These days, gyms and health clubs practically fall over themselves to add the latest and greatest resistance training machines, year in, year out. But despite the seemingly never-ending cycle of muscle-building innovation, the barbell has stood its ground as one of the most viciously efficient ways to get swole.
It really is that good.
This workout capitalises on the efficiency of the humble barbell, then doubles down — by offering up unparalleled chest and back gains in just two movements, with a deceptively ‘easy’ ladder protocol.
After a thorough warm-up, begin with an empty barbell and a running clock. Start proceedings with eight overhead presses, then lower the bar and move directly into twelve barbell rows. Keep an eye on the clock and add 5kg to your bar. At the beginning of the next minute repeat the couplet of presses and rows, and continue in this fashion, adding 5kg each minute for the first ten minutes, then stretch out your rest by working every two minutes. Keep adding weight until you can no longer perform four or more push presses and eight or more rows.
Make a note of your finishing score and aim to beat it next time for guaranteed chest and back gains.
1. Push Press x 4-8
Clean your barbell up onto the front of your shoulders, take a breath and brace your core. (A) Dip at the knees and use your legs to help (B) press your barbell overhead. Secure the bar in the top position then slowly lower under control, back to your shoulders. Dip at the legs and repeat. When you can no longer lock the bar out overhead or control the descent, finish your set.
2. Pendlay Row x 8-12
With feet slightly wider than shoulder width, step underneath a barbell and hinge at the hips to grip the bar (A). Keeping your torso parallel to the ground, row the bar towards your hips (B), squeeze your shoulder blades together and lower under control to the start before repeating. Control the bar and avoid moving your torso but keep the pulls explosive.
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