The seven best exercises you can do in the gym with a bar

At the time of exercising in the gym, dumbbells and kettlebells with the accessories most demanded by most people for its easy handling and the ability to work unilaterally. But when it comes to testing our global strength, nothing like bars and discs.

By allowing us to move greater weights than dumbbells, the bars will provide us with great strength gains with simple yet effective exercises that should not be missed in any routine, although unfortunately in gymnasiums there are usually more dumbbells than of bars, so working with bars can be complicated.

To consider before working with bars

Inside a gym there are different types of weights and different types of bars: the Olympic, which weighs 20 kilos and a shorter one whose weight is half, that is, 10 kilos. In this way, if we were not able to raise the Olympic bar, we could start working with the “short version” of this one or, failing that, we will always have the dumbbells to acquire a stronger base of strength before going to work with bars.

For certain movements such as the military Press, using the Olympic entrance bar can be too difficult and end up provoking an injury , so start using dumbbells or the 10-kilogram short bar.

Starting point: calibrating our general level of strength

In order to perform the most effective work possible in terms of strength training, we are going to have two ways of working: depending on our RM (maximum weight that we can use to perform a single repetition) or based on our perception of the effort or RIR or RER method (Repetitions In Reserve or Repetitions In Reserve).

  • 1RM method : as we saw in the article of the “1RM Vs RIR”, the main difficulty with which we will find when working with this method is the absence or availability of a partner to help us when calculating our 1RM , since at that moment we will be working at maximum intensities and we have the danger that the bar will come on us.
  • Method of perception of effort or RIR : the only thing that we will need to work based on this method is to be honest and honest with ourselves when quantifying the degree of perceived effort and whether or not we can perform more repetitions than those performed.

Dead weight

One of the best exercises we can do with a bar in the gym to build muscle massand gain strength. There are those who locate this exercise in the back section and those who see it more focused on working the lower train. Be that as it may, it is one of the exercises that, except for injury or functional limitation, should not be lacking in your routine.

Press bench with reverse grip

The Press bench is, along with the dominated , possibly one of the exercises that more density and breadth will provide our torso. Unlike other exercises performed with bar, the Press bench allows us to work in three different ways depending on the angle we want: Press bench flat, Press white inclined and Press white declined.

But in this case, by modifying the traditional prone grip of the bench press by an inverse or supine grip, we will be able to recruit more muscle fibers of the upper pectoral than by performing the exercise in the traditional way.

Military Press

For this exercise, which will work mainly shoulders , I recommend using whenever possible and until you have a base of strength, the short bar of 10 kilos, since as a rule we usually have weak shoulders and it is very easy for us to be injured if we underestimate our abilities.

The main problem that we can find when working the military Press of standing with a bar is that we carry excessive weight and, consequently, we end up arching our backs to compensate for the strength deficit. This implies a high risk of injury to our back, so it is best to be conservative about the weight we use.

Rack pull

The Rack pull is a variant of the dead weight that allows us to center all the action or almost all the action of the movement in the back, since we go from a much more comfortable position for us to avoid having to “take off” the bar of the soil (what we know as “mechanical advantage”).


One of the great classics when working strength. Focused on working the quadriceps musculature, it will give us mass and power if we work it regularly.

One of the keys for the squats to become a great exercise and not cause injuries is to maintain the alignment of the head-shoulders-hip axis and try to keep our core compact throughout the movement.

Rowing or rowing with landmine

This variation of the oar we can define it as a mixture between the rowing paddle and the rowing paddle. Quiázs the main problem that we can find in a gym at the time of working this exercise is the lack of accessories to do it, so the most common solution is to place the Olympic bar on the floor against a corner and use it as a stop.

We will load the discs on the tip of the bar (hence the name) and with a V grip or closed grip of those used for the pull to the chest, we will proceed to perform the lift as if a roundabout was the movement.

Press Z

And here, a new exercise that you can introduce in your routines that will help you work the muscles of the shoulders (the main movement is the same as that of a military Press), but it will also help us to strengthen the core musculature in both the previous section and the back: the Z Press.

The exercise can be done either in a cage or without external help, so that for the starting position, we sit on the floor keeping the back as straight as possible (compacting our entire core) while we perform the Movement of the military Press. Our back should remain straight at all times and the core maintain tension, in such a way that we avoid falling shoulders, back arches and, in short, the loss of total tension throughout the body.

This exercise acquires its name from the Lithuanian athlete Zydrunas Savickas (winner of several Arnold Strongman contests or the Strongest Man in the World among others).

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