If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of specialty bars.
The very first specialty bar I purchased was a football bar so I could give my shoulders a break from straight bar work and so I could also add some variety to my training.
There are a lot of good options out there when it comes to picking a football/swiss bar.
You’ve got your big names like Rogue and Elitefts who make really nice bars in the higher price range. You’ve got companies like Titan Fitness who introduced their press bars at insanely low prices. And then you’ve got your custom fabricators like Edge Fitness Systems and Black Widow Training Gear, who have made some really high quality and unique pieces at very reasonable prices.
I personally wanted a bar that offered angled grips with at least three handle width options. This obviously narrowed down the field quite a bit, but there was one specific detail that I will cover below that led me to choose between Edge Fitness Systems and Black Widow.
If the title of this review didn’t give it away, I picked Edge Fitness, and while I’m sure the Black Widow bar would be great, I’m really happy with my decision.
So with that, I present you a review of the Edge Fitness slim football bar.
Edge Fitness Slim Football Bar
This bar is an awesome implement to add variety to your training, plow through plateaus, and save your achy shoulders.
Rick from Edge Fitness has been building gym equipment for over 35 years, and you can tell when using this bar that he knows a thing or two. He claims that they haven’t found a lifter who doesn’t prefer the slim version, and I can certainly attest to that sentiment.
Let's get into the review.
Design and Dimensions
As the name implies, this bar is designed to have a slimmer profile than traditional football/swiss bars. This is why I narrowed my choice to Edge Fitness and Black Widow, as they both offer slim options. The distance from top to bottom is only 7”, whereas most conventional bars are around 10”. What this means is a more comfortable bar that actually enhances your movements due to additional range of motion. For the record, I selected the Edge bar mainly because it was $50 cheaper and I didn't feel the 30″ handle option on the BWTG was worth the additional cost.
The total length of the bar is 81″ with a loadable sleeve length of 13.3″. How much weight you can load onto the bar is largely dependent on the types of plates you're using, but you can rest assured you will break before the bar does. Mike Wolfe has benched 650 lbs raw on this bar without an inkling of concern about its integrity under that amount of load. I've been using my Rogue Competition Bumpers on the bar, and I can load up 500 lbs of plates (even though I'll never need to… sigh) with a collar at the end. There is approximately 7″ between the gussets and collar, which will allow you to rack this bar easily in just about any rack.
As far as the handles are concerned, there are 6 total handles allowing for 3 different width options 8″ offset from one another. They are distanced at 7.5″, 15.5″, and 23.5″. Each handle is angled at approximately 15 degrees, which makes for a nice hand positioning. Depending on which way you flip the bar, you can have a slightly supinated grip or a slightly pronated grip. I personally like the supinated position when performing movements like hammer curls, but typically I default to the pronated position. I much prefer it on presses, triceps extensions, back rows, etc…
Construction and Build Quality
The team at Edge Fitness is known for high quality construction, and this bar is definitely no exception.
The bar is constructed with schedule 40 1.9″ OD (outside diameter) pipe steel, which is consistent with most other specialty bars and especially football/swiss bars. This of course means that the diameter of the bar is not the same as an Olympic bar, so you'll need some specialty collars in order to fit the sleeves. I think Proloc makes the best ones – I like the ability to tighten them down, which means they can also be used on normal sleeves.
The bar itself weighs in at 29.3 lbs, so you'll have to do a little math to get your weight correct, but this is pretty normal (i.e. different math) for a lot of specialty bars. For additional strength, Edge has welded quarter inch gussets onto the frame and sleeves. In general, the welds are exceptional throughout. They are very clean with very little spatter to be found.
The handles on the bar are not knurled, but that isn't surprising considering most press bars have smooth handles. I haven't really found this to be a major issue, but it would be a cool feature that I would love to see more manufacturers employ in general. The balance of the bar when it's in your hands is really nice. As you look down the shaft (hey noooow), you shouldn't notice any imperfections that would result in an unbalanced bar. Similarly, the tight and consistently even spacing between the handles aids in creating a quality feel during lifts.
This bar looks mean. It looks like something you would strap on to the front end of a derby car before absolute wrecking house. That's not a bad idea actually – it's strong enough to do some serious damage!
Like most specialty bars, the Edge bar has a black powder coated finish throughout. I think powder coating looks awesome, but I'm really not a big fan of it on sleeves. Over time as the plates slide on and off, the powder coat comes off with it. I personally like the way my bars look, so this is a bit annoying to me. I do use this bar frequently and I will say that the powder coating has actually held up rather decently. You can definitely see where it's coming off, but I'm kinda surprised more hasn't come off already. A lot of this depends on what types of plates you're using and if you're putting them on/taking them off aggressively or not straight. With 1.9″ pipe steel, your plates won't fit as snug. Because of this, it's easy to scrape the sleeves by sliding the plates on and off at an angle. If you're careful though, you can really make the powder coating last longer.
I'm a weld nerd. I like nice looking welds, and as I mentioned above, this bar has them. I appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail, and I think it makes the bar just look better. In my opinion this is a really quick way to tell if a bar is quality or garbage from a construction perspective also.
Overall, I'm a fan of the way the bar looks.
I really like how this bar performs. Yes, you can do basically anything with this bar that you can do with any other football/swiss bar, but the slim profile makes a noticeable difference. The weight is actually closer to your body depending on the type of movement you're performing.
Take the shoulder press for instance. With a traditional football/swiss bar that is 10″ wide (center section), the weight will sit about 1.5″ further from your body than with the 7″ Edge Fitness slim bar. The closer the weight, the more comfortable the press.
Take the hammer curl as another example. As you lower the bar towards your body in the eccentric portion of the lift, a 10″ bar may limit the amount of stretch the biceps receive. With a 7″ bar, you can get an additional 1.5″ of ROM, thereby enhancing the stretch and maximizing the movement entirely.
There are several other examples of this, but there's no denying a slimmer bar is optimal when compared to its wider counterparts.
Edge Fitness Slim Football Bar – Pros and Cons
- The biggest benefit of this bar is that it's slimmer than the vast majority of other football/swiss bars.
- It's extremely well made. You can tell just by looking at this bar that Edge takes a lot of pride in their work. The materials are quality and the construction is top-notch.
- The grip widths allow you to take advantage of a number of lifts with ease and comfort.
- The bar can hold more weight than 99.99% of the world's population can handle.
- At $199, the price of the bar is really attractive. While it's not as inexpensive as places like Titan Fitness, it's priced below other places like Rogue Fitness and Elitefts. Its quality in my opinion is superior to the likes of Titan and on par with the Rogues and EliteFTS' of the world.
- The black powder coat is going to fade over time. This is nothing new though, as it's like this on most specialty bars. From what I can tell after using this bar multiple times a week for about 8 months, Edge's powder coat is actually pretty good. I will add that I'm using comp plates and I'm careful when loading/unloading the weight.
- The packaging could be improved. The bar wasn't shipped in a box. Rather, it was shipped heavily wrapped. Thankfully it didn't impact the bar at all, but I could see where it could possibly cause some cosmetic issues in the wrong hands.
To summarize, I've had a great experience using this bar. If you're in the market for a football/swiss bar, give Edge Fitness a look. I really think the slim design is beneficial when compared to other bars on the market. You're also guaranteed to get a high quality piece that will serve you well over a long period of time.
If you want to read more about football/swiss bars or powerlifting equipment in general, check out my ultimate guide to building a powerlifting home gym.
If you have any questions on this bar or football/swiss bars in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own this bar and want to chime in on your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
If you found this review useful, please feel free to share it on social media!The bar is loaded,