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Barre Chord Exercises for Finger Strength

Barre chords are difficult for almost everyone at first and for good reason. They require a completely different technique, approach and different muscles than open chords.

 Most people jump right into bar chords without any preparation. I know I did, and then got frustrated because they didn't sound good, my hand hurt and I began to wonder if something was wrong with me.

Today we’re gonna fix that. I’m gonna show you a series of three Barre Chord Finger Strength Exercises that will help you build the strength and the proper technique to play clean sounding bar chords.

Three Barre Chord Exercises

These three exercises are progressive. Each of them prepares you for the next so let’s start with the first one and go on to the second, and so on. Here we’re aiming to build the muscle strength to clamp your index finger and thumb appropriately. 

Think of what it’s like when you’re building muscle in the gym: you start with small weights, then add more weight little by little.

Exercise 1

We’re going to start with one string on the 5th fret, then we’re going to add one more string and then one more for a total of three strings. Play all three strings together with a barre and then release them quickly. After you do that, move to the 4th fret and repeat. Keep on repeating until you get to the first fret, then come back up to the 5th fret.

To make the most out of these guitar exercises for beginners, the best is to do a little at a time everyday. 

Remember to push down on the strings and let go quickly. Always aim for clear sounding notes. These bar chord exercises will help you develop partial bar and full bar strength and ability.

Exercise 2

Here we’re going to show the difference between the partial bar and full bar. 

Let’s start at the 5th fret by placing your index finger across the strings in a bar. Then, pick the strings from low to high while pushing down. Keep moving your index finger down the fretboard and repeat. Then repeat until you’re back at the 5th fret. 

This barre chord exercise combines building strength with practicing good technique.

Exercise 3

This exercise is the same as exercise 1 but with all 6 strings. In other words, start with one string on the 5th fret, then add one string at a time until we’ve covered all six strings. 

Play all six strings together with a barre and release them quickly. Then move to the 4th fret and repeat. Keep going until you get to the first fret, then come back up to the 5th fret.

And just like in exercise 1, remember to push down on the strings and let go quickly. Again, aim for clear sounding notes.

Tips for Barre Chord Exercises

Here are some tips that will help.

  • First, make sure you roll your finger back slightly.
  • Second, pull back your elbow/arm for some extra help.
  • Third, try to place the bar finger close to the fret.

Make sure you practice good string contact and always aim for a good sound. Keep in mind that it’s okay for other fingers to help out.

More Help?

I’m sure these bar chord practice exercises will be of great benefit to you. If you'd like some more help with bar chords, I've created a completely free guide called Barre Chords | The Ultimate Guide. There you’ll learn how to play, practice and use bar chords effectively.

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