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Still associating the barbell with 1980s Russian weightlifters? Well don’t. It’s one of the most powerful – and versatile – tools for creating a lean, feminine physique.
‘The barbell lends itself to big, compound exercises, which produce a higher metabolic effect than moves that target a single muscle group,’ explains Sarah Lindsay, former Olympic figure skater and founder of boutique London personal training studio Roar Fitness. ‘So, along with sculpting individual muscles while you train, you’ll burn fat faster, too.’
This whole-body toner will give you the honed thighs, sculpted shoulders, out-and-proud abs and firm, round bottom of the girls-who-lift brigade. Sold? Let’s go…just the barbell will do – vein-popping facial expressions optional.
Do: One set of 13-15 reps on each leg
Targets: Legs, glutes
(a) Holding the bar in an overhand grip, use your shoulders to raise it over your head and position it on your shoulders, keeping your elbows under the bar. Then take a stride forward with the right leg. No wobbling.
(b) Lower into a 90° lunge, keeping your knee over your toes, for 4 counts. Push back from the right foot tothe start and repeat. Now switch sides.
Do: One set of 13-15 reps
Targets: Shoulders, core
(a) Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold the bar in a wide, overhand grip in front of your collarbone. This is your starting position.
(b) From here, thrust the bar above your head, straightening your arms and keeping your core engaged to prevent leaning back. Return the bar to the start position for 4 slow counts.
Do: 13-15 reps
Targets: Legs, glutes, back, core
(a) Standing with feet hip-width apart and toes facing forward, bend your elbows and raise the bar towards your collarbone (as before). With elbows tucked in and back straight, lower your bum as far as you can for 4 seconds.
(b) Keeping your chest lifted and ensuring that your toes are in line with your knees, use your glutes to return to the starting position, increasing your speed so it only takes 1 or 2 counts. Check out how strong you look in the mirror, then repeat.
Do 13-15 reps
(a) Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold the bar in an overhand grip in front of your hips. Keeping your arms straight, lift the bar up and out until it’s at shoulder height, engaging your core to avoid leaning back.,
(b) pause, then slowly lower the bar back down for a count of four seconds. Thats a practice rep- now repeat without a pause at the bottom. Power up.
Do: One set of 13-15 reps.
Targets: Shoulders, core
Start with an empty bar and build up
(a) Lying on your back with your elbows to the sides at a 90° angle, lift the bar so it’s above your chest. Using your core, slowly sit up, pushing the bar up until you’re sitting and holding it above your head with arms extended.
(b) Return to the start position, rolling down one vertebrae at a time as slowly as possible. As your spine returns to the floor, draw your elbows back and return the barbell so it’s positioned over your chest. Heave ho!
For more toning low-impact exercises try 3 core exercises you can do anywhere and 4 crunch free ab exercises
Still not sure about weight lifting? Read why it’s just as important for weight loss