Beauty in the Barbell – Strength and Conditioning Workout!

by Marianne  - September 1, 2011

Hey everyone,

Today I decided it might be fun to try something new. I thought that instead of just doing my usual home workout I would show you all how transferable my workouts are between the Kettlebell and the Barbell.  I love both pieces of equipment, the Kettlebell feels so free and fluid were as the Barbell just makes me feel totally badass!

As you all know, strength training is a big part of what I do, or at least trying to improve my performance in what I love doing. Then I talk about what I do and showcase some great workouts here.  A lot of you have asked me to show what I do in the gym, which I will do some day (although I think most of you can guess from the snippets I have shown). But I am interested to know what else you would like me to show with regards to my training?  I asked you about a month ago to suggest some ideas for posts (which I haven’t forgotten), but I always like to try and use my videos to help you get an idea or inspiration to either training smarter, train heavier or just kick your own butt. So let me know if today’s type of video with a mix of body weight, KBs and BB work is something you would find useful.

I have the facility now to knock out a few videos to show just how much variety and fun you can create with just a few “basic” exercises. My friend Sam (Performance Physio) very kindly let me use his studio for today’s workout and he has said I can use it whenever. So what do you all think?

During the workout, I totally messed up my videoing and I missed some footage. So the edited video does not fully represent what I actually did. I have just shown one round of each section plus the Tabata at the end.

Now for my sob story. Lately I have been having more back and SI pain and I am not exactly sure why. Again I am hoping and praying it is not my Arthritis flaring up! Even if I can’t go as heavy or if it hurts a bit to do some exercises, I need to train through it otherwise the pain will get worse. For me, when I stop it gets worse! I know there are a lot of you who have to overcome daily pain, so I hope you have all found your own coping mechanisms that still allow you to feel active and healthy.

The Workout

Today’s focus was on strong form, conditioning and fun!  For some of the exercises I kept the weight the same were as I increased the weight in others. I want to get stronger, but I want my form to get stronger first.  Keeping the weight moderate and the reps higher allowed me to get a great workout in and prevent my pain from stopping me.

Section 1

I completed 3 rounds of the following couplet:

  1. Conventional Deadlift (60kg) x 12 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps
  2. Lunge Jumps x 45 seconds (40, 37, 35)
  • One set of Chin Ups to failure. Only managed 6 🙁 NOTE: My intention was to do pull ups in between each section, but after the first set and the rows, my pulling power was beat !!

Section 2

I completed 3 rounds of the following 3 exercises:

  1. Elevated Close Grip Push Ups x 10, 10, 10
  2. Barbell Bent Over Row (27.5kg, then 40kg for last 2 rounds) x 10 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps
  3. Medicine Ball Slams (with 5kg Med ball – ideally I would want a heavier med ball of 8kg) x 20 reps each round (tough!)
  • Wanted to do more chin ups here, but lost it with my biceps and grip!

Section 3

Again, I did 3 rounds of the following:

  1. Barbell Military Press (27.5kg) x 8, 8, 6
  2. Front-Loaded Reverse Lunges (left) (started at 27.5kg x 12 reps) then (40kg x 8 reps) then (50kg x 4 reps)
  3. Front-Loaded Reverse Lunges (right) (same as left)

Section 4 – Tabata

Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 8 cycles of 10 seconds rest and 20 seconds MAX effort and complete 4 rounds of the following 2 exercises:

  1. Two-Handed KB Swing (20kg)
  2. Burpees +/- push ups

What a great challenge this workout was. It took about an hour to complete and it covered every inch on my body. I felt great after! For this being my first workout like this, I am sure the next one will be even better.  Please remember that you can do all of these exercises with Kettlebells, so you do not need to feel left out.

Also remember that for safety reasons it is best to have someone show you how to perform barbell exercises if you are not experienced with setting one up and using the different lifting techniques.

Hope you all enjoy the workout and will leave your feedback here 🙂




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  1. I am trying this one out at my gym. don’t think they have kettlebells there so I will skip rope for the tabata, that should be crazy enough for me.
    I did this workout at home using kettlebells and found it quite tough but I felt very accomplished after finishing it.

  2. I have been trying to incorporate some strength cardio into my routine for some time. I must say your routines are some of the best I have seen (seriously—this is after reading my books and well trainer sites).

    One question, you mentioned in the video that you do some strength work in the gym (barbell + pull ups/dips). Can you perhaps shed some light on those routines (would help to build up strength for for the other workouts.

    1. Thank you Coco, this is a massive compliment! I try to make my workouts the best I possibly can. I think the more I learn from the amazing friends I have made, the better they will become 🙂 As for your question, can you elaborate slightly on what you mean? Like do you just want me to write about what I do or film my actual gym routine? I am happy to do both 🙂 If you mean something else, just let me know.

      1. I’d also really like to know how you schedule your weekly workouts… I have been doing a lot of your workouts lately, this excellent one included, and am wondering how you fit them into your gym workout schedule.

