Given that lifting another glass of Prosecco to your mouth doesn’t quite count as a bicep curl (sadly), load up a barbell for a festive fitness blast
Five moves to raise your game using just a barbell
If the only bar you’ve encountered this month is the kind that serves vodka (we hear you), it’s time to get reacquainted with a different type: the barbell. ‘No other piece of equipment can help develop strength and athleticism like a barbell,’ explains Lee Steggles, co-owner of Crossfit Shapesmiths in London. ‘The simple movements in this barbell workout are extremely effective. They enhance the functions of all the joints and muscles in the body, and are a great tool to help you get in shape and ready for any challenge.’ (No, not the shots variety, why are you obsessed with booze?) Give Lee’s circuit a go and blast away those Christmas party cobwebs…
1 DEADLIFT Targets: Hamstrings, glutes, upper back, abs
(a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes under the bar. With a neutral spine, hinge at the hips and knees to lower down and grip the bar.
(b) Brace your back muscles and, keeping your arms straight, push through your heels to drive up to standing. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Return the barbell to the floor by reversing the motion. You so tough.
2 FRONT SQUAT
Targets: Quads, abs, glutes, upper back, erector spinae
(a) Set the barbell just below shoulder-height on the rack. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasp the bar with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders, palms facing upwards. With your elbows out in front of you, rest the bar on your collarbone.
(b) Take a step back and move your hips back and down into a squat. Aim to get your hips below your knees. Yes, we know it burns. Drive through your heels to push back up to the starting position.
3 PUSH PRESS Targets: Shoulders, triceps, quads, traps
(a) As before, set the barbell on the rack at shoulder-height and stand in front of it with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing up. Your elbows should be out in front of you.
(b) Step back and slightly bend your knees, then push through your heels to straighten your legs as you press the barbell up overhead. Slowly lower it back down, then repeat. Watch out, Arnie.
4 BARBELL BURPEE Targets: Legs, core, shoulders, arms, chest
(a) Place a loaded barbell on the floor and stand parallel to the bar with your feet hip-width apart. Crouch down and plant your hands on the floor in front of your toes.
(b) Quickly jump your feet back to a high plank position, then lower your body to the floor, bending your elbows.
(c) Push back up into a high plank and jump your feet back towards your hands, preparing to jump up. Jump laterally over the bar and get ready to repeat on the other side. Brutal.
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, shoulders, core
(a) Set the barbell just below shoulder-height on the rack. Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and palms facing upwards. With your elbows out in front of you as before, take a step back and lower into a squat.
(b) In one swift movement, push through your heels to return to standing and straighten your arms to press the barbell overhead. Slowly lower it back down to shoulderheight and repeat.
Coming on strong.
FYI 1. Choose a weight that is moderately challenging, but can be maintained for the designated number of reps without losing form. 2. Aim to complete 5 sets of 8 reps for each exercise. Rest for 1-2 mins between sets. 3. Moving through the full range of motion is the most important part of this workout so adjust the weight as needed.