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This 5-Move Barbell Workout Comes With a Menacing Catch

The barbell has lasted the test of time for good reason: it’s reliable. In this full-body workout, the barbell will be your weapon of choice. During the session, you’ll hit your shoulders, back, legs and lungs using nothing more than the bar, making it perfect for a busy gym or home workout. It also utilises a ladder format, starting with virtually no weight and escalating throughout, eschewing a long warm-up and making it ideal if you’re time-crunched.

Begin with an empty barbell, and work your way through the following total body complex, the reps ramping up as the movements become easier before finishing with a lung-searing burpee crescendo. After each round, add 2.5kg to either side of your bar and repeat. Continue working up in 5kg increments, resting only as necessary to change the weights and catch your breath, until you can no longer complete a full round. Make a note of your finishing weight and aim to go heavier next time.


Clean your bar onto your shoulders, take a breath and brace your core. (A) Dip at the knees and use your legs to help (B) press your barbell overhead. Lower under control to your shoulders, ready for your final squat.

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After your last press, lower your bar back to the ground. Tightly lock your arms and back (A). Explode up, extending your knees and hips to power the bar to your shoulders. Flip your wrists to land it above your chest with a bend in your knees (B). Stand up straight. Lower under control and repeat.

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Following your ninth clean, with your barbell still resting across your chest, take a deep breath. Lift your elbows high to secure the bar (A). Maintain an upright torso and push your hips back, bending your knees until your thighs pass parallel to the floor (B). Stand back up to the start position.

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Lower your bar back to the ground and keep it gripped (A) – if your forearms will let you – bend at your hips and knees and tap the bar to the floor (B). With a straight back and braced core, pull your torso up and thrust your hips forward to stand up, keeping the bar as close to your body as possible. Reverse and repeat.

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Place the barbell down, but don’t slow down just yet. Step back and hit the deck, lowering your body until your chest touches the floor (A). Stand back up and jump powerfully over the bar (B) – to really put air between your feet and the bar, drive through your hips when you take off. That’s one rep. Then, drop to the floor and go again.

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