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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11. Assisted Pistols

How to do it: Stand with your left foot about one foot away from a vertical pole (attached to the monkey bars). With your arms straight, hold onto the bar at hip height, and raise your right leg out in front (to the side of the pole). Make sure you extend through your heel as you squat butt to heel.
Reps: 5 (work up to 10 as you progress) each side
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. 

Note: When you can complete 10 reps and sets, increase the reps, add weight, or lose the bar.

12. Ice Cream Makers

How to do it: This movement is similar to the lever. You’ll assume an overhand grip a little bit wide than shoulder-width. Pull your body up to the top position of a standard pullup. Keeping your body rigid, drop back a bit, straighten your arms and elevate your hips; your body should be one straight line parallel to the ground and arms fully locked out. Make sure your toes are pointed, and lats and abs are flexed. Then quickly rotate back to the top of the position. 
Reps: 5
Sets: 5
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min. 

13. Body Rows (No Legs)

How to do it: This movement is similar to a bent-knee lever hold, except once your knees and elbows are practically touching, you’ll straighten and lift your legs up toward the sky. Make sure to keep your torso parallel to the ground. From here, complete a row so your chest comes up toward the bar, then return to the straight arm position. You’ll keep your legs vertical and body horizontal the entire time. 
Reps: 5
Sets: 5 (work up to 10 as you progress)
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30sec to 1min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5min.   

Note: The video illustrates the exercie on a suspension system, but the movement is exactly the same; you'll just execute on a horizontal bar. 

14. Typewriters

How to do it: If you're starting from the right, pull up toward your right hand. With your right arm bent and left arm straight, push over to the left side (focus on using your right tricep to push from the right and your left bicep to pull to the left). Complete a negative by slowly letting your bent left arm down. Now, pull up toward the left, reversing the movements. That's one rep.


Reps: 5
Sets: 5
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min.   

15. Bar Hangs

How to do it: Using a wide, overhand grip, simply dead hang from a bar for the recommended duration. Doing this daily will improve grip strength and balance from wrists to shoulders, Hinds says.
Duration: 30 sec (increasing the duration by 10 second intervals as you progress)
Sets: 5
Rest: Beginners completing fewer sets can take 30 sec to 1 min; advanced athletes completing higher sets take 3-5 min. 

“When you’re just beginning, do 1 or 2 sets of bar hangs daily, working your way up to staying on the bar for up to 10 minutes without coming down,” Hinds says.  

SEE ALSO: 7 Best Barbell Moves for Building a Big Back 

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