Man doing crossfit barbell exercises
Crossfit

10 CrossFit Barbell Exercises You Need To Know About

Barbell exercises are a staple in any CrossFit gym. They work a wide range of muscle groups and elements of fitness.

So, what exactly can we do with this long metal bar we know as the barbell?

The answer is, there are many exercises we can do with the barbell. When you walk into a CrossFit gym it might look like the bar is just being thrown around, but each movement has its purpose.

We’re going to take a look at the top 10 CrossFit barbell exercises you need to know about, and how you can incorporate them into your training. Give these exercises a go to help you on your CrossFit journey.

Related Post: 11 Best Barbells for Your Home Gym

CrossFit Barbell Exercises

1. Push Press

The push press utilizes the legs to get the barbell from the shoulders to an overhead position. We tend to use the push press to save our shoulders from fatiguing too quickly.

How to perform:

  • Grip the bar just outside shoulder width, and stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Bring the bar to your shoulders, with elbows pointing forward.
  • Slightly bend the knees, before extending the hips and legs to push the bar overhead.

Try the benchmark CrossFit workout ‘Betty’:

5 Rounds For Time:

  • 12 Push Press (135/95lb)
  • 20 Box Jumps (24/20in)

2. Deadlift

The deadlift uses the lower body, specifically the lower back and glutes to lift the barbell off the floor. The deadlift is used as a stand-alone exercise or within a more complex movement such as the snatch and clean.

How to perform:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, and grip the bar just outside of hips.
  • Start with your shoulders over the bar, then raise your hips and shoulders to reach full extension.

Try the benchmark CrossFit workout ‘Diane’:

‘Diane’:

21-15-9 Reps

  • Deadlifts (225/155lb)
  • Handstand Pushups

3. Front Squat

The front squat is a quad-dominant leg exercise, used as a stand-alone exercise, or a perfect crossover for the clean. For the front squat, the barbell is held in the front rack position on collar bones. Check out this list of the best barbells for your home gym.

How to perform:

  • Set feet shoulder-width apart, with the barbell in the front rack position.
  • Keep elbows high and core engaged, send the hips back and down below parallel.
  • Push through your mid-foot to return to standing.
  • Give this barbell complex a go for a serious muscle burn:

5 Rounds For Load:

Complete 7 unbroken sets:

  • 1 Power Clean
  • 1 Front Squat
  • 1 Push Press
  • 1 Back Squat
  • 1 Push Press

4. Bench Press

The bench press is a compound exercise focusing on the muscles in the chest and arms. The bench press is a push movement that can benefit other CrossFit movements including pull-ups, dips, and muscle-ups.

How to perform:

  • Lay flat on a bench, with your lower back, pressed down.
  • Grip the bar just outside shoulder width, then bring the bar over your chest with arms extended.
  • Bend at the elbows to lower the bar to the chest.
  • Push the bar back up to full extension to complete the movement.

Try the famous “3 barbells of death” CrossFit workout known as ‘Linda’:

‘Linda’

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Reps

  • Deadlift (1 1/2 Bodyweight)
  • Bench (Bodyweight)
  • Clean (3/4 Bodyweight)

5. Thruster

Thrusters are a full-body exercise that works your strength and endurance. They are a fluid movement ranging from the bottom of a squat to pushing the barbell overhead.

How to perform:

  • Set feet shoulder-width apart, with the barbell in the front rack position.
  • Keep elbows high and core engaged, send the hips back and down below parallel.
  • Push through your mid-foot to push the bar overhead.
  • When bringing the bar back down, use its momentum to go straight into the next rep

Try the lung burning benchmark CrossFit workout ‘Fran’:

‘Fran’:

21-15-9 Reps

  • Thruster (95/65lbs)
  • Pull Ups

6. Clean

The clean is one of two Olympic style weightlifting movements. The clean involves moving the bar from the floor to the chest, using your whole body. The clean is similar to performing a deadlift and front squat in one swift movement.

How to perform:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, and hook grip the bar just outside of hips.
  • Start with your shoulders over the bar, then raise your hips and shoulders to extension.
  • At full extension, shrug the shoulders then pull yourself under the bar to the bottom of a front squat.
  • Push through your mid-foot to return to standing.

