Using the Olympic bar for your entire workout will leave you feeling supremely badass!
Besides the typical squat, deadlift and bench press, there are loads of different ways to use the Olympic lifting bar to get a great workout. Whether you incorporate these moves into your weekly workout or perform them all in a single workout, you can destroy pretty near every muscle in your body with just one piece of equipment.
Note: If you perform all these moves in a row as one workout, be sure to keep the weight nice and low. As you fatigue towards the end, you don’t want to cause yourself an injury by loading up the bar with a weight you can’t safely handle.
1. Clean and press
The clean and press is challenging but manages to recruit a load of different muscles in one movement. More bang for your buck.
From a starting position with the bar hanging by your knees, held with an overhand grip, lift the bar up to your shoulders in one swift movement, sinking down into a squat to absorb the weight and flipping your hands underneath the bar.
From there, use the power of your squat, driving through your heels, to push the bar up above your head.
Lower the bar safely back down to your shoulders, flip your elbows up to bring the bar to an upright row position, the lower it back down.
It’s a complex move and can take time to get it right, so we’d recommend asking a personal trainer for some help, or go along to a Body Pump class where you can practice the move with a fairly low weight under the supervision of a teacher.
2. Good mornings
This move targets your hamstrings, a muscle that is often taken for granted and ignored in the gym, so be sure to start with a really light weight so that you don’t injure yourself.
With the bar across your shoulders as if you were about to squat, brace your core and straighten your legs (soft knees, not bent knees), and pull your shoulder blades back to take the weight of the bar. Hinging from your hips, slowly bend and lower your head towards the floor, pause at the bottom, and then reverse.
3. Barbell glute bridge
The glute bridge remains the sluttiest move you can perform at the gym without (much) judgement. You can use a bench, but it’s often easier to just sprawl out on the floor.
Sit on the ground and bring the barbell directly over your hips before you lie down. Plant your feet on the floor and drive through your heels as you thrust your hips upwards to lift the bar.
Really focus on squeezing your glutes so that the bar moves straight up and the weight is supported by your heels and upper back. Pause at the top then lower slowly back down to the ground.
4. Barbell rollout
Pop a couple of 5kg plates on your bar (the weight doesn’t matter as you won’t actually be lifting it), from a starting position on your knees, hold the bar with an overhand grip about shoulder-width apart.
Position your shoulders directly over the barbell and then slowly roll the bar out in front of you, as far as you can go without letting your lower back dip.
Pause, and then pull yourself back to the starting position. It will destroy your core muscles and you’ll be surprised just how difficult it really is.
If you want more tips and ideas for the gym, don’t forget to subscribe to our Weekly Workout Newsletter for weekly workouts (obvs). Or better yet, book in some time with a gay personal trainer who can guide you through your fitness journey.