Gymnasts love them, since they’re the perfect equipment for powering-up strength and harnessing flexibility throughout your body.
But it’s not only gymnasts who can benefit from this simple yet superb fitness tool. Swedish bars are a brilliant asset to have in functional fitness, not only for stretching, agility, posture, and that much-coveted mind-body connection – but for pure strength.
Get the most out of the Swedish bars at your local club by embracing these game-changing moves next time you’re in.
1. Hanging knee raises
Beginners can do no wrong trying this move. It’s a total ab-blaster, building core strength in a way crunches simply cannot compare. The reason it’s ideal for strength is that your legs are heavier than your upper body, so ab muscles work harder to raise those appendages. If this move is too advanced for your physical ability at the moment, start off with functional movements such as push-ups and pull-ups to strengthen up first.
How to do it:
With your body straight and back as close as possible to the Swedish bars, grab a higher bar with both hands in an overhand grip. Then, bend your knees and contract your lower abs to raise your legs until your thighs are parallel to the floor. With control, slowly lower your legs to the ground. The slower the rep, the faster the results.
2. Tricep extensions
Vital for every pushing move (as well as some pulling), our triceps are probably the most important muscle when it comes to upper body strength. Swedish bars are brilliant for isolating them – this functional exercise will increase your arm power and size.
How to do it:
Holding onto a mid-height bar with both hands straight and in an overhand grip, step back until your feet are close to the back of your mat. Slowly lower your head until it’s elbow level, keeping your body straight. Push your triceps back into the starting position and repeat
3. The human flag
Beast-mode: activate. The human flag is definitely a progression move – aided by bodyweight strength training (looking at you, pull-ups) – that’s incredibly rewarding once mastered. You’ll target your core, legs, arms and shoulders while improving joint mobility to support your body in the air.
How to do it:
Grip two bars (about five bars apart). It’s easier to start with a flag that’s closer to vertical than horizontal, almost like a non-straight handstand. This will help build strength in your obliques, back and abs, before moving on to full extension of the legs. To gradually progress, practice turning your body more and more sideways and attempt to lift your legs in the air. From here you can try bending your knees (this makes the exercise less strenuous), placing your knees in a straddle position (the closer your legs and torso are to the pole, the better your leverage) or even trying human flag jumps to build ultimate strength.
Here at EVO, we strive to empower you mentally and physically. If you’d like a little more guidance on using Swedish bars or any of our other equipment (or even just need a bit of motivation) our team of personal trainers are always ready to help out. Our clever coaching techniques and one-on-one training will make even the most daunting exercises less of a puzzle.