FAQ: Olympic Bar: 6 Exercises To Add To Your Regime

You may have seen Olympic bars sitting around in the gym or even be envious when you see experienced gym-goers loading them up to work out. But what are Olympic bars, and how do you incorporate them into your workouts? Keep reading to find out the type of exercises Olympic bars can be used for in the gym and the muscles they will target. 

Man using barbell

What is an Olympic bar? 

An Olympic bar is a type of barbell used for weightlifting and is around 7ft long. The weight of the Olympic bar is fully adjustable, and some of the bars within the range can hold a huge maximum weight of 750kg. They can be used for a range of different exercises and to target a wide range of muscle groups, which we will explore further, so keep reading to find out how you can incorporate an Olympic bar into your workout regime. 

What is the difference between an Olympic bar and a normal bar? 

To the untrained eye, an Olympic bar and a normal weight training bar can look very similar, but there are a few differences between the two; keep reading to find out the differences. 

Olympic Bar Standard Barbell
Heavy duty and can handle repetitive useMade from steel for durability 
Can typically hold up to 750kg (dependent on model)Can typically hold between 90kg and 136kg
Usually 7ft long Usually 5-6 ft long
2-inch rotating sleeves1-inch non-rotating sleeves
Can weigh between 12-20kgCan weigh between 5-12kg

Olympic Bar Exercises

There are many exercises you can complete with an Olympic bar. They are versatile pieces of gym equipment that can target a range of muscle groups, and each exercise is scalable, depending on the weight you attach. 

Barbell bench press

The bench press can be performed in a range of motions, including incline, decline and close grip. Each variation of the barbell bench press targets different muscle groups and areas of the muscle. The incline bench press works the upper portion of the pectoral muscles, the decline bench press works the lower pecs, and a close grip bench press will activate the triceps and the chest.

A great exercise for building your push strength, the barbell bench press can develop muscles in the triceps and shoulders; you can also see great developments in the chest muscles. 

Woman performing barbell bench press

How to bench press with a barbell

  • Lie on your back on a bench and place yourself so that your eyes are in line with the barbell. 
  • Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. 
  • Steady your feet onto the floor and unrack the bar into a lockout position.
  • Steadily bring the barbell down to your chest as you breathe in.
  • As you breathe out, push the bar back to the original position. 
  • Repeat. 


The deadlift is commonly regarded as one of the best powerlifting exercises you can perform in the gym. A deadlift can help to increase strength in a wide range of muscle groups, making it an effective staple of your regime. Key muscles activated during the deadlift include the quads, abs, glutes and hamstrings, and enhancing core strength and grip. 

Woman deadlifting

How to deadlift with a barbell

  • Load the barbell with your desired weight and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of you, ensuring it is rested against your shins. 
  • Bend at the hips and knees and grab the bar. Your placement should sit slightly wider than your shoulders. 
  • Pull your upper body up and thrust your hips forward as you stand. Your lower back should be naturally arched. 
  • Keep the barbell close to your body as you reach the top of the movement.
  • Lower the bar to the floor slowly in a controlled manner. 
  • Repeat.

Barbell back squat 

Another common staple of many weightlifters’ regimes is the barbell back squat. Favoured for the number of muscle groups the exercise works, such as the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and lower back. 

The back squat can be used in different ways, and with a slight change in foot placement, you can activate different parts of the muscle group you are working. For example, elevating your heels can put more focus on the quads and keeping the foot flat will place more emphasis on the hamstrings. 

Barbell back squat

How to back squat with a barbell

  • Set up the barbell on a rack so that it is just below shoulder height. 
  • Load the weight that you want to squat onto the barbell. 
  • Stand under the bar and place your feet shoulder-width apart (heels flat for a focus on the hamstrings, heels on a plate if you want to work the quads). 
  • Step under the barbell and position it so it rests comfortably on your neck. If it feels too uncomfortable, you can always add a pad. 
  • Grip the bar with your hands and step back. Prepare yourself to take the weight off the rack and keep your back straight. 
  • Keeping your body up, lower your body down and bend your legs. Try not to lean forward as you reach the bottom of the position. 
  • Drive back upwards, pushing your heels into the floor as you move. 
  • Make sure you do not lock your knees as you return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat. 

Bent over barbell row

If you are looking to build a bigger back, the bent over barbell row is the perfect exercise to include within your workout routine. The bent over barbell row can help increase strength in the back and lats, and can also help improve your deadlift. 

Barbell bent over row in the gym

How to do a bent over barbell row

  • Load the barbell with your desired weight. Keep the barbell on the floor. 
  • Hinge at your hips to grab the barbell and keep your grip shoulder-width apart. 
  • Pull the barbell up to your navel and pause for a moment. 
  • Slowly lower the barbell back to the original position and repeat. 

Barbell push press

The barbell push press is a great exercise to help develop your shoulder strength and to build muscle. Unlike the overhead press, the barbell push press lets you place some stimulus on the glutes and quads. It will also allow you to lift heavier weights due to the driving movement of the exercise and the involvement of the legs. 

Woman completing a barbell push press

How to barbell push press

  • Stand in front of a barbell loaded with your desired weight. Make sure this is at chin height. 
  • Grip the bar shoulder-width apart and engage your core. 
  • Lift the bar from the rack and step backwards. 
  • Dip your knees slightly and then push the bar above your head on the rise up. 
  • Bring the bar back down to your chest and dip with your knees and repeat. 

Explore the range of Olympic barbells at Fitkit

Browse the range of Olympic barbells available at Fitkit today! The collection includes a wide range of barbells that you can use to strengthen muscle groups, tone and add variety to your workouts. Fully scalable and offering freedom to your regime, you can use an Olympic barbell within your home gym or expand your offering as a gym group for your customers and clients. Select Olympic barbells in both 5ft and 7ft options to suit the needs of your workout, and find barbells from esteemed brands such as Buffalo Fitness, Hammer Strength and Jordan Fitness. 

Comments are closed here.