in: Fitness, Health & Fitness

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

The Basement Barbell Workout

Vintage man lifting barbell weight.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Joe Hashey.

Being one of four boys my parents had to do something to get our energy out without destroying the house. Their solution: a 300 lb barbell set for the garage. My father picked it up at a garage sale and we all thought it was the coolest thing ever!

The weights were a dark black and had been spray painted over a few times to hide the rust spots. The bar was amazingly rust free and rock solid. (I actually still have that exact bar in my gym today 15+ years later.)

When we got it home, we broke out the hammer and saws to make a small “barbell clubhouse” in the back corner of a somewhat dark and dingy basement. When the dust settled we had our little corner of heaven, a 10 by 15 foot room with bare drywall and a concrete floor…it was PERFECT!

Since we only had a barbell – no bench, rack, dumbbells, shake weights (kidding), or other equipment – we had to get creative.

Unfortunately, at ages ranging 12 – 16 years old, we didn’t have ANY strength training knowledge. That certainly didn’t keep us from going in there and “messing around” with the weights and doing exercises that we saw on television.

Fast forward to the present time: I’m fortunate to own and run a fully equipped strength training facility and often find myself in discussions with people that “attempted” working out at home. They will say something like, “I only had a barbell set and bench at home, so I couldn’t really do anything.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth! I know many people out there are in the same boat; they have minimal equipment but still want to work out at home. For you, I am creating a 3 day a week general fitness template that requires only two things: a barbell set and your bodyweight.

The Basement Barbell Workout Program

Day 1 – Upper Body (a to b denotes a superset)

1. Weighted Push Ups (make sure the plates are loaded towards your upper back, not your butt). 2 x 15, 1 x max reps

2a. Barbell Rows 4 x 8

2b. Hindu Push Ups 4 x 12

3a. Plate Front Raise 3 x 12 (hold one weight plate with two hands and raise it in front of your face with your arms extended)

3b. Plate Side Raise 3 x 12 (hold two smaller plates, one in each hand, and perform side raises)

4. Plate Stackers (see video below):

Day 2 – Lower Body (a to b denotes a superset)

1. Dead Lifts 5 x 5

2. Straight Bar Lunges 4 x 8

3. Romanian Dead Lifts (moderate weight) 3 x 8

4a. Straight Bar Russian Twists 4 x 12 (see video below)

4b. Spread Eagle Sit Ups 4 x 12 (see video below):

Day 3 – Full Body and Conditioning

1. Straight Bar Military Press 5 x 3

2. Straight Bar Reverse Lunge 4 x 8

3. Serious Sixes OR Lunge Complex (see video below):

Even if you go to a gym, try out these workouts for a month! One thing I have noticed is that my clients always tend to add more weight on a barbell than they will hold with dumbbells. For example, during forward lunges, a client might pick up two 40 lb dumbbells (80 lbs total) while on straight bar they will add two 45’s on the bar (135 lbs total). Even though the area loaded is different, the mental edge of using a straight bar will be noticeable.

Enjoy your training!


Joe Hashey, CSCS is a personal trainer and owner of Synergy Athletics. Joe has been featured author in Men’s Fitness Magazine and is also the creator of the Bull Strength Training Method. Joe is giving away $446 in free ebooks at his site: FREE STRENGTH EBOOKS.

**This is a general fitness program and you should always consult a doctor before strenuous exercise.**

Related Posts