T Nation

Thick Bar Instead of Standard

I was wondering if there would be any disadvantages to using a thick bar (2") all the time as you normally would a standard thickness of bar. And would this relate to how much you can use on it, ie less than normal?

[quote]profit12 wrote:
I was wondering if there would be any disadvantages to using a thick bar (2") all the time as you normally would a standard thickness of bar. And would this relate to how much you can use on it, ie less than normal?[/quote]

You would be forced to use reduced poundage due to, not only the challenge of gripping, but the increased neural demand channeled into gripping a thicker bar. This will detract from the force output of the actual movement. If you typically bench with a bar that is 28 millimeters you will not be able to lift as much or do as many reps using an equal poundage on a bar that is 32 millimeters.

If you switch to using a 2" thick bar for most/all of your training, you will find you can lift more when you switch back to a regular diameter bar. There will also be a significant increase in your static grip strength.

ok thanks for your reply.

Are there any reasons for not using a thick bar for all training, dangers, injuries etc?

[quote]profit12 wrote:
ok thanks for your reply.

Are there any reasons for not using a thick bar for all training, dangers, injuries etc?[/quote]

Injury potential-wise you would have to be carefull with regards to the base of your thumb joint (The point where the 1st metacarpel bone articulates with the trapezium). This area can get inflamed given the degree of stretch/tension resulting from supporting a heavy weight with a thich diameter bar. The use of a thumbless (false) grip can relieve pressure in this area but may be risky depending on the movement being performed.

Here is an old article detailing the specifics of thick bar training.

http://jva.ontariostrongman.ca/THICK.htm

Every bit of my training is performed with a Fat Bar with two exceptions Front Squats as is hard as hell to rack properly with out strangling your self ,Deficit Deadlifts, and obviously DB work. I even use of for Back Squats as it teaches to get used to a Yoke.

With that being said I disagree with above statements respectfully mind you but with a Fat Bar I am and always have been stronger in ANY Pressing or Jerking movements with a Fat Bar whether its Bench, Push Press, or what ever the case may be. Now obviously on pulls your going to be weaker due to to your grip just not being up to it. I battle this with going as heavy as possible on a movement and then strapping up when on top work sets. This has really helped my grip.

Also ever since switching to a Fat Bar my wrists and elbows love me again. They are never as sore after a long cycsle of pressing multiple times a week.

Lastly it just looks fucking badass to use one and they are much cheaper than even the cheapest of standard bars. You can make a Fat Bar for under $25 if its solid and under $20 if it’s hollow ( no welding required ). Also if you train with a female who is just starting out a hollow Fat Bar is awesome as it only weighs 15-20lbs depending.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Every bit of my training is performed with a Fat Bar with two exceptions Front Squats as is hard as hell to rack properly with out strangling your self ,Deficit Deadlifts, and obviously DB work. I even use of for Back Squats as it teaches to get used to a Yoke.

With that being said I disagree with above statements respectfully mind you but with a Fat Bar I am and always have been stronger in ANY Pressing or Jerking movements with a Fat Bar whether its Bench, Push Press, or what ever the case may be. Now obviously on pulls your going to be weaker due to to your grip just not being up to it. I battle this with going as heavy as possible on a movement and then strapping up when on top work sets. This has really helped my grip.

Also ever since switching to a Fat Bar my wrists and elbows love me again. They are never as sore after a long cycsle of pressing multiple times a week.

Lastly it just looks fucking badass to use one and they are much cheaper than even the cheapest of standard bars. You can make a Fat Bar for under $25 if its solid and under $20 if it’s hollow ( no welding required ). Also if you train with a female who is just starting out a hollow Fat Bar is awesome as it only weighs 15-20lbs depending.[/quote]

Well you may be the exception but everyone I’ve observed cannot strict overhead press or bench the same amount of weight on a 2" axle thick bar that they can on a 28mm diameter bar.

After a period of time a person may be able to work up to similar poundages with the thick bar but then notices how much “lighter” a regular bar feels in strict pressing movements when they switch back.

Honestly I may be kinda lucky then I personally can not stand switching back to a standard bar for pressing due to uncomfortably and my weights decrease by atleast 5%.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Honestly I may be kinda lucky then I personally can not stand switching back to a standard bar for pressing due to uncomfortably and my weights decrease by atleast 5%.[/quote]

Just wanted to also point out, like you’ve observed, that some individuals have found switching to a thick bar on pressing/overhead jerking movements to be more joint friendly particularly as it pertains to the wrists and elbows.