I love car shows. You get to go look at a bunch of cool cars and ask owners all kinds of questions: What’s the make and model? How did you do that? What’s that for? And just about anything else you can think of.

As a coach, I get people asking me questions about bars all the time. With some help from a friend, we came up the idea for a bar show (Get it? Bar show? Car show?) to answer questions about specialty bars.

Power Bar (0:35)

We’ll start off with one of the more basic specialty bars — although I’d say it’s not exactly a specialty bar and more of a well-made bar: the elitefts Power Bar. They’re well made, inexpensive, and created in the USA. The elitefts Power Bar will let you do the majority of your barbell exercises with. It has rings in the powerlifting area and a center knurl. That knurl is going to help your back when you’re squatting and it’s not going to get in the way of anything else.

Axle Bars (1:22)

We have different types of thick bars. We’re going to focus on axles, which are standard in strongman competitions. Unlike the regular barbell that has bearings, axles don’t generally revolve, which makes them difficult to use for cleans and snatches. You can also use them for pressing. A thicker bar displaces the load over the wider area of your wrist, so if you have wrist pain, an axle will alleviate a lot of that pain temporarily — and in some cases, make it go away. Thick bars are also great for rows because they work the grip and forearm.

Trap Bar (2:49)

The trap bar, or as some people call it, the hip bar, is one of my favorite specialty bars. The handles are higher on the trap bar, so you’ll want to make sure your shin is in line with the post. You can also flip this bar over, which sets it at standard barbell height.

The trap bar reduces a lot of the sheer force on the lower back, which makes it a great option for people with back issues. In terms of training, it’s great for group settings when you’re teaching people to deadlift. What makes the trap bar so cool is that it can stress different areas of the body that you can’t with a barbell if you don’t have blocks and stuff. The biggest issue with the most trap bars is that it can’t hold a lot of plates. Some of them have more options. The one I’m standing in is an elitefts Trap Bar, and it can hold about 500 pounds, which is great for rep work.

Deadlift Bars (4:30)

It’s different than the standard barbell because it’ll hold more plates and has more knurling — but no center knurl. It’s also thinner than the average barbell and the steel is thinner, so it’s more likely to bend under more weight.

Some people call it a cheater bar, and they can call it what they want, but it’ll help you pull a little more weight on a deadlift. The one in this video is the Texas Power Bar.

Swiss Bar (5:09)

elitefts came out with this Swiss Bar, but they also have an American Press Bar which is similar. The difference between the Swiss and American Press is the handle angles. The Swiss Bar is used for pressing. I’ve seen people use it as a log substitute, and personally, I’m not crazy about that. They use it because the handles are in a neutral position, but sometimes they’ll bonk their heads with it. But if you don’t have access to a log, this is a good substitute.

The Swiss Bar’s greatest beauty is that it has different grip widths and it takes a lot of pressure off the shoulders. It also requires stability in the wrist joints and builds strength in the forearm. It’s great for presses.

Duffalo Bar (6:34)

It’s a handmade piece of technology, and I can’t praise it enough. It’s extra-long, so it doesn’t matter how big you are. You can and will fit under it. It’s got a curve in it that puts the weight on your lower back when you squat. The curve also allows your hands to get into a good position that’ll take a lot of stress off the shoulders, wrists, and elbows when you’re squatting.

A lot of people also love this bar for bench pressing because of the angle. It also gives you a greater range of motion.

Rackable Cambered Bar (8:11)

The elitefts Rackable Cambered Bar is great for squats and good mornings. I love it for good mornings. Using this bar puts the load on the lower back and glutes and it requires a tremendous amount of torso stability because it will shake as you use it. I also like it because it has multiple hand positions.

Though we don’t have it here, elitefts makes a similar bar I like called the Spider Bar.

In Part 2, I’ll show you another bar like both of these and more specialty bars, so stay tuned!