5 Barbell Exercises to Do At Home

Last Updated on March 25, 2022 by MarcyPro

Total Body Barbell Training

You likely own a barbell with some weight plates for exercising in your home gym. Why are barbell exercises so popular? Simply because they increase lean body mass by developing fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers simultaneously, and each muscle fiber type performs unique jobs. And because a pound of muscle burns up to 50 calories per day, the more muscle you pack on performing barbell exercises, the more fat you’re going to burn, and the better general health you’ll experience.

Barbells, unlike other types of equipment, require virtually no space to store when not in use. You won’t need to break out the yard stick and plot where to keep your latest fitness equipment purchase with barbells since they fit virtually anywhere. From studio apartments, to dorm rooms, to ranch style homes, to mini mansions, you can easily fit a barbell and weight plates in nearly every living situation imaginable.

Perhaps one of the best reasons barbells are so popular like dumbbells,  they are affordable. For under a couple hundred dollars you have a multi-purpose piece of equipment that can be used to target both the upper and lower body. With only a barbell, and weight plates you can do squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench presses, and bicep curls.


Barbells are inherently variable in terms of weight load. Because you have the ability to select weight plates based on your lifting ability, you can determine how little or how much you lift. That’s important when performing exercises that require a lighter weight load, and truly gives you the power to craft a unique workout regimen.

Lifting Skills, Know your 3RM

No, 3RM is not a new pop band, 3RM means the 3 Rep Max measurement of a single movement. Why should you care about 3RM? When you know your 3RM, you can design a weight lifting program that will deliver the results you need, fast.

Great options for measuring your 3RM with a barbell include barbell squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. With your 3RM you can tailor a program to your specific needs.

Powerful Barbell Exercises

Let’s get lifting! From abs over lower body to upper body, barbells are truly an all-in-one fitness equipment solution. The following exercises will get your muscles pumping regardless of whether you’re a newbie or experienced lifter. Remember to always lift safe and don’t lift more than you can safely manage.


The Barbell rollout is a killer ab workout that is easy to accomplish with an Olympic barbell and weight plates. The key to success with barbell rollouts is how far you can roll the barbell away from you. The farther you roll the barbell, the more difficult the exercise is to perform and more intense your ab workout will be.

barbell rollout


To perform a barbell rollout, kneel on the floor with a barbell fitted with weight plates placed in front of you. To achieve a clean roll, it’s recommended to use 45lb. plates which have a larger diameter and will allow you to adequately roll the barbell.

Place your hands on the barbell at a distance slightly wider than your shoulders. Push your hips forward and with straight arms roll the barbell forward. As you roll forward and extend your body to get your abdomen as close to the floor as possible. To return to the start position, contract your abdomen, retract your rib cage, squeeze your glutes, and roll the barbell back to the start position.

Muscle groups worked: abdominal muscles, lower back, shoulders, lats

Lower body

The stiff-legged barbell deadlift. This popular exercise fires up the quads, although be careful, it’s contraindicated for people with lower back problems. It’s extremely important to have proper form when performing this exercise to avoid injuries. Pay special attention to maintaining a flat back and minimizing any jerking movements as you lower and raise your torso.

To perform a proper deadlift, use an overhand grip and grab the bar, bending forward with a flat back, and extending from the hip flexors.  While maintaining a stable knee position and keeping your back straight, bend forward at the waist until you feel your hamstrings slightly pulling. Then return to your starting position and bring your torso straight up as you extend your hips forward.

Muscle groups worked: glutes, quadriceps, adductors, hamstrings, lower back, trapezius

Barbell step up. If you’re looking for a barbell exercise that will get your backside in shape, this is the one. The only thing you’ll need in addition to a barbell and weight plates is a Bionic Body Plyobox, or any other sturdy platform to step on.

Performing a step up is easy. Simply place a barbell on the back of your shoulders, hold in place, and keep your core tight to activate your core for stability. Place one foot on the platform and step up with the opposite foot. From that position, return a foot to the floor and follow with the opposite foot.

