Barbells are ideal for improving strength, building muscle, and improving overall fitness levels. In this blog, we will take a look at the several exercises that you can perform to target multiple muscle groups. Before we dive in, let's list out the different types of barbells available which are most commonly found in the gym.
Types of Barbell
- Olympic Barbell: This is the most common type of barbell you'll find in a gym. It weighs 20kg for men and 15kg for women and is used for exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
- Home Barbell: The bar is 7ft in length and weighs 20 kilograms. It is suitable to be used at home. The diameter and length of this barbell is best suited for power racks
- EZ Bar: This barbell has a curved shape and is often used for exercises that target the biceps, triceps, and forearms. The EZ bar is easier on the wrists compared to the straight barbell.
- Curl Bar: Similar to the EZ bar, the curl bar is also used for exercises that target the biceps, triceps, and forearms. The difference between the two is that the curl bar has a W-shaped curve, while the EZ bar has a zig-zag shape.
- Trap Bar: Also known as the hex bar, this barbell has a hexagonal shape and is used for exercises like the trap bar deadlift and the hex bar deadlift.
- Pump Bar: Pump bars are designed mainly for home use, or for pump style classes in the gym. They usually build up to 20kg, and are easily adjusted for beginners.
Let’s have a look at how you can achieve a full body workout with the use of just a barbell.
The squat is a fundamental exercise that targets your legs, glutes, and core muscles. It's an exercise that you can do with a barbell to get the most out of it. To perform a squat, place the barbell on your shoulders and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and lower your body down, as if you're sitting in a chair. Make sure your knees don't go past your toes. Pause for a moment, then stand back up.
Deadlift with Trap Bar or Hex Bar
The deadlift is another great exercise for a full-body workout. You can use either a trap bar or a hex bar for this exercise. Begin by standing inside the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down and grasp the bar with your hands, palms facing your body. Stand up while keeping your back straight and lift the bar to your thighs. Pause for a moment, then lower the bar back down.
The Olympic Barbell is purpose built to be suitable for Olympic lifting. Exercises such as Barbell Cleans, or Barbell Snatches are full body movements that incorporate multiple muscle groups and a lot of technique.
Barbell Shoulder Press
A great exercise to target the upper body is the shoulder press. There are several ways to make this exercise easier, or harder depending on your training experience. A strict press involves pressing the bar over head with the use of your upper body only. If you opt for a push press, this allows you to incorporate your legs into the movement, allowing you to press more weight overhead.
Curling with Barbells
The curl is an exercise that targets your biceps. You can use a curl bar or an EZ bar for this exercise. Start by holding the bar with an underhand grip and keeping your arms straight. Bend your arms at the elbow and lift the bar towards your shoulders. Pause for a moment, then lower the bar back down.
The shrug is an exercise that targets your traps. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the barbell in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body. Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears, then lower them back down.
Tricep Extension with Barbells
The tricep extension is an exercise that targets your triceps. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding the barbell with an overhand grip. Raise the barbell above your head, keeping your arms straight. Bend your elbows and lower the barbell behind your head, then straighten your arms again.
Barbell Reverse Curls
The reverse curl is an exercise that targets your forearms and biceps. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding the bar with an overhand grip. Keep your arms straight and lift the bar towards your shoulders. Pause for a moment, then lower the bar back down.
In conclusion, barbells are an excellent tool for a full-body workout. Whether you're using an Olympic barbell, hex bar, curl barbell, or specialty bar, there are plenty of exercises you can perform to target multiple muscle groups. By incorporating these exercises into your workout routine, you'll be on your way to building muscle, improving strength, and enhancing your overall fitness levels.