7 of the Best Barbell Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

man doing squat thruster

Holly Pinkham |

A great full-body workout that builds strength and burns fat doesn’t have to be complicated. Our barbells for men and women are all you need for a great workout that can be done with limited time and space.

ProsourceFit multipurpose barbell

ProsourceFit Barbells are ideal for garage gyms and cross-training workouts. Sized to Olympic standards with a smooth spin on the sleeves and dual knurl marks, they’re perfect for everything from power cleans and snatches to back squats and presses. The black phosphate finish and chrome sleeves are durable and built to last through heavy lifts and drops.

Jimmy Lujan, Owner and Head Coach of Crossfit Synapse, tested our barbells at his gym with a variety of athletes and students. “They all enjoyed the high quality of the bars. We would absolutely recommend them as a high quality, cost-effective option that are equivalent to others like Rogue, Vulcan, and Eleiko.”

So next time the gym is crowded and you don’t want to fight for machines, stick with a barbell and rack to get in, get a pump, and get out.

Here are 7 exercises to do on their own or in a circuit for a muscle-burning, heart-pumping workout.

Back Squats

  1. Place the barbell supported on the top of your back/traps. You may want to use a barbell pad to protect your shoulders and back. Keep chest lifted and eyes straight ahead. Stand with feet about shoulder distance apart, keeping knees aligned with toes.
  2. Tighten your core to brace the movement. Make sure core stays tight through the entire movement to protect lower back. Begin lowering toward the floor by bending at the knees and pressing butt back behind you, as if you were going to sit on a chair. But make sure to keep torso straight and tall as possible.
  3. Go as low as you comfortably can, keeping your weight in your heels, then press back up, contracting glutes and standing tall.

Woman doing back squat with barbell

Romanian Deadlift

  1. Start by holding the barbell at hip level with palms facing down, feet about hip distance apart. Keep shoulders pulled back, chest proud, and core tight with knees slightly bent.
  2. Hinge at the hips slowly, lowering the bar toward the floor while keeping it close to the front of your legs. Stop when the bar is at about shin level, or when your body is parallel with the floor. If back begins to round, stop sooner. Back should stay flat throughout the movement.
  3. Return to the starting position by pressing through the heels and pushing your hips forward with a flat back. Squeeze glutes as you continuing to keep the bar close to your body until you are in standing straight.

Woman doing romanian deadlift with barbell

Back Rows

  1. Hold the barbell with an underhand grip approximately shoulder distance apart, feet hip distance apart. Tighten your core and continue to brace throughout the exercise to protect your lower back. (NOTE: if you have lower back issues, you may want to avoid this exercise).
  2. Bend knees slightly and hinge at the hip until you are almost parallel with the floor, making sure to keep back flat. Keep your eyes looking forward, don’t let head drop.
  3. Pull the barbell in toward your body, keeping elbows close to your body. Squeeze shoulders at the top, as if you’re trying to squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades, taking caution not to hunch your shoulders.
  4. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position, stopping with a slight bend in your elbows and shoulders slightly retracted.

woman doing backrow exercise with barbell


Bench Press

  1. Lie back on a flat bench with weight rack behind and above you. Grip bar with palms facing away from you positioned so that as you lower the bar, arms will form a 90-degree angle at the elbow.
  2. Lift the bar from the rack and hold it with straight arms over your chest. Lower the bar slowly by bending elbows until the bar touches the middle of your chest.
  3. Exhale and push the bar back to the starting position, squeezing your chest at the top.

Man doing Bench Press Exercise

Clean and Jerk

Part 1: Clean

  1. Start by placing barbell on the floor right in front of your feet and grip in an overhand position just outside of your legs. Lower hips toward the floor with a straight back, chest lifted, and weight in your heels, chest up.
  2. Straighten knees and press through heels, holding the bar with straight arms as you come up. As the bar approaches your hips, begin standing straight up, and with a slight jumping off the ground, accelerate by driving through the hips, knees, and feet. Use that momentum to pull the bar upward as shoulders shrug and you lean back just slightly.
  3. Now flex at the elbows as they come up and out. At the top of the movement, pull yourself down and bring elbows under the bar. At this point you should be able to naturally grab the bar in a front squat position with the weight of the bar coming slightly out of your palms and into your fingers. The bar should be slightly touching your throat with shoulders pulled back. Continue lowering to the floor as needed, then quickly press through heels to stand upright.

Part 2: Jerk

  1. The jerk is when you press the barbell overhead. Dip slightly, then aggressively press through your heels and use a slight jumping movement to press weight up over your head, moving your head back slightly out of the way of the bar.


Squat Thruster

  1. Hold the barbell across the front of your shoulders and collarbone with your elbows high, wrist flipped back toward shoulders with palms/fingertips facing the ceiling. Stand with feet about shoulder distance apart, and brace core.man doing squat thruster exercise
  2. Bend at the knees to squat down while pushing your hips back and knees out, maintaining a straight torso until legs are parallel to the floor. Drive up forcefully, pressing through heels and pushing the bar overhead until arms are fully extended, then return to the starting position. man doing shoulder press


  1. Place the barbell on your traps/top of back with feet together and core tight.
  2. You can either step forward or back – if you have knee issues, or to prevent them, a reverse lunge (stepping backward) is safest. Keep chest lifted and body straight as you lower down toward the floor by bending at the knees. Both knees should form 90-degree angles, and your knee should not go past your toes.
  3. Pause for a moment, then press through your front heel to come back up to the starting positions. Depending on your balance and comfort level, you can either press all the way back up to bring feet together, or you can maintain the split stance and go directly back down for the next rep. Repeat all reps on one leg, then switch to the other leg. man and woman doing lunge with barbell

To get even more out of these exercises, use gym chalk and wrist wraps to improve your grip and allow you to lift heavier. Do you have other barbell exercises you love? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share this article with a workout buddy!


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