Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
February 23, 2024

Barbell Training for Gladiators
By Zach Even-Esh

Barbell Training for Gladiators

All you need is a barbell for this workout. Simplicity is often the name of my game, but my priority is getting results fast, and you’re about to experience exactly how to get fast results in developing strength endurance, power endurance and speed!

These exercises are very basic and can be done with the help of a partner or by placing your barbell on milk crates or a few cinder blocks in place of power racks, especially if you’re training in your own home. Your resources don’t need to be anything fancy as you’re about to see.

You will not be training with traditional bodybuilding methods. Instead, you will perform a high number of sets with low reps and minimal rest time. This method is what produces strength and power endurance. The exercises you’re going to perform are the following:

  1. Zercher Squat – wrap a towel in the center of the barbell, using double underhooks, place the crook of your elbows under the barbell, and perform deep squats. Your posture must remain upright and your elbows should remain high. Do not allow the weight to pull your posture down or pull your hands down. Choose an appropriate weight allowing for perfect technique. This movement is awesome for developing takedown strength and overall full body strength. Your upper body will work extremely hard just to keep the barbell in position and of course your legs will be working hard to move that heavy barbell!

  2. Towel Deadlift – Every 2 – 3 workouts you will switch from the zercher squat to the towel deadlift. This will avoid burn out in either movement and still works a similar movement. This is a great way to continuously keep improving strength while avoiding overuse injuries. The towels can be grabbed or wrapped around the bar. Both are excellent for grip and full body strength.

  3. Floor Press – Great for developing pushing strength from your back. If you’re weak on your back, get strong here. This will develop pushing strength and power helping you escape your hips and create angles from the bottom, ultimately making you a better submission specialist from your back! There should be no bouncing of the bar off the floor. Lower the bar slowly as if it were going to touch your lower chest, once your triceps touch the floor, blast the weight upward! Arm Bars anyone?!?!

  4. Barbell Row with Towels – Use the towels if you want added grip work. Wrap the towels around the bar or hang the towels around the bar, each of which give you a different grip and pulling effect. Grips can be overhand or underhand. Keep your low back neutral and your upper back flat, NO rounding allowed. If you round out your back, lighten up until your form is perfect. Your lower body will also work just to stabilize your upper body so this is truly a full body exercise. Pull the weight towards your low abdomen and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This is excellent for developing pulling strength, a must in all combat sports.

  5. Barbell Cheat Curls – No one ever would expect me to encourage these, as many equate this movement to bodybuilding training. This exercise is going to look like a barbell hang clean, except with a reverse grip. It will develop hip power and strength in your entire upper body. Don’t knock these, they work, especially when you push for HEAVY weights! They will also work your hands and grip very intensely, a critical aspect in any type of combat sport using gi as well as no gi.

Barbell Training for Gladiators

Here’s your Underground workout:

* Exercises A & B are performed back to back. As your work capacity improves, you should aim to have zero rest through each superset!

1A) Barbell Floor Press 6 x 3 – 5 reps
1B) Barbell Zercher Squat / Towel Deadlift 6 x 3 – 5 reps

2A) Bent Over Barbell Row with Towels 3 x 8 - 12 reps
2B) Any Push Up Variation 3 x Max Reps

3A) Barbell Cheat Curls 3 x 5 reps
3B) Any Abdominal Exercise 3 x 20 reps

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