Fitness Friday: 5 Barbell Exercises to Mix Up Your Weekend Workout

Use these seven barbell exercises from certified trainer Christopher Arboleda to tone your body without bulking up. For each move, begin with a 45-pound barbell and add weight to increase difficulty. Each exercise should feel comfortable—if not, remove weight. If the exercises are too challenging with a bar, use dumbbells instead. For maximum results, do six to 12 reps of each.

1. Barbell Back Squat

Target: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings | Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place the bar behind your shoulders, resting it on the cushiony area just below the neck. Place hands at the ends of the bar. Bend knees and hips to create just under a 90-degree angle. Place your weight in your heels and stand back up.


2. Barbell Bicep Curl

Target: Biceps | Standing, hold the bar with your arms straight down, palms facing upward. Curl arms up to shoulders and bring them back down for one rep.


3. Reverse Barbell Curl

Target: Forearms | Follow the previous drill, but with your palms facing down.


4. Barbell Lunge

Target: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes | Hold the bar behind your shoulders like in exercise three. Step forward with right leg, lunging until the left knee almost reaches the ground. Do not let your front knee move in front of your ankle. Keep your upper body straight and rise to a standing position. Repeat with left leg for one rep.


5. Barbell Upright Row

Target: Upper Back and Traps | With palms facing down, hold the bar shoulder-width apart. Slide the bar up your torso to your chest, bringing your elbows out to your sides. Keep your body straight and slide the bar back down until your arms are fully extended.



Adapted from the Fall 2014 print article by Kayla Isaacs

Photos by Dylan Roman-Holba