Full Body Barbell Complex Workout

If you’ve been following me for any period of time, you know I’m all about the barbells. But I know that what’s comfortable for me may seem intimidating to someone else, so I came up with a barbell complex workout that uses a single barbell. This full body barbell workout hits almost all the major muscle groups and is good for beginners to get used to the idea of using a barbell, as well as for those with more experience who are looking for a quick barbell workout or a light barbell workout for their deloading weeks.

Please read the liability disclaimer before attempting any workout.

This easy barbell complex workout is ideal for barbell beginners or for those who want an easy workout during a deload week.

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What You’ll Need

To perform this barbell complex workout, you need exactly one piece of equipment: a barbell. The one I’m using (and the one I own) is the Women’s ProSource Multipurpose Olympic Barbell. You can use a men’s barbell at the gym as well – those weigh about 45 pounds, while the women’s barbell weighs about 35 pounds. If you want one of your own, use the ProSource coupon code THEBOXFIT to save 15%.

To Do the Barbell Complex Workout

Don’t put the bar down! Hold it the entire time. Perform 8-10 reps of each movement, then go to the next movement immediately. Aim for 3 to 5 sets, and rest about 1-2 minutes in between each set of this full body barbell workout.

Front Squat

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Hold the bar in the front rack position, with your elbows high and the barbell resting on your shoulders. (You should theoretically be able to let go of the barbell, and it will stay in place. You don’t want the weight of the barbell resting in your wrists. Lower yourself into a deep squat (definitely below parallel). Return to standing after you reach full depth.

Push Press

Adjust your grip on the barbell so that your hands are on your shoulders, close to your chest. Make sure your feet are about hip-distance apart. Unhinge your knees and bend them slightly, then explode through your hips while you press the barbell overhead. Return to the starting position.


Stand with your feet hip distance apart, and hold the barbell close to your body. Hinge at the hips, keeping your back flat (pretend that you’re trying to squeeze an orange between your shoulder blades), and lower the bar until it’s just to mid-shin – no lower. Return to the starting position.

Bent Over Row

Hold the barbell with an underhand grip. As with the deadlift, hinge at the hips, but angle your torso at about 45 degrees, and keep your arms straight. Retract your shoulder blades and pull the barbell toward your belly button. Lower back down with control.

What I like about this barbell complex workout is that you hit most of the major muscle groups. Going with a push press instead of a strict press means that you can get a full body barbell workout without having to switch out plates. This can save a lot of time if you’re in a time crunch.

Bonus: Strengthen your core by choosing a couple of the Best Core Exercises for Runners.