The Ultimate Total-Body Barbell Workout

All it takes is a simple barbell to get yourself looking great.

Split-squat to press, best barbell workout

If you train at home or anywhere else that provides only a barbell and a small amount of weight, you can make the most of it by speeding or slowing your reps and performing your exercises circuit-style. The barbell was invented to carry balanced loads, but works just as well out of balance. The following exercises in this barbell workout can be performed with one end wedged between two walls while you lift the other end. You may find that pressing the bar like a lever feels less stressful to your shoulders, plus it activates your core to a greater degree. And for more great and simple workouts, try your hand at this hardcore MMA routine. 

Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set of each in turn without rest. If an exercise feels easy using the load you have available, perform your reps slower and with more control. (Or, if you have extra weight, load it.) Another option is to choke down on the bar. Gripping it lower will decrease your mechanical advantage and make the exercise harder.

After the last exercise, rest two minutes and then repeat the entire circuit. Continue for 20 minutes. You can repeat the workout up to four times per week, resting a day between sessions.

Split Squat To Press

Split-squat to press, best barbell workout

Reps: 10–12 (each side) Rest: 0 sec.

Wedge the end of the barbell into a corner of the room (to avoid damage to the walls, you may have to wrap a towel around it). Load the opposite end with a weight plate and grasp it toward the end. Get into a lunge position with your left leg in front, bent to where your thigh is parallel to the floor, and your right knee nearly touching the floor. Stand up explosively and press the bar straight overhead.

Single-Arm Row W/ Partial Lunge

Single-arm row with partial lunge, best barbell workout

Reps: 10–12 (each side) Rest: 0 sec.

Hold the barbell behind the sleeve (where you load the weights) with your right hand. Get into a lunge position but not deep—keep both legs slightly extended so that the bar and plate don't brush the floor. Draw your shoulder blade back and row the bar to your ribs.

Barbell Russian Twist

Barbell Russian Twist, best barbell workout

Reps: 10–12 (each side) Rest: 0 sec.

Grasp the bar near the very end again—this time with both hands. Stand with feet shoulder width. Swing the barbell to your left, pivoting your feet as needed, and then swing to your right.

Lever Floor Press

Lever Floor Press, best barbell workout

Reps: 10–12 (each side) Rest: 120 sec.

Lie on your back on the floor and grasp the end of the barbell again behind the sleeve with your left hand. Hold it just above your shoulder and extend your right arm 90 degrees out to your side for support. Press the barbell over your chest.

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