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  1. #1
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    Swiss/Football Bars for Shoulder Health

    I am in the process of researching Specialty Press Bars to alleviate discomfort in my screaming shoulders from Bench Pressing. Before the "Fix Your Form" Naysayers jump in. Yes I am aware that is the ultimate goal. But I want this discussion and thread to be about everything there is to discuss about these bars.

    This is where I am at. I have decided that for me I will do better with angled grips as opposed to neutral grips. But by all means I want to hear opinions on all variations. I have narrowed my choices down to:

    Edge Fitness Slim Football bar (bottom one on rack):
    http://www.edgefitnessystems.com/Sli...tball-Bar.html




    BWTG Slim Angled Swiss Bar:
    http://www.blackwidowtg.com/Slim_Ang...ngledswiss.htm


    BWTG Multi Grip Press Bar:
    http://www.blackwidowtg.com/product_...ulti-press.htm


    Keep in mind my primary use for this bar will be for Flat Bench Press. Everything else will be secondary. i.e. I like the idea of the Multi Grip Bar. But the clear advantage of that bar is for OHP'ing. If I sacrifice something in the Bench Press with this bar, then I would rule it out.

    If I go with one of the first 2, Black Widow offers one extra grip width (Which I doubt I would use). After emails with Edge the spacing on their bar is 5, 13 & 20"
    BWTG's is 8 , 15, 23, 30"
    BWTG's Multi Grip Press Bar is 16 & 24"

    My hand spacing on BP with a straight bar is about 25". Is it normal to shorten that grip when you pronate your hands? Has anyone used Dean's MGPB for anything other than Over Head Pressing? Are there other bars/manufactures out there you want to recommend to me?

    Give me your thoughts. And use this thread to discuss whatever else you ever wanted to know about Swiss/Football Bars.
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    11 dsMiscErr drrickso's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dieselmike View Post
    I am in the process of researching Specialty Press Bars to alleviate discomfort in my screaming shoulders from Bench Pressing. Before the "Fix Your Form" Naysayers jump in. Yes I am aware that is the ultimate goal. But I want this discussion and thread to be about everything there is to discuss about these bars.

    This is where I am at. I have decided that for me I will do better with angled grips as opposed to neutral grips. But by all means I want to hear opinions on all variations. I have narrowed my choices down to:

    Edge Fitness Slim Football bar (bottom one on rack):
    http://www.edgefitnessystems.com/Sli...tball-Bar.html




    BWTG Slim Angled Swiss Bar:
    http://www.blackwidowtg.com/Slim_Ang...ngledswiss.htm


    BWTG Multi Grip Press Bar:
    http://www.blackwidowtg.com/product_...ulti-press.htm


    Keep in mind my primary use for this bar will be for Flat Bench Press. Everything else will be secondary. i.e. I like the idea of the Multi Grip Bar. But the clear advantage of that bar is for OHP'ing. If I sacrifice something in the Bench Press with this bar, then I would rule it out.

    If I go with one of the first 2, Black Widow offers one extra grip width (Which I doubt I would use). After emails with Edge the spacing on their bar is 5, 13 & 20"
    BWTG's is 8 , 15, 23, 30"
    BWTG's Multi Grip Press Bar is 16 & 24"

    My hand spacing on BP with a straight bar is about 25". Is it normal to shorten that grip when you pronate your hands? Has anyone used Dean's MGPB for anything other than Over Head Pressing? Are there other bars/manufactures out there you want to recommend to me?

    Give me your thoughts. And use this thread to discuss whatever else you ever wanted to know about Swiss/Football Bars.

    I use the MGPB as an alternative to barbell OHP, curls, & skull crushers mostly. I love the bar, but it's less than ideal for benching mainly because you dont have as many choices for spacing if you like to vary your grip or if the two choices arent perfect for you. Also, I dont go extra narrow when pronating.

    My main purpose for this bar was to use it as a rackable EZ Curl alternative that offers more versatility in terms of pressing.

