The Incredible Eight Barbell Exercises

The Incredible Eight Barbell Exercises

31 August 2017

The Incredible Eight Exercises

With the release of MX Select’s latest adjustable barbell and EZ curl bar system this month, we talk to Australian personal trainer Ash Forster about proper lifting technique and the benefits of barbell use for strength training.

A throwback to the-old school lifting days when the sport of body building was in its infancy and the healthy, active lifestyle was just hitting the mainstream, the barbell has stood the test of time as a safe and effective workout tool for all ages.

MX Select’s new MX80 Adjustable Barbell and EZ Curl Bar system builds strength throughout the whole body. This compact fixed bar package replaces 26 fixed weight bars, or 1140 lbs (517 kg), while still allowing for seamless weight transition between reps.

The effectiveness of the MX80 adjustable barbell weight training system comes down to two key elements: variable resistance and variable ergonomics such as grip width and moving the centre of mass to create a harder or easier lift.

The ability to change weights means the barbell suits any lifter, and makes the most of the weight training muscle building principle ‘progressive overload’, which refers to progressively increasing resistance to illicit an adaptation from the body. This adaptation has a range of benefits for your body including more lean muscle, stronger joints, more resilient connective tissue, increased metabolic rate, more strength, speed and agility.

The barbell also allows you to change grip, which can help stimulate muscle fibres in different ways, and in some cases, change the focus to completely different muscle groups. For example, a close grip bench press with the elbows descending close to the body will create a greater stress on the shoulders and triceps whereas a wider grip will help stretch and stimulate the chest muscles.

We are not all built equally and sometimes will require a different grip to our training partner, based on our frame, training goals, shoulder and hip width or joint angles.

Choosing the right fit for your frame is integral to working out safely and effectively.

Hand spacing is a great way to achieve a desired result, but sometimes it’s a case of manipulating the angle to achieve a better contraction or more complete range of motion.  In this instance, the MX80 Adjustable EZ bar is the perfect alternative to the MX80 Adjustable Barbell as it can cater more specifically to your goals.

The level of variability offered by MX Select’s unique adjustable barbell set lets you optimally stimulate the muscle fibres in the proven compound muscle builders we have called the Incredible Eight Barbell exercises.

 

EXERCISE 1 – BARBELL SQUAT

adjustable-barbell-squat

Muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back, core and spinal erectors

Execution: Resting the MX80 adjustable barbell across your shoulders and behind your neck, grab the bar with your hands at a comfortable distance, just outside the shoulders. The hands will be holding the bar onto your trapezius muscles as you look forward. With a neutral spine, bend the knees and push the hips backwards as you slowly lower your hips towards the floor.The Barbell Squat should look like you are sitting on a very small chair. When you reach the bottom position push through the centre of the feet and stand up to return to the upright position.

Benefits include:

  • Stronger legs and posterior chain
  • Stronger hips and better hip control
  • Increased energy burning capacity and improved hormone function

 

EXERCISE 2 – BARBELL BENCH PRESS

Muscles: Pectorals, shoulders, triceps, internal upper body musculature and stabilisers

Execution: Lying flat on a bench, brace your feet on the floor and stabilise the spine by activating the abdominal muscles. Holding the adjustable barbell above your chest with the palms facing towards the feet, slowly lower the MX80 barbell to the sternum. As you do this you will retract the shoulders and bend the elbows to the share the load across the chest and shoulders. When you reach the maximum depth, without rotating the arms squeeze the chest muscles and flare the lats, pushing the barbell back to the starting position.

Benefits include:

  • Increased “pushing” and upper body strength
  • Increased lean muscle in the arms, shoulders and chest
  • Increased energy burning capacity and improved hormone function

 

EXERCISE 3 – BARBELL CURL

adjustable-barbell-bicep-curlMuscles: Core, shoulders and biceps

Execution: Stand upright with the MX80 adjustable barbell in front of the body. Lock the upper arms at the side and avoid changing the angle of the wrists. Stabilise the body and tense the core muscles to avoid any swing. Squeeze the biceps and curl the weight in an angular motion until the barbell is lifted to sternum height. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.

Benefits include:

  • Stronger biceps and increased arm size
  • Stronger hips and core
  • Improved lower body stability

 

 

EXERCISE 4 – BARBELL LUNGE

Muscles:  Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back, core and spinal erectors

Execution: Standing upright with the MX80 adjustable barbell over the shoulders or in a front rack position, take a medium to large step forward without over extending or losing balance. Take care not to push the front knee past the toes of the front foot. Regain stability and raise the back heel as you lower the back knee towards the floor. Stop at a depth that is comfortable for you aiming to get the back knee as close to the floor as possible. Your knees should be bent at right angles. When you reach the bottom depth, push with the back foot and the heel of the front foot, to raise and move the hips over the front foot. The back foot will move forward and return to the position beside the front foot.