    2. Marianne – I am trying to get a sense of your of the routine (you do outside your KB workouts posted). I only ask this because you did mention in your Barbell video that you do work in the gym to augment your existing routine. Also, if one were to put a weekly program together 6-days a week, what would that look like. Thanks

      1. I train at the gym once or twice a week. During those sessions I do, squats, deadlifts, weighted glute bridges, some sort of single leg exercise (front loaded reverse lunges or bulgarian squats), I do dips or barbell overhead press, pull ups or cable rows, good mornings or back extensions. I try to vary the exercises, but I only do this type of training at most twice a week, a session would last about 60 to 90 minutes. My Kettlebell training is what you see uploaded here each week. Maybe 2 or 3 of them. I have mentioned before that I don’t follow a set programme, so I just do what I feel like depending on my work shifts and my energy/mood.

        For someone who wants a set programme, then 2-3 strength sessions a week and 2-3 conditioning session per week will get you some great results. You can either split the programme, so you are training heavy legs on a monday, upper body on a wednesday and have a “lighter” full body strength day on a friday, spacing your conditioning workouts in on a Tues, Thurs and maybe Saturday. It all depends on your overall goals too as to what you focus on more. I don’t like things being black and white, so you must allow for the programme to be a little fluid and flexible, because stress, sleep diet etc can all affect how you perform. So be prepared to swap a heavy day for a lighter one, if you need to.

        Maybe it would be best for me to write a post on this topic? Does this help? 🙂

  3. I did this brutal workout last night using KB I replaced the slams with TGU which was tough and the lunges with elevated hip thrusts.
    and the tabata I did crazy rope skip interval of 20 sec. rest 1:00 mi.n effort for 4 rounds at max effort.

    Then I moved the fridge from one side of the kitchen to the other.
    This was a perfect workout for me last night. The heaviest pair of KB I have are 16kg and I think I can deadlift more so I’ll try that next time at the ghetto gym, after seeing the tutorials here, I feel more confident with deadlifts.

    Cheers and keep it up

    1. HAHA! I laughed at “then I moved the fridge from one side of the kitchen to the other” … did you have to do this, or did you just feel like it? hehe!

      You and your crazy cardio! I love it 😛

      The tutorials are great aren’t they? They really helped me too!

      Glad you enjoyed the workout 😀

  4. Hi Marianne,
    I’ve been loving the workouts! This one was good in that I haven’t used the straight bar in a while. I was sore from it. I’m always sore so I know I’ve pushed myself. It’s just something that goes along with lifting weights. I finished your latest workout this morning , pure evil. I Love, love , love the 1 minute goblet squat hold. When you add stuff like that it keeps it interesting . It’s such a challenge. Recently I’ve finally been able to do the snatch correctly. It’s taken a long time to do but heck, I’m not going anywhere. I just keep practicing and will pick up the kettle bell at random times and do a few. On another note I’d like to donate for the up keep of this blog. I agree with the others who posted that this is the blog we all come to for the best workouts, nutrition information , recipes and no fashion hauls. I may look elsewhere for my own variety if you haven’t posted anything but your blog is the one I use consistently . I have a notebook or two filled with workouts , mostly yours. So if I can help , yes I will. I appreciate all the effort you put into keeping me up to date with new and interesting ways to stay healthy , strong and happier.

    1. Thank you so much Minnie, I appreciate the added support. I just want to do the best I can here and I will be forever gratefull to my readers whether they donate or not. It will always be a free service/resource here. But every little helps.

      The barbell training really helps boost things, and it only needs to be once or twice a week! With 2 days KB conditioning and no cardio, that makes very efficient training!

      Cheers 🙂

  5. Hi Marianne, I really enjoyed watching this particular w/out. You included the deadlift and this is my question to you. I have been attempting to perform this exercise with dumbells but am unsure that I am performing the exercise correctly. Whilst keeping my back as flat as possible, shoulders back, knees bent, head forward,is the power of the exercise supposed to come from the glutes & legs, or should the majority of the power be from the back muscles? I just don’t feel as if I am doing the movement correctly, as I feel it more through the glutes.
    Thanks for any tips you can give.


    1. J, the power for the deadlift comes from the legs and the glutes mainly, but you will also work your back. However the glutes are the main muscle responsible for extending the hips, the back should not be compensating for lack of glute activation or strength. If you look further up the comments you should see that I have linked to some sources for deadlift information and tuition. They are very good resources.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  6. Hi Marianne,
    I’ve been watching your website for a few weeks now and I have to say you are very inspiring and I wish I had your strength and great body:-) Well, I am working on it.
    But I would like to ask you, I’ve noticed you always wear vibram five fingers, what style is it?. I’ve been considering buying a pair after reading so many good reviews but don’t know what style/kind are the best. I would really appreciate your advice and recommendation. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Marlla! I love my Vibrams 😀 I have either the Sprint or Sprint Coconut style. I haven’t tried any other styles, so I can’t advise you on what to buy. I can tell you that I would not go back to wearing shoes. 🙂

  7. Thanks for a great workout! I have been following your workouts for some time and love them. I also have been looking for new ideas to use at the gym. This is perfect.

