Academy: 3 Favorite Bar-Based Core Exercises

Tags: Coaching, Intermediate, Advanced, Core

Shoulder strength integrated with core strength is helpful for climbers, especially if you like to climb steep routes. My three favorite bar-based core exercises to help build that integrated shoulder and core strength are “Toes to Bar,” “Windshield Wipers” and front levers.   

Toes to Bar

Toes to Bar is the easiest of my three favorite exercises, but it can also be really difficult.

It’s very simple to perform, grab the bar and touch your toes to it. You can make it easier by tucking your legs in. You can make it harder by maintaining a pike position throughout the exercise. If you do that, keep your core really tight as you’ll probably feel a bit of strain on your lower back.

Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are a great integrated core exercise. To perform, grab the bar and bring your back level with the floor, then move your legs back and forth like a windshield wiper. You can make this exercise harder by strapping on a weight belt.

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Front Lever

The front lever is a classic exercise and an excellent party trick, especially if you can do them using only a small hangboard hold. To execute, grab the bar and pull your whole body as level as possible. You can make this easier by tucking in one or both legs.
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