7 different types of bench press bars and their uses | powerliftingtechnique.com (2023)

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7 different types of bench press bars and their uses | powerliftingtechnique.com (1)

There are many bench press bars on the market, but what are their use cases and do they really improve your bench press performance?

The 7 different types of bench press bars are:

  • traditional bar
  • energy bar
  • swiss bar
  • be curved
  • Bar Duffelo
  • EZ-Curlstage
  • bamboo pole/earthquake

The purpose of this article is to review all the barbells available for the bench press, detail why each one might be useful, and discuss who might benefit most.

After reading this article you will learn:

  • What types of bars can be used for the bench press?
  • The advantages of each type of rod for your bank
  • Which bar is best for you?
  • Which bar is the top bar for each type of bar?

Bench press bars: 7 different types

1. Traditional bar

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The traditional barbell is a barbell made for general use and can usually be found at any commercial gym that has bars available. They are the most affordable type of dumbbell on the market and are widely used due to their versatility.

Why is the barbell good for the bench press?

The traditional barbell works well for the bench press because it gets the job done, although it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the special bars have. They are characterized by being suitable for all skill levels and all training styles.

Conventional bars are reliable because they are available in almost every gym and are suitable for all variations of the bench press.

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The downside of traditional bench press bars is that they can bend or bend over time. This is because they are made from less expensive materials, making them more affordable.

Another potential disadvantage is that there are so many brands of traditional bars that the characteristics of each are not consistent.

Some may have rotating sleeves (like an Olympic bar), some are larger in diameter, and some have serrations or rings in various areas of the bar shaft.

Who should use this bar?

Traditional barbells are best for those who train in commercial gyms and/or are more interested in a general fitness workout, as they are the ones available and will be adequate for the weights we will be using.

The dumbbells are also a good buy for anyone looking to start collecting equipment for their home gym, as they are versatile enough for almost any dumbbell move.

How much does it weigh?

Traditional bars typically weigh 45 pounds, but as I mentioned, every brand has their version of a traditional barbell; therefore bars sometimes weigh 55 pounds if the shaft diameter is thicker. Gyms are also starting to carry women's barbells, which are narrower in diameter and weigh 35 pounds.

My advice is to judge the weight by the shaft diameter if we can tell when the bar shaft is narrower or wider than normal. Or we could always check which bar brand it is and do a quick Google search to see how much each brand's bars typically weigh.

Related article:Weight Storage Ideas: 4 Ways to Store Weights Properly

bar recommendations

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The best traditional barbell I would use for bench press for the money is this oneSynergee Essential Barbecause it doesn't have the rotation that an Olympic bar will have, which follows the model of the traditional bars of most brands.

The Essential Synergee Bar is so versatile that it can be used for any barbell movement we want to perform, making this barbell perfect for anyone who has a home gym or is interested in starting one.

This bar has a weight limit of 400 pounds, but for most people interested in this bar, that's more than enough. The bar is incredibly durable for the price and the company offers a great return policy.

2. Powerful

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A power bar is a bar designed primarily for weightlifting and can be identified by its more aggressive knurling (the grip part of the bar) and the stiffness of the bar.

Most commercial gyms (sadly) don't have energy bars available, but even if they did, they probably wouldn't be working to their full potential, as most regular gym-goers don't know their value.

Energy bars are most commonly found in privately owned weight training facilities and typically replace traditional bars as must-have bars.

Why is the barbell good for the bench press?

Strength bars are a great barbell for the bench press because they are so rigid that you can maintain better control of the bar throughout the movement. In other words, the bar will not oscillate (vibrate) when you pick it up.

This is important because the bench press is such a technical exercise that it is up to us to maintain tension and master it.path from the pole downin the chest and back to the chest.

Cash registerBar Sleeve Replacement: How to Fix a Bar Sleeve?

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If you are someone who has wrist problems, the straight bar design of the power bar may not be the most comfortable bench press. This applies to the power bar or any other straight bar we have mentioned in this article.

