Barbell Training

Barbell Training – 7 Important Barbell Exercises

Barbell Training

7 Important Barbell Exercises

A classic but still one of the best training devices for many training goals: the barbell training! Barbell training is not only demanding but also effective and a lot of fun. Compared to a guided exercise machine, barbell workouts have many decisive advantages. The classic exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses, and squats are some of the best exercises in strength and fitness sports.

It’s no secret that the barbell is the main tool in weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. With the help of only one barbell, you can qualitatively work out any muscle group in your body. In this article, we look at a list of the best barbell exercises that you are sure to use to achieve good results in your workouts.

What Are the Benefits of Barbell Workouts?

Barbell exercises have the great advantage that your entire body has to work during the training. You mainly train a specific muscle that you want to strengthen specifically. Incidentally, other muscle groups that are not actively involved in the contraction process must also have a stabilizing function.

A good example is a deadlift, in which you want to specifically and mainly strengthen your back. Other muscles, such as your leg, arm, and abdominal muscles, are also involved in this exercise and must hold the barbell or support the back while performing the exercise.

Of course, you can also do barbell exercises with the barbell (such as the deadlift again) on a machine. All you have to do is guide the barbell up and down. This means that you are training the back almost completely in isolation, and no other muscles involve that have a support function.

But if you want to lift a heavy object similar to the deadlift in your everyday life, this is rarely installed on a machine as a relief. Barbell training prepares you a lot more for the daily challenges of life.

Furthermore, barbell training is intended for exercises that you can do with both hands simultaneously compared to a dumbbell. When doing dumbbell training, you usually have one dumbbell in each hand. The dumbbells also lift less weight overall than a barbell. Dumbbells are more intended for the isolated training of individual muscles (e.g., biceps). Barbell training primarily aims to strengthen the large muscle groups (legs, back, and chest).

When to Use Barbell Workouts in Your Training

We have listed all the barbell exercises below, but you shouldn’t do them at once as you will be punishing your workout routine. You should be wise when including these workouts in your fitness program to minimize the risk of injury and get the most benefits from them.

You can incorporate these workouts at the start of your training session because they include several motor units and significantly boost the central nervous system. With that, you should start with a gym warm-up, then an empty barbell as you progress, adding weights until you reach your target.

Involving the upper and lower parts of your body is also essential. This allows you to do more work within a short period because less recovery is needed. There is also improved blood circulation, which is vital for faster fat burning.

Let’s have a look at the 7 best barbell workouts in detail.

1. Bench Press 

Lie up straight on a weight bench (at home on the floor, too) and make sure that your lower back always stays on the bench! Your feet should be stable on the floor or the weight bench. Grasp the barbell with your ring finger at the respective markings or a little more than shoulder-width in the clamp grip. Keep your wrists stable, and don’t move them.

With your arms locked and the bar above your chest, bring the barbell down over your chest in a controlled manner so that the bar lightly touches your chest for a brief moment. Hold the bar as straight as possible and inhale.

Push the barbell explosively upwards out of your chest to be back in the starting position above your chest. Do not stretch your elbows all the way. Stop shortly beforehand. Breathe out consciously.

Target: Chest, front shoulder, and triceps

The bench press is an absolute classic and has been an excellent basic exercise since weight training. The bench press mainly trains the muscle groups in your upper body. Your chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles are particularly stressed.

Beyond the Chest

Control your shoulder blades by ensuring they are fixed on the bench. The bench needs a lot of pushing power. This will ensure you are in a more stable position for your lifts.

Stay Single-Minded

Having strong chest muscles with weak shoulder stabilizers makes it difficult for you to lift the right amount of weight on the bench press. You can try an assistance exercise like the single-arm dumbbell press to ensure your shoulder joint is in the perfect state of health and give yourself room to lift a serious amount of weight. This will help you achieve a perfect balance if one part of your shoulder is stronger than the other.

Utilize Your Body

Controlling your body weight is vital in ensuring you lift a serious amount of weight. You can perform controlled bodyweight reps like close-grip pressing or dips. This will work your muscles in a slightly different movement pattern. With time, you will start adding some weight.

