October 31, 2019
6 Specialty Barbells for Strength Training
WRITTEN BY Steven Fritsch

We all have tools at our disposal that will support our journey to become the strongest versions of ourselves. Whether it’s the barbell, dumbbells, or even cable machines, they all work. But, sometimes using the same tools and exercises time and time again can get monotonous and repetitive, and may even lead to plateaus over time. While most gyms offer different machines, extra services, or even classes, what about the tools that mimic the exercises we need to pursue our current strength goals? And what about the tools that help us attack our weak points, like underdeveloped hamstrings or weak triceps at the lockout of a press? In this article, we will discuss 6 specialty barbells that Central Athlete uses to provide new stimuli for all different types of clients, helping them break through plateaus and learn new skills.

Safety Bar

The safety squat bar, otherwise known as the ego killer, is a bar that weighs 70 pounds and has a 6-inch camber down and forward. This means that while the bar sits high on the back, it displaces the load slightly in front of the athlete, causing more activation of the athlete’s core and quadriceps. This bar is also equipped with handles in front, making it perfect for people with decreased mobility who can’t reach and grab a normal barbell on their back without compensating position or causing pain. Additionally, because the lifter’s hands are on the handles, this limits the amount of musculature activation of the upper back, making the lift even more difficult. While this bar is often used as a back squat variation, it can also be utilized for unilateral variations such as split squats or lunges, good mornings, and even brings an interesting twist on the JM press for tricep development.

Football Bar

The football bar, sometimes known as the swiss bar or multi-grip bar, is a great tool to have because it creates more variety for any pressing movements. The neutral grip immediately helps alleviate shoulder pain by limiting the amount of external rotation in the shoulders and arms. Even better, with multiple grips to choose from, you can target different muscle groups. A more narrow grip will have more tricep activation, whereas a wider grip will involve more of the pec muscles and shoulders. This bar can also be used in overhead pressing movements such as the push press or strict press, as well as arm development exercises such as hammer curls or skull crushers. You’re sure to increase upper body strength and development with a personalized plan that incorporates this versatile tool.

Cambered Bar

The cambered bar is a true behemoth. Weighing in at 85 lbs with a huge 16-inch camber, this bar is sure to give you a new challenge. The camber redistributes the weight much lower, and will actually cause the bar to sway back and forth, requiring much more activation of the trunk stabilizers. This also causes the squat movement to be much more about timing. If you try to ascend on the squat at the wrong time, this bar will literally whip you back down, making the movement much more difficult. Similar to the safety bar, the cambered bar is primarily used as a back squat variation but can be used for exercises such as good mornings and lunges as well. This bar can also be used to provide a much different feel for the bench press.

Axle Bar

The axle barbell offers a diameter of almost two inches. This change in diameter immediately increases the difficulty for any lift from the floor due to the increased grip demands. This bar can be used for a variety of presses to increase the activation of the triceps and forearms for an alternate stimulus. An axle bar is a great tool for athletes with shoulder discomfort as the increased diameter decreases range of motion in pressing movements and puts less stress on the shoulder joint. This bar can be used for just about any barbell exercise; it can be an arm blaster for upper body movements such as the bench press, overhead press, as well as curls, and tricep extensions. It’s also widely used in competitive strongman events for the clean and press and the deadlift.

Trap Bar

The trap bar is one of the most useful bars in terms of deadlift progressions. This bar displaces the weight closer to the lifter’s center of gravity making it less stressful on the erectors of the lower back and causing more activation of the quadriceps. With less stress on the back, this deadlift variation is a great progression for those learning proper deadlift mechanics, without the fear of injury. This barbell can also be used as an implement for carries, shrugs, and even power development with weighted jumps.


The log is a unique tool that is primarily used in strongman training for the log clean and press event in competitions. This implement can be used to offer a different stimulus to pressing movements. It can also be used as a full-body exercise by performing the log clean with similar mechanics to a barbell clean, but with a few adjustments for the neutral grip and extreme diameter of the log. This bar is also a great shoulder saver in the overhead or push press as it decreases the range of motion at the bottom portion of the press and focuses more on tricep strength.

All of these barbells, available for use at Central Athlete, offer a new challenge and twist to conventional barbell strength exercises. With each bar being unique in size, shape and weight displacement, we ensure your weaknesses will be attacked with an individualized training program from your professional coach. This diverse selection in barbells is sure to give you a new experience with your fitness journey to help break those training plateaus and develop new skills along the way to becoming the strongest version of yourself.

If you’re interested in increasing your overall strength, power, or general fitness, schedule a free strategy session below and gain access to the unique selection of strength equipment offered here at Central Athlete.

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