Harley Pasternak: Don't Be Afraid of the Barbell — Here's How to Use It!

You'll be toned in no time with these easy, bar-based exercises

Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. Tweet him @harleypasternak.

For many, the thought of barbells conjures up images of giant, muscle-bound bodybuilders, Olympic-sized weight plates and the guy at your gym who grunt-yells when he does anything.

Unfortunately, this scares off many people (especially women) from one of the most versatile pieces of equipment out there. But here’s the thing: there are amazing exercises you can do using this piece of equipment — and you don’t have to add heavy plates to make it work for you! Here are some ways to use just the barbell bar to work your whole body from top to bottom:

Squat. Keeping the bar over your shoulders centers your weight so you don’t tip forward. Do NOT look down at your toes — this can cause neck and back injury.

Shoulder Press. Keep one foot slightly in front of the other to protect your back.

Reverse Lunge. A barbell adds an extra level of difficulty to the reverse lunge — your legs will be screaming after a few of these!

Skullcrusher. Contrary to the name of this tricep-toning favorite, don’t let the barbell come down on your head!

Hip Thrust. The hip thrust is one of my favorite butt- and hamstring-toning moves, but I often hear people saying they can do a ton of them before they really feel anything. Add a barbell, and I promise you’ll feel it after just a few!

Kayaks. Resist the urge to curve; keep a 45-degree angle to the ground for this total ab workout.

Bent-Over Row. For this move, pull your shoulder blades back and together, like you’re trying to get them to touch.

What is your favorite barbell move?

RELATED: All of Harley’s Blogs and Training Advice


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