Muscle groups worked: glutes, hamstrings, knees, hips, quadriceps, knees

Chest and upper body

The lying bench press is an excellent exercise for developing chest muscles, including the pectorals. It improves lock-out strength and is a great alternative to pushups for lifters with shoulder injuries. This is an effective barbell exercise that doesn’t require much equipment.

You only need a barbell, weight plates, a weight bench which can be flat or incline. Alternatively, you can even do this on the floor with no other equipment other than the barbell and weight plates.

lying bench press

To perform the lying bench press, simply lie on a weight bench or the floor and hold the bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Unrack the barbell and bring arms straight above you. Bring the bar down to your chest and press the bar straight above you.

If you plan on doing lying bench presses without a spotter or power rack, ensure that you are not lifting more weight than you can safely manage. Remember that 3RM we discussed earlier? This is a perfect exercise to put that to use and go by a percentage of that.

Most fitness enthusiasts would recommend retracting or pinching your shoulder blades to more effectively build muscle. However, doing this is generally debated and should be practiced with caution (like any part of an exercise) to avoid hurting yourself. This article talks about how and why you should (or shouldn’t) pinch your shoulder blades when bench pressing.

Muscle groups worked: deltoids, traps, triceps

Bent arm barbell pullover Triceps, those pesky muscles that can droop and hang loose even on the leanest frames, need daily conditioning to stay tight and tone. Bent arm barbell pullovers are the ticket to lean, toned, enviable triceps. With this easy barbell exercise to do at home, all you need is a weight bench, a barbell, and light weight plates.

To perform this triceps tamer, simply lie on a flat weight bench and grip the bar with an overhand grip above your head. Bend your elbows so they point towards the ceiling and extend the bar behind your head so that you end with your elbows bent to 90degress behind you and the barbell is lower to the floor. While contracting your abdomen, and with your hips slightly flexed, extend your arms towards the ceiling. This is one rep.

Muscle groups worked: triceps, core

Bonus Lift – Overhead Press

Now that you’ve worked your arms and chest, it’s time to focus on your shoulders. The overhead barbell press is a full body compound exercise that focuses on shoulder and triceps development while also engaging your legs, lower back and abs for balance. Here’s how to do it:

  • Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, lift the bar over your head by locking your arms
  • In a smooth and controlled movement, lower the bar to your upper clavicle area
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Tips: The overhead press is a powerful move that can also be a dangerous one if you are not careful. Here are some tips to avoid injuries and increase gains:

  • If you are experiencing or prone to shoulder pain, try a narrower grip.
  • You can perform the overhead press in a seated or standing position, whichever makes you feel most comfortable.
  • For a more well-rounded shoulder workout, try lowering the bar behind your neck to your upper traps for some reps. This will ensure you are engaging all of your shoulder muscles.

Muscle groups worked: Shoulders and Triceps

We didn’t touch on range of motion because fitness enthusiasts argue on the effectiveness of using your maximum range of motion during a workout or not. This article talks about range of motion during resistance training (we recommend reading it to judge for yourself.) In short, some argue that using a full range of motion will build better strength. However, if you’re attempting to focus on building muscle over strength, you may not want to pull the bar through your maximum range of motion.

There’re a few reasons why barbells are one of the most popular pieces of equipment with professional athletes and amateur lifters. They’re easy to store, affordable, can build both upper and lower body strength, and offer a wide range of weight load options. You can easily achieve a full body workout on your own with just a barbell and weight plate.

When shopping for barbells to add to your home gym, make sure you check out all that Marcy has to offer. Whether you’re new to working out at home, or you’re looking to add a barbell to your power rack or cage, Marcy has a selection of barbells, weight plates and accessories that’s right for your space, your goals, and your budget. Contact us today to learn more about Marcy’s incredible line of high quality and reasonably priced home gym cardio and strength training equipment!

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