Critical to Progress/Development

Given that you already have a barbell, weights, bench, and rack, what other tools do you feel are critical to your progress/development? What are your favorite toys?

Foam roller? Ab Wheel? Bands? Neck harness? Fat grips? Conditioning tools?

Every person, regardless of goals, should have a safety squat bar. In my opinion, it is the single greatest tool you could possibly have to become bigger and stronger. It is easy on the shoulders, far less technical, bypasses bar placement, and destroys the upper back while still also getting the majority of the benefits of a straight bar squat.

I rarely get to train other people, but when I do, I don’t even have them use a straight bar anymore when they learn to squat. I just stick them with the SSB. If I didn’t compete in powerlifting, I would do all of my squatting with the SSB.

My “foam roller” is a piece of 5" diameter PVC with a yoga mat wrapped around it. I don’t spend hours using it or anything, just a quick back and forth on my back before I go out to lift seems to make a big difference. Maybe all of a minute and a half. Maybe two minutes if I actually roll my hips a bit.

Just helps me loosen up a bit. Might be psychological more than anything.

Also, it’s really nice to have two barbells. One that stays in the rack, one that stays out of it. Plus, you can set it up for parallel bar dips in the rack.

As far as toys, I have a set of lightweight loading chains with carabiners that can be hooked to “real” chains, to loading pins, hooked over the rack, etc. Opens up a lot of possibilities. With those chains and loading pins, you can even do stuff like overhead press ROM progression outside the rack. Just set the chains to the right link, loop over each end of the bar, put the weight on the loading pins, and clip on the carabiners. Overhead lockouts like that seem to help a lot with shoulder stability, since you’ve got the weight dangling down each side and it’ll swing a bit.

A belt, I recently just got my first personal one and I love it.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Every person, regardless of goals, should have a safety squat bar. In my opinion, it is the single greatest tool you could possibly have to become bigger and stronger. It is easy on the shoulders, far less technical, bypasses bar placement, and destroys the upper back while still also getting the majority of the benefits of a straight bar squat.

I rarely get to train other people, but when I do, I don’t even have them use a straight bar anymore when they learn to squat. I just stick them with the SSB. If I didn’t compete in powerlifting, I would do all of my squatting with the SSB.[/quote]

Been wanting one for a long time, and every time I read something like this it increases my desire to go ahead and make the investment.

[quote]DoingWork421 wrote:
Been wanting one for a long time, and every time I read something like this it increases my desire to go ahead and make the investment.[/quote]

Don’t want, do. The only regret you will have in buying one is that you did not get it sooner.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Every person, regardless of goals, should have a safety squat bar. In my opinion, it is the single greatest tool you could possibly have to become bigger and stronger. It is easy on the shoulders, far less technical, bypasses bar placement, and destroys the upper back while still also getting the majority of the benefits of a straight bar squat.

I rarely get to train other people, but when I do, I don’t even have them use a straight bar anymore when they learn to squat. I just stick them with the SSB. If I didn’t compete in powerlifting, I would do all of my squatting with the SSB.[/quote]

Which one did you buy, and how much did you pay?

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Every person, regardless of goals, should have a safety squat bar. In my opinion, it is the single greatest tool you could possibly have to become bigger and stronger. It is easy on the shoulders, far less technical, bypasses bar placement, and destroys the upper back while still also getting the majority of the benefits of a straight bar squat.

I rarely get to train other people, but when I do, I don’t even have them use a straight bar anymore when they learn to squat. I just stick them with the SSB. If I didn’t compete in powerlifting, I would do all of my squatting with the SSB.[/quote]

Which one did you buy, and how much did you pay?[/quote]

I bought the New York Barbells 84" SSB, and paid $300+shipping for it. I have used better models, and they do in fact feel nicer, but I am still using this one and it works amazing.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]DoingWork421 wrote:
Been wanting one for a long time, and every time I read something like this it increases my desire to go ahead and make the investment.[/quote]

Don’t want, do. The only regret you will have in buying one is that you did not get it sooner.[/quote]

I’ve used one once and loved it I will be purchasing one in the near future.

Would you say the SSB works the abs more than the front squat? I can’t do them now since I go to a commercial gym, but the day I get a garage gym(or a real gym opens closer to me) it will be my first secondary bar.

