REV YOUR METABOLISM WITH THIS EXCLUSIVE FAT-BLASTING ROUTINE DESIGNED BY MINDY MYLREA. BY KAREN ASP PHOTOGRAPHY JASON BREEZ
There’s one type of bar you can sidle up to without fear of gaining a beer belly – or the dreaded morning-after headache. Even better, this bar will actually help incinerate any pesky poundage hanging off your frame while toning and strengthening all your stubborn trouble-spots.
If you want a quick, effective strength workout, look no further than weighted bars. If you’re not familiar with these tools, they are padded bars that weigh anywhere from 2-15kg. This variety makes them perfect for targeting various parts of your body – heavier bars should be reserved for exercises that recruit large muscle groups like your lower body and back, while lighter ones should be saved for shoulder, tricep and bicep moves. And although they are designed to increase strength, there are numerous other advantages to using a weighted bar that other equipment can’t match.
Unlike working with dumbbells, you can easily change the position of the bar in your hands while in motion, adding intensity and challenging your core. “Your body has to work harder to balance the bar, requiring more muscles to fire,” says Mindy Mylrea, Body Bar master trainer, star of several Body Bar DVDs and creator of this exclusive weighted bar program.
Bars also let you perform movements that are functional in nature. “With a dumbbell, you’re in a set position,” explains Mylrea.“Yet with a weighted bar, you can do so many more movement patterns, like rotations and turns, that mimic how you move every day.” For instance, you can hold dumbbells in each hand while doing a front lunge with arms straight by your sides. With a weighted bar at the base of your neck, however, you now have the option to add a torso rotation, something you wouldn’t be able to do with your dumbbells.
How you hold the bar can increase or decrease the difficulty of a move, or alter it altogether. The bar can be held in front of your body or behind it, or one end can be placed on the ground to support your body when doing balance-based exercises. You can even rest the bar on the floor and move around it, like when jumping from one side to the other during cardio intervals. In fact, adding spurts of cardio, like those found on page 124, will speed up your fat-blasting results and increase your workout’s calorie-burn total. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to say good-bye to dumbbells for good. Many bar exercises don’t work each side of your body independently like dumbbells do. Take a biceps curl, for example: with a bar, both arms are used, but with dumbbells, you can isolate your right or left sides. Some may also find it tricky to figure out what weight to use when first working with a bar, but as with any piece of equipment, this knowledge comes with a bit of experimentation.
Stiff-legged deadlift with row
TARGET MUSCLES: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, latissimus dorsi
SET-UP: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a bar in front of your thighs with a shoulder-width, overhand grip.
ACTION: Keeping your knees unlocked, hinge forward at your hips until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor [B].
Pause, then row the bar toward your body [C]. Hold, then slowly lower the bar before raising your body back to the starting position and repeating.
Because you are using a lighter weight than you would if you were working with dumbbells, you can move faster. However, you must still use muscle control and always be mindful about proper form in order to prevent injury.
Squat with front raise
TARGET MUSCLES: quadriceps, gluteus maximus, anterior deltoids
SET UP: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or wider, toes pointing forward. Grasp a weighted bar with both hands in front of your
thighs, palms facing your body.
ACTION: Sink into a squat by bending your knees and hips. As you lower your body, raise the weighted bar straight up in front of your chest,
stopping when both your thighs and your arms are parallel with the floor. Slowly reverse the move to return to standing. Repeat.
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