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

Radmila Vasic
Published by Radmila Vasic | Contributor
Last updated: December 8, 2023
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As an MMA fighter and trainer, I've found that incorporating a weighted bar can really elevate traditional bodyweight and dumbbell routines. The extra weight adds a balance challenge, making exercises more demanding yet exciting.

These weighted bar exercises are a staple in my training, enhancing both my strength and balance, essential for my fights.

They're also perfect for beginners looking to step up their game.

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

Weighted body bars are among the simplest pieces of strength training equipment to use, are suitable for beginners and can add a balance component to traditional exercises like squats and rows, enhancing core engagement​.

Here are the best ones:

1. Squat

Woman doing a squat

Areas targeted: Entire lower body muscles, core

Frequency: 3 sets; 10 reps

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bar on upper back
  2. Grip bar ends, elbows in
  3. Push hips back, bend knees, and put weight on heels
  4. Stand up and squeeze glutes at parallel

Woman doing lunges2. Lunge

Areas targeted: Entire lower body

Frequency: 3 sets; 10 reps on each side

  1. Feet hip-width, bar on back
  2. Step forward, bend your knees, and lower gently
  3. Press up from the front heel
  4. Repeat other side

3. Warrior Lift

Areas targeted: Legs, core

Frequency: 1 set; 5 reps on each side

  1. Hold bar overhead, step forward, and bend right knee
  2. Lower bar, straighten right leg, and lift left leg back
  3. Return to lunge


Overhead Press4. Standing Overhead Press

Areas targeted: Shoulders

Frequency: 2 sets; 12 reps

  1. Stand hip-width, bar at collar bones
  2. Press the bar up, arms 90% extended
  3. Lower the bar and resume the starting position

5. Calf Raises

Standing Calf Raises

Areas targeted: Legs

Frequency: 3 sets; 20 reps

  1. Bar on shoulders
  2. Stand with soft knees
  3. Press feet, lift heels, and don’t touch the ground on descent

“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

resistance band bent over row6. Bent-Over Row

Areas targeted: Lower back

Frequency: 2 sets; 10 reps

  1. Stand hip-width and hold a bar across your thighs
  2. Hinge forward and dangle your arms
  3. Engage back, pull elbows in, and squeeze shoulder blades

Other types of exercises:

7. Single-Arm Row

Bent-Over Single-Arm Rows

Areas targeted: Entire back, shoulders, and arms

Frequency: 2 sets, 8 repetitions on each side

  1. Stand hip-width with slightly bent knees
  2. Grip bar with right hand, left foot forward
  3. Keep back flat, pull elbow back
  4. Lower bar, switch sides


dumbbell-bicep-curl8. Bicep Curls

Areas targeted: Arms

Frequency: 2 sets; 10 repetitions

  1. Stand with hip-width, soft knees
  2. Hold the bar at shoulder height, palms forward
  3. Press up and stop before elbows straighten
  4. Lower bar

9. Chest Press

Woman exercising on a seated chest press machine

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, and well-developed chest muscles can reduce injury risks by better stabilizing the shoulder joint and the interconnected upper limbs, as stated in a study from The American Journal of Sports Medicine [1].

  1. Lie down, knees bent, feet flat
  2. Hold bar across chest, palms facing hips
  3. Press bar up, stop before elbows straighten
  4. Lower bar

hip thrusters10. Hip Thrusters

Areas targeted: Hamstrings, glutes

Frequency: 1 set; 10 repetitions

  1. Lie back, knees bent
  2. Hold bar over hips
  3. Thrust hips up, squeeze glutes
  4. Return, keeping lower back off floor

Other types of exercises:


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20489215/
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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!

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