11 Barbell Exercises For Women To Shed Fat And Tone Up

Boost your weight training program by adding this simple equipment to it!

Reviewed by Alex Crockford, Fitness Coach Alex Crockford Alex CrockfordFitness Coach facebook_icontwitter_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Health & Wellness Writer Charushila Biswas Health & Wellness Writer Experience: 6 years
Edited by , Senior Editor Ravi Teja Tadimalla Senior Editor Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , Senior Health & Wellness Writer Payal Karnik Senior Health & Wellness Writer Experience: 2.5 years
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Here is a surprising fact – women start losing about 1% muscle every year after turning 30 (1) , (2). Muscle loss slows down metabolism and leads to flabby skin, physical weakness, and fat gain (3), (4). Don’t get alarmed. You can prevent or even reverse this with weight training thrice a week. While dumbbells are the most popular weight training equipment, barbells have also made a mark in the fitness world.

A barbell is a straight long cylindrical bar with different diameters that helps tone, tighten, and burn fat. It is safe and perfect for beginners, and you can do a variety of exercises with it. Here are 11 barbell exercises for women to target the upper and lower body and the core. Scroll down!

protip_icon Workout Blueprint: Barbell Exercises For Women
  • Frequency: 3 times per week
  • Benefits: Improve strength and stability and burn fat.
  • Equipment Needed: Exercise mat, barbell.
  • Space Required: Small area
  • Assistance Required: Yes, if you are a beginner.
  • Who Should Avoid: Anyone with shoulder pain, spinal issues, or lower back injury.

What Is A Barbell?

A barbell is an exercise equipment commonly used for strength training and bodybuilding exercises. You can easily distinguish it from other equipment by its size and shape. A standard barbell has a long metal bar that has the same diameter throughout the grip area. It also has adjustable weight plates attached to its ends. You may change them to adjust the weight according to your fitness level. The middle of the bar usually has a crosshatch pattern to help you grip it firmly. This versatile exercise equipment can be used for various exercises like bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses.

Incorporating barbell exercises into your workout routine can help you build strength, tone your muscles, and improve overall fitness (5). Check out the next section for some simple barbell exercises you may try.

11 Barbell Exercises For Women

Before starting, do a 10-minute warm-up. Wear grip gloves for safety. It is best to start without any weight plates and use the barbell if you are a beginner. Once you get comfortable with the weight of the barbell, you can start adding weight plates and more resistance to your workout. Usually, barbells have knurl marks indicating where to grip them and are set as per the lifting standards. You can go for a wide grip or a close grip. It is best to start with your hands shoulder-width apart. Ensure the hands are placed at a uniform distance, and both arms feel the resistance while using the barbell. With these points in mind, here’s your full-body barbell workout routine:

1. Barbell Deadlift

Barbell deadlift exercise for women
Image: You Tube

Target: Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower back, Traps, and Core

How To Do

  • Hold a barbell with the palms facing inward and hands and feet shoulder-width apart. Keep the chest up, engage the core and glutes, and rest the barbell against the thighs.
  • Hinge from the waist and bend your upper body down.
  • Lower the barbell until it almost touches your feet.
  • Get up, stand straight, and thrust your hips forward.
  • Engage the core and glutes to prevent lower back pain.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps with 20 seconds rest between the sets.

Note: Avoid deadlift if you have lower back pain or injury.

2. Barbell Upright Row

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Image: YouTube

Target: Shoulders and Upper back

How To Do

  • Hold the barbell with the palms facing inward, touching the thighs. Keep the hands and feet shoulder-width apart, and the knees soft and chest up. Engage the core and glutes.
  • Pull the barbell up towards your chin and keep the elbows out.
  • Lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You can use the sides of your shoulders to support the barbell as you lift it to chin level.

3. Barbell Bent-Over Row

Barbell bent over row exercise for women
Image: YouTube @garagefitnessgirl

Target: Upper back, Glutes, Shoulders, and Upper arms

How To Do

  • Hold a barbell with the palms turned outward. Keep the hands shoulder-width apart, bend the knees slightly, roll the shoulders back, and keep your chin up.
  • Hinge from the waist and bend your upper body forward. Keep your core and glutes engaged and look down. This is the starting position.
  • Keep the elbows close to the body and pull the barbell towards your chest.
  • Inhale and lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

4. Barbell Bicep Curl

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Image: YouTube @WomensStrengthNation

Target: Biceps

How To Do

  • Hold a barbell with the palms facing outward, and keep the hands and feet shoulder-width apart. Roll the shoulders back, keep the chest up, and engage the core and glutes.
  • Curl your arms up and stop when the elbows are completely flexed.
  • Inhale and lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Firmly press your elbows to your sides while you perform the curl.

5. Barbell Tricep Extension

Barbell tricep extension exercise for women
Image: YouTube @garagefitnessgirl

Target: Triceps

How To Do

  • Lie down on a mat, flex the knees, and keep the feet flat on the floor. Position a barbell above your head before lying down.
  • Extend your arms behind your head and grab the barbell. Keep the hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Pick the barbell up, extend your hands, and position it right over your chest. This is the starting position.
  • Keep the upper arm stable and bend the elbows to lower your forearm. Stop when the barbell is about to touch the floor.
  • Exhale and bring your forearm up.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

6. Barbell Roll Out

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Image: YouTube @garagefitnessgirl

Target: Abs, Glutes, Hamstrings, Shoulders, and Lats

How To Do

  • Kneel on a mat and place a barbell in front of your knees.
  • Lower your upper body to grip the barbell. Keep the hands shoulder-width apart and the palms facing inward. Engage the core and glutes. This is the starting position.
  • Push the barbell with your hands and roll it forward.
  • Move your upper body as you roll and keep the spine straight.
  • Come back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

7. Barbell Chest Press

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Image: YouTube @GirlsGoneStrong

Target: Chest, Shoulders, Upper back, and Biceps

How To Do

  • Lie down on your back on a barbell rack bench with the legs on either side of the bench. Keep the feet flat on the floor.
  • Grip the barbell and lift it to unhook it from the rack.
  • Extend the arms and bring the barbell above your chest. This is the starting position.
  • Inhale and lower the barbell. Stop when it is a few inches above the lower ribs of your chest.
  • Exhale and push the barbell back up to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

8. Barbell Shoulder Press

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Image: YouTube @garagefitnessgirl

Target: Shoulders, Chest, Biceps, and Upper back

How To Do

  • Hold a barbell with palms facing inward. Keep the hands and feet shoulder-width apart and the knees soft. Roll the shoulders back, keep the chest up, and engage the core and glutes.
  • Pick it up from the floor to the chest level. Flex your wrists so that the palms face outward. Keep the elbows close to the body and look forward. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and push the barbell above your head.
  • Inhale and slowly bring the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

9. Barbell Lunge

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Image: YouTube @garagefitnessgirl

Target: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes, and Core

How To Do

  • Position a barbell on the rack at the shoulder level and stand facing away from it.
  • Grip the barbell, position it on your shoulders, and lift it.
  • Bring your left foot at the same level as the right foot.
  • Walk a few steps away from the rack. Engage the core and glutes, keep the feet shoulder-width apart and the chest up, and look forward. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and take a step ahead with your right leg.
  • Inhale, bend your knees, and lower your body into a lunge position.
  • Exhale, get back up, and place your right foot back.
  • Repeat with the left foot to complete one rep.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

10. Barbell Squat

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Image: YouTube @garagefitnessgirl

Target: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Lower abs, and Lower back

How To Do

  • Position a barbell on the barbell rack at your shoulder level and stand facing away from it.
  • Grip the barbell, position it on your shoulders, and lift it.
  • Walk a few steps away from the rack. Engage the core and glutes, keep the feet shoulder-width apart and the chest up, and look forward. This is the starting position.
  • Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body to get into a sitting or squatting position. The knees should point out and not overshoot the toes.
  • Exhale and get back up.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

11. Barbell Hip Thrust

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Image: YouTube @michaelz1016

Target: Glutes, Hip adductors, Hamstrings, Quads, and Core

How To Do

  • Hold a barbell with the hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing inward.
  • Sit on the floor with your back against the barbell bench. Bend the knees, keep the feet flat on the floor, and rest the barbell on your pelvic area.
  • Push against the bench to lift your pelvis off the floor. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and push your pelvis up and extend it. The hips, thighs, and upper body should be in the same line.
  • Inhale and hinge from the pelvis to bring it down.
  • Before it touches the floor, push it up again.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

These 11 barbell exercises target all areas of the body and can help tone and strengthen it. If you are wondering what sets barbell exercises apart and why include them in your routine, scroll down.

Benefits Of Barbell Exercises

  • Help improve posture
  • Help build muscle strength
  • Improve muscle power
  • Prevent muscle loss and helps build lean muscle
  • Improve athletic performance

How often should you do barbell exercises? Scroll down to find out in the following section.

How Often To Use The Barbell

Barbell exercises are weight training or strength training exercises and are a great way for women to engage in weightlifting and resistance training at the gym. As a rule of thumb, it is best to do these exercises thrice a week. In addition, when combined with dumbbell exercises, they can help in muscle building and improve overall health and wellness. However, target each body part on different days and do not do all 11 exercises simultaneously.

Infographic: Top 3 Barbell Exercises to Lose Weight

A fitness journey not only focuses on shedding some of that stubborn fat but also works on building healthy and powerful muscles. Utilize the barbell to its maximum potential to tone your upper body and your core. Check out the infographic below to learn more about the barbell workout to lose weight and gain muscle mass.

top 3 barbell exercises to lose weight (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

The Takeaway

Aging and muscle loss are natural biological processes. However, you can prevent it, retain strength and stability, and look toned and sculpted if you add weight training to your workout routine. Barbells are great weight training equipment as they are beginner-friendly, and you can use them with or without the weight plates. Follow the steps and do the 11 barbell exercises mentioned above to tone, tighten, and strengthen your body – because being fit and looking good is ageless!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do barbell exercises take to show results?

It depends on your fitness levels and the type of exercises you do. Usually, it takes 8-12 weeks to show noticeable results.

Should I eat before or after lifting weights?

Both pre-and post-workout meals are important. Eating before lifting weights helps provide you energy to perform, while a meal after it helps your body recover and adapt.

Is peanut butter good after lifting weights?

Yes. Peanut butter is rich in protein and helps build and repair muscles after lifting weights.


Achieve your dream physique with an intense and effective full-body barbell workout. Watch this interesting video to burn some fat and get in shape.

Key Takeaways

  • Barbell exercises help you enhance posture, build muscle strength, improve muscle power, prevent muscle loss and build lean muscle, and improve athletic performance.
  • Your full-body barbell workout routine will include barbell deadlift, barbell upright row, barbell bent-over row, barbell bicep curl, barbell tricep extension, barbell roll out, barbell chest press, barbell shoulder press, barbell lunge, barbell squat, and barbell hip thrust.
  • Wear grip gloves for safety while doing barbell exercises.
barbell exercises for women

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Strength and muscle mass loss with aging process. Age and strength loss
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3940510/
  2. Muscle tissue changes with aging
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/
  3. Muscle loss and obesity: the health implications of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25913270/
  4. Age-related and disease-related muscle loss: the effect of diabetes, obesity, and other diseases
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4156923/
  5. Muscle activation in traditional and experimental barbell bench press exercise: a potential new tool for fitness maintenance
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835758/
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