Get Lean In Less Time With This 20-Minute Barbell Workout


Being short of time, space or kit should is never a reasonable excuse for missing a workout. Even if you only have five minutes and the clothes you’re standing up in, you can do back-to-back sets of press-ups, squats and burpees to work up a real sweat. (Well, it helps to have a spare shirt to change into.) But if you’re in the gym and time’s against you, don’t despair – grab a barbell and do this six-move circuit to take you one step closer to your body composition goal. All the exercises are compounds lifts to hit all your major muscle groups to elicit a fat-burning and muscle-building response, and are ordered to make it easy to move between them. The weight on the bar should be at a level you can use to do all the reps of the move you find hardest. Don’t worry if that feels a little light for other moves: by the end of your final circuit you’ll feel the effects!

How to do the workout

Do the six barbell exercises in order, sticking to the reps detailed. Don’t rest until you finish all the reps of the sixth and final move of the circuit. Then rest for three minutes and repeat the circuit. Do three or four circuits in total.

1 Deadlift

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasp the bar with your hands just outside your legs. Lift the bar by pressing down through your heels and driving your hips forwards, keeping a flat back. Lower under control.

2 Romanian deadlift

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

From the top of the deadlift, bend your knees slightly, then bend forwards from the hips to lower the bar. Once you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings, reverse the move back to the start by pushing your hips forwards.

3 Bent-over row

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Shift your hands slightly into a grip wider than shoulder width, then lean forwards, hinging at the hips. Keep your chest up. Leading with your elbows, row the bar up towards your torso, then lower it back to the start.

4 Front squat

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Standing tall with feet hip-width apart, hold the barbell across the front of your shoulders with your chest up and abs engaged. Bend your hips and knees to squat down so your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, then stand back up.

5 Push press

Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Start in the front squat position, gripping the bar in front of your shoulders. Keep your core braced throughout. Squat down, then push up and press the bar directly overhead until your arms are straight. Lower and go straight into the next rep.

6 Lunge

Reps 6 each side Rest 3min

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, holding the barbell across the back of your shoulders with your chest up and abs engaged. Take a big step forwards and lower into a lunge so both knees are bent at 90°. Stand back up and repeat with your other leg.

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