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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6. Bar Dips

How to do it: To dip, you need to get your upper body above the monkey bars and your hips even with them. You can do this by executing a muscleup, an around-the-world type movement, or simply climbing up the ladder and positioning yourself. Grasp the main parallel bars. Lower your body so your arms make 90-degree angles and your chest is parallel to the bars, then extend up fully.
Reps: 5 (work up to 10 as you progress)
Sets: 5 (work up to 10 as you progress)
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min. 

7. Bar Muscleups

How to do it: There are about 14 basic ways to execute muscleups, Hinds says: close grip, wide grip, split grip, overhand grip, underhand grip, narrow grip, switching grips, walk ups, so on and so forth. But the basic bar muscleup is based off a kipping pullup first and foremost. 

Start with your hands in an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull your legs back slightly, then forcefully pull your chest over the bar. As your chest is above the bar, extend your arms straight so that your waist is roughly in line with the bar and your body is still above it. Drop back down using momentum, then pull back up. “When done properly, you can float over the bar to the top position without hardly bending your arms at all,” Hinds says. 

Reps: 1-5 with good form
Sets: Try to get as close to 10 as you can.
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min. 

8. Skin the Cat

How to do it: Beginners should first learn how to do a front lever. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Pull your legs and hips up, while simultaneously leaning back. Your knees should be tucked and touching your elbows, and your back should be rounded. Now, slowly extend your legs out, keeping them together as you straighten them completely. Keep your core engaged the entire time, and pull down so your arms are now extended, too. 

Skin the cat begins like a front lever, only you keep your knees bent and skip the last leg extension step. Instead, you bring your legs between your arms (think of threading them through) all the way until your feet are hanging underneath your body. You’ll rotate as far as you can forward, then reverse the rotation until you’re back in the original hanging position.

Reps: 5 (work up to 10 as you progress)
Sets: 5 (work up to 10 as you progress)
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min. 

9. Hanging Leg Raises

How to do it: Starting from a pullup position and bring your knees to your elbows (not knees to arm pits).
Reps: 5
Sets: 10
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min. 

When you can complete 10x5, complete hanging leg raises with your legs straight, keeping them straight as you touch your feet to the bar.

10. Windshield Wipers

How to do it: These are similar to hanging leg raises, only when your legs are ¾ of the way up to the bar, begin to move them side to side—like windshield wipers. Keep the movement slow as you laterally rotate as far as you can control to your left, then right.
Reps: 5 each side
Sets: Try to get as close to 10 as you can.
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min. 

SEE ALSO: 8 Best Cable Exercises for a Big Back 

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