 

2. Bent-Over Row (Barbell Row)

The starting position is similar to the deadlift. You stand with the barbell in your hands and now bend your upper body forward so that you reach an angle of about 45 °. During this exercise, the barbell is about at the level of your belly button under almost straight arms away from the body and maybe a little further away from your thighs.

You pull the barbell explosively between your stomach and your chest. Make sure that your elbows are brought to the side, close to your body. Your back stays straight or slightly arched. Exhale.

Bring the bar back down in a controlled manner so that your elbows are (only) almost fully extended. You must not guide the barbell directly on your thighs but move it freely and in a controlled manner through your back muscles. Breathe in consciously.

Target: biceps, core, and lats

Bent over rowing is an exercise designed to strengthen all of your back muscles. This mainly addresses the latissimus, which is responsible for the popular V-shape of the body. The rear shoulder muscles and neck are also trained.

Engage Your Shoulder Blades

Setting your shoulder blades is essential to initiate a row. Your starting position is essential if you want to lift a decent weight and activate specific muscle groups. Pull your shoulders back by squeezing the muscles between them and expanding your chest.

Use the Correct Muscles

Get the muscle you want to use active before moving through the full range. You can quickly lose form and lower your movement range by loading the bar with excess weight. Regulate your weight and heap tension on the muscles.

Underhand Tactic

Once you know how to make a move perfectly, you can start playing with variations to get a different barbell training effect. If you want to build your armor – your large back muscles – in particular, try using a tight hand grip because this will target your armor and lower back. Rows are more effective at making your lats than even pulling out lats.

Include Dumbbell Rows

Assistance barbell exercises can help you improve at rows. The best assistance exercise is the dumbbell row. With one hand on a bench, maintain a wide posture with your feet, pressing through your trunk.

The dumbbell should hang down before you pull it back and up through a curved line to the bottom of your ribcage. Swinging with one arm creates room for improved range movement and is vital in building your obliques and core.

3. Deadlift

Like the squat, your feet should be more than shoulder-width apart, and your feet are rotated slightly outward. The bar lies directly in front of your legs and is also about shoulder-width apart in the clamp or comb grip. With your back straight, lift the barbell off the floor or remove it from its device.

Your knees should be slightly bent. Bring the barbell down your body slowly and in a controlled manner. To do this, bend your upper body forward (your back is tense and straight or slightly arched). The barbell slowly descends on your thighs or lower legs until it is just in front of the floor. Breathe in as you do this.

Now bring your upper body back up a little faster by moving the barbell along your legs as well. When you reach the top, pull your shoulder blades together and stretch your chest forward. You should still keep your knees slightly bent. Exhale on the first upward movement.

Target: Whole Body

The deadlift is a barbell training option for many muscle groups in your body. Accordingly, arm, leg, shoulder, and abdominal muscles are used. However, the largest muscles that are trained here are the entire back and hamstring muscles.

Brains and Muscles

Deadlifting requires serious strength and sound technique. Poor technique can result in serious injury. Always pull your shoulders back and chest out to lock down your shoulder blades for this kind of exercise. This lowers the chances of having your hips come back too fast or rounding your lower back by creating enough tension.

Hard and Fast

Rack pulls are essential if you are having a difficult time performing a deadlift with a serious technique. It’s all about setting the bar up at a distance of about 30cm off the floor. You will gain strength in a small range of movement. Kettlebell swings can also help you improve your deadlift speed.

4. Back Squat

The correct execution of movements naturally plays a significant role. In the starting position, the barbell is behind your head. Your hands grip the barbell as far outside as possible in the clamp grip. Your feet are a little more than shoulder-width apart and rotate slightly outward.

Bring the weight down slowly and in a controlled manner by pressing your buttocks backward. Actively tense your legs and back! Make sure that your knees do not protrude above your toes as much as possible.

To protect your knee joints, you shouldn’t go more than 90 ° in depth. Always keep your feet completely on the ground (never lift your heels!) And keep your knees rigid (never rotate inwards!). Inhale.

Now push the weight up again at increased speed, mainly using the strength of your legs for this. Make sure that your feet are stable and do not move too much on the ground. Do not fully bend your knees at the top, but check the weight shortly beforehand. Exhale on the first upward movement.

