Olympic Barbell Weights

Top 3 Compound Barbell Weight Exercises

April 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Benefits of Using Barbells, Exercises

Whether you are at home or at the gym, you can’t beat compound barbell weight exercises.  When you use a barbell instead of a machine, you force your body to engage more of its muscles, unleashing more muscle growth and unlocking more functional strength than you could ever hope to get from a machine.  These three exercises engage the most muscles, adding size and thickness to your body and they even increase your metabolism, helping to quickly burn unwanted fat.  Nothing can put on mass like a good barbell workout.

If you want to make the most of your time in the gym or at home with your weight set, here are a few of the best exercises that you can perform.


Deadlifts are arguably the best exercise that you can perform with barbell weights.  They work your lower back, legs, forearms, lats, traps, and even your middle back.  On top of this deadlifts add more functional strength than almost any other exercise and, along with squats and bench press, are one of the big three compound exercises that will get your body ripped in no time.

To do a deadlift, you want to stand in front of a loaded barbell.  If this is your first time performing the exercise, start with a light weight to make sure that you get the form right.  Make sure to keep your back straight, bend at the knees and grab that bar at about shoulder width.

Lift the bar by pushing through your heels and bringing yourself into an upright position.  Make sure that you exhale while you are pushing up and contract your shoulder blades at the top of the motion, which sticks your chest out.  Return the weight to the starting position, making sure to keep your back flat.

While deadlifts are one of the best exercises that you can do, make sure that you don’t perform the exercise if you have a bad back.  It’s also imperative that you keep proper form while you are lifting, otherwise you risk a back injury.  If you’re not sure about your form, ask a trainer at your gym.


barbell weight

Squats are another huge compound exercise that works are large amount of the muscles in your body.  While they mostly work your quads, squats also work the other muscles in your legs and your lower back.  They add a great deal of strength to you body.  In fact, doing squats can add up to ten percent more strength to your upper body as well, so if you’re not doing them now, you should think about incorporating them into your routine.

Ideally, you should be doing a squat inside of a squat rack for safety.  If you’re not, makes sure that you have a spotter.  Start the exercise with a bar position right around shoulder level.  Step under the bar and place it on your shoulders, holding it on either side with your arms.  Place your feet about shoulder width apart with your toes pointed out.  Make sure that at all times during the exercise your head is up and you keep your back straight.  Not keeping your back straight risks a serious injury.

Keep your feet flat on the floor and bend your knees, making sure to sit back on your heels as you lower yourself to the floor.  Once you are parallel with the floor exhale as you push up your body to standing again through your heels.  Make sure that you keep your back straight as you do this.

Just as with deadlifts, proper form is extremely important with squats, so make sure that you have this down before you start to rack up more weight.

Bench Press

barbell weight set

The final major compound exercise with Olympic barbell weights is the bench press.  This is the exercise that most people think of when they imagine a weight set in their garage and it works the majority of your upper body muscles, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Start on a flat bench, although you can do this exercise inclined or declined if you choose, and grip the bar with a shoulder width grip.  Breathe in and lower the bar down to the middle of your chest.  Breath out and explode the bar back up to the starting postion.

As with all barbell exercises, make sure to that you keep correct form.  With bench press, some people that the tendency to over arch their back, which may cause injuries.  Also make sure not to bounce the barbell off you chest, as this may cause injuries as well.

Compound exercises are a great way to add more muscle and thickness to your body.  They work array of muscles, build functional strength, and raise your metabolism, allowing you to burn more fat.  As long as you keep the correct form, they are a great addition to any workout.

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