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1 year ago
9 Burn-Tastic Ways to Tone Up with a Barbell

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If you find the classic barbell super-intimidating, you're not alone. Maybe it’s because grunting dudes in the weight room are hogging the bar, or perhaps you just don't know how to use it. If the latter is true for you, you're in luck. (If it's the former, tell those guys to wait their turn!) We’ve got nine why-didn't-I-think-of-these barbell moves from Women's Health Big Book of Abs, Women's Health Big Book of Exercises, and Women's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts that might just make the barbell your new favorite piece of equipment.

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Barbell Bench Press

Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip that's just wider than shoulder-width, and hold it above your sternum with arms completely straight (A). Lower the bar straight down (B). Pause, then press the bar in a straight line back up to the starting position. Keep you elbows tucked in, so that your upper arms form a 45-degree angle with your body in the down position. This reduces stress on your shoulder joints.

MORE: The 6 Worst Strength-Training Tips Ever

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Barbell Squat

Hold the bar across your upper back with an overhand grip (A). Keeping your lower back arched, lower your body as deep as you can. Initiate the movement by first pushing your hips back, then bending your knees (B). Pause, then reverse the movement back to the starting position.  

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Barbell Split Squat

Hold a bar across your upper back with an overhand grip. Stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right (A). Slowly lower you body as far as you can (B). Pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position as quickly as you can. Complete the prescribed number of reps with your left leg forward. Then do the same number with your right foot in front of your left.

MORE: 23 Things Only People Who Work Out Get Annoyed By

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Barbell Bent-Over Row

Grab a barbell with an overhand grip with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar at arm's length, and then bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent and your lower back naturally arched (A). Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar up to your upper abs (B). Pause, then return the bar back to the starting position. 

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Barbell Shoulder Press

Grab a barbell with an overhand grip that's just beyond shoulder-width, and hold it at shoulder level in front of your body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent (A). Push the barbell straight overhead while keeping your torso upright (B). Pause, then lower the bar back to the starting position.

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Sumo Deadlift

Load a barbell and roll it up against your shins. Set your feet about twice shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed out at an angle. Bend at your hips and knees, and grab the center of the bar with an overhand grip and your hands about 12 inches apart (A). Without allowing your lower back to round, stand up, thrust your hips forward, and squeeze your glutes (B). Pause, then lower the bar back to the floor while keeping it as close to your body as possible. 

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Barbell Hip Raise

Sit on the floor with your upper back against a stable bench, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put a padded barbell across your hips and grab the barbell with an overhand grip, about shoulder-width apart (A). Keeping your back against the bench and the barbell just below your pelvis, raise your hips—while squeezing your glutes—until your hips are in line with your body (B). Return to the starting position and repeat.

MORE: 4 Pushup Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

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Balancing Pushup and Barbell Rollout

Attach a five-pound weight plate to each end of a barbell, and place it on the floor. Kneel about arm's length from the bar. With your hands shoulder-width apart and arms straight, lean forward and grab the bar (A). Roll the bar underneath your shoulders and perform a modified pushup with your knees on the floor (B). Then roll the bar as far forward as you can without arching your back (C). Use your core to roll the bar back to the start position. That's one rep.

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Modified Glute-Ham Raise

Wrap a towel around the middle of a loaded barbell and place a mat under it. Make sure the barbell is heavy enough to hold your legs down (A). Slowly lower your torso toward the floor (B). Use your arms to catch yourself when your legs give out. Return to the starting position by pushing up forcefully with your arms. That's one rep.

Exercise how-tos adapted from The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises, The Women's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Minute Workouts, and The Women's Health Big Book of Abs. For even more moves, get The Women's Health Big Book of ExercisesThe Women's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts and Women's Health Big Book of Abs today!

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