Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

10 Best Weighted Body Bar Exercises (Coming From a Trainer)

Radmila Vasic
Published by Radmila Vasic
Last updated: May 26, 2023

One way to spice up traditional bodyweight and dumbbell exercises is to add an external source of weight while doing them.

We will focus on the weighted bar. This fitness tool adds a balancing component to the standard exercises you know, making them more challenging and interesting.

Here is the best weighted bar exercises you can add to your routine. Furthermore, they are beginner friendly.

Quick Summary

  • The best-weighted bar exercises include squats, lunges, warrior lifts, standing overhead presses, calf raises, single-arm rows, chest presses, and hip thrusters.
  • Weighted bar exercises for individuals looking for more challenging strength training routines.
  • Most weighted bar exercises are easy for anyone to perform including beginners.
  • Weighted bar exercise targets different areas such as the legs, core, shoulders, lower back, and arms, among others.

10 Best Weighted Bar Exercises

1. Squat

woman doing back squats with a body bar

Areas targeted: Entire lower body muscles, core

Frequency: 3 sets; 10 reps

  1. Standing shoulder-width apart, hold the weighted bar across the top of your back.
  2. Grip the ends of the weighted bar and keep it close to your shoulders while your elbows are tucked in.
  3. Push your hips back and fold your knees, keeping the weight on your heels.
  4. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, stand back up and squeeze your glutes tightly.

2. Lunge

Areas targeted: Entire lower body

Frequency: 3 sets; 10 reps on each side

  1. Stand with your feet at a hip-width distance and place the body bar across the top of your back.
  2. Step forward with your right foot and allow your left heel to lift off the floor.
  3. Bend your knees and lower your left knee until it’s barely touching the ground. Make sure to keep a flat back as you’re lowering yourself.
  4. Once you’ve reached the lowest movement, press through your front heel and stand back up.
  5. Repeat these weighted bar exercises on the other side.

3. Warrior Lift

woman doing a warrior lift with a body bar

Areas targeted: Legs, core

Frequency: 1 set; 5 reps on each side

  1. Hold the weighted bar high up above your head with hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing ahead.
  2. Step forward with your right foot and let your right knee bend, but keep your left leg straight and your left foot turned out.
  1. Bring down the weighted bar and straighten your right leg, then lift your left leg straight out behind you while simultaneously lifting the bar in front of you.
  2. Return to the lunge position.

4. Standing Overhead Press

Areas targeted: Shoulders

Frequency: 2 sets; 12 reps

  1. Stand with your feet at a hip-width distance while holding the weighted bar in a front-rack position on your collar bones.
  2. Push the body bar up overhead until your arms are about 90% extended. This is to keep the load on your shoulders instead of your trapezius muscle.
  3. Bring the weighted bar back down and assume the starting position.

5. Calf Raises

man showing calf raises

Areas targeted: Legs

Frequency: 3 sets; 20 reps

  1. Set the body bar across the top of your shoulders behind your neck.
  2. With your feet hip-width apart, stand with your knees slightly bent to keep them “soft.”
  3. Press the balls of your feet against the floor and lift your heels off the ground, rising as high as you can.
  4. Once you've reached the maximum height, slowly lower your heels but don’t let them touch the ground.

“All muscles do is pull one end closer to another end. When you train, picture what the muscle insertion looks like, and how you’ll bring that closer to the origin.”

- Ben Pakulski, Former Pro Bodybuilder

6. Bent-Over Row

Areas targeted: Lower back

Frequency: 2 sets; 10 reps

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the weighted bar with both hands horizontally across your thighs.
  2. Push your hips backward and lean your trunk forward until your body is at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Allow your arms to dangle down from your shoulders so that the body bar is also hanging directly below them.
  4. Engage your back muscles and pull your elbows in toward your body.
  5. Press your shoulder blades together as you bring the weighted bar toward your waist.

Other types of exercises:

7. Single-Arm Row

woman doing a single arm row with a body bar

Areas targeted: Entire back, shoulders, arms

Frequency: 2 sets, 8 repetitions on each side

  1. Stand at hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip the weighted bars with your right hand next to your hip and keep it parallel to the floor.
  3. Bring your left foot forward about a couple of feet and plant your foot on the ground. Keep your right foot planted as well.
  4. Maintain a flat back and rest your left hand on your left thigh for stability.
  1. Let your right arm hang directly below your shoulder. At this point, the weighted bar must be parallel with your upper body, which is leaning forward.
  2. Pull up your elbow behind your body, tightening your back muscles as you go. Stop when the weighted bar touches your body.
  3. Lower the weighted bar back down and do the same for the opposite side.

8. Bicep Curls

Areas targeted: Arms

Frequency: 2 sets; 10 repetitions

  1. Stand at a hip distance apart and keep your knees soft.
  2. Hold the weighted bar over your shoulders in front of your neck, with your palms facing forward and your elbows folded.
  3. Press the weighted bar up over your head and stop before your elbows straighten.
  4. Lower the weighted bar.

9. Chest Press

man doing chest press with a body bar

Areas targeted: Pecs

Frequency: 3 sets; 15 repetitions

If you’re using light weighted bars, insert eight pushups between each set to burn out your pecs.

Working out your chest muscles is important because they are responsible for the movement of your arms across, up, and down the body, as well as other gestures like flexion, adduction, and rotation [1].

  1. Lie on the ground (or on a bench) with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold the weighted bar using both hands across your chest such that your palms are facing towards your hips, and your elbows are bent and tucked into your sides.
  3. Bring the weighted bar up directly over your chest and stop just before your elbows completely straighten.
  4. Bring the weighted bar to your chest again.

10. Hip Thrusters

Areas targeted: Hamstrings, glutes

Frequency: 1 set; 10 repetitions

  1. Lie on your back with bent knees and your feet planted on the floor.
  2. Keep your feet shoulder-distance apart and hold the weighted bar over your hips with both hands.
  3. Thrust your hips upwards, putting the weight on your heels. Ensure that your upper body remains flat on the ground.
  4. Once you've maximized the movement, squeeze your glutes tight and return to the starting position without fully resting your lower back on the floor.

Other types of exercises:

What’s Your Favorite Body Bar Exercise?

If your strength training is becoming less challenging, maybe it’s time for you to add a body bar workout to your routine.

This versatile fitness tool can help turn your repetitive training session into an explosive one with this wide array of moves. Also, don't forget to try our recommended supplements:

Couple weighted bars with a few core workouts, cardio, or HIIT, and you’re well on your way to scoring toned and powerful muscles.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

2 thoughts on “10 Creative Weighted Body Bar Exercises To Spice Up Your Workout

  1. Great workout. I got in the best shape of my life doing very similar moves of these exercise bar workouts along with some martial arts moves. Y I gained a few pounds as a result of ailments, but I’m going to start afresh with your workout. Thanks!

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *