Improve Total Fitness by Adding These Old-School Barbell Moves

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There are always new and innovative methods of training that are being discovered and coming out to light. That being said, you wouldn’t be doing your due diligence if you didn’t at least occasionally go back to what’s worked in the past. Basic barbell exercises can still help you improve power, gain size, and get in great shape.

By Roger Lockridge

You might be thinking this is about moves like the barbell bench press or the basic squat. There are actually other moves that were performed in gyms everywhere in the old days you don’t see much of now. Add these 4 to your arsenal and you’ll definitely reap the rewards now and later.

Standing Barbell Push Press

Most barbell shoulder presses are performed seated. Doing them from a standing position forces the shoulders to work harder since you’re not connected to a sturdy seat. This move will also challenge your legs, core, and triceps. Everything has to work harder but the final result will be greater strength and better developed delts.

Using an overhand, shoulder width grip, unrack a bar from a rack placed at shoulder height. Place your feet shoulder width apart. Stand straight and tall with the weight in your hands. Keep your core tight. Using as much force as you can from the shoulders, press the weight up until your arms are just short of lockout. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Barbell Hack Squat

Just because you don’t have a hack squat machine doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits it offers. This was an awesome move for the entire leg but it really emphasized the quadriceps. It’s basically a backwards deadlift because the weight is behind you instead of in front of you. You don’t need much weight so don’t think of it as a power move.

Stand in front of a barbell on the floor. Lower yourself down and grab the bar on the outside of your legs. Keep your back as straight as you can. Look straight ahead and keep your chest out. Slowly raise your hips and drive your feet into the floor. With force in your legs, stand with the barbell so when you’re standing, the bar should be at arm’s length. Slowly return the bar to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Pendlay Barbell Row

This isn’t the bent over row where you slightly bend over so you can try to cheat up more weight via momentum. This is the old-school, tried and true bent over row. It will take true strength to lift the weight up correctly so even though you might not be able to lift as much weight as the other version, your entire back as well as your biceps will make great gains.

Bend over at the waist while trying to keep your back straight. Take an overhand or underhand grip of the bar. While trying to maintain your straight spine, pull the bar up to your sternum. Try to keep your elbows in while doing this. Once the bar touches your sternum, slowly lower it back to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Good Morning

This one is a strongman favorite as well as those in the powerlifting community. You can feel this one throughout the entire posterior chain. It will target your hamstrings and glutes primarily but the lower back will also be involved.

Unrack a bar from a rack like you would for a squat. Take a shoulder-width stance and stand tall with the bar on your shoulders. Push your glutes and hips back and slowly bend over until your back is at least at a 60 degree angle. If you can reach 90 degrees without back pain, do so. Pull your hips back in and push your shoulders back up to return to a standing position. You should be at the same position at the end of the rep as you were when you started. This is one rep. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

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