[quote]MightyMouse17 wrote:
Would you say the SSB works the abs more than the front squat? I can’t do them now since I go to a commercial gym, but the day I get a garage gym(or a real gym opens closer to me) it will be my first secondary bar. [/quote]

I don’t really consider either movement to work the abs in any sort of meaningful capacity honestly. If there was a difference, I’d say it is negligible.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]MightyMouse17 wrote:
Would you say the SSB works the abs more than the front squat? I can’t do them now since I go to a commercial gym, but the day I get a garage gym(or a real gym opens closer to me) it will be my first secondary bar. [/quote]

I don’t really consider either movement to work the abs in any sort of meaningful capacity honestly. If there was a difference, I’d say it is negligible. [/quote]
You may have mentioned this in your q&a thread, but what do you do for the core? Right now I do ab wheel, loaded carries, and pallof presses.

You do have a point with the front squats. Overloading by doing front holds probably works better.

[quote]MightyMouse17 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]MightyMouse17 wrote:
Would you say the SSB works the abs more than the front squat? I can’t do them now since I go to a commercial gym, but the day I get a garage gym(or a real gym opens closer to me) it will be my first secondary bar. [/quote]

I don’t really consider either movement to work the abs in any sort of meaningful capacity honestly. If there was a difference, I’d say it is negligible. [/quote]
You may have mentioned this in your q&a thread, but what do you do for the core? Right now I do ab wheel, loaded carries, and pallof presses.

You do have a point with the front squats. Overloading by doing front holds probably works better.
[/quote]

I do weighted GHR sit ups (I go as far down as I can on the eccentric), ab wheel, and reverse hyper. I do loaded carries, but I don’t consider them core work, just loaded carries. I try to be explicit with my training.

One more piece of SSB propaganda I forgot to mention is that, if I was on a desert island/in jail and could only do one movement, it would easily be the SSB squat, hands down. Develops full body strength.

OK, i’m sold. Been wondering what piece of equip to buy with some Christmas giftcards…,the SSB will be it. Had been reading about them and need some help with my squat anyway so looking forward to it. Thanks T3hP for sharing your thoughts on that.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Every person, regardless of goals, should have a safety squat bar. In my opinion, it is the single greatest tool you could possibly have to become bigger and stronger. It is easy on the shoulders, far less technical, bypasses bar placement, and destroys the upper back while still also getting the majority of the benefits of a straight bar squat.

I rarely get to train other people, but when I do, I don’t even have them use a straight bar anymore when they learn to squat. I just stick them with the SSB. If I didn’t compete in powerlifting, I would do all of my squatting with the SSB.[/quote]

This is my pick as well.Pwnisher You actually made a comment about the SS Bar in a thread last year when I was thinking about buying one and I’m so glad I went ahead and did.One of the best purchases I’ve made.

[quote]jppage wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Every person, regardless of goals, should have a safety squat bar. In my opinion, it is the single greatest tool you could possibly have to become bigger and stronger. It is easy on the shoulders, far less technical, bypasses bar placement, and destroys the upper back while still also getting the majority of the benefits of a straight bar squat.

I rarely get to train other people, but when I do, I don’t even have them use a straight bar anymore when they learn to squat. I just stick them with the SSB. If I didn’t compete in powerlifting, I would do all of my squatting with the SSB.[/quote]

This is my pick as well.Pwnisher You actually made a comment about the SS Bar in a thread last year when I was thinking about buying one and I’m so glad I went ahead and did.One of the best purchases I’ve made. [/quote]

Outstanding news, glad to hear it. I don’t think enough good things can be said about it.

I would add for other things essential to success, a texas deadlift bar and some patio tiles for mat pulls.

[quote]MightyMouse17 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]MightyMouse17 wrote:
Would you say the SSB works the abs more than the front squat? I can’t do them now since I go to a commercial gym, but the day I get a garage gym(or a real gym opens closer to me) it will be my first secondary bar. [/quote]

I don’t really consider either movement to work the abs in any sort of meaningful capacity honestly. If there was a difference, I’d say it is negligible. [/quote]
You may have mentioned this in your q&a thread, but what do you do for the core? Right now I do ab wheel, loaded carries, and pallof presses.

You do have a point with the front squats. Overloading by doing front holds probably works better.
[/quote]

Do heavy (HEAVY) front squat holds for core work.

[quote]DAVE101 wrote:
Given that you already have a barbell, weights, bench, and rack, what other tools do you feel are critical to your progress/development? What are your favorite toys?

Foam roller? Ab Wheel? Bands? Neck harness? Fat grips? Conditioning tools?[/quote]

None of those things are “critical” to progress, but I found bands to be an useful addition to the gym bag. Very versatile.

Bands are very useful indeed! I use them for warming up and priming targeted muscle groups, helped a lot with bringing my upper back thickness up to par.

[quote]Tatsu wrote:
Bands are very useful indeed! I use them for warming up and priming targeted muscle groups, helped a lot with bringing my upper back thickness up to par. [/quote]

Where do ya train in Ned?