Barbell Workouts For Mass Gain (An Ultimate List)

If you want to beef up full body mass with just barbell workouts, then this article is for you. Here, I’m going to hand out my fifteen best barbell exercises that you can incorporate into your home or gym workout routines to build muscles and strength.

I’ve divided the exercises into three categories, such as push, pull, and legs. And each category has five exercises so you can train your full body with only barbells.

Here’s a complete list of the barbell push, pull, and leg exercises.

Push WorkoutsPull WorkoutsLeg Exercises
Barbell Bench PressBarbell DeadliftBarbell Squat
Barbell Overhead PressBarbell Bent Over RowSumo Deadlift
Close Grip Bench PressBarbell T RowingBarbell Hip Thrust
Barbell Front RaisesBarbell Upright RowRomanian Deadlift
Skull CrushersBarbell CurlBarbell Lunge
Related: Push-Pull Legs 6 Day Split

Below, I’ve shared how to do the above workouts with step-by-step instructions.

The Best Barbell Push Workouts for Strength and Mass

Barbell push exercises are great for building upper body strength and mass.

You can do plenty of push workouts to strengthen your chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles.

Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, you can do the below workouts with barbells to grow your muscle mass.

1. Barbell Bench Press

Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is one of the best compound workouts to build upper body muscles, especially the chest.

A study has shown that the barbell bench press stimulates higher chest muscle activation than the dumbbell fly and suggests including it in the strength training program.1 A Comparison of Muscle Activation between Barbell Bench Press and Dumbbell Flyes in Resistance-Trained Males – Journal of Sports Science and Medicine

How to:

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground and chest under the bar.
  2. Grab the bar firmly with your hands are two times wider than hip-width apart.
  3. Keep your arms straight above your chest. That’s the starting position.
  4. Brace your core, inhale and lower the bar toward your chest and then press the bar upward in a controlled manner until your arms are fully straight. This is your one repetition.
  5. Do four sets of 12, 10, 8 and 6 reps with heavier weights.

2. Barbell Overhead Press

Standing overhead barbell press is one of the super effective barbell push workouts that you can do to strengthen your front deltoid.

Barbell Overhead Press Workout To Increase Shoulder Mass
Barbell Overhead Press Workout Help Increase Shoulder Mass

It is one of the few exercises you should do two to three days a week to build up muscles and upper body strength.

How to:

  1. Put an appropriate weight into the bar and grab it firmly with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2.  Hold the bar in front of your shoulder and stand upright in the hip-width stance.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles, inhale and press the bar overhead until your arms are fully straight. That’s one rep!
  4. Suggested sets – four and repetitions – 10, 8, 6 and 4!

3. Barbell Front Raises

You can reinforce your shoulders more specifically with the barbell front raises workout.

The front raises works on the anterior deltoid and help you build stable and muscular shoulders.

Barbell Front Raises work on the front part of the shoulder

Steps to do:

  1. Holding a bar in your hand with an under or over hand grip, stand in the normal stance and keep your arms straight in front of your hips.
  2. Raise the bar in front of you until your arms reach at your chest height.
  3. Lower the bar to the start and repeat for the desired number of times.

4. Close Grip Bench Press

Barbell close grip bench press is a compound workout for strengthening the triceps and helping you increase the muscle mass of your arms.

How to:

  1. Lay down on a bench with your face up and chest under the bar.
  2. Grab the barbell firmly with your hands are hip-width apart, and try to keep your elbows tucked at your sides.
  3. Brace your core, inhale and press the bar upward toward the ceiling until your arms are fully extended above your chest.
  4. Lower the bar and then repeat for the desired number of times.

5. Skull Crushers

The barbell skull crusher or french press is one of the isolation workouts to build bigger triceps.

It also put less stress on the wrist so you can develop your arms safely and effectively.

  1. Insert the appropriate weight into an EZ bar, and grab firmly with your hands are hip-width apart, and lie on the bench with your face up. Your palms should be facing upward.
  2. Keep your arms straight, so the bar is above your head. That’s the start.
  3. Keeping your elbows locked, lower your upper arms only behind your head and then extend back to return to the start. It’s your one rep!
  4. You’ll feel the contraction in your triceps when you extend your arms.
  5. Do four sets of 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps.

