Did you know you can do a lot more with a barbell than just the basic chest press? This versatile tool is great for performing multijoint movements that target a large amount of muscle tissue. Plus, exercises like squats, deadlifts and presses help to strengthen functional movements that we use everyday. Here is an effective total-body workout that will enhance both strength and flexibility.
Exercise: Front Squat to Military Press
Muscle Targeted: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Core, Deltoids, Triceps
Movement: Hold the barbell on the front of your shoulders with your feet shoulder width apart. Position your arms so your elbows and upper arms are parallel to the floor, fingers hooked slightly under the bar. Press your hips back and proceed to squat, keeping your chest up and knees behind your toes. Continue your squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Press through your heels and squeeze your glutes to stand back up. Once standing, allow the barbell to roll into your palms, and press the barbell overhead until your arms are by your ears with the barbell overhead. Lower the bar back down to rest on your shoulders and repeat 10 to 15 repetitions.
Variations: For beginners, master each of these moves individually before attempting them together. If you lack mobility in your calves and ankles, try standing with your heels on a 1 to 2-inch raised surface, such as a 10-lb. weight plate, to allow for a deeper squat.
Exercise: Straight Leg Deadlift
Muscles Targeted: Hamstrings, Glutes, Core, Lower Back
Movement: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and hold the barbell in an overhand position, bar resting on the front of your thighs. Bend at your hips and press them back behind you, keeping your back in neutral position or slightly arched. Keep the bar close to your shins during the entire movement. Slowly lower the bar until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Squeeze your glutes and press your hips forward to stand back up.
Variations: For heavier weight for strength improvements, start with the barbell on the floor to begin your deadlift, with your hands in a switch grip position (one overhand, one underhand). For variations, widen or narrow your stance to place emphasis on different parts of your hamstrings and glutes.
Exercise: Bent over Row
Muscles Targeted: Core, Lower Back, Upper Back (Rhomboids, Lats, Traps), Deltoids (rear), Biceps
Movement: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold the barbell with and overhand grip hanging in front of your thighs. Similar to a deadlift movement, bend your knees slightly and press your hips back until your torso is almost parallel or about 45 to 90 degrees from vertical, bar hanging close to or slightly below your knees.
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