    I'd suggest you get that slim angled football bar you listed if you want it primarily for benching though. IMO the straight handled ones are a waste as that ROM can be replicated with dumbbells. Also, the slim version will be better at keeping the bar from rolling as much in your hands as these obviously dont have rotating sleeves.
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    Look at the Ultimate Bar from Watson Gym in the UK

    I have two of the Watson Gym Equipment Ultimate Bar (one thick grip and one standard grip), both have rotating sleeves.

    http://watsongym.co.uk/product/ultimate-bar/

    I really like them both and the grip spacing should be satisfactory for you as the middle grips are 26" apart.
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    Originally Posted by jedpop View Post
    I have two of the Watson Gym Equipment Ultimate Bar (one thick grip and one standard grip), both have rotating sleeves.

    http://watsongym.co.uk/product/ultimate-bar/

    I really like them both and the grip spacing should be satisfactory for you as the middle grips are 26" apart.
    that's bad a$$! yeah having rotating sleeves would be ideal for Mike's needs- but the price ~ doubled vs his original choices.
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    FWIW, I bought a Rogue MG-21 to help with a shoulder issue, but it didn't help me. Depending on the state of your shoulder, nothing may make a difference. My situation could be a little different from yours, as I had some damage before use. You might want to talk to a doc before buying anything if you have significant pain/discomfort.
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    True - they are expensive when compared to other options. I originally bought the American Press Bar from EliteFTS but didn't like using it for OHP's (I still use it for benching though). I found the WGE Ultimate Bar and ended up with two of them b/c I liked them so much (grip spacing, space between the grip frames for face/head). I think the rotating sleeves are worth it - I think it helps wrist development and reduces torque effect when doing curls.
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    Always Learning dieselmike's Avatar
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    All good insight guys. Thanks.

    Originally Posted by drrickso View Post
    I use the MGPB as an alternative to barbell OHP, <snip> I love the bar, but it's less than ideal for benching
    <snip>

    I'd suggest you get that slim angled football bar you listed if you want it primarily for benching though. IMO the straight handled ones are a waste as that ROM can be replicated with dumbbells. ......
    good confirmation there of a few of my perceptions and beliefs.


    Originally Posted by jedpop View Post
    .....Watson Gym Equipment Ultimate Bar (one thick grip and one standard grip), both have rotating sleeves.

    http://watsongym.co.uk/product/ultimate-bar/

    I really like them both and the grip spacing should be satisfactory for you as the middle grips are 26" apart.
    Great suggestion. Thanks for alerting me of this one. It just got thrown into the consideration mix.

    Originally Posted by RGrizzzz View Post
    FWIW, I bought a Rogue MG-21 to help with a shoulder issue, but it didn't help me. Depending on the state of your shoulder, nothing may make a difference. My situation could be a little different from yours, as I had some damage before use. You might want to talk to a doc before buying anything if you have significant pain/discomfort.
    I have heard others say the same that nothing helped. I have never had major injury to the shoulder. This is just beat up. It is not significant pain at this point. That is what I am trying to avoid. I know what nags the shoulder and what doesn't. Most docs would tell me to rest it and that's just not gonna fly with me. I am a big believer in active recovery.

    Originally Posted by jedpop View Post
    I originally bought the American Press Bar from EliteFTS but didn't like using it for OHP's (I still use it for benching though).
    Another member who's opinion I respect greatly here has ruled this out for me for similar reason you just stated. Always good to have another confirmation.
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    Can some who owns the Edge Fitness Slim Football bar please confirm the grip spacing that I mentioned in the first post? 5, 13, and 20" doesn't seem possible. I mean the 5" grip, my knuckles would be touching. And the 20" is boarder line doing close grip. I think I have bad info on this.
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    If money is no object, the duffalo bar, hands down.
    This has been the only bar to alleviate my shoulder pain entirely. It's pricey, but it works. It's also the only bar I've been able to bench heavy with, without using wrist wraps. I cannot do that w/ a football or swiss bar.
    Changing the horizontal angle helps somewhat, but it's the slope of the vertical angle (or having any angle vs something parallel to the ground) that makes the greatest impact. That's been my experience.
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    Great thread diesel! Here are the measurements from my review, assuming the spacing is the same on both the combo and regular football bar. Its also worth mentioning that Rick can push out the handles another 2" if requested when you order (25"). The measurements you have may be from the closest point of the angled handles, and I can measure that again tonight to confirm

    Distance between angled handles (middle of grip): 7”, 15”, 23”
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    I own the 7ft double handle angled bar. A bit more expensive, but feels like a real bar rather than a piece of hollow pipe.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Great thread diesel! Here are the measurements from my review, assuming the spacing is the same on both the combo and regular football bar. Its also worth mentioning that Rick can push out the handles another 2" if requested when you order (25"). The measurements you have may be from the closest point of the angled handles, and I can measure that again tonight to confirm

    Distance between angled handles (middle of grip): 7, 15, 23
    Same distances as mine. I'll also add that my slim FBall bar comes in under 7". I believe it was closer to 6.75" so it is really nice and slim for OHP.
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    I have an American Press Bar, got it because my wife has a torn labrum but still needs to bench for competition.

