Barbells can be helpful tools when it comes to building muscle and knowing which type to use and for what can greatly benefit our gains.
For many of you bodybuilders and athletes familiar with the gym and the many components to it, barbells and specialty barbells may be no secret. You know exactly what they are and how to use them to maximize gains and maybe you do perform exercises with them. But those general fitness folks, or even yes, some bodybuilders and athletes, may not know the difference between these bars and that’s a problem. Not knowing means you aren’t maximizing your gains as much as possible and we all know you don’t want that.
By trying new equipment and stepping out of your comfort zone, you can give variety to your workouts which is great for things like muscle confusion and breaking through any of those dreaded training plateaus. The great part about these barbells and other specialty barbells is that they each work your muscles differently so you can attack those gains from every angle, forcing your muscles to grow. It is what we want after all.
Let’s take a look at barbells and the specialty barbells that make the gym such a unique place. With options to diversify your workout, it would be a disservice to not include these in your workouts. Check out some the best barbells on the market to get inspired by some great products as well!
Benefits Of Barbells
The benefits of barbells and barbell training on our growth and gains will aid in functional movements, as well as those more sport specific ones to enhance athletic performance.
Benefits of barbells and barbell training include:
- Better growth and performance: Work to build functional and sport specific strength and size to see that desired growth and performance increase (1,2).
- Versatile and convenient: Barbells can work for endurance and strength training purposes and do not take up a whole lot of space.
- Great workout additions: Barbells allow you to perform things like drop sets and increased time under tension to see more growth and a shredded physique.
Types Of Barbells & What They’re Good For
Let’s take a look at the different types of barbells and what they’re used for.
The traditional barbell is your most common type of barbell being a long pole, made mostly of steel, that is fairly smooth except for the portion of the grip. These are great for a wide range of exercises like your big three powerlifting ones and others like the overhead press.
The hex bar looks a bit like a trapezoid and the point is to stand in the middle as you grip the handles. Great for leg exercises, it moves you directly in the middle of the weight, as opposed to behind or in front with the traditional barbell. Your grip is also kept neutral (3).
The Swiss bar is a multi-grip bar designed to place your hands in a neutral position. This bar allows for more stability and less chance of injury in the shoulders, which are pivotal for a number of movements. Great for growth and a variety of exercises, the Swiss bar is perfect for all your gains.
EZ Curl Bar
The EZ curl bar is a great bar for arm exercises and is typically lighter and more curved, given the different grips. It is easier on your wrists and can work wonders as you look to build those bulging biceps (4).
The Buffalo bar is curved and is designed to take stress off of the shoulders. The positioning and the thickness distributes the resistance across more surface so it isn’t concentrated on one point. It is used for squatting and is really the only barbell that allows the same form as a traditional one.
A specialty squat bar, the yoke bar can work to strengthen your back and lower body. With this bar, you need to stay tight but can push it a bit more as opposed to something like the cambered bar.
Definitely for more experienced lifters, the cambered bar is a strange looking bar that is highly effective at relieving stress off your shoulders. The downside to this bar is that it is unstable so a more experienced lifter who stays more tight and more controlled would benefit greatly (5).
Featured Barbell For Gains
Those who look for the best barbells may be wondering how it’s possible to find one. They are all the same, aren’t they? No. A great barbell will be versatile and made with the utmost precision to ensure longevity and performance. This barbell from American Barbell is built to last and offers the best chance at gains.
American Barbell 20KG Training Bar
American Barbell 20KG Training Bar is a versatile barbell that is rigorously tested for training and competition. A precision ground alloy steel shaft ensures quality, durability, and longevity.
American Barbell 20KG Training Bar is a versatile bar tested and approved for training and competition. The precision ground alloy steel bar shaft is tested through a rigorous process to ensure longevity and excellent whip for optimal performance. A finished hard chrome adds extra durability and corrosion resistance for nice added features. The bar sleeves work to rotate smoothly and this bar is 20kg, 28mm in diameter, and 2,200mm in length. American Barbell Training Bar is built to last while providing comfort and longevity for all of your goals.
Check out our individual review for American Barbell 20KG Training Bar here!
Check out our list of the Best Barbells for more great lifting bars!
When it comes to using barbells and specialty barbells, knowing which ones to use can greatly influence our gains. With so many out there, it can be challenging to know for sure but with knowledge of what to use and how to use it, you can break through any of those dreaded training plateaus and add a nice variety to your workout. Give these barbells a try and see what they can do for you today.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Thompson, Brennan J.; Stock, Matt S.; Shields, JoCarol E.; Luera, Michael J.; et al. (2015). “Barbell Deadlift Training Increases the Rate of Torque Development and Vertical Jump Performance in Novices”. (source)
- Mangine, Gerald T.; Hoffman, Jay R.; Gonzalez, Adam M.; Townsend, Jeremy R.; et al. (2015). “The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men”. (source)
- Lockie, Robert G.; Lazar, Adrina (2017). “Exercise Technique: Applying the Hexagonal Bar to Strength and Power Training”. (source)
- Fry, Andrew (1986). “The E-Z curl bar”. (source)
- Corey, Stephen W. (1991). “The cambered bar”. (source)