T Nation

Cambered Bar Questions


Hi CT. Would you get the same training effect if you had the weights hanging on chains or bands?
And what is the optimal length?

Thanks for your time


Not CT, but I’ll offer my two cents.

Hanging the weights on bands or chains will be hugely different to using a cambered bar. On bands or chains, the weights will swing in all directions making the exercise one more focused on keeping the bar stable. With a cambered bar, all that changes is where the weight is compared to a standard bar - so it emphasises different muscles or weak points within the exercise but won’t make the main focus keeping the bar stable.

In terms of camber length it depend what you want to do I think. For squatting, the longer the camber the further forward it shifts the weight. I think for bench, it just makes the weight sit lower.


Thanks for your insight. I have used bands before and they do bounce around, chains I thought would be a bit more stable(some swing but no bounce). Having never used the cambered bar I would like to try it. Does it allow you to use more weight when squatting as it lowers your centre of gravity?


The chains might swing more (they can move in all directions except up and down). The difference will be much less than with the bands but and is closer to the cambered bar feeling, but not quite.

From my experience you use a bit less weight with the camber (at least for upper body pressing), mostly due to the instability. On squats it’s been a while and I honestly don’t remember the ratio versus my regular squat.


thanks coach


Also with the cambered bar the center of mass of the resistance is unified and changes position during the execution of the lift.

With chains the center of mass can move around (like with a cambered bar) but since it’s not unified it doesn’t have the same effect. But it is close.


I think the ratio depends on how you regular squat. I squat with a low-ish bar but quite upright, so my cambered safety squat bar is quite close to my regular squat until I reach about 95 per cent. If I had to pick a ratio or percentage, I’d say cambered is 90-95 per cent of my regular squat.

I’m probably more comfortable doing high reps (15+) with the SSB compared to straight bar simply because I don’t have to crank my arms/elbows into position and I can just sit my hands on the base of the pads or pretend to grip where the handles would be (my gym’s SSB is handle-less).