One of the best ways to shape up and add muscle definition to your body is to start strength training. This doesn’t mean you need to head to the closest gym and start training for a bodybuilding competition - all this means is that you should use some form of weight, whether it’s your own body weight, during exercise at least two times per week.
An easy way to add weight to your exercise routine is to purchase a body bar. These weighted bars are long and easy to grip, much like the barbells you find at gyms. The difference is that instead of adding weight to the ends of the barbell, the bar itself is weighted, ranging in size from 3 pounds to about 40 pounds each.
Keeping a couple of these bars on-hand at home (typically mid-range weights, between 10 and 20 pounds) enables you to add weight to standard exercises such as squats and lunges, while also providing you with a tool to perform upper body strengthening moves such as bicep curls, shoulder presses, and chest presses.
Expect to spend between $30 and $60 for most mid-range body bars. Here are the 10 best weighted body bar exercises that can be done at home.
Strengthen your entire lower body and core as you perform the squat exercise. Front squats are a little trickier than back squats because they involve holding the weighted bar across the front of your shoulders. This allows you to keep your torso a little more upright, making them more quad-dominant than back squats.
However, they also require more upper body flexibility. If you’ve mastered back squats, squats could be your next challenge. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, continuing to perform reps until the last one or two are almost too hard to perform.
Like the squat, the lunge targets your entire lower body while also challenging your balance and coordination. Like squats, lunges work all of your lower body muscles. However, lunges are a unilateral exercise, which means you’ll be using one leg at a time.
This is good for hip mobility and balance, as well as working your leg muscles. Lunges are especially useful for runners, as the movement is very similar. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps so that the last one or two reps of a single set are almost too difficult to perform.
The curtsy lunge is like the standard lunge, but it targets the abductors more - the muscles that run along the outside of your hips and thighs. You do need to be especially cautious about form, as the position is slightly awkward, so perform the move while looking into a mirror the first few times you do it. Do two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
The deadlift targets the glutes and hamstrings. Unlike deadlifts done with a barbell, weighted bar deadlifts start from the standing position. Why? Because with no weight plates on the floor it would be impractical to lift your body bar off the floor.
Think of this exercise as a top-down deadlift rather than a conventional ground-up deadlift. Pay close attention to form, remembering that this is not a back exercise. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Get strong legs by adding weight to your standard calf raise. Perform three sets of 20 to 30 repetitions.
It’s tough to target your back when exercising at home, but the bent-over row is a great exercise for this purpose. Bent-over rows work your lats, mid-traps, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, and biceps.
Your legs and lower back also get a workout. Take care not to round your back when you do this exercise, which could lead to injury. Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
The single arm row is very similar to the bent-over row, but it allows you to target each side of your body unilaterally, evening out muscle imbalances. Challenge your chest, shoulders, and triceps again by doing this exercise with just one arm.
This will increase not only the weight but also the demand for stability and balance. You’ll also feel this exercise more in your core. Perform two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions on each side.
For rocking arms, you can’t beat the biceps curl. Biceps curls are one of the most popular exercises on the planet. Get the most from this move by keeping your core tight, your upper arms pinned to your sides, and not using your legs or back to help you lift the weight.
That would be cheating. Take it up a notch by adding weight with a body bar. Perform two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Get ready by adding weight to your shoulder routine. The shoulder press is just one movement you can do with the body bar. Start by performing two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
While the chest press is traditionally performed on a bench, there’s no reason you can’t perform one on the floor. Alternates between a set of chest presses and a set of pushups to really burn out your pecs.
Most body bars alone aren’t heavy enough to really target this muscle group. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions with a set of 8 pushups performed between each set of presses.
While there are lots of ways to add strength training to your fitness routine, a body bar is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment that’s easy to add to your home gym. These 10 exercises are just several ways to incorporate a body bar into your workout, and with a little creativity, you’re bound to come up with an endless array of fresh moves.
Just round out any routine with a few core exercises and don’t forget to exercise your heart with cardio or high-intensity training moves. Of all the strength training equipment out there, a body bar is one of the simplest to use.
While other tools, like kettlebells or resistance bands, may take a workout or two to get used to, most people feel comfortable picking up a body bar right from the start. Whether you’ve used one in a fitness class or want to incorporate one into your at-home workout, there’s a variety of body bar exercises to help keep things interesting.
The body bar is a slender, four-foot-long metal pole that’s wrapped in foam and typically ranges in weight from 3 to 36 pounds. If you’re used to lifting dumbbells, the body bar will probably feel natural to you. This workout tool is ideal for taking traditional exercises you’re already familiar with - like squats, curls, and rows - and making them more challenging by adding a balance component that also recruits your abdominals and core stabilizers.
If you’re at the gym, you may have a variety of weighted bars to choose from on the bench press. Pick one that’s light enough for you to keep the bar steady throughout the exercise but fatigues your muscles during the last few reps, making it difficult for you to maintain proper form.
Generally, beginners should start with a three or six-pound bar. Once you’ve reached a more intermediate level, try a nine or twelve-pound bar, working toward training with 24, 30, and 36-pound options. Weighted bars, also called body bars, are very useful exercise tools.
Where barbells are usually adjustable and loaded with weight plates, weighted bars are fixed weights and cannot be adjusted. Covered with a layer of foam for enhanced grip and comfort, you can use a body bar to work just about every part of your body.
Because they are very simple, body bars tend to be cheaper than barbells, making them perfect for home use. You can use a weighted bar to replicate most barbell exercises and even use them for fat-burning and cardio fitness boosting complexes.
They make an excellent addition to circuit training workouts and can be used in conjunction with bodyweight and dumbbell exercises or even used on their own. In short, weighted bars are very versatile.
When buying a weighted body bar, it is crucial to determine your level and experience to decide the weight that would suit you. If you’re a beginner, it is best to start with low to mid-range body bars (5 pounds to 8 pounds).
However, if you have some strength training experience, you can try 10 pounds to 12 pounds. If you’re a fitness and workout veteran, you can choose one over 15 pounds.
If you plan to add some weight to your regular exercise routine, you can purchase weighted body bars of 6 pounds to 15 pounds. However, if your aim is an intense workout or to build muscles, you can choose up to 15 pounds to 30 pounds.
Experience plays an important role too, so consider that before you pick up the heaviest weighted bar. Make it a point to start with body bars that weigh lower so that you don’t hurt your muscles using a heavy-weighted body bar.
The way you use your weighted body bar depends on the type of exercise you perform. For most exercises like squats, deadlifts, bicep curls, etc. you can use them like you would with other equipment like a barbell or dumbbells. Working out can be fun when you find workout instruments that are easy to integrate with your workout routine and are easy to use.