At EliteFTS, we carry an amazing diversity of barbells designed for every conceivable purpose. Whether you’re working on a specific weak point or you’re recovering from an injury and can’t use one of our line of “conventional” barbells, our selection of bars will meet your particular needs. In this roundtable discussion, we asked various Q&A members – some of the best lifters and trainers in the world – about their favorite bars and how they like to use them.

Dave Tate:

My Top 10 Bars

1. Texas Power Bar

2. Texas Deadlift Bar

3. Texas Squat Bar

4. Safety Squat Yoke Bar

5. Multi-Grip Swiss Bar

6. Rackable Cambered Squat Bar

7. Fat Bar EZ Curl Bar

8. Fat Bar - El Gordo

9. Rackable Spider Bar

10. Shoulder Saver Bar


Kenny Patterson:

Fat Bar - El Gordo. Believe it or not, when we bench with this bar it helps take the pressure off of my torn rotators. I don't know why, but it does. I wouldn’t be able to bench otherwise due to the pain.




Jim “Smitty” Smith:

Bar: SS Yoke Bar



Good Mornings


Zercher Squats

Zercher Good Mornings

Zercher Rack Extensions (various heights)

Zercher Walks

Zercher Step-ups

Why I like it:

It’s a form check, and it reveals weaknesses. The positioning of the bar forces you to have good form. If you dip forward on squats, it will pull you down! You have to stay upright with good form. Also, the pad is really comfortable when you wrap your arms around it for Zercher


Bar: Multi Grip Swiss Bar


Bench Press (various grips)

Floor Press

Incline Press

Tricep Extensions


Curl to Press

Military Press

Clean and Press

Straight Leg Sit-ups with Bar Overhead

Bent Over Rows

Grappler Press

45-Degree Retractions

Why I like it:

The neutral hand position helps keep the elbows strong and allows a full lockout for overhead movements. The different hand positions fit various lifters.



Jim Wendler:

SS Yoke Bar

I love using this bar for lunges and good mornings. Not having to put my hands on the bar and keeping the stress down allows me to do these exercises without compromising my bench press. When using a straight bar, I tend to place the bar lower on my back, which leads to using more weight (but more shoulder stress). The SS Yoke Bar allows me to use a higher bar position, which taxes my legs more during lunges and hamstrings during the good mornings.

Trap Bar

I love using this bar with people who are just learning how to lift. It's easy to get them in position and get them to maintain that good lower back arch. A couple of sets of 10 reps with this bar will murder your traps, too. This is a great main lift for anyone looking to increase their lower body strength.

Texas Power Bars (Deadlift, Squat and Power Bar)

These are a staple of any serious weight room. There are a couple of things you should never skimp on when building your weight room, and the bar that you hold in your hands, over your face/head and on your back is one of them.

These bars are built to last and built for lifting weights.

If you don't have these bars, get them now.



Josh McMillan:

Texas Deadlift Bar

I use this bar for all my deadlift workouts – anything from stiff-leg deadlifts to traditional stance, platform deads, and rack pulls. I like this bar for deadlifts, because if you get a good enough pull off the bottom it will whip nicely, which helps out. I work this bar with my deadlift movements into my program generally every other week.

Rackable Cambered Squat Bar

Use this bar for suspended cambered bar good mornings (suspended by chain at around 90 degrees). This bar works great for my suspended good mornings, and it really works your lower back, glutes and hamstrings. This bar makes it tough because of how the weight is distributed. I work this bar into my program every 3-4 weeks for heavy sets of 3 reps.


Matt Kroczaleski:

I have used the safety squat bar to maintain lower body strength while training around upper body injuries.  Whenever I’ve had some type of surgery or injury that has prevented me from being able to hang onto or grip a squat bar for squatting, good mornings – or any other exercise where you have the bar across the back of your shoulders –  the safety squat bar has allowed me to continue squatting (or performing whatever other exercise I wanted) so I could continue to build my lower body strength while my injury was healing.


Matt Rhodes:

SS Yoke Bar

  • Good Mornings
  • Shrugs

When I use the SSB for good mornings, I usually do the shrugs because the bar is already loaded. It's an easy way to get some shrug work done without wasting extra time loading and unloading another bar.



Julia Ladewski:

Texas Deadlift Bar: I love having an actual deadlift bar for pulling. The extra length and the bar's ability to bend make for a perfect deadlift setup.

Rackable Cambered Squat Bar: This is great for Zercher squats or Zercher deads from the floor.
From Julia Ladewski's Training Log

We opted to use a bar that we don't normally have access to... The spider bar. I've never used it before. This thing is a beast. It's like the giant cambered bar on steroids. A couple things I noticed -

1. You cannot push up on the handles like you can with the safety squat bar... If you do, you're all over the place.

2. It's harder to keep your upper back tight, so it really forces you to focus on that.

3. Great for people who have shoulder issues. I don't, but this would be very helpful to give the shoulders a rest.

4. It's TOUGH. This bar will humble you, but don't let that deter you from using it or getting it. It will force you to stay tight and do things right. Getting stronger with this bar will get you stronger everywhere else.


Jo Jordan:

SS Bar

  • Suspended Good Mornings vs. bands/chains
  • ME Squat vs. bands/chains

I like to use this bar because it saves my shoulders some wear and tear, it strengthens my ability to stay upright while squatting and helps improve my technique. Using it for good mornings places the bar high on my back, which makes it more difficult for me. I use this bar the first 3-4 weeks of my training so my shoulders aren't so beaten up come meet time.

Multi-Grip Bar

  • Floor Presses
  • Hammer Curls

Takes pressure off my shoulders on the floor press, which in turn allows me to handle more weight without having to ice so much when I get home. Using it for hammer curls trains my grip as well, so I'm killing two birds with one stone. This adds a little variety to your accessory day.

Brian Schwab:

I'm a firm believer in training the way you compete, so I like pulling with the Texas Deadlift Bar off the floor.  It’s thinner, which allows for easier grip, and longer, which allows for the bar to bow more before breaking the floor. Because of this it reacts differently than other bars, which is why I feel it's necessary to train specifically with it for max effort deadlifts.

I use the SS Bar specifically for dynamic effort squats to reduce the strain on my elbows and shoulders, which can be aggravated from the use of a straight bar. It also forces you to stay more upright, which strengthens the lower back and quads more than a straight bar. It's a must for anyone looking to increase their squat.

Matt Wenning:

The Multi-Grip Swiss Bar is great to give the shoulders a different angle for heavy pressing. It helps me to lift heavy all year round, and to add some extra tricep emphasis.

The Safety Squat Bar is a must for development of the upper back for ultra heavy squatting, and also for a break from the shoulder stress accumulated with straight bar squatting and heavier athletes. Another must for year round training, especially for benchers.

The Fat Bar is very good for giving the wrists a break while heavy pressing, and also for giving the bench a different feel. This is great for accommodation purposes.


Joe DeFranco:

We use the Multi Grip Swiss Bar for "666 Presses" as our main lift on Rep Upper Body Day, or as the second exercise (after our main lift) on Max Effort Upper Body Day. Basically, the athlete performs 6 reps with each grip, resting 10 seconds between each grip. We go from the "hardest" grip (close) to the "easiest" grip (wide) as the triceps fatigue. We perform 2 sets in this fashion. This is a great triceps builder...and it's easy on our athletes’ shoulders!



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