Not many sports demand strength, speed, power and endurance in a contest that lasts for less than seven minutes, but then Olympic wrestling isn’t most sports.
This barbell complex, created by grappler and UFC champion Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture, tests all of the above – as well as your willpower as you struggle to stay under the bar.
The moves get easier as the circuit progresses, so try to avoid using momentum during the ‘strict’ exercises, such as the row and military press.
- You’ll use the same barbell for each move – back-to-back, with no rest – so go light and add weight only if it’s too easy.
- Do 8 reps of each exercise in order, resting – if you need to – with the barbell still in your hands or on your back.
- Once you’ve done one circuit, rest for 1 minute, before repeating the complex twice more.
1a. Barbell Bent-Over Row
- Hold the bar just outside shoulder-width.
- Hinge at the hips and bend your knees slightly.
- Keep your back straight and core engaged.
- Holding this position, pull the bar into your abdomen by rowing your elbows towards your hips.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top, then lower with control.
1b. BB Upright Row
- Hold a barbell with an overhand grip with hands around shoulder-width apart.
- Stand tall and let the bar hang at arm’s length in front of your thighs.
- Hinge at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor.
- Pull the bar as high as you can toward your chin by explosively standing up as you bend your elbows and raise your upper arms.
- Reverse the movement to return to the start.
1c. BB Overhead Press
- Get a good grip on the bar.
- Hold the bar on your shoulders, before driving it overhead.
- Keep your core and glutes tight so your back doesn’t curve under the weight.
- Pull your head back as you press the bar up – your head travels around the bar, not the other way round.
1d. BB Front Squat
- With the bar resting on the top of your chest and elbows high, squat until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
- Make sure your knees stay wide apart and heels remain in contact with the ground.
- Drive back up.
1e. BB Lunge
- Stand tall, with the barbell resting across your upper back.
- With your chest up, core tight and back straight, take a big step forward and bend your knees to lunge down.
- Push back off your front foot to return to the start.
- Switch legs and repeat – that is 1 rep.
1f. BB Back Squat
- Set up with the bar positioned across your upper back.
- Keep your chest up, and tense your abs and glutes.
- Push your hips back to sit into a squat, keeping the weight on your heels.
- Drive back up by squeezing your glutes (don’t over-rely on your quads).
1g. BB Romanian Deadlift
- Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Point toes outwards at an acute angle.
- Grip the bar on the outside of your shins.
- Bend your knees slightly.
- Slowly descend the bar towards the floor as you bend your hips.
- Keep your chest high and look straight.
- When a stretch is felt, begin to extend your hips.