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Bridal Fitness on Paper - Body Bar Exercises Monday, October 22, 2012 ~ 9:15 a.m.

You may or may not have seen the body bar at your gym before, but it's a pretty simple fitness tool. I imagine that it evolved from the traditional bar and circle weights that bodybuilders often use. Only the body bar is easier to use and maneuver because all of your weight is built into the bar itself; no extra bulky circle weights necessary. Personally, I think it's a great tool for women, in particular, who may be intimidated by the idea of laying down on the bench to weight lift. Hoisting that giant metal bar and weights up over my chest just makes me nervous!

In contrast, the body bar is covered in a soft rubber material, 4 feet in length and comes in a variety of weights from 9 pounds, to 12, 15, 24 pounds and more. Selecting the right body bar really depends on what you plan to do with it, but I tend to go for the 15 pound body bar myself, since I'm usually holding it with both hands. If you're doing some one-armed exercises, you'll go lighter, and if you're planning on doing some squats, you may go for an even heavier bar.

Now that you're familiar with the body bar, the trick is knowing how to use it. This blog post idea actually came to me the other day when I was at the gym, staring at this simple piece of equipment. I wanted to use it, but I had trouble thinking of some clever ways to use it beyond your standard bicep curls. When you're at the gym, you want to keep moving; you don't want to stop and have to think about what exercises to do! For that reason, I think pieces of equipment like the body bar can get passed up a lot at the gym. People aren't entirely sure what to do with it, and they don't want to have to stop and think about it too much.

So today, I'm sharing a collection of resistance training, toning exercises using the awesome body bar. You'll have to excuse me, because not all of the exercises listed have accompanying photos, but I still thought that they were good enough to include here!

Bridal Fitness on Paper - Body Bar Exercises

Body bar exercises

1. Steering Wheel:
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding bar with both hands in front of thighs, palms facing in. Raise extended arms to shoulder level with elbows slightly bent and then rotate bar counterclockwise so that right hand is directly above left hand. Rotate bar clockwise so that left hand is above right hand to complete 1 rep. Complete 15 reps.

2. Pizza Server Curl:
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding bar with both hands in front of thighs, palms facing forward. Bend elbows 90 degrees to lift bar to waist level. Complete 15 reps.

3. Rotator Curl:
Stand with feet hip-width apart, gripping center of bar with left hand, arms by sides, palms facing in. Bend left elbow 90 degrees so that forearm is at waist level and bar is perpendicular to floor. Keeping elbow bent by ribs, rotate left forearm out to left side. Return forearm to forward position to complete 1 rep. Do 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.

4. Three-for-One:
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding bar with both hands in front of thighs, palms facing in. Bend elbows to curl bar toward chest and then extend arms overhead. Release left hand so that you hold the bar with right hand only. Rotate bar left so that right palm faces left and bar is parallel to floor. Repeat on other side; complete 18 reps total.

Squat with Swimmers Press:
Begin standing with feet together and bar in both hands, palms forward, with arms curled and bar right at your shoulders. Step out to the side with your right foot and squat. Then as you straighten your legs, press the bar up over your head and straighten your arms. Move back to starting standing position and repeat on left side, alternating for 18 total reps.

Body Bar Rows:
Stand with feet shoulders length apart, and body bar in both hands with your palms facing in toward you. Start with your arms down and straight in front of you, and then raise the bar to just beneath your chin. Your elbows should bend and go out away from your body as you raise the bar. Repeat 15 times.

Press and Lunge:
Begin standing with your feet together and bar in both hands, palms forward and arms bent so that the bar just underneath your chin. Step backward with your right foot into a full lunge while raising your bar up over your head. Return to standing, and repeat on left side. Complete a total of 18 repetitions.

Body bar exercises

5. Bar Bridge:
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor about 1 to 2 feet in front of your butt. Place a bar on your hips and hold it still with your hands. Press up with your glutes, forming a straight line between knees and shoulders, and keep your hips even. Hold for a count of 10. Return to start. Repeat 12 to 15 times.

6. Stork Curl and Leg Extension:
Stand holding the bar at your hips with a shoulder-width grip, palms forward. Draw your left knee up, bending it 90 degrees, and curl the bar to your shoulders as you straighten your left leg. Bend the leg back to 90 degrees and lower. Repeat with right leg. Alternate for 12 total reps.

7. Warrior Lift:
Hold the bar overhead with hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward. Then step into a wide lunge (right knee bent, left leg straight, and left foot turned out). Lower the bar while straightening your right leg, and then lift your left leg straight behind you while you simultaneously lift the bar in front of you. Return to the lunge stance and do five reps per side.

8. Lying Triceps-Abs Combo:
Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees. Hold the bar with a narrow grip, palms facing your body. Bend your elbows until the bar is just above your forehead, so palms now face the ceiling. Then press the bar up and extend your left leg to 6 inches off the floor. Lower the bar back toward your forehead and return legs to start, alternating for 12 total reps.

Weighted Plie:
Begin with your feet wider than shoulders length apart, with your feet turned out. Hold the body bar in both hands in front of your chest with your palms facing out and away from you. Holding the bar in place, bend your knees and squat, keeping your knees going out to the sides (like you would in ballet). Complete 15 repetitions.

Seated Ab Twist:
Begin sitting down with your legs out in front of you, slightly bent and the body bar in both hands (palms out) beneath your chin. Lean back slightly to engage your abs (keeping your legs relaxed), and then rotate upper body to the right while keeping the body bar in front of your chest as you move. Rotate back to center, and lift the body bar up over your head. Move back to starting position before repeating the rotation on the left side. Complete a total of 18 reps.

Body Bar Roll Up:
Begin sitting down with your legs straight out in front of you, holding your body bar straight out in front of you, palms facing down. Begin rolling down slowly still holding the bar out in front of you, with the curl starting in your lower back (hitting the floor first) and tucking your belly in. Once you're laying flat on the floor, your body bar should be above your head, hovering just a few inches from the floor. Move the body bar back up over your chest so that it's perpendicular to the floor, then begin to roll up once more, from the top down, keeping your lower back on the floor as long as possible. Complete 10 roll ups.

Image and Exercise Credits: Fitness magazine and Womens Health magazine

Bridal Fitness on Paper is a weekly blog series posted every Monday, where I share and review a wide variety of cardio and resistance training workouts, both inside the gym and out. Bridal Fitness on Paper is meant to help guide brides along their weight loss journey all the way to the altar and beyond! All of the reviews posted are based on my own experience; I am not a fitness or nutrition professional, and am not liable for any injuries incurred while trying any of the workouts that I share here on A Paper Proposal. If you're curious about a specific workout, and you'd like for me to review it, please do leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at Sarah - at - apaperproposal - dot - com.

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