Routine by Meghan Burrows, BSC, PTS, Recreation Therapist | Photography by Paul Buceta

More than any other piece of gym equipment, there’s something empowering and exhilarating about gripping the iron of a barbell. Whether you’re new to the weight room or you’re seasoned in the squat rack, you don’t always have to load the bar up with plates just to get an efficient workout. This routine utilizes an unloaded bar, allowing you to move seamlessly from one exercise to the next without having to fuss with plates, for a full-body HIIT that’s both fun and effective.

We recommend using a standard bar that weighs 45 lbs, but if you’re new to lifting or recovering from an injury, then go with the lighter 35-lb bar until you’re ready to progress.

Goal: Complete a full-body strength workout in 30 minutes using a single unloaded barbell.

Equipment Needed: A 35-lb or 45-lb barbell. (You’ll also require two weight plates for one exercise, or something with which to elevate the heels, like blocks or rolled up towels).

How To: Set a timer for 10 minutes. Perform the workout once through, using the remaining time as a rest period. Reset the clock and repeat. Repeat for a total of three rounds. 

Elevated Heel Tempo Front Squat

REPS: 10-12
Stand with your heels on two weight plates hip-distance apart. Hold the barbell in front rack position, with elbows high and your shoulders acting as a shelf for the barbell (A). Lower into a deep squat for three counts (B). Return to standing after you reach your full depth. Repeat for all reps.

Tempo: Lower for three counts, stand for one.

Explosive High Pull

REPS: 8-10
Stand with heels hip-distance apart and hold the barbell close to the body. Push the hips back and lower the barbell a few inches (A). Explosively push the hips forward, extending through the legs and body and coming up on the toes. Simultaneously, use the momentum to pull the barbell up just below the chin (B). Return to the starting position and repeat for all reps.

Push Press

REPS: 8-10
Stand holding the barbell with an overhand grip in front of the shoulders, close to the body (A). Bend slightly through the knees and drive through the heels, then explosively press the barbell overhead (B). Return to the starting position and repeat for all reps.

Form Check: In the overhead position, keep your ribcage down and brace your core.

Staggered Stance Deadlift

REPS: 10-12 per side
Stand with one foot forward, the other slightly behind, and hold the barbell close to the body (A). Hinge at the hips and lower the barbell until it is just below the knee (B). Return to the starting position and immediately repeat. Complete all reps, then repeat on the other leg. 

Tip: For an extra challenge, lift your front toe off the ground as you pull up from the deadlift.

Bent-Over Row

REPS: 10
Hold the barbell with an underhand grip, hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Hinge from the hips and lower your torso to 45 degrees and extend your arms straight down (A). Retract your shoulder blades and pull the bar to your waist, driving with the elbows towards the back (B). Lower back down with control and repeat for all reps. 

Leg Raises 

REPS: 12
Lie on your back holding the bar directly above your chest. Extend your legs straight out, a foot off the ground (A). Keeping your upper body stationary, slowly raise your legs towards the bar (B). Slowly lower back down without touching the ground, and repeat for all reps.

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