How to Use a Weighted Workout Bar: 5 Killer Exercises
Are you exercising at home more than ever before? Well, you’re not the only one! Almost 70% of Americans say they no longer need a gym to hit their fitness goals anymore.
According to the same source, more than 50% are planning to cancel their gym membership for that reason. Those are crazy statistics, but they shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, thanks to the endless home-workouts and gym equipment around nowadays, it’s never been easier to stay in shape at home.
Take the humble weighted workout bar. It’s the perfect example of a versatile bit of kit that’s ideal for at-home workouts. Also known as body or torsion bars, these clever contraptions range in heaviness, are easy to store, and can be used in numerous ways to increase your strength and improve your physique.
First, though, you have to learn how to use a weighted bar in ways that are conducive to your goals! Want some help in that regard? Keep reading to discover 5 epic weighted bar exercises to try right now.
1. High Bar Back Squats
As a compound movement (one that uses multiple muscle groups at the same time), squats are one of the most important exercises in any gym-goer’s repertoire! Include it in your workouts to target your core, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and overall strength.
Start with the bar across the top of your shoulders, your feet hip-width apart, and toes angled outward. Grip the bar with your palms facing forward, tuck your elbows into your body, and keep your body weight shifted onto your heels. From there, all that’s left to do is bend your knees, lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel with the ground, and then stand back up (bringing your hips forward and squeezing your butt together at the top)!
Top tip: You could also drop the bar to a lower position to do what’s called a ‘low bar squat’ instead. In this variation, the weighted bar would rest on your posterior deltoid instead of the tops of your shoulders. The technique involved is all-but identical aside from that distinction.
2. Front Squats
Want to incorporate another squat technique into your home workouts? Switch to a front squat. It’s another great way to target your hamstrings, quads, and glutes.
This time, though, place your feet approximately hip-width apart and hold your weighted workout bar in front of you, with an overhand grip. You then raise the bar up so it rests across the front of your shoulders, at the very top of your chest. Your upper arms should be parallel to the ground, elbows pointing forward, and palms facing to the ceiling.
Then all you have to do is repeat a standard squat as we described above!
Deadlifts are another compound exercise that’ll get you huffing, puffing, and panting in no time. However, the technique can also be tricky to get right and (just like squats) can cause injuries if you rush them, try to lift too heavy, and/or do the technique wrong. Once you master them, though, deadlifts will work your hamstrings, glutes, core, lower back, and overall strength!
Begin with the bar in front of you, the same overhand grip as before, and your feet hip-width apart. From there, lower down into the starting position: your knees bent to 45 degrees, hips backward, with your butt sticking out behind and your back straight. Your arms should be straight, the bar should be in front of your shins, and your chest should be almost parallel to the ground.
To complete the movement itself, you have to ‘stand up’ by pulling your shoulder blades together, engaging your butt muscles, and driving upward and forward with your hips. You then reverse that exact process into the starting position to complete the rep.
4. Hip Thrusters
Ready to engage your core, butt, and hamstrings again? It’s time for some beloved hip thrusters. This is another simple yet effective exercise that's perfect for your weighted workout bar.
Start by laying on the ground (feel free to put a mat down for some padding) on your back. Place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, and tucked in toward your butt. If you’re doing it right, then your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
Next, pop the bar across your hips and hold onto it with your hands. Then (while leaving your upper back on the ground), push off your heels and bring your hips toward the sky. Finish the thrust by squeezing your butt at the top, before lowering yourself back down.
5. Bent Over Rows
With your lower body well and truly worked, let’s move onto your upper body. Bent over rows are a brilliant exercise for building the strength in your upper back, biceps, and forearms to boot. Here’s how you do them:
Hold the weighted exercise bar with an overhand grip in front of your body. Your feet should be around hip-width apart; your hands should be located approximately shoulder-width apart on the bar. Next, keep your back straight and bend forward at the hips, letting the bar hang down toward the ground (feel free to bend your knees a bit to aid balance).
The move itself involves pulling the bar back up toward you until it hits your ribcage. However, try to really pinch your shoulder blades together at the top and keep your elbows tucked in at all times. Likewise, remember to lower the bar back down slowly to get all the benefits of the negative part of the movement.
Remember How to Use a Weighted Workout Bar
There’s been a huge shift toward at-home workouts during the pandemic. With the gyms shut and time on our hands, we’ve had no choice but to bring our exercises into the comfort of our own home!
Have you done the same and purchased a weighted workout bar to help? Well, we don’t blame you. These versatile pieces of home gym equipment are great for whole-body strength training.
With any luck, the exercises we’ve been through in this post will help you get the most out of it. Would you like to buy a weighted bar to add to your home gym? Click here now!