Joe DeFranco Talks About the Tsunami Bar

TAGS: Tsunami Bar, Joe Defranco, squat

Joe DeFranco was kind enough to share some info on how his athletes have been using the Tsunami Bar™ at DeFranco's Gym.

I used the bar enough (with enough different athletes) to give some feedback. Here's how I used it thus far...

Dynamic Bench Presses: I really like the bar for dynamic benches. I had my guys reverse the weight before it touched their chest when performing these. These were tremendous for developing reversal strength...the contraction during the concentric and eccentric were like nothing I've ever felt. By reversing the weight before it touches your chest, you can't "ride" the bounce on the way up. You're basically pressing the bar up as the weights are still going down, and then you have to initiate the eccentric by "pulling" the bar down as the weights are still moving upward.

The day after performing these, everyone (including myself) reported being more sore than usual...the cool thing was that it was 100% muscular soreness without the joint pain that's usually associated with dynamic barbell lifts.

High Rep Benching: I had my NFL guys perform the "225 test" with the bar after their main lift on max-effort day. I didn't coach them to reverse the weight before it touched their chest...I just told them to "get as many reps as possible". I wanted to see how this compared to their 225 test with a traditional barbell. Most of them started "riding" the bounce of the bar off their chest...(it's funny how the body quickly figures out the easiest way of doing something LOL.) But, even with the bounce, the numbers were equal to, or less than, their "regular" 225 test #'s. This was interesting considering the actual weight of the 225 Tsunami Bar Bench Test is much lighter than 225lbs. FYI, of the 8 NFL guys that I had perform the 225 test, 4 of them tied their best "regular" 225 test #, 2 of them did 1 less rep than their regular 225 test, 1 guy did 2 reps less, and 1 guy did 3 reps less.

So even though the Tsunami Bar 225 test was lighter than 225 pounds and I let them bounce/cheat, etc., the stability requirements and muscle activation is definitely much greater (from my observation), compared to a "regular" 225 barbell bench test. Because of this, I think it will make a great tool for preparing guys for the Combine next year.

Overhead Pressing: I rarely have my athletes Overhead Press because of the shoulder pain associated with this exercise. I had a few athletes (that don't like to overhead press because it hurts their AC joints) perform 4 sets of 10 during one of their upper body workouts. All of them set it felt much more comfortable than a regular barbell. Three of them had no joint soreness at all the following day, one of them said she had a "little" soreness in AC joint, but nothing compared to a regular barbell overhead press.

Barbell Complex: Barbell Complexes suck to begin with LOL, but performing them with the Tsunami Bar definitely increases the intensity a great deal by the added stability requirements....PLUS the bar is thicker in diameter compared to regular barbells, so the grip requirements are much greater as well.

Zercher Squats, Step-ups, Reverse Lunges: I really like having my wrestlers perform exercises while holding a barbell in the "Zercher" position....the problem is it is very uncomfortable most of the time. The Tsunami Bar is awesome for Zercher-hold type movements because the bar "gives" and the thicker diameter make it MUCH more comfortable on the elbows.

I know there are MANY more uses for this bar, but these are the movements I have used thus far. I'll send more feedback as we continue to experiment.

The only negative feedback I have is that the bar is somewhat of a pain in the ass to set up and use. You really need to constantly remind your clients to pay attention when loading/unloading the weights, etc. For the most part, my athletes are pretty focused, yet I still had an incident where an athlete took a weight off and the bar flipped over. This wasn't due to her not paying attention or being lazy...she's one of my smartest, most focused athletes in my gym. But, out of habit, she took the weight off after one of her sets before her partner was ready. This is a definite concern for coaches who work with groups of athletes.

Hope this feedback helps.

Joe DeFranco
Founder | Owner
DeFranco's Training Systems, LLC

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