The Best Pull Workouts with A Barbell For Mass Gain

The pull exercises primarily work on the back, biceps, and rear delts and help you build a defined upper body.

If you work out only with barbells, you can incorporate the below workouts in your bodybuilding workout routine to beef up mass.

6. Barbell Deadlift

The deadlift needs to introduction. Indeed, everyone knows how beneficial the deadlift is.

The barbell deadlift exercise has a plethora of health benefits, including building mass, boosting strength, and improving the overall physique.

The deadlift is a full-body workout you can do with a barbell to build mass
The deadlift is a full-body workout you can do with a barbell to build mass.

How to do the deadlift

  1. Put an appropriate weight into the bar and keep it on the floor.
  2. Wear a gym belt for the safety of your lower back. And stand upright in the shoulder-width stance with your shin close to the bar.
  3. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower yourself and grab the bar firmly with an alternate grip. Please make sure your back is straight before your life the bar. It’s your starting position.
  4. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, inhale and lift the bar with your full strength until your hips are extended.
  5. Hold in that position for a couple of seconds and then slowly lower the on the floor. That’s one rep.
  6. Do as many times as you can.

You can try out various alternatives to the conventional deadlift.


7. Barbell Bent Over Row

A bent-over row is one of the best workouts you can do to grow your upper body muscle mass with a barbell.

It generates a higher muscle activation from the upper to lower back than other rowing exercises – demonstrated in a comparative analysis published by the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.2 Comparison of different rowing exercises: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness – National Library of Medicine

Barbell Bent Over Row
Barbell Bent Over Row

How to do barbell bent-over row

  1. Holding a bar with an over or under hand grip, stand straight in the shoulder-width stance.
  2. Push your hips back and lean your torso forward while maintain flat black. It’s your starting position.
  3. Pull the bar toward your stomach until you feel the contraction in your back muscles.
  4. You can hold the bar for a couple of seconds before your extend your elbows to return in the starting position.
  5. Do four sets of 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps.

8. Barbell T Rowing Workout For Back Mass Gain

Barbell T Rowing helps you build back muscles
  1. Place the bar onto the floor with the one end touching the wall and another end carry the weights.
  2. Grab a v-handle and put it under the bar so you can lift weight.
  3. Stand between the bar with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  4. Lean your torso forward toward the floor with your eyes looking downward. It’s your starting position.
  5. Pull the bar up toward your belly until your lats are fully engaged.
  6. Hold there for a moment and then return your arms to the start.
  7. Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each.

9. Barbell Upright Row

You can do a barbell upright row to build up shoulder and upper traps simultaneously.

Incorporate upright row when you do full-body workouts with a barbell to maximize muscles mass.

Barbell upright row helps you develop defined shoulders and also build the upper trap
Barbell upright row helps you develop defined shoulders and also build the upper trap.

How to do:

  1. Grab a bar with your hands are slightly shorter than hip-width apart with an overhand grip.
  2. Stand upright with your chest is up and arms are straight in front of your, and palms are facing inward. It’s the set-up.
  3. Now, pull the bar up toward your neck as high as you can so your elbows point outward.
  4. You can hold at the top for a couple of seconds before lowering the bar into the starting point.
  5. Do as many reps and sets as required.

10. Barbell Curl

Most gym folks work hard to grow biceps size, but they fail to do that. It is simply because they only workouts on the two-headed muscles instead of the total body.

If you want to beef up bicep mass, you’ll need to do the full-body workout, including the barbell curl.

The barbell curl stimulates higher muscle activation compared to the dumbbell curl and helps you build strong arms.3 Differences in electromyographic activity of biceps brachii and brachioradialis while performing three variants of curl – Peer Journal.

