16 Barbell Exercises | 16 exercises to build strength and stay toned

16 Barbell Exercises | 16 exercises to build strength and stay toned

Gyms aren't hinting at reopening anytime soon (unfortunately), but don't forget the benefits of barbell exercises. If you are lucky enough to have one, you will know that it is a perfect tool for developing strength and maintaining a toned physique even when at home.


The following exercises provide a complete full-body barbell exercise workout at home, with the aim of encouraging you to always give your best and achieve visible results.

Incorporate some of these barbell exercises into your workout and you'll be ready to head back to the gym as soon as time permits.


Exercises with the barbell for the back

1. Barbell rowing with bent torso

Ready to build a powerful, wide and thick back? The bent barbell rowing machine is perfect for gaining back strength, which will come in handy for other movements as well, such as squats, chest presses and deadlifts.

  • Feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lean your torso forward.
  • The knees must be bent, but the back must remain straight, and the neck in line with the spine.
  • When grasping the bar, use a handle that is slightly wider than shoulder width. The palms are facing the ground and the arms outstretched, with the elbows soft.
  • Activate the core muscles and adduct the shoulder blades to lift the weight until it touches the breastbone.
  • At this point, slowly bring the bar back down and repeat the movement.

2. Deadlifts

The deadlift is the quintessential compound movement, which everyone should try to perform regardless of individual goals and needs. If you are planning to increase strength and build muscle as a whole, now is the time to include deadlifts in your training.



  • Place your feet hip-width apart and anchor them firmly to the ground. Keep the knees flexed with the shin almost perpendicular to the floor.
    Project your shoulders beyond the barbell and flex your torso forward starting from the hips, pointing your buttocks towards the ground.
  • Contract the lats by bringing them back and down, using the barbell to tighten the body; push your chest out and keep your back stiff in a neutral position.
  • Inhale deeply, activate the core muscles and press with the legs to the ground keeping the bar always close to the body.
  • In the closing phase, push your hips forward and lock yourself into a standing position by activating the quadriceps, glutes and lats.
  • Keep the core in tension and flex the torso starting from the hips; then come back
    to the starting position by lowering yourself in a controlled manner, always with the barbell
    close to the body.

3. Remote pendlay

If you are looking for explosive movements with which to develop strength, the pendlay rower is for you. This compound movement promotes increased strength, as well as teaching you a posture that you will find in other lifting exercises, such as the Olympic snatch, chest turn, and deadlift.

  • Keep your arms slightly wider than your shoulders: this will make more use of the lats and widen your back during the movement.
  • Position yourself with your hips on the same line as your shoulders, keeping the part flat
    lower back.
  • As you leave the bar on the floor, contract your core muscles to create tension.
  • With an explosive movement, pull the barbell towards the base of the chest taking care not to lift the shoulders and not to move the hips forward.
  • Return the barbell to the ground in a controlled manner and restore the position of
    departure; then repeat the movement.

4. Deadlift to the Romanian

This deadlift variation helps build a stronger back, but also exercises the hamstrings, glutes, upper and lower back muscles, as well as core stabilizers. It is a variation suitable for all skill levels and ensures the development of muscle tone and strength in the posterior chain.



  • Position yourself with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell in contact with your shins.
  • Bend down and grasp the bar with a handle slightly wider than shoulder width by bending the knees slightly.
  • Push your hips back while keeping your knees soft, with your back stiff in a neutral position.
  • Using the hamstrings and glutes, push on the legs and reach a standing position with the barbell close to the body.
  • In the closing phase of the movement, contract your upper back, core muscles, and glutes.
  • Lower the bar to the starting position by flexing from
    hips, with soft knees and stiff back in a neutral position.

Exercises for the arms

5. Barbell curls

Ready to increase the power and mass of your biceps, as well as increase strength in the forearms and grip? The barbell curl allows you to work with heavier loads than the other variations of this exercise.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, adduce and depress your shoulder blades, and push your chest out.
  • Grasp the bar making sure your elbows are in contact with your body.
  • By bending your elbows, bring the barbell to your chest (forearms rotate slightly outward).
  • Make sure your biceps remain contracted as you close the lift.
  • Lower the bar again while checking the eccentric phase.
  • Note: to ensure that the movement is carried out entirely by the biceps, immobilize the hips avoiding swinging during the execution.

