Switching Bars To Address Different Weakness

the rack front door

Oftentimes people wonder why they dont continue to see their lifts go up and progress stalls. This can be due in large part to the lifter using a straight bar for all their compound movements every time they lift. An easy way to work around this is by switching the type of bar you use. In this blog we will cover some ways to address different weaknesses for the squat,bench and deadlift.

– Staying upright throughout the movement- Try using a safety squat bar and drive the handles up the entire time, this will reinforce staying upright and when you eventually return to a straight bar staying upright will seem easy.

– Stabilizing- if you have a trouble time staying tight try using the giant cambered bar. This bar puts the weight much lower and farther out to the side and the arms that the weight attaches to swing forcing the lifter to stay much tighter than they would with a straight bar. The one we have here at the rack is also 85lbs so it weighs much more plus its swings. If you have a trouble time getting out the hole off a box or free squat this bar will also make it much tougher to do so.

– Failing in the bottom or keeping upper back/core engaged- For this you can do 2 things either use a zearcher harness and do zearcher squats so the weight is in the front and low which will force you to keep hips/glutes firing and make your stance go wider. You can also do any form of front squatting whether using a straight bar/bow bar or turning the safety squat bar around.

-Struggle in the bottom- You can use the cambered bar meant for benching and use it to deadlift while standing on blocks or mats for more range of motion than usual. This will be brutal but bring up your deadlift quick. You can also switch to using a sumo stance if you normally do conventional to work the hips and glutes more.
-Struggle towards the top- Put the bar on blocks so its elevated higher than usual allowing you to do more weight and focus on lockout. You can also use the big wagon wheels to elevate the deadlift extremely high and focus almost entirely on the upper half portion of the deadlift.
-Not shooting the butt up first in the sumo deadlift- Try doing chair deadlifts and only allow yourself to do weight that your butt doesn’t shoot up to come off the box or chair. You can also hook bands in front so you have to keep bar close to you and keep shoulders back.

-Keeping upper back engaged, butt down and chest up- Try throwing chains over your neck this will force you to keep head/chest higher and will knock weight off your deadlift
dramatically, very humbling.

-Struggle off the chest- Try using the Bow bar or bench cambered bar, it can provide
more range of motion and its much longer than a normal bar so you will work more
chest and more range.
-Struggle at lockout or triceps flare- use any type of multi grip bar/football bar. This will keep the elbows tucked because of its neutral grip and cut of weight on your bench, so added bonus if you have shoulder problems this is a great bar to use.
-Struggle with staying tight- use the cambered bar meant for squatting. Yes it will be a little crazy but the swinging nature of the bar will make a straight bar feel really easy. You can also try using the bamboo bar because of all the oscillation it will force you to stay tight or it will end up in your throat. You can do this for either a max, high rep work, or a heavy accessory.

-Westside Barbell Personal Training and Athletic Coaching Certified
-Byrd Sports Performance Certified Coach

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