Although we are one of those who only work with the bench pressSupine touch and go, we might prefer a barbell that has a little more flex (or whip) so that we can get a little more momentum from the barbell in the chest.

Who should use this bar?

A strength bar is especially useful for powerlifters trying to lift as much weight as possible, as the bar is stiff enough to be more stable under maximum loads.

Anyone looking to maximize their bench press, whether they're a powerlifter or not, will benefit from a power bar.

How much does it weigh?

Energy bars weigh 20 kg or 45 pounds, depending on whether the bar was purchased in kilos or pounds. Most brands have both options available, which is good for those with a preference.

bar recommendations

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My favorite workout energy bar is this oneohio energy barfrom Rogue Fitness for the more aggressive knurling that has me gripping the bar tighter to maintain tension on the bench press.

I also appreciate how stiff the bar is so you can be as stable as possible on the bench press and all other weightlifting moves.

This is the barbell I chose for my home gym because it's inexpensive, specific enough for my weightlifting training style, and has a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI.

3. Swiss Bar Association

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a swiss barIt is a bar designed to offer multiple grip options and is often referred to as a "multi-grip bar" or "soccer bar". Some bars are designed so that the grips vary in width only, while others are designed so that the grips vary in width and angle.

I've never seen a Swiss Bar in a commercial gym, but maybe some commercial gyms have them. It is more common to see a Swiss bar in a private gym.

Why is the barbell good for the bench press?

The barbell is great for bench presses because it allows us to do neutral grip bench presses with many different angles and grip widths.

The neutral grip is a great bench press option for those with previous or existing shoulder injuries as it puts the shoulder in a more secure and compact position when bench pressing.

The options for a narrower or wider footprint allow us to do that as well.Highlight our tricepsor our chest to deal with any weakness in those muscle groups.

Read our articles on the subject.Close grip bench pressySupine long punchto understand the benefits and muscles activated in each variation.

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The downside of Swiss barbell bench presses is that they don't fit well on most J-hooks, which is quite inconvenient when bench pressing. The J-hook is where the barbell sits on the weight bench rack.

When using a barbell, I often have to be very careful pulling on the barbell after finishing a set, as the barbell tends to "jump".

Another disadvantage is that if we get too used to the Swiss bar bench press, we can lose our ability to do the straight bar bench press because the movements are so different that the movement patterns and target muscles change between different movements.

Who should use this bar?

This bar is ideal for those who need to be very careful with the position of their shoulders in the bench press. It's also a good choice for anyone looking to address triceps or chest weakness, or anyone just looking to add a bench press variation to their routine.

How much does it weigh?

A Swiss barbell can weigh between 35 and 65 pounds, depending on the brand of barbell used. Generally, the more grip options available and the longer the elastic sleeves, the heavier the barbell.

bar recommendations

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The best Swiss bar on the market is this oneRogue MG-3 Multi-Grip-Strangebecause it not only has multiple grip widths, but also different angles for our grip. The variety of widths and angle variations this bar offers makes it one of my favorite Swiss bars.

In addition, this bar is designed to fit the J-hooks of any standard rack, solving one of the main problems we can face when using a Swiss bar.

4. Curved handlebar

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a curved poleIt is a uniquely designed barbell as it has the normal axis of a barbell, but instead of the traditional sleeves that support the weight plates, the sleeves are welded on both sides using connecting pins that allow the sleeves to hang weight plates. 14 centimeters below the part of the bar that touches our chest.

So when we touch our chest with the barbell, the weight plates are under the bench we are lying on.

Curved bars are specialty bars and cannot be found in private bodybuilding facilities unless the owner is interested in or recommends the specialty bars. They are certainly not available at commercial gyms.

Why is the barbell good for the bench press?

The arched barbell is beneficial for the bench press because the way the plates travel can pose an additional challenge for lifters, leading to more instability in the bench press.

This can be beneficial as it allows us to focus on the main motion forces of the bench press (chest, shoulders, triceps) while placing more emphasis on the shoulder girdle stabilizing muscles.

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The advantage of this bar is also the disadvantage of this bar. The barbell bench press is so unstable that it means there will be quite a learning curve to perform this movement.