  8. Hi Marianne,

    Great work here! That’s typically the way I train and it’s great to see you changing it up. Man, your conditioning is great! I hope you continue filming these types of training sessions. Yay, Badass!

  9. ..I’m a bit of a silent fan, but I just really wanted to say how you have one of the prettiest complexions I’ve ever seen and i really noticed it in the begining of the video! Not very fitness related and pretty random.. but just wanted to call it out! Thanks for what you do!

  10. i can’t believe how flipping strong you are, i might try this workout when life gets back to normal. we just got married, and now have rush out again to oklahoma to attend my dads funeral.

  11. That was great, Marianne! Like Penny, I would need to change the MB slams. Maybe squat jumps like you mentioned. My gym doesn’t have kb’s though. What do you think would be a good substitute for it in the tabata? I have never tried deadlifts, but have wanted to for a while. I just don’t know about the form for them. Would you be able to do a tutorial on it? You have such good tutorials.

    These types of workouts would be great to rotate into your blog. Thanks, Marianne, and hope you feel better!

    1. Hey Roxanne, Penny had another great idea to do instead of the MB Slams, so check out her comment and see if that is something you could also do. For the Tabata, the important thing is choosing an exercise that will exert you. So, something like Burpees, jump rope, or side to side step ups, fast-paced body squats, dynamic squats, even sprints if you have the space. If the gym has spin bikes, then I love doing Tabata on them. It all about putting MAX effort in, so the exercises can be anything. It’s better if they are less technically demanding though given you only have 20 seconds.

      For the Deadlifts, I know you would like me to do a tutorial, but Mike Robertson has done an excellent point by point post on the Deadlift that take you through everything you’ll ever need to do a deadlift properly. Check it out HERE . I learned a lot from this post.

      I also liked the post by Diesel Strength and Conditioning on the DL. I learned a great tip for returning the bar to the ground on the first video. So I would recommend reading both posts, and then practice with a bar and light plates first.

      There are so many great resources out there, so I want to share what has helped me. So I hope this helps you too 🙂

      And, I am feeling a little better today, thanks.

  12. I like the workout. that is what I am focusing to do in the fall as soon as the sailing season is over. great stuff. No Bon Jovi for me makes me think of bad times in New Jersey.

  13. MARIANNE! Hell yeah, girl, you rock out that shirt!

    I noticed you improved the bar path on the deadlifts. Nice! ; )

    Oh, and you did my two favorite exercises (deadlifts & overhead presses) which I think is pretty damn cool.

    Keep kicking ass, girl! I can’t wait to train with you again.

    1. Hey Nia, thanks!! I tried to wear the T-shirt through the workout, but I got too warm believe it or not! It was those lunge jumps dammit!

      The overhead presses are GOOD! I was trying to increase the weight, but i needed smaller increments to progress it safely. Next time I will go a little heavier. It was strange pressing a barbell for a change. I am so used to KBs. I made sure to remember the pointers you gave me about my DL and reset before each rep. I kept the weight moderate to work on my lower back form too. I was happy with the progress too, thanks for noticing 😀

      Oh btw, we will need to catch up at some point on Skype, will be in touch! Miss ya chick 🙂

  14. Hey Marianne~I love this workout. I will be giving it a whirl at the gym today! However,what can I substitute for the medicine ball slams? You know, I really admire your determination to push through the workouts even though you are in pain. It goes to show that being physically fit and strong in mind really does matter. If only more people were like you, we’d be a healthier world. Thinking of you and hope you feel better soon!!!

    1. Hey Penny, thanks for your comment and your positive thoughts. I didn’t mean to have a moan, but I guess there are lots of people out there working through similar issues. I just want to show that while my numbers may not be as high, they don’t have to be – as long as I am still moving 🙂

      The Slams could be replaced with even a lower body plyometric exercise, maybe squat jumps. Or you could kill your shoulders, chest, triceps and lats with some dive bombers?? Or add some wide grip pull ups in? The Slams are great fun though, they get rid of any rage floating about in your veins … not that I ever have any rage 😉 LOL

      1. Oh I didn’t take it as a moan at all. I think it’s inspirational really how you push thru. Thanks for the suggestions on the subs for the slams. I did do the workout today and I swear the people thought I was going to die, the sweat was pouring off of me (altho it was nearly 80 in the gym -no a/c-)I did manage the tabata at the end as well 🙂 What I did instead of the slams was take a resistant band and draped it over the pullup bar, grabbed the handles and pulled down with force mimicing the thowing of the ball. Does that make sense? The other thing is my legs are strong enough to go heavier but I just can’t hold the heavier weight with my arms when doing the front load rev lunge. Maybe i’m not doing it right? I’ll keep pushin on tho.
        Thanks for a great workout!

    1. Thanks Amy, Bon Jovi IS awesome!! I love to hear about other women who train like this. Hopefully I can get a little more inventive with the workouts now by including the Barbell stuff too.

      Glad you like 😀

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