Back Exercises

20 Muscle-Building Bar Exercises That Are Insanely Effective

Try these killer bodyweight moves at a playground or on parallel bars in the gym.

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They don't call it a jungle gym for nothing. Jon Hinds, owner of the Monkey Bar Gym, says monkey bars are one of the most effective and versatile workout tools you probably never think to utilize. They can accommodate tons of bodyweight exercises, they're available to pretty much anyone within distance of a playground or park, and they're adaptable for athletes of every fitness level, Hinds says. 

Below you'll find 20 different examples of moves that will hone a trimmer, fitter body overall, while targeting and highlighting specific muscle groups and weaknesses. Hinds has suggested reps and sets, but note the ranges are flexible. At first, these will seriously challenge your flexibility, grip strength, and overall strength—so you'll probably err on the lighter side of reps and sets and the longer side of rest.

"Rest on each exercise is dependent on your ability to repeat the same reps again," Hinds says. "When working at high levels, this is usually 3-5 minutes of rest between sets; when working at easier levels and intensities, you may only rest 30 seconds to a minute." More rest will translate into strength, while less rest will give you much more of a pump and aid in developing muscle size and strength, he adds.

So, fire up Google Maps, and locate the nearest playground. Don't want to face the elements? No problem. Many gyms have monkey bar or parallel bars, which will work for most (not all) of these moves, as will a pullup bar. 

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Amp Up Your Pullup 

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