5 Essential Barbell Exercises For A Stronger Upper Body
Today, we’re going to look at 5 barbell exercises that will help you get stronger in your upper body. Your muscles will get bigger and stronger as you gain more muscle mass, and by incorporating the exercises below into your weightlifting routine, you’ll be one step closer to that powerful physique you’ve always wanted. Let’s start with the very first barbell exercise of them all: the bench press.
The barbell bench press
Here’s one of my favorite strength-training exercises, and it’s an easy one to do at home. All you need is a weight bench and a barbell (use a bar without weights on it until you can do 20 reps). Lie down with your back flat on a weight bench holding onto a bar in front of you at arm’s length. Slowly lower your arms until they’re pointing straight out from your chest, then press them back up above your chest to complete one rep. The focus here is proper form—chest up and tight glutes throughout—and not on lifting as much weight as possible. If you struggle to do just 10 reps, that’s okay; start where you are and work up from there when it feels right.
The barbell squat
This is hands down one of my favorite exercises, and a deadlift variation will be near the top of most people’s lists. The barbell bars deadlift hits almost every muscle in your body (everything but your calves) from your traps to your lats to your glutes to…well, you get it. Deadlifts are one of those compound movements that makes you strong in multiple ways at once. Get ready for sore muscles! To do: Grab a barbell with an overhand grip and hold it above floor level, keeping back straight and knees bent slightly so that it rests on your legs. Lift up by extending hips until standing upright, then lower weight again under control.
The barbell military press
This barbell exercise targets your shoulders, triceps and back. Lie on a weight bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor, knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width and lift it above your chest. Press it above your head until your arms are straight, then slowly return to starting position. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
The barbell deadlift
Although a bit more dangerous, performing deadlifts with a barbell bars is superior to doing them with dumbbells. The amount of weight you can use will depend on your body type and flexibility. If you’re an experienced lifter, use more weight than someone who’s just starting out. As with all weights exercises, it’s important to maintain proper form. So whether you’re doing squats or deadlifts, make sure to keep your spine straight, shoulders down and head up—and don’t forget to breathe! The bench press: Another essential lift for building upper-body strength is the bench press.
The barbell bent over row
This barbell exercise is good for training back muscles and also works chest, legs, and shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend over at a 90 degree angle and grab a barbell with an overhand grip. Pull it to your chest by extending your arms then slowly let it go. This can be done using dumbbells instead of a barbell. The other main difference between using a barbell or dumbells is that when you’re doing it with dumbells, you have to lift both weights at once as opposed to grabbing one weight in each hand as you would do when using a barbell. If you’re using dumbells make sure not to twist them because they’ll get stuck together if they rotate during use.