While we know this strengthens our stabilizer muscles, it's not clear how much this will carry over to our traditional bench press.

In this day and age, would it be more worthwhile doing bench presses with a traditional barbell and adding stability accessories that don't require a dedicated barbell?

It might be.

But some lifters prefer the variety offered by a special barbell.

Who should use this bar?

Anyone who has mastered the traditional bench press and wants an extra challenge can use the curved barbell. Powerlifters in particular can benefit from the curling bar during the hypertrophy or unloading phases of training.

Those who still have the basics should avoid the barbell curl and instead focus on the traditional barbell bench press until more practice in the movement is developed.

How much does it weigh?

The bow bar typically weighs 85 pounds due to its more complex design than a traditional barbell.

bar recommendations

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The bow bar I recommend is theSnape's Camber Barbecause it's rack mountable, which is ideal. Finally, many arched bars, such as the Swiss bar, do not fit standard J-hooks.

The Rogue Camber handlebar is ideal as it has been tested to handle loads of up to 1000 lbs, proving the handlebar's durability under load.

This is a selling point for me as it shows that the tensile strength of this product is high enough that the bar will not bend after repeated use.

5. Bar Duffalo

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A Duffalo bar is a bar slightly longer than a traditional bar or power bar and is identified by a bend in the middle of the shaft that gives the bar a natural curve.

Duffalo bars are specialty bars, so they are harder to find and will likely never be available for commercial gym use. They may be available at select private gyms if the owner is interested in specialty weights or if the bar is in high demand by members.

Why is the barbell good for the bench press?

The Duffalo barbell is beneficial for the bench press because it increases the range of motion of the movement. The curvature of the bar forces us to lower our arms even further, in addition to our body.touch the bar in our chest, which leads to more overhead through thechest musclesto push the bar up.

The barbell can also alleviate wrist pain when bench-pressing the curved barbell, allowing for a more comfortable grip compared to a straight barbell.

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The Duffalo bar may be easier on the shoulders when squatting, but using it on the bench press can put more strain on the shoulders for those with past or current injuries due to the increased range of motion.

People with shoulder problems should use caution when using the Duffalo barbell bench press, as it can overly challenge the range of motion of the shoulders, especially under load.

Who should use this bar?

This bar can be a good option for those who areweak chest to bench pressand they want to focus on increasing range of motion to build chest strength. I recommend it for anyone who has already mastered the traditional bench press and wants to improve their training.

I would not recommend this bench press bar for those who are still learning how to bench press. I also recommend that people with shoulder problems take extra care with the increased range of motion this bar encourages.

How much does it weigh?

The Duffalo barbell is only made by one company, so it consistently weighs 55 pounds.

bar recommendations

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The only Duffalo bar available on the market isforça kabuki, which is rated at 1500 pounds and versatile enough to be used for squats and bench presses.

Long bar sleeves allow for weight bearing as well as the addition of straps to adjust resistance. This is a great resource for those who prefer a more Western approach to training.

The bar is available in 3 different styles that we can choose from depending on our preference and budget. Available options are clear zinc, black oxide and chemical nickel.

6. EZ-Curlstage

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An EZ Curl bar is a bar commonly used for biceps curls and is identified by its zigzag shaft, which allows for several different grip positions on the bar.

An EZ Curl bar can be found in almost every commercial gym, but the length of these bars varies and some may not be long enough to fit through the J-hooks on a rack.

Why is the barbell good for the bench press?

The EZ curl bar can be good for the bench press because of the different grip options it offers. This can be a great solution for people with wrist pain who need their wrist to be at a certain angle for pain free bench presses.

The EZ Bar only allows for a close grip, so it can be beneficial for anyone looking to build triceps strength with a close grip variation of the bench press.

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Most EZ curl bars don't fit in the rack, so we're limited by how much we can bench press with this bar.

Also, the bar is not wide enough to have a grip that is wider than shoulder width. For those who prefer a slightly wider grip or have a larger frame, this bar is not indicated.