Target: Quads, hamstrings, and glutes

Back squats or Barbell squats work all of your leg muscles and lower back. The so-called quadriceps, i.e., the front of your thigh, are particularly stressed here. Incidentally, the quadriceps are the largest and most powerful muscle in our body.

No Half Measures

Chances are you have seen people loading the before doing half reps in the squat rack if you have visited any gym. This is quite a waste of time. The best squat should have the hips come down to a level with your knees.

Failure to go deep will not help you achieve bigger and stronger muscles. Perfect your mobility for a few minutes before any squat session to avoid injury and get the best results.

Complete Body Benefits

Squats may be seen as a legs exercise, but it also benefits the upper part of your body, which is highly involved. The upper part of your body is essential during these exercises, especially if you include more weight. Always ensure your chest is high and your back is tight to improve your squat.

Include Bulgarian Split Squats

The lack of balance between your right and left sides can lead to poor movement patterns and injury in the long run. You should involve yourself in an exercise that will help you develop uniform strength to prevent that from happening.

Bulgarian split squats are the best option after doing your squats. Assume a split posture while holding a pair of dumbbells in front of you and the other behind before placing your back foot on a surface like a bench.

Lower your back knee to perform a split squat as you ensure your front knee remains vertical. This will ensure you develop leg strength, balance, and it is a perfect move for back squats.

5. Overhead Press

Putting your feet and shoulder wide apart, keep the bar in a position next to the upper part of your chest as you grip it with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your hands must be shoulder-width apart, and the bar is under your head at the level of the upper chest muscles. Take a slight lunge forward with your legs.

Your back stays straight again. Support your glutes, abs, and quads while pressing the bar straight up. Hold on slightly at the top before lowering gently. Lower the barbell back down in a controlled manner.

Deliberately stop the barbell briefly so that you don’t just push back up while swinging. As you do this, inhale to prepare for the next concentric movement. You will find yourself lifting more weight by tying up your thumbs almost the same side as your fingers to keep your forearms in the best position.

Target: Shoulders and triceps

The overhead press is an exercise for the entire shoulder muscles. The core muscles are also trained, as they have to stabilize the barbell during the movement.

The Only Way is Up

If you want to go heavy, you should press the weight overhead directly instead of slightly in front of you. Make sure it is over your center of gravity, going through your head, hips, top of the spine, and ankles. Squeeze your abs and glutes in line before pushing your head through after the bar is past your nose. Keeping your core tight adds about 10% to your weight lift. Remember to squeeze those glutes.

Keep Your Neck Protected

Start the move with the weight behind your neck for the best mobility in your overhead press. It is also applicable when you start the exercise with the bar behind your back. This move is vital for your back and rear delts, but you have to take a slightly wider grip and reduce the weight by around 30%.

Include the Landmine Press

Performing the landmine press after your overhead exercise is essential in improving shoulder stability. Squeeze one end of a bar in the corner of a room before doing the single-arm shoulder press. Stay firm and let your shoulder blades move as your abs remain firm.

6. Lunge

The starting position is the same as for the squat. Your bar should be behind your head and your hands as far apart as possible in the clamp grip around the barbell for stabilization. Take a backward lunge so that you reach an angle of 90 ° with your front leg. Your back knee should touch the floor briefly.

The knee of your front leg shouldn’t protrude above the tip of your foot. Your upper body stays straight, and your lower back, in particular, is tense throughout the exercise. Inhale throughout the phase. Push the barbell explosively back up to the starting position. Use the strength of your bent leg for this. Exhale on the first upward movement.

Target: quads, glutes, and hamstrings

Lunges or lunges are primarily aimed at strengthening the entire leg muscles. In particular, your gluteal muscles are stressed here. You can also use lunges to train your core, i.e., your abdominal and lower back muscles.

Tight Trunk

Weight on your back heaps forces on the trunk despite the lunge being a lower body exercise. You should keep your trunk tight to become more powerful and feel more stable. Make yourself as tall as you can by pulling shoulders back and abs in.

Reverse to Progress

Making this move in reverse can benefit you in so many ways. You will develop balance, improve your body’s ability to feel one position, and harmonize movements. The reverse lunge is an excellent progression if you struggle with lunges due to flexors and tight hips.

