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The Best Barbell Exercises

written by: Nicholas • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 6/30/2009

Using free weights is the most traditional form of weight training. Although many companies now offer a "solution" in all-in-one home gyms and bow machines, nothing can beat a free weight barbell workout. Free weights have long been used as a standard in the Olympics as well as by pro athletes.

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    Barbell workouts and using free weights force your body to utilize stabilizer muscles when you lift. They also give you a much broader range of motion throughout your workout, thus, providing you with much more effective training. Often, the best barbell exercises are those that you may have already heard about. Many of these exercises are the core of any weight lifter or fitness guru.

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    Bench Press

    The bench press is widely considered the best barbell exercise. When you bench press, remember to position yourself evenly on the bench, place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width on the bar, and keep a slight arch in your back. Push the bar up with a balanced motion until your arms are fully extended. Lower the bar somewhat slowly to avoid injury.

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    Squats are another exercise that will workout a broad range of muscles. When you squat, you are not only working out your leg muscles but also your back shoulder and core muscles as well. When you are doing squats, remember to always keep your back straight and head forward. Be sure to get a good foot hold at the start of every set and only lower yourself to the point that your legs become parallel with the floor.

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    Curls are a great way to work out your arms. When doing curls, take a slightly wider than shoulder width grip and keep your elbows stationary at your side. Keep your back as straight as possible at all times. If you find yourself throwing your body into it to complete the curl, than you are probably doing too much weight.

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    Shoulder Shrugs

    Shoulder shrugs work out your shoulders along with your upper arms and back. When doing shrugs make sure that you always keep your back straight. Also, be sure to go all the way down on each rep before you raise the bar again. This will assure a full range of motion.

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    Deadlifts are widely considered as a test of true strength. When deadlifting, make sure that you keep your back straight and head up at all times. Not doing to could result in injury. Place your hands on the barbell with a alternate grip (one hand over, one hand under). Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and stand-up until your legs are completely extended and your back is completely straight.

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    There is an endless list of exercises you can do with a barbell. However, these are the best barbell exercises that you will find at the core of any weight lifter or major athlete.