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Why Use Fat Bar For Bench Press?

After watching Joe Defranco work with his athletes it became obvious that he favors using a fat bar on the bench press. What the reasoning behind this? Would someone mind enlightening me?

Thanks.

I have used one a few times- shirted and unshirted, full range and boards. It’s hard to describe what’s different about using it. With maximal weights for singles, it is a LOT harder to use. But for rep work, it doesn’t seem harder to use, it just feels different. Some of the guys I train with said took some pain off their elbows and forearms.

  • strengthen wrists forearms/ grip

  • disipate force - benching all the time w/ normal bar can create elbow/wrist pain for some lifters. especially when you start using heavier weights. the fat bar takes some stress off of the hands/elbow/forearms

  • i have switched to the fat bar exclusively on my dynamic effort bench days and noticed a huge decrease in the amount of elbow/forearm pain

Variety.
Changes (reduces) stress on elbow / wrist.

train51 has got it right, you can tighten the muscles around the elbow on the forearm side better with a standard diameter bar (read more stress)

however the increased forearm contraction (using standard bar) helps get more of the forearm involve which apparently helps rebound out of the bottom of the movement and can ‘increase motor unit recruitment’ so it can be expected to bench less with the fat bar

I used an old Eleiko bar to bench with last week and the thing just about killed my hands and arms to use.

Since it was so skinny I assume that would be why it hurt so much, so it would make sense to me that a fat bar would be less stressful. But at the same time harder.

I’m trying to picture in my mind’s eye why a bar with a bigger diameter would be less stressful on the elbows. Anyone care to explain their reasoning?

Same amount of force dissipated over a large surface area = less stress presumably?

[quote]Hanley wrote:
I used an old Eleiko bar to bench with last week and the thing just about killed my hands and arms to use.

Since it was so skinny I assume that would be why it hurt so much, so it would make sense to me that a fat bar would be less stressful. But at the same time harder.[/quote]

We nuse Eleiko bars all the time, when you say skinny what diameter?
Spec for IPF bar = 28 to 29mm dia
Spec for IWF bar = 28mm dia for men
Spec for IWF bar = 25mm dia for women

just interested,

[quote]Boffin wrote:
Hanley wrote:
I used an old Eleiko bar to bench with last week and the thing just about killed my hands and arms to use.

Since it was so skinny I assume that would be why it hurt so much, so it would make sense to me that a fat bar would be less stressful. But at the same time harder.

We nuse Eleiko bars all the time, when you say skinny what diameter?
Spec for IPF bar = 28 to 29mm dia
Spec for IWF bar = 28mm dia for men
Spec for IWF bar = 25mm dia for women

just interested,[/quote]

Well I normally train with a Leoko power bar which is too thick for me to hook grip properly, but I can hook an Eleiko comp bar no problem.

I don’t know whether the leoko bar is THAT much thicker or not, maybe it’s the knurling, but the Eleiko bar certainly feels much thinner.

[quote]powersavant wrote:
I’m trying to picture in my mind’s eye why a bar with a bigger diameter would be less stressful on the elbows. Anyone care to explain their reasoning?[/quote]

If you are still having trouble understanding after Hanley’s response, try this. Picture a 120 pound female stepping on the palm of your hand. She’s wearing flat-soled tennis shoes. It probably hurts somewhat. Now picture the same 120 pound female stepping on your palm again. This time she’s wearing heels. This time it hurts a lot more, even though it is the same weight.

Make sense?

Would a towel around the bar have the same result? I believe Adam Nelson and other throwers also do a lot of fat bar work for their presses.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
If you are still having trouble understanding after Hanley’s response, try this. Picture a 120 pound female stepping on the palm of your hand. She’s wearing flat-soled tennis shoes. It probably hurts somewhat. Now picture the same 120 pound female stepping on your palm again. This time she’s wearing heels. This time it hurts a lot more, even though it is the same weight.

Make sense?[/quote]

I see what your saying, but wouldn’t all this force from a narrowing bar/shoe be directed towards your hands…and not your elbow?

yes, the towel idea would work but I reccomend using ductape or some other adhesive around the outside edges of it to keep it from sliding should one arm falter in your rep. this saves face

Could use a pool noodle or bar pad instead of a towel.