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.
- 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:
Areas targeted: Entire lower body muscles, core
Frequency: 3 sets; 10 reps
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bar on upper back
- Grip bar ends, elbows in
- Push hips back, bend knees, and put weight on heels
- Stand up and squeeze glutes at parallel
Areas targeted: Entire lower body
Frequency: 3 sets; 10 reps on each side
- Feet hip-width, bar on back
- Step forward, bend your knees, and lower gently
- Press up from the front heel
- Repeat other side
3. Warrior Lift
Areas targeted: Legs, core
Frequency: 1 set; 5 reps on each side
- Hold bar overhead, step forward, and bend right knee
- Lower bar, straighten right leg, and lift left leg back
- Return to lunge
4. Standing Overhead Press
Areas targeted: Shoulders
Frequency: 2 sets; 12 reps
- Stand hip-width, bar at collar bones
- Press the bar up, arms 90% extended
- Lower the bar and resume the starting position
5. Calf Raises
Areas targeted: Legs
Frequency: 3 sets; 20 reps
- Bar on shoulders
- Stand with soft knees
- 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
6. Bent-Over Row
Areas targeted: Lower back
Frequency: 2 sets; 10 reps
- Stand hip-width and hold a bar across your thighs
- Hinge forward and dangle your arms
- Engage back, pull elbows in, and squeeze shoulder blades
Other types of exercises:
7. Single-Arm Row
Areas targeted: Entire back, shoulders, and arms
Frequency: 2 sets, 8 repetitions on each side
- Stand hip-width with slightly bent knees
- Grip bar with right hand, left foot forward
- Keep back flat, pull elbow back
- Lower bar, switch sides
8. Bicep Curls
Areas targeted: Arms
Frequency: 2 sets; 10 repetitions
- Stand with hip-width, soft knees
- Hold the bar at shoulder height, palms forward
- Press up and stop before elbows straighten
- Lower bar
9. Chest Press
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 .
- Lie down, knees bent, feet flat
- Hold bar across chest, palms facing hips
- Press bar up, stop before elbows straighten
- Lower bar
10. Hip Thrusters
Areas targeted: Hamstrings, glutes
Frequency: 1 set; 10 repetitions
- Lie back, knees bent
- Hold bar over hips
- Thrust hips up, squeeze glutes
- Return, keeping lower back off floor
Other types of exercises:
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