There is also a weight capacity for these types of dumbbells that varies from brand to brand. But I would say if you're lifting 200+ pounds then this bar isn't going to be as helpful.

All in all, this barbell bench press can be more of a nuisance than a boon for most people and is best reserved for skull crushes and biceps curls.

Who should use this bar?

This bar may offer some benefits for those with wrist issues who cannot bench press comfortably with a straight bar, but it is probably not the best option for anyone else interested in bench pressing.

Honestly, if you're looking for more triceps activation, use a narrow grip on a traditional or Swiss barbell.

How much does it weigh?

EZ curl bars typically weigh between 15 and 35 pounds depending on the brand we use, so you may need to check the brand to see how much your specific product weighs.

Related article:The 7 Best Dumbbells You Can Put Down Without Damage Them

bar recommendations

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For those interested in purchasing an EZ Curl bar, I would recommend this one.Synergee EZ Curlstagebecause it is the best product for the market price.

The Synergee bar is valued at 405 pounds, which is incredible for an EZ curl bar, and while we'll likely never see anything close to 405 pounds on this bar, it speaks to the quality of this product's design.

This EZ curl bar also stands out because much of the shaft is knurled to allow us to maintain our grip no matter where we decide to grip the bar, keeping our wrists in the position that feels best.

7. Bamboo/Earthquake Pole

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Whatbamboo poles and earthquakesthey look and function similarly, the main difference being their intended use. The bamboo pole is designed for lighter engineering work, while the seismic pole is designed for moderate loads.

These bars are unique in that they are very unstable and will vibrate during use due to their flexibility. Rather than being loaded with weight plates like a traditional barbell, these barbells use bands attached to kettlebells hanging from either side of the bar to increase the load.

Why is the barbell good for the bench press?

Bamboo/Earthquake Bars can be beneficial for anyone looking to increase the difficulty of the bench press and improve the strength of the upper body stabilizing muscles.

The flexibility of the bar makes it incredibly difficult to control the bar as the bar is lowered over the chest and lifted off the chest. This forces lifters to maintain as much tension as possible to control the course of the bar and refine their technique.

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Bamboo poles and earthquakes may not be practical enough for those trying to be as strong as possible for regular performance. However, they can be a fun change of pace for anyone wanting some variety in their workouts.

The problem with these bars lies in their specificity for those who want to be as strong as possible, since we will never do bench presses at maximum loads with such a flexible bar.

Who should use this bar?

This bar is ideal for anyone looking for a new challenge that doesn't involve as much weight as possible in the bench press. It is also a useful option for people who need to train upper body injuries or want to avoid injury due to the increased demand on our stabilizer muscles.

However, it may not be the best investment for anyone looking to maximize the bench press, as it is impractical in terms of developing maximum strength.

Personally I would save up and buy a strength bar then a swiss bar before buying the bamboo bar unless I have a severe upper body injury where the only way to bench press is using the bamboo bar . 🇧🇷

How much does it weigh?

Both the earthquake and bamboo poles weigh a total of 6 pounds, making them extremely lightweight. But don't let their weight fool you, they can still handle loads of over 300 pounds.

bar recommendations

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The main recommendation for bamboo/earthquake poles is toBandBell BarsDesigned to hold the band very securely, incorporating grooves and inserts in the sleeve parts of the temples to keep the bands in place.

Constructed of wood and resin, the BandBell bars only weigh 6 pounds, yet have a lifting capacity of 300 pounds or more, which is far more than we would need when making benches with this type of bar.

What to read next

Check out our other barbell squat and deadlift items:

  • The 10 best weightlifting dumbbells for women
  • The 10 Best Cheap Dumbbells (That Are Still High Quality)

About the author

7 different types of bench press bars and their uses | powerliftingtechnique.com (18)

Amanda Parker has a passion for competing and training in both powerlifting and powerlifting. She uses her knowledge from her Kinesiology degree, CSCS and Precision Nutrition certification to coach athletes and lifestyle clients for performance training and nutrition. connect with herInstagram.

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