Barbell Only Training

Some of you have asked about how to modify a program to work with just a barbell and rack. Well, we’re here to help. First off, know that you are very lucky. There is lots you can do with a barbell, and for the most part your training shouldn’t take a hit. Obviously squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, and their variations are going to be the core of most strength and hypertrophy focused programs, so even if all you have at home is a barbell, you can still do 50-90% of most programs. And the exercises that you would normally use cables, dumbbells, or machines for can be replaced or reworked to fit with what you’ve got.

For example, lots of exercises that use a dumbbell can instead be done holding a plate, which you must have if you have a barbell. Things like lunges, goblet squats, even some pressing movements depending on the types of plates you have.

You can also use your barbell to do things that make up for the exercises you can’t do. Sure you can’t replicate exercises exactly, like a leg curl or face pull, but we can do things to train those muscle groups in a slightly different way using what you have. For instance doing romanian deadlifts to train your hamstrings, or doing rear delt flies using plates to train your rear delts and upper back.

One thing to look out for when training with only a barbell is that it can be tough to do unilateral work. So putting some effort into getting creative, using plates in place of dumbbells, and making sure you have an effective warmup routine can help you overcome that particular issue.

The main thing to take away is, if you have a barbell, you shouldn’t be worried about your training. You can do so much and still make lots of progress. Not being able to do leg curls isn’t going to hold you back from getting a bigger squat!

If you dont have access to any equipment and can only do body weight work we just launched our Home Workout Program, which covers you.

- Nigel, Kizen Coach (IG @captain.planet)