T Nation

Anyone Use Specialty Bars?

#1

Does anyone use speciality bars instead of a standard barbell? Is the advantage of them that your hands are in a neutral position and it prevents internal shoulder rotation? What are the disadvantages from using them over a standard barbell for the main lifts?

#2

I assume your talking about a swiss bar or what is also known as a football bar?

#3

Yeah, Swiss bar, safety squat bar and trap deadlift bar.

#4

Wendler covers a bunch of them here:

When pressing: Reduces stress on the elbow and shoulder joints.

When squatting: Reduces stress on the shoulder joint and increases upper back recruitment.

When pulling: Reduces stress on the low back.

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#5

Different bars are good for progress and longevity and motivation

Longevity because they change the angles at which stress is distributed through your joints so they don’t repeatedly get beat up in the same way

Progress because they can put focus on a specific weak point on a lift and introduce a novel stimulus which can help things move along

Motivation because it gives you something new to chase.

Note: you can achieve these without specialty bars but if you got some, why not?

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#6

I hate them all, I can never get the feeling in the target muscle group I want. I keep trying them every so often and after a couple sets I nope out of them and return to the straight bar. Try them and see if they work for you; if they do then use them.

#7

Different bars different pros and cons and purposes. Really can’t generalise.

#8

I use trap bars for my loaded carries. I use shorter bars for my over head carries so I don’t hit anyone. There is also a kind of barbell that has a bend of sorts in the middle so you can have a fuller range of motion. I use that for my incline press to get a better stretch in my chest. I suppose it would work for a regular bench, too, but since the ends are a little thicker than usual only a few of the gym’s plates fit on it.

#9

I have used all three.

I like the trap bar - I’ve never had any issues pulling with a straight bar, so I don’t use it often, but when I do it feels fine. I definitely feel it more in my quads. I’ve started teaching my dad how to deadlift. He is a 37 year old bricklayer, and due to the extremely strenuous nature of his job, only pulls with a trap bar. It’s easier on his back. He’s also had a few knee surgeries and squatting isn’t really an option right now, so trap bar deadlifting + backwards sled dragging has been giving him a way to work his quads without bothering his knees. If you have no intention in competing in a strength sport (powerlifting, Oly weightlifting, strongman), then I’d say there’s absolutely no need to ever deadlift with a straight bar. That being said, I do plan to compete, so I primarily use the straight bar.

I haven’t used the SSB very much, but it feels very similar to a normal squat for me. I tend to squat “high bar” or whatever, with a fairly upright torso, and I think that’s normally how a squat with the SSB looks, so it wasn’t a very drastic change for me. If you squat like a powerlifter, low bar, and bent over, it may feel like a big change. I think Wendler has said it never felt like a real squat for him; that hasn’t been my experience. I used it for a while when I was having shoulder issues and squatting with a straight bar bothered me. I think I’ve got my shoulders under control though, so now I’m back to a straight bar. I think the main reason to use this bar would be to avoid stress on the shoulders…either to give already injured ones a break, or to possibly avoid injury if you are doing a lot of pressing. You can use it for good mornings as well.

Swiss bar is my least favorite. It’s probably the one I should use the most, since my shoulders are the only place I’ve ever had any issues, but I hate benching or overhead pressing with it. Nothing feels right, and I haven’t been able to find my groove. It can be used for rows, curls, and tricep extensions, but I don’t think those are usually difficult to do with dumbbells or a straight barbell. The one thing I do like about it is the lockout of my overhead press. Feels very stable for me, for some reason.

That’s just my two cents. I have helped a few family members start lifting, my dad being one, and some others who while they lack a physical job, are either older or just have no desire to ever compete, and we primarily use these bars. They are slightly easier on the joints, and as I’ve said, the classic big 3 - squat/bench/deadlift with a straight bar are all fantastic, but really not necessary for non-competitors.

So, to answer one of your questions, in my opinion, none. Someone on this site once said if you can trap bar deadlift 650lbs and do 20 perfect GHR’s (I think they used this movement as an example because some say the trap bar doesn’t work your hams/glutes enough), you’re strong. Your thighs, hips, and back are strong. If you can bench or overhead press a lot of weight with a swiss bar and your shoulders are healthier from it, then you are strong and healthier. Win win. I can’t really think of any disadvantages, besides that they may not always be available in every gym.

I think this is a cambered bar or a buffalo bar.

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#10

I love them all. Havent used a trap bar in a while.

Been benching with a Duffalo bar lately, and good mornings on a Elite FTS SS Yoke. Saw a video where a dude set up a Kabuki Transformer bar for Zerchers, which looks fun. I tried good mornings on a rackable Cambered Bar, but my gym just puts it in a hard to reach place so I dont bother.

Hopefully going to get to bust out some more SSB.

#11

I’m sick of all you assholes talking about how great the SSB is.

I don’t have one.

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#12

My gym has too many lol

1 Rogue SSB, 1 Elite FTS Yoke, and 3 Kabuki Transformer bars. If they had one less, I wouldnt have to try pry the Cambered bar from between the rack and wall and dust it off everytime I wanted to use it.

:lol:

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#13

Now don’t be a hater :slight_smile:

#14

SSB is my favorite bar. 90% of my squatting is SSB or front squats. Keeps my lower back really healthly and my upper back has grown like crazy.

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