Try the benchmark CrossFit workout ‘Elizabeth’:

‘Elizabeth’:

21-15-9 Reps

  • Squat Clean (135/95lbs)
  • Ring Dips

7. Snatch

The snatch is the second Olympic style weightlifting movement. The snatch involves moving the bar from the floor to overhead in a continuous movement, using your whole body. The clean is similar to performing a sumo deadlift high pull and overhead squat together. The snatch is a full-body exercise, requiring strength, power, speed, and mobility.

How to perform:

  • Begin over the bar, then hips and shoulders rise together to extend legs.
  • At full extension, shrug the shoulders while pulling yourself under the bar while keeping arms extended.
  • You should receive the snatch at the bottom of an overhead squat.
  • Push through your mid-foot to return to standing.

Work up to a one rep max clean for the day. When building to your max weight take long breaks between sets to ensure your muscles recover, so your lift is not limited by fatigue.

8. Sumo Deadlift High Pull

The sumo deadlift high pull is an advanced version of the conventional deadlift. The sumo deadlift high pull takes a wider stance, and adds a pull to work the shoulders, great for crossing over into the Olympic lifts: snatch and clean.

How to perform:

  • Set feet outside shoulder width, taking a full grip on the bar with hands inside of legs.
  • Start with your shoulders over the bar, then raise your hips and shoulders to reach full extension.
  • At extension, shrug the shoulders to bring the bar to shoulder height.
  • Try this long chipper workout to get the heart rate up.

AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

In 20 minutes:

  • 50 Sit Ups
  • 40 Kettlebell Swings
  • 30 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (95/65lbs)
  • 20 Push Ups
  • 10 Air Squats

9. Barbell Row

The barbell row is a back building pulling exercise, targeting your lats and rhomboids. Think of it as the opposite of the bench press. Building your back helps build shoulder stability, and will help with the pull in pull-ups, muscle-ups, and Olympic lifts.

How to perform:

  • Grip the bar with an overhand grip just outside shoulder width.
  • Slightly bend the knees while sending your hips back to create a forward lean in the torso, keeping your head up.
  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down to bring the barbell into your belly button. :

Try this upper body focused workout for a serious arm pump:

3 Rounds

  • 10 Shoulder Press
  • 10 Push Ups
  • 10 Rows
  • 10 Bicep Curls

10. Barbell Lunge

Barbell lunges are a single-leg exercise focusing on the quads and glutes. Single leg exercises are perfect for removing any imbalances we have which can lead to injury and poor movement patterns.

How to perform:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, with the barbell resting on your upper back.
  • Take a step forward until your back knee comes just above the floor.
  • Push through the front leg to return to standing.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.

Try this upper body focused workout for a serious arm pump:

3 Rounds

  • 10 Back Squats
  • 10 Lunges
  • 10 Pistols
  • 100m Sprint

Conclusion

Barbell exercises play a fundamental role in CrossFitters’ training, and we can see why. The barbell is useful for total body workouts or isolation movements, as well as a range of fitness components. Play around with these different exercises, and incorporate them into your next WOD. Whatever your fitness goals, the barbell will be a great training tool.

Frequently Asked Questions


What exercises can you do with a barbell?

Barbell exercises are commonly associated with strength and power components of fitness. Barbells are primarily used in Olympic weightlifting (clean & jerk and snatch), and powerlifting lifts (back squat, bench, and deadlift). However, we are not restricted to these 5 movements, we can also perform isolated movements (row and lunge), and compound movements (push press, front squat, thruster, and sumo deadlift high pull).

Related Post:  19 Best Crossfit Workouts/Exercises for Strength and Endurance

Additionally, barbells are not limited to strength and power components of fitness, we can reduce the weight to work on our muscular endurance and cardio. Play around with the weights to focus on a fat-burning workout, a weight loss workout, a strength workout, or CrossFit workouts.


Do CrossFit workouts build muscle?

Yes. Muscles are built after damage has been done to the muscle fibers. CrossFit applies enough intensity to damage muscle fibers so they can grow back more muscle.

You may also like...