AC's Workout of the Week!

For this weeks workout of the week we are going to work the full body using only a barbell. We are going to do mainly compound exercises but we are keeping them relatively light as you don’t have equipment like a squat rack to help you. Certain exercises however will be done heavier.

This routine requires absolutely nothing other than a barbell and plates so is useful if you are in a busy gym or are using limited home equipment. It will consist of 2 exercises per large bodypart and 1 for smaller bodyparts. The rep range will vary and be low and heavy for one exercises and higher and lighter for the other. This is to hit different types of muscle fibres and work the muscle in different ways.

So lets take a look at the workout:

Deadlift – 5 x 5

We will start with the heaviest exercise of the day. The deadlift in my opinion is the single best mass and strength building exercise. It will hit nearly every muscle on the back of the body as well as a few on the front. We are using it today primarily as a back exercise. You will be going heavy on deadlift and keeping reps relatively low.

Barbell Row – 3 x 10

Nest we are going to do barbell row. This is the second back exercise and again is a compound exercise. You will be working your lower back again like on deadlift but to a much lesser degree. You will be working your biceps as well but the primary focus is on the lats, traps and majority of the upper back.

Power cleans – 5 x 5

Power cleans of hang cleans (you could do either) are a fantastic explosive exercise to improve speed, strength and power. It will massively recruit fast twitch muscle fibres and develop these very well. It is also very tricky to get the technique right so will improve proprioception. The cleans will hit your traps, upper back, lats, deltoids, glutes, hamstrings, biceps and forearms.

Standing push press – 3 x 10 reps

Standing push press is a great compound shoulder exercise. It allows you to move more weight than you would with a normal barbell press as you use your legs to help get the bar up. Make sure you lock out at the top as this is an exercise where full range of motion must be used (in a similar way to Olympic lifting). Locking out in my opinion is a good idea as you need to control the weight coming back down as it may be heavy. If you come straight down after going up it will be under less control.

Squat – 3 x 20 reps

Squats are the other (after deadlift) serious overall mass builder. The squat is more aimed to only hit the legs as opposed to the deadlift focusing on the back to some degree. The squats are in my opinion the best mass builder for the legs and a great exercise to improve coordination and balance. With this workout you will not have a squat rack so you will have to clean and press the bar onto the back of your traps. This is why the reps are up as high as 20. You will not be able to use a heavy weight due to this restriction. However high rep squats have been shown to be extremely effective in gaining size on your legs. If you do have a squat rack then I would go down to 8-10 reps on squats.

Lunges – 3 x 10 reps

Lunges are another great leg exercise. They will greatly hit your hamstrings and also stretch all the muscles in your leg out. They will stretch your glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors really well, which will aid in flexibility and promote muscle growth.

Floor press – 3 x 10 reps

Floor press is a great chest exercise and great for improving strength on the lockout part of the bench press. It is rarely done in gyms but is a great compound exercise for the chest. You will need a training partner to help you with this one to lift the bar into position. I recommend putting the bar on top of a small stack of 20kg plates behind where you lay down and then lift it into position once you are down.

Barbell curls – 3 x 8 reps

The barbell curl is a great bicep exercise. You can use a fair amount of weight with it but just make sure that you are not swinging your body to get the weight up. Try to keep good form throughout the exercise.

Overhead barbell extensions – 3 x 8 reps

On the video this is seated but you will be doing it standing as you don’t have a bench. This is a great tricep exercise to hit all heads of the triceps and get a good stretch on the muscle. You must keep the reps slow and controlled as with using such a long bar it can start to wobble if you try to go too fast.

So there is a great full body workout using nothing more than an Olympic bar and plates. If you are strapped for cash and want to set up a home gym but don’t know where to start, I strongly recommend starting with just a bar and weights. You can train every body part effectively with this and make huge gains in strength.

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