    The neutral handles take a lot of stress off of the shoulders, but they hit the triceps a lot harder.


    If it were me I would get the combo bar from Edge. The neutral and angled grips would both take stress off of the shoulders, but you might like the opportunity to rotate out and hit the movement in different ways.
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    I have owned the Edge slim football bar for about 1 1/2 years now. My intent was to use it when my shoulders were feeling sketchy, but I use it regularly as it turns out.

    I can only use the widest handles for bench and OHP or the movements HURT my shoulders with this bar. The middle handles only get used for curls and the close handles for skull crushers. My favorite lift with the bar is the bent row on the widest handles with my hands supine. I can easily keep my shoulders packed and I never get elbow pain.

    The football bar didn't really help with my shoulder issues that I could tell. What it does help me with is elbow pain. I am assuming the way in which I press with the football bar there is less torque on my elbows.
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    I plan to do a full review in awhile, but I have the Edge Fitness Systems Football bar. Main purchase reasons for me, was bench, and then I never wanted to waste space on an ez-curl bar. I've used it for decline, flat, incline bench, also reverse grip flat bench... curls, reverse curls, tricep work, rows, and even push-ups. I REALLY like burnout sets starting from the outside grip, to middle, to inside.

    I have no comparison to the other bars, but I like the ability to flip the bar and use the reverse handles, opposed to the combo bar from Edge, you'd flip and have neutral, and the neutral grip is weird to me. I like the slight angle, as this is how I bench dumbbells naturally. This was the main reason I didn't grab the combo bar, I really feel like the only way I'd own a swiss bar would be if I grabbed one used for dirt cheap.

    As for the fit, finish, quality, etc. I bought my bar during black friday, so he was SWAMPED, so take that into consideration. There is a little bit of loose pieces inside the bar that you hear rattle when flipping the bar around. The weld points for the grips, I can see slight signs of missed powdercoating, and one handle has a little bump (loose piece of welding material?) on it that I can't manage to scrape off. None of this impacts the functionality of the bar by any means, and I've used the bar at least once a week for the past 2 months. With my mixed O2B and OM Ivankos, the sleeve is still holding it's powdercoat rather well. My HG Collars also fit on the bar, so no need for me to own the OSO Axle collars or anything, which is nice. Let me know if you want any more details, I can post some pics of whatever you want as well.
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    Originally Posted by jimbuick View Post
    I have an American Press Bar, got it because my wife has a torn labrum but still needs to bench for competition.

    The neutral handles take a lot of stress off of the shoulders, but they hit the triceps a lot harder.


    If it were me I would get the combo bar from Edge. The neutral and angled grips would both take stress off of the shoulders, but you might like the opportunity to rotate out and hit the movement in different ways.
    I mean no disrespect but you've more than once mentioned in the forums that the neutral grip handles hit the triceps a lot harder - from what I know and read that is not a valid statement. The following article pretty much states the opposite of what you have repeated at least a couple of times:

    http://baye.com/effect-of-hand-posit...ing-exercises/

    The muscle attachment of the tricep is to the ulna which, unlike the radius, does not move depending on wrist position which seems to confirm what the article above states.

    Perhaps you're more comfortable with the grip position which allows you to move heavier weight - but that's not been my experience.
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    Originally Posted by jedpop View Post
    I mean no disrespect but you've more than once mentioned in the forums that the neutral grip handles hit the triceps a lot harder - from what I know and read that is not a valid statement. The following article pretty much states the opposite of what you have repeated at least a couple of times:

    http://baye.com/effect-of-hand-posit...ing-exercises/

    The muscle attachment of the tricep is to the ulna which, unlike the radius, does not move depending on wrist position which seems to confirm what the article above states.

    Perhaps you're more comfortable with the grip position which allows you to move heavier weight - but that's not been my experience.
    The whole point of the bar is that everyone should be more comfortable since it is less stressful on the shoulders.


    I'm not going to waste my time with that article, primarily because every person I've trained with or around that has used a Swiss bar has mentioned how it hit their triceps harder; including myself.


