T Nation

Axle Bar Training

Hey CT,

My gym just got an Elitefts axle bar. I’ve noticed in your videos you often have your athletes train with these for pressing motions.

I’m planning on using it for flat bench pressing and military presses. Are there any form adjustments I should making when using the axle bar, such as grip width?

Also, are there any other exercises you like to use the axle bar for? I’m planning on overhand deadlifting and rows for grip strength.


Axle bars are great, but I’d use them as a supplement, not as a main movement because the grip factor limits your ability to move weight. On deadlift for instance I would use a traditional bar for heavier sets and the axle bar (possibly on a different day) for hypertrophy/ assistance work.
Good lifts for axle bar:

I think an Axle is great for presses and curls, since it distributes the load over the hand better and can help with reducing/eliminating pain at the wrist and elbows. The only form adjustments I’d make are ones you’d normally make… just figuring out where your body works best.

For deadlifting and grip work, the axle can be great, but you’ll be limited by your grip. If you use the axle in conjunction with the barbell (or even with straps), you can get a mix of both worlds. Use the axle to train your grip and forearms, and use the barbell or straps to train everything else.

You can also put it high/on-top-of a rack and use it for pullups.

I personally really like the fat bar for pressing movements (military, bench, incline bench, floor press, close grip bench mostly). I notice that it is easier on my shoulders and the larger surface seems to allow for a greater for transfer to the bar.

As Granite posted earlier, I’m not fond of it for pulling exercises. As he mentioned, it limits the amount of weight you can use. YES it will strengthen the grip. But personally I prefer to do grip work by itself and use a regular bar that allows me to lift more weight.

I feel that occasional use of the fat bar for pulling movement can be useful. For example I sometimes use it as potentiation:

When I ramp on a big pulling exercise, I sometimes do the lighter sets with the fat bar. And then switch to the smaller bar. This both potentiate the involved muscles and also makes me feel more confident when i switch to the smaller bar. Pierre Roy (canadian weightlifting coach) used to have the women start lifting on the men’s bar (28mm versus 25mm for the women’s bar) then switch to the women’s bar when the weight got heavier.

I also like the fat bar for barbell hip thrusts and Zercher squats.

Thanks for all the responses!

I’ve grown to love overhead pressing and curls with the bar. The curls especially have noticeably given my arms a thicker and more dense look to them. I feel it’s best for me with bench variations when hypertrophy is the goal, since the bar seems to require more control overall and I must slow down the reps to keep it under control and stable.

I’m definitely going to give the potentiation method a try on my next deadlift day.

If you want extra grip work without limiting weights on big lifts, set the axle bar in the highest position in a power rack and do hangs for time. (Bottom position of a PULLUP)

[quote]GraniteJack wrote:
If you want extra grip work without limiting weights on big lifts, set the axle bar in the highest position in a power rack and do hangs for time. (Bottom position of a PULLUP)[/quote]

Canada Strongest Man (Jean-Francois Caron) and his crew do this one fairly often and also holding the loaded axle for time in the finished deadlift position (taken from pins).

salut coach , pour la fat bar , vous conseillez 50mm ou 60mm en épaisseur ??

hi coach , for the fat bar, 50mm or 60mm you advise thickness ??
thank you