Workouts With a Weight Bar

by Maria Parepalo

Weight bars are part of your exercise toolkit when you're strength training or need a weight to add to your circuit training. These bars come either as one set weight, often in the form of a padded bar for easier handling, or as a loadable barbell you adjust by adding weight to the bar.

Overview

Select weight bars for a full workout, incorporating a lighter bar for your smaller muscles of your arms and shoulders, and a heavier bar -- or one onto which you can load heavier weights -- for your larger muscles, such as your back and legs. Split your workout routine into upper body and lower body workouts, and repeat each once or twice a week to fulfill the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation of two full-body strength training days each week. Repeat every move 10 to 20 times and then take a short break. Repeat the exercise two to three more times and then switch to the next move. Start with a 10-minute warm up, like jogging, walking or bicycling, to prepare your muscles for the workout. At the end of your workout, maintain your flexibility by stretching the muscles you've used.

Upper Body Workout

Upper body workouts target the muscles in your shoulders, chest, back and arms. Start with a bent-over row that works the muscles in your back. Pick a heavy weight bar and hold it with your arms hanging straight and palms facing your legs. Tighten your core and bend your body from your waist, keeping your back straight and knees bent. Pull the bar up to your waist by bending and pulling your elbows straight up. Lower and repeat. For your chest muscles, do a bench press. Pick an unloaded barbell or lighter weight bar and hold it while lying on a bench. Hold the bar above your chest with your hands one-and-a-half shoulder-width apart. Lower the bar to your chest and then push up. Repeat. For your third move, do a neck press that works the muscles of your shoulders and arms. Pick a light weight bar or unloaded barbell and place it behind your neck. Push upward until your arms are extended. Return behind your neck and repeat. Finish with triceps and biceps curls to target the muscles in your upper arms.

Lower Body Workout

Your lower body workout targets the muscles in your legs, butt, waist and hips. Start with a lunge to target your leg, butt and hip muscles. Pick a heavy weight bar and place it behind your neck, resting the bar on your shoulders, not your neck. Take a step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your left knee is almost touching the floor. Push up, return to standing and repeat with the left leg. Step-ups with the same weight further challenge your lower body. Use a block or a bench and step up to it while holding the bar behind your neck. Alternate the feet you use to step up. Other effective exercises that use a weight bar are squats and deadlifts. Work your abdominal muscles by doing a weighted crunch. Pick a light weight bar and lie on the floor with your knees bent. Hold the bar up with your arms straight. Crunch up so your upper torso rises from the floor while you hold your arms straight. Lower your body back to the floor and repeat.

Circuit-Training Workout

Circuit training is an excellent, calorie-burning work out that unites both cardiovascular and weight training. This type of training helps meets the CDC's guideline of 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Pick a low weight bar for all the moves and do each exercise move for 45 seconds. Immediately move from one exercise to another without taking breaks between exercises. The idea of circuit training is to keep your heart rate high throughout the workout. After you finish with all exercises, take a short break and then repeat the workout two more times.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.