    And, the Swiss bar is typically a harder bar to use as far as maximal weight goes (about 15-25# weaker than a straight Barbell for me).


    This could be because the bar makes it easier (almost second nature) to keep the elbows tucked in tight throughout the whole ROM putting more emphasis on the triceps because it takes the delts out of the movement a little bit.
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    Originally Posted by jedpop View Post
    but that's not been my experience.
    Umm... Yet it HAS been his experience? Why is your experience more valid than his?
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    Whatever, broscience experts...

    Originally Posted by Dont Want None View Post
    Umm... Yet it HAS been his experience? Why is your experience more valid than his?
    Then why don't you understand muscle attachments and articles?

    You broscience experts don't get it...well on your way to your broscience PhD's, bruhs...

    It's probably that his grip is narrower with the bar that he has used why his triceps are more engaged which is different than wrist angle.

    Keep going and you can add "Broscience PhD" to your signatures.

    That said, I'd consider the Duffalo Bar like what SK has - based on his experience and the force exerted inward from the force direction from the sloping angle makes sense that the shoulder joint would be more stable (slight force pushing the joint together).
    Last edited by jedpop; 03-08-2016 at 03:40 PM.
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    Originally Posted by jedpop View Post
    Then why don't you understand muscle attachments and articles?

    You broscience experts don't get it...well on your way to your broscience PhD's, bruhs...

    It's probably that his grip is narrower with the bar that he has used why his triceps are more engaged which is different than wrist angle.

    Keep going and you can add "Broscience PhD" to your signatures.

    That said, I'd consider the Duffalo Bar like what SK has - based on his experience and the force exerted inward from the force direction from the sloping angle makes sense that the shoulder joint would be more stable (slight force pushing the joint together).
    I actually usually use a wider grip (although I rotate through grips).

    Strong assumptions though.



    Have you ever used a Swiss bar, by chance?
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    Hey look!


    I can post an article too!


    http://www.elitefts.com/education/to...of-swiss-bars/


    5.) Great for lockout strength - Many lifters struggle with building their lockout on the bench press. The Swiss bar helps develop the strength in your triceps to lockout any big weight. The neutral handles on the bar stress the triceps to a great degree, giving extra work to the muscles that are needed to press big weights.
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    I have 3 of them

    Originally Posted by jimbuick View Post
    I actually usually use a wider grip (although I rotate through grips).

    Strong assumptions though.



    Have you ever used a Swiss bar, by chance?
    Mr. Broscience PhD,

    Yeah, I have 3 of them.

    Nice broscience though, bruh...
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    Why would you need 3 Swiss bars?
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    So, I measured my handles on my combo bar again. Its hard to get an exact measurement but 'center to center' of the handle it looks pretty close to 22 & 1/2" on my bar. You may try the db test I recommended in the other thread with that spacing, and then view the Edge video online of the big guy benching with the bar (looks pretty natural, even for his large frame). But if 24-25" feels better with the angled grips I'm sure BWTG or Edge could make that happen, and then move the other handles to whatever feels right to you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F_pwl5ypeM

    Edit: Enough derailing gents, each person's personal experience will vary. A Swiss (Neutral) grip 'feels' like it strains my triceps more than angled does, could be a flexibility issue or maybe my training routine has caused a long term imbalance in my arm development. I try to work them with varying grips, which is a nice option to have with the combo bar.
    Last edited by urbanlifter; 03-08-2016 at 04:11 PM.
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    Because I can afford them and you can't

    Originally Posted by jimbuick View Post
    Why would you need 3 Swiss bars?
    See title for your answer.

    Tell me what swiss bar you use and/or measure the distance between your wide grips and get back to me on that, k?
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    So, I measured my handles on my combo bar again. Its hard to get an exact measurement but 'center to center' of the handle it looks pretty close to 22 & 1/2" on my bar. You may try the db test I recommended in the other thread with that spacing, and then view the Edge video online of the big guy benching with the bar (looks pretty natural, even for his large frame). But if 24-25" feels better with the angled grips I'm sure BWTG or Edge could make that happen, and then move the other handles to whatever feels right to you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F_pwl5ypeM

    Edit: Enough derailing gents, each person's personal experience will vary. A Swiss (Neutral) grip 'feels' like it strains my triceps more than angled does, could be a flexibility issue or maybe my training routine has caused a long term imbalance in my arm development. I try to work them with varying grips, which is a nice option to have with the combo bar.
    The more I see that bar, the more I want it. If I were looking for a new Swiss/football bar I wouldn't really look at anything besides the combo bar.


