Barbells are excellent for developing and increasing your overall strength. This is because you can load up the bar and move more weight than unilaterally. In doing this, you can produce and enhance more neural stimulation. However, you can do many barbell exercises, from basic standard exercises to advanced Olympic lifts.
Here are the top 8 barbell exercises.
1. Back Squats
3. Alternating Lunges
4. Bent Over Rows
5. Bench Presses
6. Push Presses (Overhead Presses)
7. Hang Cleans
8. Split Jerks
Barbell Contrast Workout for Power
When doing power workouts, I use a method called EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute). You can either do the sets at the start of every minute or rest for one minute. I rest for one minute after I complete the exercises for the set. Resting for one minute will replace about 50% of your ATP energy. In 3 minutes, it is replaced 100%.
Using the start of every minute is good if you are using one exercise and training for 20 seconds in that minute. When you use more exercises, a full minute rest is best before doing the next set.
I start with a slow, heavy deadlift for three reps of my five-rep max. For me, it supercharges and irradiates my nervous and musculoskeletal systems. The carryover and transfer effect makes my hang clean and split jerk more explosive and powerful. The idea of contrast is to maintain a high-power output with minimal rest between exercises.
- Deadlift- 3 slow, heavy reps. De-load if needed to perform your hang clean.
- Hang Clean- 2-3 reps. After the last rep, perform a split jerk.
- Split Jerk- for 2-3 reps.
- Rest one full minute.
Barbell Endurance Training- Peripheral Heart Action (PHA)
PHA training (Peripheral Heart Action) is excellent for increasing your VO2 and muscular strength. In addition, it develops your aerobic system. The way it works is by alternating between lower-body and upper-body exercises.
When alternating between upper and lower body exercises, it reduces fatigue in the muscles making your cardiovascular system work. It also improves your blood flow back and forth to the muscles. The quicker blood can travel around your body, the more consistent energy, strength, and power you will have.
PHA training is circuit training, except there is little to no rest between the exercises after the set.
Perform each exercise for 15-20 seconds. You will probably use 50% of your 1RM. Try not to rest in between exercises. Remember, it is about cardio and strength conditioning. At the end of the circuit, rest for 1-2 minutes. And complete 2-3 sets.
1. Back Squat
2. Overhead Press
4. Bench press
5. Bent Over Rows
7. Rest for 1-2 Minutes.
Barbell Complex Training for Strength – Agonist/Antagonist Training
Agonist and antagonist training is excellent for developing strength and neuromuscular movement patterns. For example, push and pull; it is never just one. It requires you to do both.
This type of training develops a higher energy cycle, increased strength, and power. Understand when you pull, the pressing muscles are working in opposition. And when you press, the same goes for the pulling muscles. This is important because the pulling muscles stimulate the pressing muscles, and the pressing muscles stimulate the pulling ones.
The first exercise should be your strongest. The stronger exercise will prime the muscles for the second. For example, doing bent-over rows will stimulate the muscles for your bench press. Rest about 1-2 minutes between exercises and continue back and forth for 3-5 sets using 5-8 reps.
1. Bent Over Rows/ Bench Press
2. Deadlift/ Squats
3. Pull-Ups/ Shoulder Press
Barbells are great to use with these types of programs because you can de-load the weight quickly. Also, the exercises are the best movements to develop strength rather than using machines.
For more information about strength, speed, and explosiveness, check out the book, INSTANT STRENGTH.