Take a Long Lunge

There are multiple ways to perform lunges and get top-level benefits. Longer lunges are essential for developing power and speed. You should also engage your glutes by driving up through your front heel.

7. Power Clean

With your barbell on the floor, hold it as you maintain a shoulder-width grip. Lift your heels off the floor and lift the bar to your knees to your chest level. Hold on for a second before gently lowering the barbell for the next rep.

Target area: Whole body

Power clean is one of the best barbell exercises to increase your speed and power. It is highly preferred by athletes to improve their field performance. To build power, you have to improve speed against resistance. Power clean combines hang clean and deadlift, which allows you to develop full-body strength.

Warm Up Correctly

Always ensure you have perfectly warmed up and your lats and shoulders are mobile for smooth lifting.

Hang Clean

If you are used to putting on tracksuit bottoms and are not worried about getting trunk-tree legs, you can opt for the hang clean version of this move. Here, you have to begin the move while holding the bar.

This move boosts your grip strength, which is vital for your squat clean ability and power. The version where the bar originates from the hips instead of the floor is the best if your main focus is on the upper body.

Power Through

Power clean barbell exercises impose a high energy demand on your body, which shouldn’t be a reason to slow down after getting to your final set. Thrusters and box jumps are the best movements to use in a single session.

Box jumps enhance your power and speed, while thrusters are like a continuation of the movement because you switch from a front squat to a shoulder press. They help strengthen the link between the upper and lower body.

 

Squat rack

How to utilise a squat rack

If you want to start training at home, then purchasing a good quality squat rack is essential. With the help of a squat rack, you can get a full-body extensive workout. Having a rack is important for initiating safe training. It allows you to get a loaded bar safely on the shoulders and stop the bar from falling.

Squats are functional exercises that help our body perform real-life activities and are considered effective ways of toning the body. Contrary to what many of us think, squats are not just for the weightlifter or bodybuilders; In fact, they are for everyone who wants to tone up the body at any age. The best thing is these can be done anywhere, anytime.

Below we will share some great full-body exercises that you can do with a squat rack. So let’s get started to get the most out of your squats.

Full Body Squat Rack Workout

If you have decided to buy a squat rack, it’s recommended to go for an adjustable one, such as the OW150 Power rack with pulley system as it gives you the freedom to adjust the weight bench and include variants like incline and decline bench presses with weight bench lateral flyes.

So below are some top exercises that can help you build ultimate strength and let you go under all-around workout.

Ultimate Exercises Using a Squat Rack

  1.     Back Squat

The back squat is a lower-body exercise that works on glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It is also called ‘the king of all exercises.’ This classic basic exercise can build great strength and power.

You place the barbell behind the neck— retract the shoulder blades super tightly, and rest the bar in the upper traps’ meat.

Pro Tip: 

Place both feet between hip and shoulder-width with your toes turned out. This helps to increase the depth of a squat.

  1.     Shoulder Press

The shoulder press, also known as overhead press, is a super-solid upper-body exercise that utilises a collection of muscles to help achieve the desired body. Clubbed together is even one of the most effective compound exercises along with squat, bench press and deadlift; the shoulder press exercise is the key to gaining toned muscles.

Pro Tip:

Always bring the barbell down to ear height before pushing it back. Never lock your elbows when reaching the top of this exercise.

  1.     Flat Bench Press

Flat bench presses are the most recommended ones for building the largest and strongest chest muscles. It reduces the risk of workout injures, making it a simple exercise to perform. Moreover, it increases lifting power, helps you build the overall body strength, and target the major muscles, triceps, deltoids, and serratus anterior.

Pro Tip:

Keep your elbows tucked in slightly while performing it. Don’t put back your shoulders too far as it could strain your muscles.

  1.     Barbell Lunges     

The best thing about lunges is they don’t demand a very high level of hip flexibility to get to the full depth. It puts great pressure on the glute and hamstring to build them. Along with the barbell lunges, you can combine Bulgarian split squats for building ultimate strength and make your workout more exciting and challenging.

Pro Tip:

Always start with barbell lunges initially with the weight bar to check how much pressure you can take on both legs as the muscles in both legs are slightly different.

