The Hardest 20-Minute Barbell Workout for Total-Body Strength

Advanced barbell workouts are one of the best ways to build muscle and strength.
Image Credit: PeopleImages/iStock/GettyImages

Everyone's training goals are different, but if you want to get stronger, you're probably going to want to get familiar with the best barbell exercises.

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You can build strength faster thanks to how easy barbells make compound movements — exercises where you use more than one muscle group at a time. (Think: squats, where you engage your core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calf muscles and hip flexors to perform the exercise.)

Below, you'll find a four-move advanced barbell workout, but keep in mind it's important to be smart when incorporating heavy barbell lifts into your training to get the maximum benefits and avoid any risk of injury. Ask a trainer or friend for a spot if you think you need one.

Perform each exercise for the number of sets and reps listed below. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between sets and between each exercise.

Things You'll Need

  • Barbell

  • 25- to 45-pound weighted plates

1. Barbell Clean to Push Press

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Sets 5
Reps 5
  1. Fix the weight plates on your barbell (optional) and position it on the floor in front of you.
  2. Step up to the bar, shins almost against it, feet planted firmly hip-width apart. Keep your spine straight, chest up and shoulders back and down.
  3. Hinge from the hips and soften your knees as your hips sink low enough to let you grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  4. Lift the barbell slightly off the floor so it's resting slightly below your knees.
  5. In one swift motion, lift the barbell to your shoulders, keeping it close to your body, then drop underneath the bar and catch it across the front of your shoulders in a quarter squat.
  6. Stand up with your legs straight. That's the clean.
  7. Bend your legs to 45 degrees, then push through the floor and raise the bar overhead to perform a push press.
  8. Bring the barbell back down to rest on your shoulders, then bring the barbell back down to shin-height.
  9. Repeat.

Tip

This is a power exercise that focuses on strength and stability. It's best to begin your barbell workout with this movement.

2. Barbell Forward to Reverse Lunge

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Sets 4
Reps 10
  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and place the barbell behind your head, sitting on your trap muscles (the muscles at the top of your shoulders).
  2. Take a step forward with your right leg and bend both knees to 90 degrees. Your back knee should be hovering just above the ground and your front knee should be over your ankle.
  3. Hold for a beat before pushing off your front foot, stepping it about 3 feet behind you and bending your knees until they form 90-degree angles to perform a reverse lunge.Your back knee should hover an inch above the ground and your front thigh should be parallel to the ground.
  4. Bring your leg back to the starting position and stand up.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

3. Barbell Lateral Lunge

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Sets 4
Reps 10
  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and place the barbell behind your head, sitting on your trap muscles (the muscles at the tops of your shoulders).
  2. Take a big step to your left with your left leg and push your butt back toward the wall behind you, bending your left knee and straightening your right leg. Your toes should be facing forward.
  3. Push off of your left foot to stand back up and bring your feet back to the starting position.
  4. You can complete 10 reps on one side and then switch sides, or you can alternate sides.

4. Landmine Barbell Row

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Sets 4
Reps 10
  1. Attach a barbell to a landmine. Add a weight plate onto the front end if you'd like.
  2. Stand toward the front of the barbell and straddle it.
  3. Grasp the barbell with both hands and bend your elbows to bring it up to your chest, maintaining a slight bend in your knees.
  4. Lower the bar until your elbows are straight.
  5. Repeat.

Related Reading

​Check out more of our ​​20-minute workouts here​​ — we’ve got something for everyone.

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