6. Concentrated barbell curl

If you want to isolate your biceps to build strength, the concentrated barbell curl is what you need.



  • Start by sitting on a chair or bench with your arms extended between your legs and the soles of your feet flat on the ground.
  • Hold the barbell with supine grip (palms facing up), lean your torso forward activating the back muscles and let your arms touch the inside of your thighs.
  • Still with your arms in contact with your legs, bring the barbell towards your shoulders making sure your biceps are fully contracted.
  • Maintain the closed position before lowering the weight again.
  • Return the bar to the starting position by checking the eccentric phase.

7. Wrist curl with barbell

Stronger forearms mean a stronger grip, which in turn allows you to lift and move more loads, and consequently develop muscle power.

  • Start by sitting on a chair or bench with your legs shoulder-width apart and the soles of your feet flat on the ground.
  • Hold the barbell with a supine grip (palms facing up) and rest your forearms on your thighs.
  • Lean forward and make sure your wrists are above your knees.
  • Lower the bar to the floor, making sure you only bend your wrists as far as you can.
  • Now lift the barbell towards your chest using your wrists (as far as you can) making sure
    to activate the forearms.

8. Extension of the triceps with EZ barbell

This movement exercises all three ends of the triceps in order to develop strength and muscle mass, as well as fortifying the core and lower back muscles.

  • With an EZ barbell, lie on your back on a bench. Extend your arms in a straight line over your shoulders so that they are vertical. This will be your starting position.
  • Now bend your elbows and slowly lower the bar. The bar should touch your forehead or slightly behind your head until you form a
    90 degree angle (or even less) with the elbows.
  • Now extend your arms again to return to the starting position,
    keeping the elbows shoulder-width apart, and perform one repetition.

9. Biceps curl with EZ barbell

You can use the EZ barbell if you want to reduce pressure on your wrists, elbows and shoulders while continuing to build strength and mass in your biceps.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, adduce and depress your shoulder blades, and push your chest out.
  • Grasp the bar making sure your elbows are in contact with your body.
  • By bending your elbows, bring the barbell to your chest (forearms rotate slightly outward).
  • Make sure your biceps remain contracted as you close the lift.
  • Return the bar to the starting position by checking the eccentric phase.
  • Note: to ensure that the movement is carried out entirely by the biceps, immobilize the hips avoiding swinging during the execution.

10. Triceps extension with EZ barbell on incline bench

Build bigger, more powerful triceps using the greater range of motion, and further extend and activate all three strands.

  • Begin by lying on your back on an incline bench holding the EZ barbell with a prone grip.
  • Extend your arms upward so that they are perpendicular to your chest, taking care to keep your elbows inward.
  • By bending your elbows, begin to lower the bar towards your face.
  • Control the movement and continue until you feel the extension in the triceps, then hold the position for a second.
  • Return to the starting position with the opposite movement: straighten the elbows and contract the triceps.

Exercises for the pectorals

11. Bench press

This weightlifting classic is a popular exercise with heavy gym goers. Protagonist of chest exercises, it aims to increase the strength and mass of the pectorals.

  • Lie on your back on a bench and grasp the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Stiffen your back by bringing up your shoulder blades until they sink into the bench.
  • With a deep breath, lift the barbell above your chest and extend your arms.
  • Keep your back taut and, bending your elbows, slowly lower the barbell to the base of your sternum.
  • Just before it touches your chest, lift the bar again: to do this, straighten your elbows, contract your pecs and press your feet to the ground.

12. Bench press on incline bench

It is a variation of the classic movement, in which the incline bench allows you to exercise the upper part of the chest muscles.

  • Lie on your back on an incline bench and grasp the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Stiffen your back by bringing up your shoulder blades until they sink into the bench.
  • With a deep breath, lift the barbell above your chest and extend your arms.
  • Keep your back taut and, bending your elbows, slowly lower the barbell to the base of your sternum.
  • Just before it touches your chest, lift the bar again: to do this, straighten your elbows, contract your pecs and press your feet to the ground.

 

Leg exercises

13. Hip thrust with barbell

It is one of the best exercises to strengthen and tone the buttocks, but it is not only these that benefit from it: the hamstrings, adductors and quadriceps also come into play, which in addition to increasing strength in the legs, favor speed and power. .