  1.     Dips

The dip is an effective exercise that mostly targets the chest and activates the shoulders, triceps, and abdominals. It all depends on the body’s angle during the exercise; you can simultaneously increase the chest or the triceps’ demand. So this means this useful exercise can be an extremely effective way to grow and perfectly strengthen the two different body parts.

You should go with the adjustable squat rack kit, which can easily slide in the form of a dip station.

Pro Tip:

You can vary the dip stance to target the chest and triceps to get an extreme upper body workout.

  1.     Bicep Curl

Bicep curls are the best exercise for getting stronger and more intense and well-defined biceps.  It targets the vanity muscle and gives quick pumps in the arms. When the arm fills up with blood and put under the bicep curl’s stress, the arms look insane.

Pro Tip:

You can introduce variation in a bicep curl, from full extension to half extension, back down, then half extension, and go for full contraction.  It’s up to you!

  1.     Hip Lifts

If you want to target the trio of glutes, hamstrings and lower back, then hip lifts are a perfect choice. These lifts tone the back’s spinal erector muscles boosts core strength for improved power and performance in daily life activities.

The reason is, it feels good because, at the top of the move, one feels a deep stretch in the front of the hips and torso. The position is to sit with the weight bench, so the edge is near your back’s middle. Bring both knees in, and squeeze glutes as lift up.

Pro Tip:

Always use a barbell squat pad for the ultimate protection of hips while using a loaded bar.

  1.     Box Squats

Box squats help build strength as these are a dominant hip movement. Such squats emphasise the glutes, hamstring, and erector spinae muscles—these help build strength in the posterior chain. Simply by utilising a wider stance and squatting backwards, the movement emphasises your posterior muscles.

Pro Tip:

Bring a weight bench, and place it parallel into the squat rack to ensure it stays balanced. Now start squatting down and use your bench for support.

  1.     Barbell Rows

It’s a basic upper back exercise, perfectly works on rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius. These entail pulling the weight as quickly as possible without any breaking form, making the pull super explosive for you.

Pro Tip:

Always pick the bar on the spotters and simply squat down so that the back keeps align to the floor, keeping the spine straight. Move bar toward the bottom of abs, squeeze the shoulders a bit and release back down. You can add dumbbells for better performance.

So How Often Should I Increase The Weights?

Well, it all depends on your experience, the ability, and what your primary goals are! If you want to see improvement, you should keep on increasing weight load through each cycle. You can think of adding more weights when you can do 5 reps maximum and increasing the reps until it reaches 12 reps with the same load. Otherwise, stick to the same weight for some time, and improve your performance.

These are some effective exercises that could be performed easily with a squat rack. People often commit mistakes while performing squats and keep repeating them; that’s why understanding those mistakes is necessary to avoid any severe injury.

Squat Racking Mistakes

  •         Not Improving Ankle Flexibility:

This is the most common mistake beginners make! Bad positioning and movement ultimately lead to injuries. All this happen due to inflexible ankle movements.

  •         Positioning Bar Too High on Neck:

Never position the bar too high on your neck, especially if you are just a beginner. Bad positioning can put a lot of pressure on the base of your neck and upper spine.

  •         Don’t be a COPY CAT:

People have different body alignment, so follow a different setup, that’s why never try to copy anyone, especially when you are unaware of your potential power. So always go with what suits you!

  •         Wrong Bar Positioning:

Always take the correct bar positioning; if you are a low bar squatter, then the squat bar always aligns with your chest’s center.

 

Wrap Up

Many people make the mistake of assuming that squats are all about legs, but it’s a wrong perception. In fact, you should activate the core and upper back muscles to perform squats perfectly. It helps to tighten your core and strengthen your muscles. So when are you going to start your journey?

Benefits Of Kettlebell Training

 

History Of Kettlebells

A kettlebell is a weight topped by a curved handle. This should be gripped with one or both hands. Kettlebells date back to ancient Greece. They were later used by farmers as counterweights to weigh grain in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. During the 1800s the kettlebell joined the traveling circuses of the period. They were used by jugglers and “strong” men. The modern popularity of kettlebells is tied to their use by Russian soldiers, athletes and Olympians for strength and resistance training.

Why Kettlebells?

