Full Body Barbell Workout

Full-Body Barbell Workout

There’s a reason barbell training is so popular these days. The barbell is a one-stop-shop for building muscle, boosting strength, and increasing athleticism.

It certainly won’t hurt your weight loss efforts either. In fact, you burn a ton of calories working out with barbells. So really, it’s only going to help in that regard.

You may wonder, “How can a barbell workout plan contribute to so many aspects of fitness?”

The truth is, it’s the versatility of the barbell that makes it so worthwhile!

You can adjust the weights of a barbell as much or little as you want, and barbells can work the entire body too.

Whether you’re new to working out, or you’ve been at it for years, don’t worry … I’ve got a workout for you. But first, there’s something you should know.

No matter who you are or what workouts you do, you always have to start with a warm-up! This is especially important for the exercises you’ll be doing with a barbell.

So, let’s go over your barbell warm-up first.

Full-Body Barbell Workout Warm-Up

Before you jump right into your full-body barbell workout, it's essential to warm up thoroughly. This is especially true, because barbells work your body pretty hard!

Not to mention, warm-ups can also help prevent injuries. This is true even if you’re a gym veteran. You should always make sure your body is prepared for an intense workout.

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The first thing I recommend is doing 5 minutes of low-intensity cardio or dynamic movement. This could be walking on the treadmill, riding an exercise bike, elliptical, or anything else that's similar.

This will get the blood flowing to your muscles, and increase your core body temperature a little bit. Advanced lifters are also known to beat their body up pretty regularly. This can make your muscles tight and create knots that need to be broken up.

Before the dynamic warm-up, a good way to release tension and break up knots is to use a foam roller or massage gun. Use this on your glutes, quads, back, and your IT band on the outer thigh.

Roll these muscles on the foam roller for 30 seconds each. Next, make sure your body is ready to move and stretch with these dynamic warm-up exercises:

 Exercise Reps
Side Lunge 10 Per Leg
Air Squats 10
Quad Pulls 10 Per Leg
Russian Leg Kicks 10 Per Leg
Push-Ups 10-15
Seal Jacks 15
Alternating Deep Lunge Torso Rotations 10
Arm Circles 10 In Both Directions

By doing these dynamic warm-ups, you prepare your body by getting your muscles warm and loose. This will not only reduce your risk of injury, but it can also improve your barbell workout performance!

Top Barbell Exercises

If you are looking for the best full body barbell exercises, look no further!

These exercises will help you create an engaging full-body barbell workout routine by using just a barbell and your body. They’re in no particular order, and they all work your body differently.

We’ll cover each of these exercises briefly, then get into a few full body barbell workouts you can do today!

Bent-Over Barbell Row

The bent-over row is a classic barbell exercise that is great for your entire back. If you want to increase your muscle mass, take these reps nice and slow!

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It takes a decent amount of control to complete the row movement, and good posture is essential. Keep your head, neck, and spine in-line with each other so you don’t hurt yourself!

How To:

Stand with the bar in your hands using an overhand grip set slightly wider than your shoulders.

Keeping your knees slightly bent and your back straight, hinge forward at the hips so your upper body is nearly parallel with the floor. Keep your core braced throughout the entire movement.

Start by pulling the barbell up to your upper abdomen. Squeeze your back and lats for a second before slowly lowering the bar to the starting position. Repeat this for reps.

Barbell Bench Press

When people think of a barbell exercise, the bench press is often the first thing that comes to mind. It’s one of the most well-known exercises that you can add to your barbell full-body workout!

The barbell bench press works your chest, triceps, and shoulders to the max. Make sure you always have a spotter just to be safe. There are very few things that are riskier or more embarrassing than getting crushed under too much weight on a barbell without a spotter.

How To:

Full Body Workouts

Lie flat on your back on a bench with your feet on the floor. Pull your shoulders down and back, and puff your chest out while keeping a slight arch in your back.

Grab the bar a little wider than shoulder-width with an overhand grip, and have a spotter help you lift the bar over your chest.

With control, lower the bar toward your chest. Your elbows should bend about 45 degrees away from the body throughout the movement.

When the bar reaches your chest, press it back up to the starting position. Squeeze your chest muscles at the top for a second before bringing the weight back to your chest. Repeat this for reps.

