Jeromy Bryk – @Bryk_Squuaadd
If you are a follower of the content producers here at Ironvalleybarbell.net, you probably have noticed that specialty equipment (safety squat bars, cambered bars, buffalo bars, football bar, etc) is a constant in most of our workouts in some capacity or another. Specialty equipment was mostly popularized by the guys over at Westside Barbell early on, and has stood the test of time as a beneficial component of training programs for any athlete!
In this article I will outline some ways to use specialty bars to add benefit to your workouts if you have them available to you!
Weak Point Training: I like to rotate different specialty bars in and out of my programs to isolate different body parts that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to accomplish by using a traditional barbell alone. For example, I am currently using a cambered Safety Squat Bar on my leg days to work on my overall core strength and stability in my squats. The safety squat bar also targets the upper back in a comparable way that a front squat would, which in the past has had a great carryover to my deadlift. I also am using a cambered bar as a main accessory on my bench press for the first time. Since I have been struggling with full body tightness on the movement, I am using this bar to teach me to stay tight throughout the lift before going back to a straight barbell in a couple of weeks.
These are just a couple of ways that I am currently using specialty bars to attack my weaknesses. Once you have determined your weak points in any of your lifts you can choose a specific bar to target that weakness!
- Training Progression Variable: I have learned to operate under the understanding that different “modes” of exercise are another form of progression. In other words, besides manipulating volume and intensity we can also vary the type of exercise to ensure progression. This just so happens to be one of the many reasons the Conjugate System and Max Effort method are so effective. Since weekly 1RMs are being utilized, it is important for different exercise modes to be used to create progression and eliminate adaptation. So, if you are writing your own programming and decide on using the max effort method, be sure to use specialty bars if you have access to them to continually progress your training.
- To Make Workouts More Interesting/Work Around Injuries: Nothing scientific here. If you’re anything like me and get bored very easily in your workouts, specialty bars might be just what you need. I love getting outside of my comfort zone by using different bars that challenge my body in different ways than a normal barbell would. I especially am a fan of using specialty bars immediately after a meet to break the monotony of using a straight barbell for the final 3-4 weeks of training.
As a bonus, you can use some specialty bars to still get your work in around minor, nagging injuries. For example, if you are suffering from minor shoulder pain or biceps tendonitis, using a buffalo bar or cambered bar allows you to change the placement of your hands and elbows, during squats and bench press, which I have found helps to alleviate some of the pain of these nagging ailments.
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