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Bar Rescue

Barbells are versatile enough to target every muscle in your body because you can move them in any direction, and can easily add or subtract weight.

Ryann Gordon
April 29, 2017

Many people are intimidated by the barbell. For some reason, it reminds us of those overly-chiseled gym rats who spend hours a day lifting. But you don’t have to be a body builder, gym-pro or fitness guru to master the barbell. Anyone can experience the benefits of incorporating this gym tool into their fitness regime.

The barbell was traditionally thought to be reserved for the dudes at the gym, but everyone — from amateur to experienced — can work the barbell into their fitness routine. We are starting to see more of the barbell as famous gyms like Dogpound in NYC post images of training supermodels — many of whom incorporate free-barbell workouts into their training regimes.

Barbells add heavy resistance to your workout, challenging your stability and dynamically working your core muscles without you even realizing it. With an assist from the barbell, you can gain lean body mass, lose fat, lower your overall weight and improve your general fitness level and health condition. Not to mention, it can improve your look and get a proportional boost of self-esteem.

Taking on the barbell can be a scary task at first, but we’ve got some beginner barbell workouts to get you ready. With the help of Michelle and Trevor Bridges at Nikao Strength and Conditioning, here are some barbell exercises that anyone can do.


Not only does squatting work your glutes and hamstrings, but it can be ideal for core work as well. Focusing on posture and tightening your abs while squatting will give you the full benefit of barbell squats. Some say that muscle fiber activation rates climb much greater during squats than they do during other exercises, including crunches.


Use a free-standing barbell to help shape your abs to Hercules status. Do barbell crunches and situps on the ground by holding the bar with extended arms and sitting up. Also, do standing side bends by holding the bar over your shoulders and dipping sideways from one side to the other.


One of the simplest barbell workouts, the deadlift is the answer to your booty prayers. Pull your shoulder blades back and down, where they should stay the entire lift. Keep your back straight and stick your butt out as you begin, then clench as you rise to a standing position. Lower again slowly and repeat. Since many people suffer from some type of back pain later in life, incorporating deadlifts into your routine is a great way to ward off future problems.


Try some exercises you may not have thought of with the barbell like glute bridges and hip thrusts. Lay on your back with your knees bent on the ground and raise the barbell to sit on your upper thighs. Tighten your buttocks as you lift your lower back and butt off the ground and feel the burn as you repeat.


Shoulder Press
The shoulder press can be beneficial for back muscles. If you’re doing it correctly, you should feel it in your midline muscle group as well. Keep your abs and glutes as tight as possible from before you even begin to lift to ensure you’re working the correct muscle groups.


Evil Wheels
Get funky with your barbell workouts and try evil wheels — your abs’ worst enemy. Start with your shoulders over the bar and tighten your butt cheeks. Roll the bar out as far as you can without letting go of tension in your midline. Roll the bar back toward yourself and repeat; just try not to cry after a few.


Shape those upper arms with barbell curls that’ll have you looking like the Rock in no time. Focus on not hyper-extending your elbows and keeping slow and steady as you lift, lower and repeat. Also, try some unique twists on the traditional curl, like different grips, lying on an incline as you lift or holding the bar between your legs for a bent-over bar-row.

Nikao Strength Crossfit
11842 S. 33rd W. Ave. | Sapulpa