Conventional Deadlifts

The deadlift is another super popular barbell workout. Unlike the last two exercises, your lower body will get the bulk of the work in this exercise. You'll be targeting several muscle groups like your glutes, quads, hamstrings and lower back.

Do yourself a favor though, and be careful because you can hurt yourself with this one. Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement, and brace your core for each rep.

How To:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and walk up to the bar. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip so that your arms are just outside your knees.

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Pull up on the bar just enough to pull your body down into a squat while the bar still isn’t lifted off the ground. Your back should be straight and your shins should be very close to or touching the bar.

Engage your lats to hold the bar close to your body as you drive your heels into the ground and stand up. Ideally, your hips and knees will extend at the same time. This will help reduce the risk of lower back injury.

When you stand upright with the bar, squeeze your glutes for a second, then slowly return back to the starting position. Remember to keep the bar as close to your body as possible at all times.

When the bar reaches the ground, reset, and repeat for reps.

Barbell Curls

Don’t forget to give your biceps some attention! We are going for a full-body workout, and after all, your biceps are a pretty desirable muscle group.

Pretty much everyone knows what this one is because, well, how many guys do you know who don’t want bigger arms? That answer is probably pretty close to zero.

These are also going to help improve your grip strength and pulling strength too. That’s a good thing because it will really benefit every other pulling exercise you do too.

How To:

Set your feet at shoulder-width apart and hold the barbell with an underhand grip. The bar should hang naturally at your thighs in front of you.

Without rocking your torso for momentum, engage your biceps to pull the barbell toward your shoulders.

Pause when you pull the bar to the top and squeeze your biceps before slowly lowering the barbell, maintaining your upright posture. Repeat this for reps.

Back Squat

Finally, we have the fan favorite exercise for barbell full-body workouts, the back squat. It’s a standard workout for your legs, but more specifically your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

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Not many exercises can really add strength and muscle like back squats can. Since it requires so many muscles, your body is forced to grow to keep up.

If you want to build muscle, you should be squatting.

How To:

Walk up to the bar, and grab the bar with an overhand grip a little wider than shoulder-width apart.

With your hands still on the bar, pull yourself under the bar by ducking your head underneath. Place the bar on your upper traps behind your neck. Make sure your shoulders are pulled down and back before putting the bar on them. Your arms will basically make a “W” shape if you did this correctly.

Engage your core and stand up to lift the bar off of the rack. Then take a step back. Make sure your spine stays straight throughout the movement.

Simultaneously push your hips back, and bend your knees to descend into a squat. Sink into the squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Be sure your knees point out during the squat and never start to bend inward.

When you reach the bottom of your squat, drive your heels into the ground to stand up again. Squeeze your glutes at the top, and then repeat for reps.

Romanian Deadlift

This is a great exercise to really target your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. It’s a wonderful exercise for athletes to do, and can even help to prevent some non-contact knee injuries to an extent too [1]!

How To:

Stand up with a barbell in your hands with an overhand grip wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure your shoulders are pulled down and back, and your back remains straight.

With a slight bend in your knees, push your hips back. Hold the bar as close to your body as you can while letting it slide down below your knees to your mid-shin.

When your hips can’t go back any further and you feel a big stretch in your hamstrings ... squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to stand back up.

Squeeze your glutes hard when you reach the top of the movement and repeat this for reps.

Overhead Press

This is another great upper body exercise that targets your shoulders, chest, and triceps.

While this one targets the same muscles as the bench press, it emphasizes the shoulders a little more than the chest here. So, if your goal is to build muscle in your upper body, you should not be skipping the overhead press.

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You can do this seated or standing. I prefer seated because it takes your legs out of the equation, and allows you to isolate the upper body a bit more.

With the seated overhead press, also known as the military press, always have a spotter for safety!

How To:

Sitting at a military press bench with the bar on a rack overhead, pull your shoulders down and back. Grab the bar with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width.

Have the spotter help you lift the bar off the rack. Hold the bar overhead for a second to ensure you have control of the bar. From here, begin lowering the bar in front of your face, toward your chest. Your elbows should be pointed roughly 45 degrees away from the body.

When the bar reaches a comfortable end range of motion, use your chest, shoulders, and arms to press the bar overhead to the starting position. Repeat this for reps.

