While the straight barbell is great for most lifting exercises, there are many reasons to use other specialty bars to add variety. Specialty bars are particularly good for changing things up if you’re more experienced with a few years of training behind you.
Here are some of the most popular specialty bars, including their pros and cons.
Cambered Squat Bar
The cambered squat bar is arguably one of the weirdest-looking bars you’ll find, but it’s great for relieving stress off the shoulders. However, it also essentially changes squats movements.
One of the first things you’re likely to notice with the cambered squat bar is its instability, as weight rocks back and forth. This movement requires the lifter to remain tight and in control. Needless to say, this is not a bar for beginners.
Cambered Bench Bar
This bar is ideal for developing low-end strength during bench presses. It allows the lifter to use a greater range of motion, allowing hands to move about an inch or two lower than with a typical straight bar. The only real downside to this bar is the strain that it can put on the pecs and shoulders.
The cambered bench bar is great for assistance work, but it’s intended for those experienced lifters who can handle a wider range of motion.
The trap bar is an unfortunately unpopular bar because of its ineffectiveness in dealifting, but if you’re not in powerlifting this bar is a great option. The handles are useful for keeping the bar close to your center of gravity, which makes lifting safer. If you want to practice drag rows and shrugs, this bar is also great for these exercises during lifting.
The main issue with trap bars is the short length of the sleeves, which greatly limit the amount of weight on the bars, so if you’re used to lifting heavier weights than the average lifter, this bar isn’t necessarily the best option available.
Safety Squat Bars
The safety squat bar is a popular option for many lifters because it’s easy on the shoulders and helps build your squats and deadlifts. You can use this to effectively strengthen your entire back and lower body. Rounding during a squat can help you use this bar to force you to strain in a deadlift.
However, the safety squat bar isn’t for beginners, either. If you’re used to a normal squat and don’t think you’re ready to give this bar a try, you’re probably better off staying away from this for a while.
Improve Your Gym with These Bars
Using a combination of these specialty bars, you can greatly enhance your gyms and change up your exercises, though you might want to gain some experience before trying to execute lifts using these bars.
Of course, these aren’t the only specialty bars that are great for lifting. We’ll cover other types of specialty bars and other equipment in future posts.