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5 Barbell Exercises for Women To Obtain A Great Start To Your Training And Body Goals

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Many women steer clear of lifting heavy because they assume it’s just for guys who want to look beefy. It’s actually incredibly difficult for women to develop bulky muscles from lifting. Our high levels of oestrogen make it easier for us to store fat, which is why we have to work very hard with weights to even maintain muscle.

If strength training properly, the calorie expenditure during your workout is going to be about equal to a similarly timed cardio session. Added to this is the fact that strength training stimulates your metabolism. That means that the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption after weight lifting will be greater than cardio, resulting in more calories burned in a 24-hour period.

Lifting heavy becomes even more important as you age. Women lose muscle mass and gain an average of five pounds of fat per decade. In other words, even if your body weight stays the same, if you don’t lift weights to maintain your muscle, you will lose about five pounds of muscle every 10 years and gain about five pounds of fat, which is not good for the heart or our bones.

For women, developing strength and maintaining lean muscle isn’t a cinch. We are naturally more suited to endurance activities, whereas men, because of their testosterone, are more suited to strength work. That means picking up a barbell. After all, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

Barbell deadlift:

How to:

  • Stand facing a loaded or unloaded barbell with feet a little wider than hip-width.
  • Bend knees, hinge at hips, and lower chest down slightly; grab barbell with an overhand grip, placing hands shoulder-width apart (A).
  • Keeping arms straight and core tight, stand up tall, lifting barbell as you rise; push hips forward and squeeze glutes at top of movement (B).
  • Lower barbell back to “A” for a 3-second count.
  • This is one rep; do 3 sets of 10–12 reps.

 

Single arm landmine row:

How to:

  • Place one end of the barbell in a landmine anchor, which typically can be found at any gym.
  • Load the other end with your appropriate weight.
  • Stand next to barbell with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent; hinge at hips and lower torso until it is almost parallel to floor.
  • Grab the weighted end of the barbell in right hand with an overhand grip, allowing arm to hang naturally (A).
  • Squeeze back and pull the barbell up to chest explosively (B), and then slowly lower it back to “A” for a 2-second count.
  • This is one rep; do 10–12 reps per side.

 

Landmine reverse lunge:

How to:

  • Place one end of the barbell in a landmine anchor, which typically can be found at any gym.
  • Load the other end with your appropriate weight.
  • Grab the weighted end of the barbell with the right hand, holding it to chest with elbow bent. Step left foot back, resting on forefoot (A).
  • Lower left knee down until it almost touches the ground (B).
  • Press into right heel to return to standing.
  • This is one rep; do 10–12 reps per side.
  • If using one hand, switch hands when moving to opposite leg.

 

Barbell bench press:

How to:

  • Lie face-up on a bench holding a barbell loaded with your appropriate weight with arms fully extended and over mid line of chest; hands should be wider than shoulder-width apart (A).
  • Allow elbows to bend as you slowly lower barbell straight down to chest for a 3-second count (B).
  • Push barbell back up to “A.”
  • This is one rep. Do 10–12 reps.

 

Single side barbell bus driver:

How to:

  • Place one end of the barbell in a landmine anchor.
  • Load the other end with your appropriate weight.
  • Kneel in a lunge position with left foot forward; grab and raise the weighted end of the barbell straight up with both hands (A).
  • In a sweeping arc, while keeping arms straight, rotate barbell and torso to the left, bringing barbell across body to left hip (B).
  • Reverse motion to “A.”
  • This is one rep; do 10–12 per side.
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