back injuries during your workout and promotes a healthy back in your day-to-day life.
Shoulder openers: grab a light body bar and hold it down in front of you with arms straight. Bar should be hitting somewhere on your upper-thighs. Hands should be as wide as needed to comfortably lift bar with straight arms up and over your head behind you. If this hurts your shoulders even a little bit, move your hands wider. The motion starts with shrugging your shoulders up and then raising your arms up and over. About 10-15 slow repetitions.
Twisting lunge: Lunge with right leg, making sure right knee does not bend farther forward than your right ankle (e.g. knee should be directly over ankle). Place left palm down inside the right foot. Bring right hand and arm up towards the ceiling so that your left hand anchors you down and the right hand stretches you up. Your torso should be twisting. Repeat on left side. About 5 repititions on each side.
Walk-outs: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend knees as much as needed to put palms on floor directly in front of feet. Walk hands out until you are in a high plank position. Walk feet towards hands. 10 times.
KettleBell Deadlift: Deadlifting is an art. You should probably Learn How Deadlift Properly. Select the appropriate kettle bell. 10 reps.
Barbell overhead press: Feet should be hip-width apart again for this one. Palming the bar as you press makes sure that you are using the appropriate shoulder muscles. Use your legs to push through the floor as you press the barbell up each time. 10 reps.
TRX pikes: One of the pan-ultimate core exercises there is. Adjust TRX straps so that the loops are a few feet off the ground. Get into high-plank position with feet in straps (this can take some doing – don’t be embarrassed. Everyone takes a couple of tries to get into this position). If feet and legs are higher or lower than your shoulders, get out and re-adjust straps so that you are a level plank. Push through the palms as you pike, bringing your bum towards the ceiling and your feet towards your head. This should be very challenging for your core. 5 or 10 reps depending on how strong your core already is.
Barbell walking lunges: Just like it sounds. Make sure your lunges maintain postural integrity – knee over ankle, knee kisses floor lightly on each lunge, back straight and neck in line with your spine (most people tend to jut out their head and chin way too far forward while concentrating). The barbell rests over the back of your shoulders while lunging. 10 lunges each side.
Diamond/Tricep pushups: These push-ups are pretty advanced so feel free to modify. Keep feet shoulder-width apart and your body straight – no dipping at the hips! Instead of regular push-ups where the hands are wide on the floor, the hands come into a diamond shape in the middle of your chest. These work your triceps. 12 reps.
Ab Rollouts: These are also pretty advanced. If you feel any pain in your lower back, modify with a different abdominal exercise. Start “standing” on your knees with your ankles crossed. Hands go on the handles of the ab roller as you roll forward and fully extend the arms. Roll back up. 10 reps.
Barbell Step Ups: Find the appropriate-height step or box – the higher, the more challenging. Again rest the barbell on the back of your shoulders. Keeping your back straight and engaging your abs, step up onto the box with your right foot. Engaging your right glute, press through the right foot and bring your left foot up to meet your right. 10 reps each side. It’s best if you do not alternate – do all 10 rights and then all 10 lefts.
Barbell Landmines: Place barbell in a corner. From a squat position, power upwards and press barbell up quickly with the right arm, using entire body and extending arm completely. 10 reps each side
Swiss ball Plank: Unless you are very short or tall, the medium-sized swiss ball works best for this exercise. Interlace your hands and bend your elbows. Put bent elbows onto the top of the swiss ball and get the rest of your body into a plank position. The instability of the swiss ball will force you to engage each of your abdominal muscles. See if you can hold this for at least 30 seconds. For an advanced option, once you are in position, “stir” the swiss ball clockwise and then counter-clockwise.
Barbell bent over row: Place feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent. Hold the bar with straight arms so it hangs down. Pull the bar upwards in a row. 12 reps.
Pullups: Feel free to use the supported pull-up apparatus if you aren’t able to do a full-hang pull-up, which is hard! 10 pull-ups.
Lateral Band Walks: The appropriate bands for this are thin rubber loops about 3 ft. around, usually brightly colored. Generally there are 3 strengths of resistance – I would recommend the least strong if you’ve never done these before, as they target the outside of your bum pretty precisely. Place band just above your knees and place feet hip-width apart. Step laterally with your left foot, bringing your right foot back to hip-width after each step. Do not drag either foot, do not let knees fall towards each other at any point in this exercise. Always keep feet hip-width apart. 10 steps each side – do not alternate.
Cool Down: Grab some water and a quick walk around. Purposefully focus on slowing your breathing and heart-rate. Once your heart rate has come down, hit the floor for child’s pose (you can google image this if you don’t know what it is).
Stretch: Getting some professional help stretching is always nice. If you’re on your own, spend at least 7 – 10 minutes stretching to seal any mobility you’ve gained during your workout, to prevent soreness, and of course to increase flexibility. Make sure to stretch the following:
- Hamstrings (you worked these hard with the deadlifts, lunges, and step-ups)
Oh, and put your barbell back so the next barbell aficionado can hit their barbell exercises! Good manners are always appreciated in any gym.
A reminder that working out is actually breaking down muscle tissue. The real benefits happen when you rest and eat properly after your workout. For a course on when and what and how the athletes eat, take this course Pre-Game Nutrition for Athletes.
A good base for any workout are the 5 Pillars of Optimal Health or you can also Be Smarter, Stronger, Happier by Getting Into Bio-hacking.