28 May Finding What Type Of Bar Is For You
By: Adam Driggers
Recently I was part of a brief discussion concerning the different bars available today and which of those are the best. After considering the discussion from my keyboard for a minute I realized I hadn’t formed a concrete opinion. Why should I with all the choices? Deciding which bar I like the best when there are several to choose from for each of the disciplines requires far too much thought.
Average social media user (ASMU): “Which bar do you like most?”
Me: “For which lift?”
ASMU: “All of them.”
Me: “You realized that will take thought and valuable time?”
Me: “I don’t want to spend that much effort on you.”
ASMU: “Okay, just squat?”
ASMU: “Are you there?”
You get the idea.
So I decided to give it a go by looking around the gym and making some decisions based on what I have available for myself and my lifters.
What We Have
Texas, Mastodon, and Iron Wolfe
Texas, Iron Wolfe
I’m leaving out a ton of specialty bars for the sake of this article. This article is to help you figure out what bars to use to do the big 3 just like you will in competition. (Remember that statement as we will come back to it later.)
Right now I prefer the Mastodon. The Iron Wolfe may quickly replace it, but it is too new for me to say that just yet. I like the MAstodon as it is thicker than the Texas bar. The thicker bar feels better on my back and has less whip. Both of those things give me a better feeling squat. More stable.
What’s more important than more stable? (That’s a trick question that we will answer correctly later.)
The Iron Wolfe is a great bar as well for the same reasons as the Mastodon. I’m sure I’ll get caught up with it in the coming weeks. It is a better looking bar, currently.
The Texas bar has its place and I have two of them in the racks at my place. They have served us well and still get used regularly. They were in both monolifts this past Saturday. (More on that later as well)
Our Texas Bar is used far more than anything else in the gym. It is a great bar, but it does loose its favor with me when the weight gets really heavy. We are huge proponents of the three man hand-off. Once the weight reaches 80+ % we have three guys on the bar. The Iron Wolfe provides plenty of room on the sleeves for hand-offs even at 800+. That makes everyone feel safer and more secure in their job when spotting. The whip in the bar at that weight is reduced as well. Those two things quickly put the Iron Wolfe bar at the top of the bench list.
Currently we use only the Texas Bar. It is much newer than our Okie bar. Past that I can not tell a difference between the bars. So far my opinion is that a deadlift bar is a deadlift bar. I’m sure there are some who disagree and that’s fine, we are all adults here.
So there it is. The Mastodon to squat, the Iron Wolfe to bench, and the Texas Bar to pull with, these are my choices.
NOW FORGET ALL OF THAT!
Most of you aren’t going to have all of these bars to choose from. A lot of gyms won’t even have one of each. The point of this article was never to tell you which bar I prefer and have you go out and buy it. My opinions on the bars only matter if you can afford more than a few bars.
If my opinion on the bars doesn’t matter, why write this article?
To tell you this:
Can you afford only one bar? Buy a Texas Power Bar and use it for all three lifts. Can you afford one of each? If the answer to that question is yes, then I have a few follow up questions. What Federation is in your area? Do you do most of your competing there? If so, what bars do they use? If not, where do you compete and what bars do they use? If you answered those questions, you’ve answered the original question!
ASMU: “What do you mean?”
Me: “What good is a Mastodon when every meet you do you will be using a Texas Bar?”
What will happen if you by Adam’s “Best” bar and you get the Texas Bar at the meet? You will have spent a training cycle feeling comfortable under a thick bar with very little whip and then step into a warm-up room with a skinny bar that whips your butt, literally. By the time you take the platform you’re mentally off your game and handling max weights with a bar you aren’t used to.
The purpose of buying new bars is to be better prepared for the platform. BUY WHAT YOU WILL SEE, period, end of discussion! I know you want a brand new Iron Wolfe. They are so shiny. But why buy a bar that your state chair can’t afford to outfit the meets with. Buy what he uses so you are prepared when you step on the platform.
Earlier I told you that both of our monolifts had Texas Squat Bars in them last week. You should know, by now, the reason. Several of my guys are training for the same meet that will be using the Texas Squat bar. I know this is redundant, but I asked a question earlier; what is more important than stable? Being comfortable is. Getting used to what’s on the platform months in advance is. That’s the reason we would leave our Mastodon in the bar tube. That’s why we would leave our brand new Iron Wolfe to the side. I want my guys to be prepared. Sacrifice stable the first few weeks in training for getting used to the bar you will most likely see at the meets. That will provide the best atmosphere for stability when you take the platform.
The Wrap Up
ASMU: “Adam, what squat bar should I buy?”
Me: “Call the meet director that puts the meets on that you do and buy what he uses.”
ASMU: “You sir are a freaking genius! Thank you.”
Me: “You’re welcome.”
1 year later…
ASMU: “Adam thanks for the advice. It worked out great. Now I’m looking for a second bar to better outfit my gym, what’s your advice?”
Me: “What’s your next step” Nationals maybe?”
ASMU: “Have I ever told you how smart you are? That’s exactly what I have planned.”
Me: “I get that all the time. Thanks. Call the meet director for this year’s National and find out what bar he is using. Buy it. If it’s the same then look forward to the next step and see what they are using. Buy that one. But don’t use it for meet prep unless you’ll see it on the platform. “
Just one more thing…
The only exception to this is when you can’t afford a new bar; your gym refuses to purchase a new bar, or will not allow you to bring a bar in. Never forego training because the platform might feel uncomfortable. Use what you have. Have fun. Train smart.