Benefits include:

  • Stronger legs and posterior chain
  • Stronger hips and better lower body stability
  • Increased energy burning capacity and improved hormone function

 

EXERCISE 5 – BARBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

adjustable-barbell-overhead-pressMuscles: Shoulders, triceps, core muscles and spinal erectors

Execution: Standing in an upright position, hold the MX80 adjustable barbell in front of the collarbone, level with the front of the shoulders with your palms facing forward. Your elbows should be positioned underneath your hands at this point. Push the barbell overhead, controlling the bar as you pass the ears. As you push the barbell up, your arms will straighten to signal the maximal height. Reverse the movement and lower the bar back down.

Benefits include:

  • Increased “pushing” and upper body strength
  • Increased lean muscle in the arms, shoulders
  • Increased energy burning capacity and improved hormone function
  • Increased stability for overhead movements

 

EXERCISE 6 – BARBELL DEADLIFT

Muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back, core and spinal erectors

Execution: The barbell deadlift has been called the king of strength exercises due to effectiveness but can be performed incorrectly if you do not pay careful attention to form and spinal position.

Please consult a professional if you are unsure about your dead lift form.

Begin with the toes under the loaded bar. Your spine should be in a neutral or straight position and will stay like this for the duration of the lift. Move your hips backward horizontally as far as you can. Lean forward or “hinge” at the hips while keeping the straight back position. Hold the MX80 adjustable barbell with an overhand or switch grip. Push through the feet and pull the bar up while keeping the back straight and driving the hips forward. Looking forward throughout the lift, finish the upward movement by straightening the body with the bar resting at hip level. Lower the barbell slowly as you feel the activation through the glute and hamstring muscles. With minimal knee bend but full hip hinge, control the bar down to the resting position on the floor.

Suitable for beginner to intermediate levels of fitness.

Benefits include:

  • Stronger legs and posterior chain
  • Stronger hips and better lower-body stability
  • Increased energy burning capacity and improved hormone function
  • Reduced lower back pain.

 

EXERCISE 7 – BARBELL UPRIGHT ROW

adjustable-barbell-upright-rowMuscles: Deltoids, biceps, trapezius, upper back, lower back, core and spinal erectors

Execution: Stand upright with the barbell at hip height and your palms facing the body. Lift the MX80 adjustable barbell up to sternum height. The elbows should drive up and sideways as the forearms line up with the upper arms. Try not to shrug the shoulders all the way up the ears. Lower the barbell with control, letting the arms straighten out.

Benefits include:

  • Stronger shoulders and pulling strength
  • Stronger hips and better lower body stability
  • Increased energy burning capacity and improved hormone function
  • More aesthetic physique development

 

EXERCISE 8 – BARBELL BENT OVER ROW

Muscles: Back muscles (rhomboids, trapezius and latissimus dorsi), shoulders and biceps

Execution: Stand upright, holding the MX80 adjustable barbell in an overhand grip. Grip the barbell at a distance slightly wider than the legs. Lean forward 45º at the hips, while bending the knees slightly and pushing the hips back about 20cm. The barbell should now be hanging under the shoulders just in front of the knees. You should feel stability from the ground up into the hips and not the lower back.

Pull the shoulders back, and row the weight towards the body.  Aim to have the hands finish at the side of the middle ribs. The angle of the row should be perpendicular to the angle of the upper body leaning forward. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Benefits include:

  • Increased “pulling” and upper body strength
  • Increased lean muscle in the arms, shoulders and back
  • Improved posture
  • Increased energy burning capacity and improved hormone function

 

These eight exercises can be performed with any barbell, and will get you on the fast track to achieving your strengthening goals. Take care to perform each exercise properly and build the control throughout the exercise.

 

For more information on where to purchase the MX80 adjustable barbell visit our MX Select reseller page.

With improved results, you should find it easier to be more consistent leading to more results, increased motivation and ultimately a new healthy lifestyle.

 

Train hard always,

your Fitness Professional

Ash Forster BSc(SprtsSc)

ash-mxselect

About Our Blogger – Ash

Ash is a movement and human performance specialist based in Western Australia. Specialising in weight loss, strength and conditioning and nutrition, Ash has an extensive martial arts background and is the founder of ‘Origin Fitness’.

Dedicating his time to self-development and personal training, Ash seeks to improve the lives of others teaching physical autonomy, cultivating a healthy lifestyle and effective strength and conditioning training.

Constantly looking for new ‘flow states’ both in and out of the gym, Ash is driven by the desire to find new training modalities that challenge the limitations of traditional athletic improvement.

Ash holds a double degree in Sports Science and Nutrition from the Edith Cowan University. Ash is an Accredited Exercise Scientist through ESSA and a certified instructor of ‘Animal Flow’, which combines quadrupedal and ground-based movement with elements from various bodyweight-training disciplines.

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