The Swiss bar, sometimes referred to as the football bar or multi-grip bar, is a very popular piece of equipment for building strength.
Not only does the Swiss bar help you get strong, but it also improves training variety and it's great for those with shoulder/upper extremity issues.
The Swiss bar was actually the first specialty bar I purchased for my personal home gym. Since buying it, it's been a valuable member of my bar collection, and I continue to use it in a number of ways.
Let's have a look at five amazing benefits of the Swiss bar that I think everyone can benefit from.
#1: It's a Shoulder Saver
One of the biggest reasons people buy a Swiss bar is because it's easier on the shoulders. I'd venture a guess that most of us have dealt with some sort of shoulder pain in our lives. Perhaps some have undergone major surgeries to repair damage caused by lifting or possibly trauma. Considering I was dealing with some shoulder discomfort at the time on straight bar bench, I picked up a Swiss bar to take the pressure off.
Due to the fact the bar itself offers angled or truly neutral grips, it puts the shoulder in a less compromised position. In doing so, it provides an opportunity to recover while also still stimulating muscle growth. Sometimes it helps to completely rest from an injury, but if your body will allow it, it's extremely beneficial to work around an issue.
The Swiss bar is a great way to work around an injury. After exclusively benching with the Swiss Bar for a couple of months, I personally found my shoulder pain essentially dissolved completely. Now that I'm back to benching regularly with my straight bars, I use the Swiss bar more as an accessory tool.
#2: It's Very Versatile
Although the Swiss bar is commonly thought to be a tool for benching, its training application is actually much more comprehensive.
You can use a Swiss bar in a number of ways. Take a look at this list, highlighting some of the popular/possible movements:
- Bench Press
- Floor Press
- JM Press
- Shoulder Press
- Front Lateral Raise
- Back Rows
- Inverted Back Rows (Place on Rack Safeties)
- Clean and Press
- Stiff Legged Deadlift
- Triceps Skull Crushers/Extensions
- Hammer Curls
- Chin Ups (Place on top of Rack)
- Push Ups (Place on Rack Safeties)
The great thing about the Swiss bar, aside from the numerous movements, is that there are multiple grips. This allows for even more variety in your training. On the bench press, for example, you can perform a close grip bench or a wide grip bench (and some in between).
Because of that, the Swiss bar truly offers awesome versatility.
#3: It Will Get You Stronger
One of the biggest benefits of specialty bars, in general, is that they're useful in getting strong in different ways.
With respect to the Swiss bar, it's very helpful in building the triceps through the neutral grip pressing movements. This then has a strong carryover to the straight bar bench press, especially if you struggle with your lockout.
The bar has a tendency to be a bit unstable, which requires you to stay very tight through the lift. It can also be quite challenging through the stabilizers and it may take some getting used to when it comes to performing certain movements.
In either case, the Swiss bar can lead to some serious strength gains.
#4: It Comes in Different Shapes & Sizes
Unlike a traditional straight bar where, other than some differences in knurling, diameter, etc… A Swiss bar comes in many different shapes and sizes.
There are some bars, for instance, that have all neutral grips, or all angled grips, or a combination of both. Some bars are wider while others have a narrower profile. Most bars have fixed sleeves, but there are some that offer rotating chrome sleeves. Some bars weigh more or less than others.
In any case, you have a lot of options when it comes to picking out a proper Swiss bar. Think about how you're planning to use the bar and that will help lead your decision.
#5: They Aren't Very Expensive
Swiss bars can range in prices anywhere from ~$75 to north of $400 depending on what you buy and where you buy it. This makes it an extremely accessible tool for most gyms, commercial or at home.
This differs from some other specialty bars, such as the safety squat bar, which are traditionally on the more costly side.
So if you're on a budget, yet you want a quality specialty bar that provides great versatility, the Swiss bar is a nice option.
For the record, you should master the straight bar movement before diving head first into the world of specialty bars.
Where to Buy
If you read my article on the benefits of a safety squat bar, you'd know that there are really only a handful of companies I would trust with my money when it comes to an SSB.
That's really not the case when it comes to a Swiss Bar. With that being said, here is a list of companies who are known to make quality Swiss/Multi-Grip bars (this is certainly not an exhaustive list):
- Rogue Fitness
- American Barbell (T-Grip)
- Edge Fitness Systems
- Black Widow Training Gear
- Power Systems
Here are some more budget-friendly options:
I personally own the slim football bar from Edge Fitness, and I really like it. The slim profile makes a difference to me, and it's very well built. You can read my full review here.
Swiss Bar Benefits – Conclusion
If you're looking for a specialty bar that's versatile, affordable, and effective at rehabbing/prehabbing injury, the Swiss bar is an excellent option.
I personally think it's one of the best specialty bars you can have in your gym.
If you have any questions on Swiss bars in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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The bar is loaded,