Barbell Curl
Barbell Curl
  1. Holding a bar with an underhand grip, stand straight in the normal stance.
  2. Keep your hands hip to shoulder width apart with your arms straight downward.
  3. Keep your elbows tucked at your sides and back straight. It’s your starting point.
  4. Curl your arms until you feel the contraction in your bicep muscles.
  5. Engaging your biceps, hold in that position for one to two seconds and then reverse the curl to complete your first repetition.
  6. You can complete three sets of 15, 12 and 10 repetitions for a better pump.

Best Barbell Exercises to Build Lower Body Muscle Mass

11. Barbell Squat

One of the crucial and the most effective barbell exercises you can do is Squat.

The barbell squat boost strength and promote hypertrophy.

You can include it into your barbell workout routine to grow your leg’s muscle mass.

Barbell Squat to Build Leg Muscles
Barbell Squat to Build Leg Muscles
  1. Insert the desired plates into the barbell.
  2. Place a thick sponge in the middle of the bar and wear a gym belt on your lower back for support.
  3. Hold the bar on the back of your shoulder and stand straight in the shoulder-width stance. That’s the starting position for you.
  4. Keep your abs tight, inhale and slowly bend your knees to squat down until your glutes are parallel to the floor.
  5. Press into the ground with your feet and stand back until your knees are fully extended. It’s your one rep.
  6. You can complete three to five sets of 15 to 10 repetitions each for great legs workout.

12. Barbell Lunge

Barbell Lunge is one of the lower body workouts that help you develop leg muscle mass
Barbell Lunge is one of the lower body workouts that help you develop leg muscle mass

How to:

  1. Put the weights into the bar as per your strength and hold it on the back of your shoulders.
  2. Stand in the normal stance with your chest up and back straight.
  3. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, take one large step forward with your right leg.
  4. Now, bend your both knees simultaneously until they are close or touch the floor.
  5. You can hold there for a moment before your extend your knees entirely. That’ll be your one repetition.
  6. You can repeat for as many times as you like in various sets.

13. Sumo Deadlift

barbell Sumo deadlift exercise

The sumo deadlift is pretty similar to a conventional deadlift. The only difference is the stance.

During the sumo deadlift, your feet would be two times wider than hip-width apart and toes pointing slightly outward.

Because of the different stance, your side quads and glutes are more engaged than the conventional deadlift.

Trying various deadlifts can be helpful for you to build solid legs and a lower body.

If you want to know how to perform several sumo deadlifts, you can check out this great article.


14. Barbell Hip Thrust

The barbell hip thrust is one of the best exercises you can do to build up glutes muscle
The barbell hip thrust is one of the best exercises you can do to build up glutes muscle.

How to:

  1. To perform a hip thrust, insert the desired weights into the bar and place a spongy thick pad in the middle of the bar.
  2. Keep your upper back on a flat bench and put the bar on hips.
  3. Bend your knees in front of you until they are in line with your hips. It’s the starting point.
  4. Thrust your hips upward as high as you can, pause for a second or two and then lower your hips to complete your first repetition.
  5. Do three to four sets of ten to twelve reps each.

15. Barbell Romanian Deadlift

Slightly different than the standard deadlift, the barbell RDL works more on hamstrings than quadriceps.

The Romanian deadlift also strengthens lower back muscles and builds up lower body stability.

You can follow the below steps to perform RDL with a barbell;

  1. First of all, put the weight plates into the bar as per your strength.
  2. Holding the bar with an alternate grip, stand upright in the normal position.
  3. Push your hips backward and lower the weight down until the bar at your shin height. You can slightly bend your knees but not like standard deadlift.
  4. Extend your hips entirely to return in the starting position. It’s your one rep.
  5. Do three to four sets of 5 to 6 reps each.

Can You Gain Muscle with Just Barbell Workouts?

Yes, you can build muscles with just only barbell exercises. A Barbell allows you to lift more weights compared to the other types of equipment. And the study suggests lifting heavy loads increases more mass and strength compared to lifting lightweights.

So whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, you can do multiple compound movements with just a barbell to boost your hypertrophy.

Barbell Full Body Mass Gain Workouts PDF

You can also download a PDF of the barbell home workout routine to build mass and increase power.

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