    The neutral handles change the bar path during the lift, that and the width of the bar itself changing the bar path. That changes the movement some, just like when pressing DBs with a neutral grip.
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    I own the BWTG Swiss and Multi Press barbell. The multipress barbell is great and is my goto barbell if I cannot use the typical one
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    I have both the Westside Football bar and Elitefts's Swiss bar.

    I use both for various presses. They have been a huge help for my shoulders with regards to painless lifting (I am 53 so many years of lifting have caught up with some parts of my body!).

    The Westside bar is a huge improvement over the Elitists bar but is also about double the cost.

    The problem I have with the Elitists bar is a) it barely fits in my York rack. I have collars and small plates to keep the plates from hitting the rack. b) When using the far outside handles, my knuckles will hit the side.

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    Guys. A lot of good advice and posts in here which I want to respond to but first I need to address the nonsense. I started this thread to get some advice for myself and my own needs. But these informative threads should serve future users that have the same issues and concerns as me.

    Not everyone is the same. We are all built different. We all have different physiologies. Some of us have better mobility and Range of motion. We also will differ as far as our weak areas. All of these factors can contribute to how our bodies react to certain types of pieces of equipment (and movements). What one person experiences may be completely different than another person's. My point is ALL opinions matter.

    Ultimately I will make a decision on which bar to get after I weigh all opinions. Obviously I will not be going with everyone's suggestion. I need to figure out what works for me. Everyone was providing good input until the "I'm right, you're wrong" attitudes started. Every opinion matters. It is good to know that some may experience more tricep engagement with one grip while another doesn't. It is opinions like this that make a good discussion. But not the nastiness and berating of one another. Remember this:

    If Everyone is Thinking Alike, Then No One is Thinking

    I may put that in my sig line soon to remind everyone before they consider attacking one another.

    But thanks for derailing what could be a good reference thread for the Swiss/Football Bars.

    Now that I got that off my chest I would like to sift through the garbage and respond to the helpful content of this thread.

    Urban & cwcmac - Thanks for confirming those measurements on the Edge slim Bar. I think you are correct that when I emailed them, they gave me the measurement of the closest points of the handles. That makes sense.

    SK - I have read everything you have said about the Duffalo Bar in your other thread and it is intriguing. I would love to try one out. I would also be interested in reading up on the science behind what jedpop hinted at "force exerted inward from the force direction from the sloping angle makes sense that the shoulder joint would be more stable (slight force pushing the joint together)....". I will research that more. But for the purpose of this thread I am really focusing on which Football Bar to get. It's hard enough trying to make a decision on one of these without trying one out. For the cost of a Duffalo, I don't know I could bring myself to that purchase without trying it first.

    WestSlope - Members like you shock me. I've never seen you post here and then out of the blue you come out with such a helpful an informative post. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I haven't done isolation work since I was a kid, but I won't lie. The thought of doing some skull crushers with this has got me a little excited.

    Don't Want None - Another great post for this thread. That is most likely the bar I am leaning toward. So thanks for sharing a well detailed review of it. And the collars. Good to hear. Didn't think of that. I have LockJaws so I think I will be good there.

    Jedpop & Buick - you guys posted some great articles, albeit with opposite views. Anyone considering these bars should read both. I just wish it was left at that. Jim, as far as the combo bar. Here's my thoughts why I am ruling that out. The only thing I really like doing with a neutral grip is pull-ups and seated rows. Keep in mind my primary want for this bar is for Bench. If I think of the natural hand position in most real life situations, it is pronated. I naturally grab the steering wheel at 10-2, not 9-3. If I was push something while standing up my hands naturally go to a slight angle, not all the way out. Say I were to hold a piece of sheetrock against the wall while someone banged some nails into it. My hands are slightly tilted. Same idea the way you would block with your hands in football. At least for me, this is the natural way. And I believe that training should carry over to natural positions. I know that bar is the best of both worlds. But if I never live in the neutral grip world, then why have a bulkier bar that I am only going to use half of it? Again. My thoughts on it. I could clearly see why one would love that bar if they knew they would get equal use out of both sides.

    If I missed anyone, I will get you tomorrow. Sorry for the long post. But there was a lot to say.
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