Radmila Vasic
Published by Radmila Vasic
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: February 5, 2021

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

Enter the weighted body bar.

This humble fitness tool adds a balancing component to the standard exercises you know, making them more challenging and interesting.

Here are the best body bar exercises you can add to your routine.

10 Best Body Bar Exercises

1. Squat

woman doing back squats with a body bar

Areas targeted: Entire lower body, core

Frequency: 3 sets; 10 reps

  1. Standing at shoulder-width apart, hold the weighted bar across the top of your back.
  2. Grip the ends of the 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 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 on the other side.
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3. Warrior Lift

woman doing a warrior lift with a body bar

Areas targeted: Legs, core

Frequency: 1 set; 5 reps 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 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 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 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 up 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 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 bar towards 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 each side

  1. Stand at hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip the body bar 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 to 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 bar touches your body.
  3. Lower the 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 hip-distance apart and keep your knees soft.
  2. Hold the bar over your shoulders in front of your neck, with your palms facing forward and your elbows folded.
  3. Press the bar up over your head and stop before your elbows totally straighten.
  4. Lower the bar down.

9. Chest Press

man doing chest press with a body bar

Areas targeted: Pecs

Frequency: 3 sets; 15 repetitions

If you’re using a light body bar, 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 bar up directly over your chest and stop just before your elbows completely straighten.
  4. Bring the 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 in your heels. Ensure that your upper back 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.

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


References:

  1. https://www.verywellfit.com/your-best-chest-1229817https://www.verywellfit.com/your-best-chest-1229817

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