Using a single kettlebell, you can train all of your major muscle groups while burning 20-30 calories per minute. With the right combination of exercises your kettlebell can provide a number of benefits such as:

  • Cardiovascular workout
  • Resistance training
  • Endurance training
  • Improving your flexibility and
  • Help with mobility

Performing dynamic kettlebell exercises will help you to achieve stronger and leaner muscles in half the time of traditional workouts

So what are the benefits of using Kettlebells for your home workouts?

Shorter Workouts

Your fitness program needs to include Core, Cardio and Resistance. When you follow a traditional workout, you should train each area with different machines or equipment. Spending 10 or 20 minutes on each piece of kit. A kettlebell turns your body into a fitness machine. It does this with intense training in three dimensions. By working all of your muscle groups you are getting a complete body workout (Cardio, Core and Resistance) in half the time of a traditional workout.

Burn More Calories

Kettlebell workouts will build lean muscle while burning more body fat and calories. Moderate intensity training with a moderate weight kettlebell burns an average 20 calories per minute which equals 400 calories during a typical 20-minute kettlebell workout. Alternating kettlebell swings with goblet squats will train all of your muscle groups and burn the maximum calories.

The Perfect Combination

Kettlebells are suitable for both men and women, regardless of your fitness level and body shape. Kettlebell training offers the benefits of strength training combined with the flexibility of yoga and Pilates, building a body that is strong, proportionate and graceful. Kettlebells also increase your stability, balance and control allowing you to lift heavier weights if you return to using free weights. Versatile kettlebells can also be used in a post injury rehabilitation setting, and are useful in developing explosive speed and power when used by competitive athletes.

Ideal For Home Use

The kettlebell is small, compact and easy to store. They are available in increments of pounds or kilograms and once your “outgrow” one, move up to the next one. When used correctly, your it can replace a barbell, a pair of dumbbells, a medicine ball, grip devices and a variety of cardio equipment. Thanks to their small size and the types of dynamic exercises involved. Kettlebells can always be used in an extremely small space. Allowing you to workout even when you don’t have much space at home that traditional equipment would require.

 

Fact or Fiction – Six Pack Abs

Everyone involved in the fitness industry would never turn down owning a great set of six pack Abs. However, understanding the methods it takes to achieving them can get confused with facts and fiction.

The truth

Just about anyone can develop great abdominals. There isn’t any need to do sit ups, crunches or a 15 minute abdominal workout DVD. When it comes to training your core, you just need to keep it simple. Evidence shows that simply performing full body lifts such as squats, power cleans and deadlifts can help develop your abs much more effectively than the majority of ab exercises.

This is not to say completely stop training your abdominals. Ab workouts alongside your weight training can also be beneficial.
If you enjoy training your abs post workout, here are a few suggestions to help you on your way to 6 pack abs!
(Assuming you are eating properly enough to reduce the fat around your mid-section through proper nutrition.

Single leg jack-knife sit up

One great exercise you can perform is the single-leg jack-knife sit up. For this workout you should use a CV mat to lie on. Bend one leg and keep the other leg straight. The entire foot needs to be in contact with the floor. Lift your leg and trunk at the same time as rapidly as possible. Perform the same amount of reps on each side and increase the weight if needs be with ankle weights.

 

Reverse sit-up exercise

Another exercise is the reverse sit-up, with legs bent and then straightened. Initially sit down with your legs crossed and lifted off the floor (slightly lent back while seated on your glutes) bring your knees towards your chest and then straighten your legs back out again.

Another two great exercises are pullovers and straight-arm lat pulldowns.

The majority of pullovers will affect your abs. You can perform effective variations by anchoring your feet on a sit up board with your knees bent, pull the weight behind your head and then return to the start. It is vital to keep your upper body completely straight while doing this to fully stretch your abs. To make this even harder you can slightly lean backwards while holding heavier weights. Be mindful of your rotator cuff when performing pullovers as they require a full warm up to prevent injury.

For straight arm lat pulldowns, use a high-pulley machine and contract your abs prior to any movement. Doing this will work your rectus abdominis muscle much more than any sit up will do.

Conclusion

To conclude, to get great abs quickly, you need to eat well and lift heavy. Although if needs be you can supplement your usual training with a quick post ab workout.