Each time you incorporate a different tool such as a specialty bar into your routine, you are establishing a new variation.
You may find that you do not have access to all of these different tools. This is likely because you are not training at a powerlifting gym. While I am not telling you to leave the gym that you are at and go to a powerlifting gym, I am telling you that you need to learn how to use some of these tools and potentially access them in various ways. Considering that you have to change your variation every three weeks at the maximum, you need to come up with quite a few options – and changing your stance alone is not going to provide you with enough. I cannot stress how important it is to use resistance throughout your training. You can read up more on the use of accommodating resistance online, or even visit a powerlifting gym to talk to some of the different coaches. Here is our list of specialty bars that you should acquire to enhance your Conjugate Method training:
Types of Specialty Bars
1. Safety Squat Bar
There are different types of safety squat bars. We have ones that are 10% more difficult to use than a conventional bar whereas you can find bars that can be up to 20% more demanding. Some don’t have an angle. The stiffer one has an angle cut into it, so it doesn’t want to fold you as hard. Consequently, we can start beginners off on this stiffer one or we get a PERSONAL RECORD (PR) on this one and a PR on the other one. Once people get to a certain strength level, they come off the beginner safety squat bar and start using more difficult bars.
We use the safety squat bar in my gym multiple times per week even on upper body days. We even do JM presses for our triceps with it. We will come straight down, put the pad on our throat, and press to lockout. Excellent exercise used for triceps work.
2. Bow Bar
When you are looking at bars, every bar has its purpose. Here is the bow bar that I was talking about. One way that we use it is to bench, this is because it gives us a little more range of motion and the angle tends to teach people how to put it into their back. A lot of times you will hear, “put your bench in your back,” and most people don’t know how to do that. You are doing it right, when you turn your wrist out, and it starts to tighten your back up. It helps people learn that cue.
Also, what is power output? Your power is the amount of weight you move or the distance over period, over time. This increases the distance and the time. It’s a variation that allows you not to fall victim to the law of accommodation, which means you can keep making progressions.
3. Cambered Squat Bar
Next, we have the Giant Cambered Bar, the nice thing about this bar hand placement is it is set lower, which put less pressure on the shoulders. But, when you squat heavy weight it tends to want to swing back and forward. So when you sit back onto a box and have 5-6 45’s on each side, that weight wants to lean back, your abs better be tight; otherwise, it’s sucking you off the back of that box. When you stand up with those 5-6 plates per side, the bar wants to go forward, and if your spine erectors aren’t tight, it’s going to fold you over. So know that it’s very unstable and you have to use your body to stabilize it, but when you can stabilize heavy weight on that box and go to a straight bar, you are going to become a better squatter because of it. Finally, the cambered squat bar provides the lifter with greater longevity because of the stress it takes off the shoulders.
4. Football Bar
The next bar I will talk about is called a football bar; it was designed for football players to take the stress off the shoulders during a pressing movement. To do this, the grips are set on angles. So if you are using this bar, be aware that it has three grip variations on angles. We use a very similar bar to the football bar called a Swiss bar, which has grips that are perfectly straight across. So again, there are slight variations in our bench-pressing which make us healthier and better lifters.
5. Bamboo Bar
6. Axle Bar
We use the Axle bar a lot because we do a lot of grip work with it. For those people who need to increase the strength of their grip, the Axel bar is what we would recommend for someone looking to do some grip work. It doesn’t hurt anybody to work on your grip. Grip isn’t one of those things that you naturally have – unless you are just a genetic freak (or you are like me, I was lucky I’ve always had good grip strength but then I also worked in foundry for years swinging a sledgehammer).
I’ve said in the past how Olympic lifting affects your central nervous system because of the fact that the acceleration of weight in your hand can negatively affect your central nervous system. The stronger your grip is, the harder it will be to affect your central nervous system through exercises that are very highly loaded on your grip, which means that you are going to recover faster, be able to train at a higher volume, and will recover better from your workouts. The last thing you want to do is miss a lift when your whole body could do it, but your hands are unable to handle the load. If that is really why you miss a lift… we call that lazy. If you are powerlifting and your grip is the thing that goes out on you, that is just laziness. You just need to train that grip.
The use of different Specialty Bars in your programming is very important. First, they allow an athlete to work around irritations and injuries that they may have and makes it possible for you to recover from them while still pushing yourself and making progress. Next, they correct and improve technique because they enable you to strengthen areas that may be potentially weak. Finally, if you have injury issues, it allows you to work around them.
Benefits of Specialty Bars
- There are a plethora of exercises you can do with each specialty bar – you are limited by your imagination.
- Bars take up minimal space in your gym.
- By rotating exercises in your training allows your clients to become more well rounded as athletes and avoid having glaring weaknesses.
- Create longevity in your program by adding different variations to your conventional exercises and allows you to work around injuries.