  • Sit on the floor, with your back against a bench or chair, and place the barbell over your legs at hip height. The knees must be bent and the feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Rest your shoulders on the bench (or chair) and extend the pelvis bringing it upwards, always keeping the soles of the feet in contact with the floor.
  • The knee should be flexed 90 degrees and the body raised to form a straight line from the knee to the shoulder.
  • At the peak of the movement, squeeze your glutes tightly and hold the position for a second.
  • Slowly return to the starting position by lowering the pelvis in a controlled motion.

14. Bulgarian barbell squat

An exercise that is loved and hated at the same time: the Bulgarian squat performed with the barbell strengthens and increases the muscles as a whole, also involving the core and back muscles in maintaining stability and posture.

  • You start standing with the barbell positioned on the trapezes and your back facing the bench.
  • One leg remains elevated, with the instep resting on the bench to form a 90 ° angle with the knee.
  • Begin to lower yourself by flexing the hip and bending the knee of the front leg, while bringing that of the rear leg towards the floor.
  • Keep your core contracted for the duration of the movement and pause when the knee of the rear leg touches the ground.
  • Push on the front foot to straighten the leg and return to the starting position.

15. Straight-legged deadlifts with a barbell

Engaging the entire posterior chain, this exercise trains the hamstrings, glutes, upper and lower back muscles, as well as core stabilizers. This is the perfect accessory movement for deadlifts.

  • Place the barbell on the floor attached to the shins, with the feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend the torso forward from the hips, bringing the sacrum back so that the back is flat and parallel to the floor (the knees are soft but not bent).
  • Extend your arms and grasp the barbell with the prone grip, placing your hands shoulder-width apart. Contract your core and tighten all back muscles (hips should be in line with shoulders and back flat).
  • Take a deep breath while keeping your torso tensed, then bring your hips forward and push on your feet as if you want to push the floor away.
  • As you reach a standing position, the barbell should be kept close to the body. In the closing phase, squeeze the buttocks and stay with the hips forward.
  • Flex the torso from the hips while keeping the core contracted and reposition the bar on the floor.

16. Barbell Lunge

The barbell lunge, another exercise to include in any workout, is a strength exercise that trains the quads, glutes, hamstrings, as well as improving hip and core stability.

  • Grab the bar with a wide grip (for added stability) and rest it on your shoulders. The distance between the feet is equal to that between the shoulders.
  • Take a large step forward, contract the core, and adduce and depress the shoulder blades.
  • Begin to lower yourself by flexing your hips. The torso remains straight and the gaze is forward. Make sure that the knee does not exceed the tip of the foot.
  • When both knees are bent 90 degrees, hold the position for a second, then push on the heel to return to the starting position.
  • At this point, repeat the movement for the opposite leg.

"Is it possible to develop muscles using only with barbell exercises?"

If your goal is to build muscles, barbell exercises are the ideal solution. They allow you to perform a wide range of full-body barbell exercises for the chest, back, lower limbs and abdominals, demonstrating that a single piece of equipment can be enough to build muscle mass throughout the body. Compound movements can also help increase strength and, in the long run, the amount of load lifted.

"How often should complex circuits be performed with the balance wheel?"

Complex barbell circuits combine strength and cardio to perfection. These are barbell exercises to be performed without rest from one station to another. The frequency depends on how well trained you are: if you are a beginner or have never performed complex circuits with the bar before, try to include them in your program 1-2 times a week to let the muscle aches take off. However, as your training intensifies you will be able to do them more often,
about 4-5 times a week.

"Is it possible to perform a full body workout with the barbell only?"

The barbell is one of the most used tools because it allows you to train the whole body. The variety of barbell exercises that you can perform is functional to help you shed fat, build muscle and increase strength anywhere in your body. And all this is possible in small spaces, so even while you are forced to train from home.

«How can I make barbell exercises more difficult?

The simplest solution is to increase the load as you gain strength. However, in the current circumstances, it may be difficult to procure additional weights. Alternatively, therefore, slow down the movements, insert complex circuits, or test some variations of the standard exercises.

Conclusion

Whether it's to increase your current load or change the pace of your home workouts, it's time to incorporate some of these barbell exercises into your weekly schedule. Barbell movements are a good starting point for building lean mass in no time.

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