Single Barbell Workout / Warmup

This single barbell workout/warmup is one of my own routines and it's going to provide a whole body workout improving: aerobic fitness, muscular endurance and muscle tone.

I've also use it as a routine for clients working out at home with very limited equipment (specifically a barbell and that was it!).  

The Routine

I devised this workout as a functional warmup for myself.  I found that when I was on short time schedules and wanting to hit the weights I didn't have the time to go through traditional warmup, but nor was I foolhardy enough to jump straight into lifting.  By grabbing an unweighted Olympic bar and running through a series of different exercises that hit whole body I warmed up my body got their synovial fluid flowing, and prepared my joints and muscles for the hard work ahead.

How the Routine Works

The only equipment needed to carry out this routine is a single barbell which will be loaded with the same weight during all of the exercises.  The only other requirement is the space to move safely. 

To perform this routine first load the barbell with as much weight as you can comfortably perform 15 barbell bicep curls with perfect form.

The exercises are then going to be carried out in order, with only minimal rest between them and without the barbell being put down.

While the exercises will move from one to the other ensure that each individual exercise set is carried out precisely without compromising on form before moving to the next.  


Perform each exercise below 10 times.

The first time you perform this exercise routine form the whole circuit twice taking a 2 ½ minute break in between the two circuits.  As soon as you feel able add in a third circuit, after that begin to reduce the rest time between circuits.  Aim for three circuits with one minute rest in between.

Remember not to compromise form, lower the weight for subsequent circuits if required.  You can see how I do these exercises on a video after the exercises!  


1.          Bent over Barbell Row

Stick figure diagram, bent over row

Deadlift the barbell with an overhand grip and perform 10 rows.



2.         Standing Military (Shoulder/Overhead) Press

Stick figure diagram, shoulder press

Following the last Row, pause and then raise the barbell to your chest using a “Jerk” motion.

Perform 10 Military Presses. 

Note:  This exercise is performed from the chest in front of the face.  Not behind the head.


3.         Standing Lunge - Barbell on Shoulders

Stick figure diagram, standing lunge

On the final repetition of the Military Press lower the bar to rest on the shoulders behind the head, be careful to avoid resting on the spine.

When the bar is comfortable in position perform 20 alternating lunges, 10 on each side.


4.         Barbell Back Squat

Stick figure diagram, barbell back squat

After the final lunge return to an even posture. 

Take a moment to check alignment, second toe should be pointing forward or very slightly flared outwards.  Weight should be towards the back of the feet.

Perform 10 Squats, go to 90° (and no lower)


5.         Upright Row

Stick figure diagram, upright row

After the final squat lift the bar from your shoulders and over your head using a “press technique”.

Lower the bar to arm’s length in front of the body, check your posture and narrow your grip so that your hands are approximately two thumbs width apart.  All

Perform 10 Upright Rows.


6.         Bicep Curl

Stick figure diagram, barbell curl

Change the overhand grip to an underhand grip, and shoulder width apart. 

(This grip change may necessitate placing the bar carefully down on the floor, or resting it on a rack if one is available.)

Perform 10 Bicep Curls

Video Demonstration