Ab Exercises While Holding a Weight Bar Over Your Head

A weight bar, or barbell, can be a versatile workout device, allowing you to work out virtually every muscle in your body. Many people new to free weights may be surprised to learn that the barbell can also be added to your ab-workout routine, lending itself to a variety of ab-targeting exercises. Because of its ability to go from light weight to heavy weight and vice versa, the barbell can be added to a workout of any level, but consult a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Push Crunch

Lie on an incline crunch bench with your legs secured under the foot pad. Holding the barbell over your head with your arms extended, perform a crunch by lifting your upper torso off the bench. Return to the lying position. The barbell above your head adds extra resistance, putting more stress on your upper abs.

Push Situp

Lie on an incline crunch bench starting in a position exactly like the push crunch. Holding the barbell over your head with your arms extended, perform a situp by raising your entire torso off the bench so that your chest almost touches your knees. Keep the barbell directly over your head throughout the entire course of the situp; at the end of the situp, the barbell will be in a vertical line with your torso. Lie back down on the bench. This exercise is much like the push-crunch, but it recruits many extra muscles.

Turkish Getup

Lie with your back on the floor, holding a barbell over your head. Stand up, keeping the barbell over your head during the whole course of the movement. Lie back on the floor by reversing the movement. This exercise requires both static and dynamic muscle force and also recruits the muscles of many other areas of your body.


Stand in front of a bench, holding a barbell above your head. Step up on the bench with one leg and then again with the other leg as if you are climbing stairs. Step backward to the ground with one foot at a time. This exercise uses your abductor muscles as antagonist stabilizers to keep your body in an upright posture during the movement.

Weight, Reps, Sets

For each of the previously mentioned exercises, perform three sets with three-minute rests in between. Perform 12 reps for each set. If you cannot complete 12 reps, perform the exercise until failure. For your first time doing these exercises, use a barbell with no added weight. When you feel that doing 12 reps is too easy, try to complete 13 full reps. If you can do so without significant difficulty, add 30 pounds of weight to the barbell, 15 pounds on each side. Do this no more than one time per week.