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Try this beginner's barbell workout to build strength like Victoria Beckham

·4-min read

Victoria Beckham is not only busy designing for her label, but she also finds the time to look after herself and her body.

The star shared a photo of herself performing an overhead squat press as she was cheered on by her personal trainer Bobby Rich, who also shared the picture and wrote: "Unbelievable efforts this morning from @VictoriaBeckham first time with an olympic bar overhead and repping those overhead squats out."

Barbell exercises are a good starting point for your gym workout, but, they can seem a little daunting. Women lose approximately 3-8 per cent muscle mass per decade after the age of 30, so it's worth incorporating strength training as an effective way to maintain it.

CrossFit box head coach Gustavo Vaz Tostes shares the best barbell workouts for beginners, to work through barbell shoulder exercises and resistance and body-weight exercises to build overall strength.

What you need to know before you do a barbell workout

  • Pick a weight you can safely manage for all moves and reps

  • Complete five rounds of this circuit

  • Take a break and rest as much as you need to until you feel ready to go again

Tips on how to make the most from these full-body barbell workouts

  • Do your barbell workout routine once or twice a week for four weeks, with two rest days in between

  • To develop strength and conditioning, increase the load by 5 per cent each week as long as you're still focussing on quality over quantity

  • Keep track of your time – your goal is to work through the exercises at the same speed each time. Flagging? You might need an extra rest day between workouts

Barbell exercises for the back, hamstrings and glutes


Targets: hamstrings, glutes and back

Do: 5 sets of 12 reps

a. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes under the barbell, then hinge at the hips, bend your knees and push your bum back as you reach down to grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing down.

b. With a neutral spine, push through your heels and use your glutes and hamstrings to drive up to standing. Keep your arms relaxed and your shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line. Stack your shoulders directly over your hips and squeeze the butt, then reverse to lower the weight carefully back down to the ground. That’s one rep.

Barbell shoulder exercises

Hang clean

Target: hamstrings, back, traps, biceps, shoulders

Do: 5 sets of 10 reps

a. Deadlift the bar so it’s above your knees, keeping your shoulders in line with your hips and ankles. Lean forward, pushing your hips back, and bring the barbell down to knee level.

Your shoulders should be over the bar and your spine neutral.

b. Drive through your heels and legs until you’re in an upright position, pull the barbell up to shoulder height with your elbows up and back, then squat slightly to drop your shoulders under the bar, rotating your hands and elbows underneath to rack it on to your collarbone.

Complete the move by pushing through your heels to an upright position, before deadlifting the bar back down to the ground.

Push press

Targets: shoulders, triceps, core

Do: 5 sets of 8 reps

a. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, rack the bar on to your collarbone, hands just outside your shoulders, palms facing up.

b. Brace your core, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a half squat, keeping your chest up.

c. In one swift movement, rapidly drive through your heels and straighten your legs, while extending your arms and pressing the barbell overhead.

Be careful not to hit your chin on the way up. Slowly lower the weight back to your shoulders.

Barbell exercises for abs, core and glutes

Front squat

Targets: quads, glutes, adductors and core

Do: 5 sets of 10 reps

a. Rack the barbell onto your collarbone with your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width

apart and your palms facing up. Your elbows should be in line with your shoulders.

b. With your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, brace your core and push your hips back and down to lower into a squat until your hips are below your knees.

Then drive through your heels to push back up, squeezing those glutes at the top. Now go again.

Full-body barbell exercises

Over-bar burpee

Targets: barbell exercises for your triceps, chest, core, legs

Do: 5 sets of 8 reps

a. Place the barbell on the floor and stand next to it with your feet shoulder-width apart.

b. Crouch down, place your hands on the floor in front of your toes and quickly jump your feet back to a high plank position. Lower your body to the floor, bending your elbows.

c. Extend your arms out of the press-up, jump your feet back up to your hands and stand up. Jump laterally over the bar and get ready to do a burpee on the other side.

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