Offering fat-burning and muscle-toning benefits, body bar exercises are a great addition to any workout, says Lucy Miller.

Whether you’re new to the weight room or you’re a pro on the squat rack, you don’t always have to load the bar up with plates just to get an efficient workout. These body bar exercises utilize an unloaded bar, allowing you to move seamlessly from one exercise to the next without having to fuss with plates, for a full-body HIIT that’s both fun and effective.

How to do these body bar exercises:

Before starting these body bar exercises, first complete a thorough warm-up to prepare your body for the moves ahead. Then, work through the rep ranges according to your ability.

3 best body bar exercises:

  1. Front squat
  2. High pull
  3. Deadbug

Keep reading for full exercise instructions.

woman demonstrates front squat body bar  exercises front squat demonstration

Front squat

Benefits: A great lower-body move for developing muscular endurance and stronger legs – especially the quads.

Muscles worked: Abs, shoulders, arms, core, thighs, hamstrings and bottom.

Reps and sets:

Beginners 3 x 10 reps
Intermediates 3 x 12 reps
Advanced 4 x 15 reps

How to do a body bar front squat:

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold the barbell in a front rack position, with elbows high and your shoulders acting as a shelf for the bar.
  • Lower into a deep squat for three counts.
  • Return to standing after you reach your full depth by pushing through your heels and then squeezing your glutes at the top.
high pull demonstrationwoman demonstrates high pull body bar exercises

High pull

Benefits: A great upper-body move that will work your shoulders and triceps as well as your upper back.

Muscles worked: Shoulders, arms, upper back and core

Reps and sets:

Beginners 3 x 10 reps
Intermediates 3 x 12 reps
Advanced 3 x 20 reps

How to do a body bar high pull:

  • Stand with heels hip-distance apart and hold the bar close to your body.
  • Without swinging your body, bend your arms and drive your elbows up high towards the ceiling to pull the barbell up to just below your chin.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.
deadbug demonstration woman demonstrates deadbug body bar exercises


Benefits: This move is great for the core and abs. Holding the bar above your chest also works your arms and shoulders and keeps the entire torso strong and sturdy.

Muscles worked: Shoulders, arms, upper back and core

Reps and sets:

Beginners 3 x 15 reps
Intermediates 3 x 20 reps
Advanced 4 x 20 reps

How to do a body bar deadbug:

  • Lie on your back holding the bar directly above your chest. Bring your legs up and bend them up so they are in a tabletop position at a right angle.
  • Keeping your upper body stationery and arms straight above you, slowly lower and straighten your left leg out so it’s straight. Then, without allowing it to touch the floor, pause before bringing it back into the table top position.
  • Repeat on the right leg, really lengthening the leg as you straighten it towards the floor. Slowly bring it back, then repeat again on your left leg.