When it comes to building strength and power, no other piece of equipment comes close to the barbell. Learning exercise technique is fairly straightforward, it's the tool of choice for powerlifters and Olympic lifters and you can add as much weight as you need to it. A regulation Olympic bar is 2.2 meters in length, weighs 45 pounds and should have a diameter of between 50 and 52 millimeters. There's no set best barbell workout but when planning your session, consider your exercise selection, rep schemes and progression.
Types of Exercise
Compound exercises use multiple muscle groups and involve the movement of two or more joints, whereas isolation exercises focus in on a single muscle and joint. Barbells are best suited to compound exercises. As compound exercises train more muscles, they lead to faster growth and burn more calories, making them ideal whether you're training for muscle gain or fat loss.
Full-body workouts involve training every muscle group in each session, whereas split routines focus on one, two or three muscle groups each time. While neither is necessarily better than the other, full-body workouts tend to be superior for fat loss while body-part splits are better for gaining muscle claims strength coach Marc Perry, author of "The Get Lean Guide." You can follow either training program with a barbell, but which one you choose is dependent on your goals and your schedule. You only need to be in the gym two or three times per week for a full-body session but should ideally train at least four times on a split.
Powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting both use barbells as a way of lifting weight. Powerlifting consists of three lifts -- the squat, bench press and deadlift, while Olympic lifting has the snatch and clean and jerk. A barbell routine is the perfect opportunity to take some time to learn either discipline. The powerlifting exercises are relatively easy to learn with the help of a trainer or instructional video. Olympic lifts, on the other hand, are a little trickier, and you may need to hire a coach to assist with your technique.
Perform four or five exercises in each session, whether you're doing full-body sessions or a split. Begin each session with three compound exercises, one of these being a power or Olympic lift, and perform one or two isolations at the end. As barbells are generally thought of as a strength training tool, keep your repetitions in the strength and power range -- three to six sets of one to five reps on compounds and slightly higher -- two to three sets of eight to 12 -- for isolations. Aim to add a little weight to the bar or increase your sets and reps on every exercise each session.