If you asked 100 personal trainers what the best piece of workout equipment you can get would be, 99 of them would tell you to get a barbell. Barbells can be used in exercises that work virtually every muscle in your body, and some of the best exercises you can do require a barbell.

In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at the top 5 exercises you can do with a barbell and break each one down so you have a full understanding of why it’s on the list.

Barbell Squat

It should come as no surprise that the barbell squat is at the top of this list. Long known as the king of lower body exercises, the squat is easily one of the most functional exercises you can perform. Almost every activity performed by humans requires participation by your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, and the barbell squat hits them all.

Performing a barbell squat takes a lot of practice, so if you are unfamiliar with the movement, try starting with just the bar before building up the weight. Keep practicing the barbell squat and before you know it, you’ll notice a major increase in leg strength and muscle mass.

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Barbell Deadlift

Next on our list, we have the barbell deadlift. This exercise is an excellent movement that increases strength and function in the lower back and hamstrings. The deadlift is a highly practical exercise because of how often it is replicated in daily life. Every time an individual bends down to pick something up, they are emulating parts of a deadlift movement. Making the barbell deadlift part of your routine will strengthen the parts of your body that you use to lift objects off the floor, and, if done correctly, it will help you to reduce the risk of a lower back injury.

While all exercises should be performed with proper form, it is absolutely essential with a barbell deadlift. If you allow your back to round during the lift you could seriously strain your lower back, and if performed with a poor grip can result in a biceps injury. If you are uncomfortable performing a deadlift with good form, practice with light weight, and be sure to have an experienced trainer help you out. Also, check out our guide on avoiding injuries in the gym.

Image credit: Men’s Health, https://www.menshealth.com/


Barbell Overhead Press

The third barbell exercise on the list is the overhead press. The overhead press primarily strengthens the muscles in your shoulders. The barbell overhead press hits all three heads of the deltoids (shoulders), your triceps (back of the arms), pectorals (chest), and trapezius (upper back). Working on these muscles regularly will improve the ability to lift and stabilize objects over your head.  Overhead presses also work to stabilize your rotator cuff and help to resist injury when performing any type of shoulder movement.

Image credit: Men’s Health, https://www.menshealth.com/

Bent-Over Barbell Row

Next, we have the bent-over barbell row. This exercise strengthens the muscles in the middle of your back (the lats and rhomboids). In addition to your back, a bent-over row is also an excellent biceps builder.

The bent-over barbell row is a great exercise for individuals who spend most of their day sitting at a desk because it helps to correct a condition called forward shoulder. Forward shoulder is a very common problem that is caused by hunching over your desk and results in a deterioration of posture over time. By strengthening the muscles in your back, your body will naturally pull your shoulder blades back and correct your posture.

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Barbell Hip Thrust

Last but not least on our list is the barbell hip thrust. You may be more familiar with the bodyweight version of this exercise but adding weight with a barbell is a surefire way to drastically increase your results. The glutes are active in essentially every athletic movement you perform and having well developed posterior muscles will improve your performance across the board. Many people find it uncomfortable to position a barbell across the pelvis but using a squat pad for cushion should help relieve any discomfort while performing the movement.

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If you’re looking for high-quality barbells or any other type of exercise equipment for your home or commercial gym, Balance Fitness is the place to get it! We also provide commercial and home gym design services as well as professional personal training. Give us a call or contact us online today for any of your health and fitness needs!