3 Badass Barbell Moves That Will Make You Stronger Than Ever

The free-weight area of the gym can be intimidating. But
doing total-body exercises, while lifting heavier weights, is
extremely good for your overall health no matter what your
goals are.

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is key to helping you reach your fitness goal, whether
it’s to lose weight, prevent injury, build up endurance, or
just become stronger,
Albert Matheny, advisor for
ProMix Nutrition
and certified strength and conditioning expert at Soho Strength Lab, tells

“It helps you build muscle, which increases your metabolism,
helping you burn more fat,” he says. “And the most effective
way to lift is to do compound moves that engage multiple
muscle groups with a good amount of weight.”

And by the way, if you’re a woman who’s concerned about
getting too bulky from lifting, you probably don’t have to
worry. More on that here.

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So here are three basic barbell exercises that will improve
your overall strength and fitness.

Before you start,
here’s more info on how to do these moves safely and how
to incorporate them into your workout.

To fit them into your workout: Make each one the first
lift of your workout when you’re starting out; that way
you’ll have the energy to do it with proper form and lower
risk of injury. Try doing 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps. And
remember that these are taxing, total-body moves, so you
don’t want to be doing them all on the same day.

Okay, let’s get into it!

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Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

This move is great for seriously increasing your upper body
strength (pectorals, triceps, deltoids) and helping with your
overall stability.

The set-up:
• Plant your feet firmly on the floor. If your feet don’t
reach the floor, stack plates beside the bench so your feet
can rest on them.
• Grip the bar with your hands about shoulder-width
• Rack the bar so that when your hands are gripping it, your
arms are bent and your elbows are at your sides (your arms
should not be fully extended).

The movement:
• Lift the bar off the rack and hold it just over your
sternum or lower chest (over the lower pectoral muscle).
• Press the bar up until your arms are straight and your
elbows are locked out.
• Bring the bar down slowly until it lightly touches your
sternum. This is one rep.

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Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Squats are amazing if you’re trying to strengthen the muscles
in your lower body (hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, calf
muscles) and work your abs.

The set-up:
• Position your feet about shoulder-width apart (a little
narrower or wider is OK) and turn your toes out slightly.
• Position the bar on the squat rack so that it’s just below
shoulder level. (Learn all about how to use a squat rack

• Step under the bar so it’s resting on your shoulders just
below your neck (on top of your traps).

The movement:
• Grip the bar with both hands outside your shoulders.
• Take a step back away from the squat rack.
• Pushing your hips back, slowly lower down into a squat as
if you’re sitting onto a chair.
• Squat only as deeply as your mobility allows.
• Slowly, and with your abs engaged, return to standing.
That’s one rep.

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And this is what it should look like:

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Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

• Look ahead and slightly up.
• Push through your mid-foot when standing the weight up.
• Keep your abs tight, shoulders squeezed together, and chest

• Spread your hands too far apart on the bar.
• Round your lower your back or tuck your tail bone under as
you squat.
• Extend your knees past your toes as you squat.
• Let your knees cave inward during the movement. If they do,
consider lowering the weight.
• Come up on your toes or push from your heels when you stand
the weight up.

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Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Deadlifts are a total-body move, working the same muscles as
a squat, improving your core’s stability, and strengthening
all the muscles in your lower back and neck (traps).

The set-up:
• Position your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your chest
• Keep your toes pointed straight or slightly turned out.
• Squat down to grab the bar.
• Place your hands about shoulder-width apart on the bar or
slightly wider (your hands should be wide-enough apart that
you have room for your knees).

The movement:
• Gripping the bar and keeping your abs engaged, slowly stand
up with the weight.
• Make sure your hips are stacked underneath your shoulders
and your back is flat.
• Squeeze your butt at the top of the movement. That’s one

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