How Heavy Should I Lift?

Before we dive into the full-body barbell workouts, it’s important to know how heavy the weight you use should be.

How much you lift is going to depend on a couple of factors, like your fitness goals, experience, and body type. How many sets and reps you do will depend on this as well!

For example, beginners shouldn’t start with anything heavier than the bar itself. This will allow them to get used to the weight of the barbell, and make sure they can do the movement safely.

A standard barbell only weighs 45 pounds, which isn’t anything excessively heavy. Women may also start with a women’s barbell, which weighs approximately 35 pounds.

If the barbell alone is still a bit too heavy to complete your workouts, don’t sweat it. Instead, start with some dumbbells to help build up your strength until you're ready to tackle the bar. That, or you can use one of the lighter fixed barbells that many gyms have nowadays.

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Once you test the movement out with the bar and get comfortable with it ... if you want to go heavier, do it! Just make sure you don’t go too heavy too quickly.

Injuries do happen if you aren’t careful. So, start by increasing by 5-10 pound increments until you find a weight that you can control for every rep, while not being too easy.

Remember, progress is built through progressive overload. This means you have to increase the weight, sets, or reps over time.

Remember, you don’t have to try and progress too quickly. Take your time with increasing the weights, and your body will thank you when you don’t get hurt!

Full-Body Barbell Workouts

Alright, it’s about that time!

Here are some sample full body barbell workouts from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to do them exactly like I have them laid out, but this will give you a good starting point!

Beginner Full-Body Barbell Workouts

Workout #1

 Exercise Sets Reps
Back Squat
3 12-15
Bench Press 3 12-15
Bent Over Row 3 12-15
Romanian Deadlifts 3 10
Bicep Curls 3 10

Workout #2

 Exercise Sets Reps
3 12-15
Overhead Press 3 12-15
T-Bar Row 3 12-15
Front Squat 3 10
Overhead Tricep Extensions 3 10

Intermediate Full-Body Barbell Workouts

Workout #1

 Exercise Sets Reps
Back Squat
4 8-12
Bench Press 4 8-12
Bent Over Row 4 8-12
Romanian Deadlifts 3 10
Upright Row 3 10

Workout #2

 Exercise Sets Reps
4 8-12
Overhead Press 4 8-12
T-Bar Row 4 8-12
Front Squat 3 10
Bicep Curls 3 10

Advanced Full-Body Barbell Workouts

Workout #1

 Exercise Sets Reps
Back Squat
4 10
Bench Press 4 10
Bent Over Row 4 10
Romanian Deadlifts 4 10
Upright Row 3 8-12
Bicep Curls 3 8-12

Workout #2

 Exercise Sets Reps
4 10
Overhead Press 4 10
T-Bar Row 4 10
Barbell Lunges 4 10
Tricep Overhead Extensions 3 8-12
Ab Rollout 3 15-20

Perfect Your Barbell Full-Body Workout with 1st Phorm

If you really want to master the barbell, build muscle, lose fat, and get some amazing full-body barbell workout ideas, check out the 1st Phorm App.

The app isn’t just good for the workouts, although we do have many different workout programs to choose from so you can find the one who fits your goals and lifestyle!

With the 1st Phorm App, you get access to every tool you need to reach your goals:

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• Personalized nutrition plans
• Nutrition tracking/logging
• Custom workout programs for your goals
• 1-on-1 support from a certified advisor (Yes, a REAL person!)
• Educational live streams and content
• Progress tracking and body metrics

…and so much more!

Your fitness journey may start with a fantastic barbell workout, but you can’t reach your goals without a good diet. If your diet is way off, your results will be way off.

That’s where most people struggle … they don’t know what and how much to eat. Many people also don’t have a good support system to help them stay on track.

That’s where we come in! Not only do we give you the tools, but also the education and support you need to get where you want to go!

If you have more questions, don’t worry. You can reach out to our dedicated customer service team any day of the week, and they’re happy to do whatever it takes to help! Just shoot us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com or give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 anytime!


[1] Myer GD, Ford KR, Brent JL, Hewett TE. An integrated approach to change the outcome part II: targeted neuromuscular training techniques to reduce identified ACL injury risk factors. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):2272-92. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2c7d. PMID: 22580980; PMCID: PMC4159730.