• Fay Ellis

Swiss Bar and Bench Board

Updated: Feb 23

Powerlifter and regular member Luke South using the Swiss bar for close grip bench last weekend after having done a heavy "bench to board" session.


First things first, if you're not sure what it is... performing flat bench press to a board or a block placed on the chest/sternum reduces the depth of the lift and can be extremely useful in working on sticking points in your pressing... basically, it helps to build strength at your weakest point.


It's probably not something I'd do unless you were specifically looking to improve your bench press for strength or power training...


....BUT it can be good if you have any shoulder problems and can also be used in rehab type training as the range of motion is reduced and the shoulder is less compromised.

Bench to board can also help improve tricep strength and build confidence.

Anyway, back to the Swiss bar in the video.


The Swiss bar (sometimes known as the football bar or multi grip bar) is extremely multi functional and can also help if you have any shoulder problems when pressing with a standard wide grip.


You'll notice that this bar has a much larger diameter than a standard bar...this can help to build grip strength. We also have a thick straight axle bar here which can be used for curling/rowing/pressing and can also build grip strength.


Swiss bars either come with all straight, all angled or some straight and some angled grips. Ours is all straight and allows for neutral shoulders when pressing, the reason why it is good if you have any issues/injuries.


💡Standard benching internally rotates the shoulder joint putting it in a position more likely to cause injury to the rotator cuffs or bicep tendons particularly when lifting heavy, and can be painful if you have existing problems.


The neutral grip keeps the shoulder joint more "open" and allows more freedom of movement for the tendons located within.


So you can either use it to work round an injury or as accessory work to help with bigger lifts as Luke does here. Either way it will get you stronger.

Doing closer grip work will help to strengthen your triceps greatly which will then carry over to other pressing movements, and can particularly help if you struggle with the lock out (the very last part) of your pressing.


There are three grip widths to choose from. When benching, the closer you get the more the triceps will be hit...the wider the grip, more emphasis will be on the chest.


It can be fairly unstable to start of with so I would recommend getting someone to help unrack and spot (and start off with light weights) if you are a less experienced lifter. You may feel wobbly for a while, but as your stabilising muscles and core get stronger you will build confidence using the bar.


The Swiss bar is not just for pressing!


Here are some ideas that you can use this extremely versatile, and probably very underrated bar for:


▪️ Bench Press

▪️ Floor Press

▪️ Shoulder Press

▪️ Front Raise

▪️ Bent Over Rows

▪️ 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)


If you want to use the bar and are bit unsure what to do feel free to grab myself, Chris or if Luke is not in the middle of lifting I'm sure he'd be more than happy to answer a couple of questions.


If you wish to use the bench boards they are at reception and again, feel free to ask any questions at any time.


Happy lifting!


Fay


✌🏾



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