The Body Bar Challenge by Heather Hughes

Body Bars are a staple in all of my muscle conditioning, interval and bootcamp classes. I love their versatility and my participants enjoy the challenge that they bring to our workouts!

I put three of my Power Sculpt pros through this tough Body Bar session and they did amazing! Elisa, Jacqui and Lauren got a full body workout that left them feeling strong, lean and balanced!

We used 12lb and 15lb Body Bars however you may feel it best to use heavier, lighter or if available, a mix of weights to complement your current fitness level. Each exercise should be performed with excellent form for 1 minute without rest (beginners, take breaks as necessary). Those more advanced will end up completing more repetitions and beginners will end up finishing fewer – either way, we are all working hard for 60 seconds! Remember…the key is to keep your form!


  • 3-5 minutes of aerobic activity such as walking, jogging, cycling, elliptical, etc.
    • An alternative would be a Body Bar warm-up completing squats, stationary lunges, plie squats and squat knee-lifts using the Body Bar tall for balance.
  • Stretch all major muscle groups including quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps and neck.


Squat Side-to-Side

FORM: With the ball tall (upright), step slightly to the right and squat back into heels, press back up to stand and repeat squat on the left side.

Upright Rows

FORM: Stand holding the bar horizontal, a little narrowed that shoulder-width. Pull the bar up upwards, keeping the elbows even, or slightly higher, than wrists.

Side Lunge (right)

FORM: With the bar behind your back (but not on your neck) take feet out extra wide with toes pointing forward. Keep the left leg straight and lunge/squat back into right heel. Make sure not to lean to the side – the movement is backwards. Press back up to wide stance.

Curtsy Lunge (right)

FORM: Place the bar tall (upright) and step your left leg all the way past your right.  Right foot remains flat with toes pointing forward and left foot is angled to the left with heel popped up. Bend both knees keeping weight in right heel as you extend back up.

Bicep Curl

FORM:  Standing with feet hip-width apart, knees soft and tailbone tucked under, underhand grab the bar about even with your shoulders.  Curl the bar up all the way then lower remaining in control and never swinging.

*REPEAT Side Lunge & Curtsy on left

Overhead Shoulder Press

FORM: Standing with feet hip-width apart, knees soft and tailbone tucked under, overhand grab the bar so your pointer-finger is even with your shoulders.  Starting with the bar at approximately shoulder-height press it upward, keeping the bar slightly in front of you then gently lowering.

Squat Pops

FORM: With the bar tall (upright), bend down into your lowest squat position.  Make sure to keep weight in your heels and to use the bar only for balance.  Staying at that lowest point, start to ‘pop’ of the floor – perform mini-bends or pulses where you slightly leave the ground.  An alternative would be to just perform the low-impact pulsing motion.

Hamstring Curl (right)

FORM:  With the bar tall (upright) and holding it with only your left hand, walk all the way in front of the bar so your left arm is extended out to the left side (bar on an angle) and your right ankle is even with the bottom of the bar.  Keeping your left arm straight (don’t try to pull the bar up with your arm), “grab” the bar with your right ankle, leaning forward slightly.  Curl the bar up towards your glutes and back down without touching the floor.

Overhead Tricep Press

FORM: Stand tall with soft knees and tailbone tucked under.  Grab the bar inside shoulder-width and press above head.  Keeping elbows steady and tucked closely in towards your head, lower the bar about halfway down behind you then press back up to vertical.

REPEAT Hamstring Curl on left

Jump Tap

FORM: Stand with the bar tall (upright). Squat down (back into heels) and as you rise up, jump into the air and tap feet together.  Land low and softly in back in your squat. A low-impact alternative would be regular squats or squat pulses.

Plie with Upright Row

FORM: Stand wide with toe pointing out on a diagonal and hold bar low by thighs with hands shoulder width apart. Keeping a tall back, plie squat so at the bottom your knees are over your heels.  As you lower, perform an Upright Row (see form above).

Right Lunge with Overhead Tricep Press

FORM: Stand with right foot in front and back (left) heel popped off the floor (both feet facing forward).  Grab the bar inside shoulder-width and press above head. Lunge straight down (not forward) keeping a tall back and right knee always over your right ankle. As you lower perform an Overhead Tricep Press (see form above).

Football Run

FORM: With the bar tall (upright) stand behind it in a semi-squat. Keeping low run as fast as you can (think ‘quick feet’).

REPEAT Lunge with Overhead Tricep Press on left


FORM:  Sit on your mat with the bar across your lap.  Hands on the mat next to you, fingers pointed at heels.  Lift body off the floor and keeping it elevated, bend elbows lowering you up and down.

Seated Twists

FORM: In a seated position, recline backwards with a flat back until you feel a challenge but do not lose your form. Holding the bar with your hands, slightly twist to one side, back to the middle and then to the other side.  This should be done slowly and the movement should be small.  To make it easier, come up higher in your recline and/or perform without the bar.

Bench Press

FORM: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat.  Hold the bar straight up towards the ceiling the bending elbows, lower it down towards chest.


FORM: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat.  Hold the bar straight up towards the ceiling.  Keeping the bar vertical crunch up so your shoulder blades lift off the mat then gently lower.


FORM:  Place hands a little wider than your shoulders and come to your toes or knees facing your mat. Keeping a straight line from head to toes, bend elbows and lower down then press back up to your starting point.


FORM: Lying prone (face-down) place forearms on the mat underneath your shoulders. Lift up everything so you are just on your toes and hold a horizontal


  • Take 5-7 minutes to stretch out all of your major muscle groups including quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps and neck.

For more information about Heather, please visit the following:



Twitter: @PowerSculpt



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