June 08, 2022 9 min read
When searching for barbells online you’ve probably noticed that there are a huge array available. From a standard Olympic barbell in a range of finishes to many different kinds of speciality barbells, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming to choose a bar that best fits your needs.
The vast majority of you probably already own or make use of a standard power bar. These are gym staples used to bench press, squat and deadlift. Essentially, it’s a 7ft universal barbell that varies in both cost and quality.
However, if you’re searching for a barbell that gives more versatility than that of an Olympic barbell with a specific niche, then you’ll want to consider a speciality barbell.
A speciality barbell is a bar that could be more beneficial when compared to a straight bar. For example, you may find you suffer from shoulder problems during bench pressing. By switching from a regular barbell to a multi angled grip bar, you could continue benching whilst also minimising stress to the shoulders.
The above is just one example of a speciality bar. Continue reading, to find out more about the different kinds of bars available, their uses and benefits.
As we mentioned above, there are a huge number of different gym barbells available, all from different manufacturers and suppliers and all of which offer different benefits to the user. Too many to list here! However, the most commonly utilised speciality bars include the following:
Below, we’ll go into detail on each of these bars covering what they do, how to use them and why you may want to consider investing in one!
A Cambered bar is specifically for squatting and so called because of the camber in the shape of the bar. It’s ideal for those who want to squat but suffer from upper body issues or shoulder mobility problems.
However, it’s much harder to squat with this bar when compared to a regular Olympic barbell. This is because the plates on the bar sit much lower down. When squatting, this results in a ‘swing’ which can (and usually does) throw you off balance. This does mean it’s great for improving core strength but it is generally recommended for more advanced lifters and definitely not a beginner to squatting.
The cambered bar is great for intermediate to advanced lifters who want to step up there game. That being said it can be a good bar for beginners who want to perfect their squat form but be sure to have spotter on hand and go light to start with to get a feel for the movement.
Before buying one, check all the dimensions and the lengths, bar diameter and even the angle of the camber, as these can all differ and you want to be sure you’re getting what you need.
A hex trap bar is specifically used for deadlifts and gets its name from its unique shape. It’s a hexagonal shaped bar that you can stand in the centre of with collars at either end for your weight plates.
Even though its primary design is for deadlifting, it’s fairly versatile and can be used for exercises such as overhead pressing and even farmers walk.
The hex bar is a great bar for beginners to deadlifting and very easy to use.
This bar has the same sort of appearance as the cambered squat bar in so far as the plates are slightly below where they would sit on a regular barbell. The main difference is that the safety squat bar has handles that are positioned just in front of your shoulders. So when you squat you’ll get that same instability as you would with the cambered bar. However, the weight on an SSB would be pushing you forward as opposed to swinging.
Because the safety squat bar is manufactured with upholstery pads, it’s generally seen as a much more comfortable bar to use when compared to the cambered bar. This make it a better option for beginners.
A Swiss bar and football bar are very similar with the only real difference being that the multi grips on a football bar are angled when compared to the straight grips on the Swiss bar. Both bars are designed for pressing movements with the football bar keeping more stress away from the shoulders.
This speciality bar is designed for working the biceps and triceps. It has an unusual design featuring multiple angles for different grip options.
We wrote a specific article about this barbell which you can read here.
Whilst the above list doesn’t cover all speciality bars, it does mention the most popular of them.
Each bar generally offers a specific niche allowing the user to target and work on certain muscle groups with many of these bars being very versatile. In a lot of cases, they are used by those who want to continue training but have suffered injuries making them great rehab bars.
Before investing in any speciality barbells also make sure to double check sizes, space between grips, what they are rated too etc. to be sure that the bar best suits your needs.
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