Lifting With a Fat Bar

By Kurtis Bowler

In Sports Applications, Videos

October 26, 2009

Video Article

The fat bar is a classic grip-training tool used by competitive strongmen. In this video, Kurtis Bowler (owner and founder of Rainier CrossFit) instructs a female athlete in the somewhat unusual techniques required to get a fat bar from the ground to overhead.

Breaking the movement down into pieces, Bowler demonstrates the difficulty of getting the bar into the rack position, noting that his fingers can’t even fully close around the thick 2-inch-diameter bar.

“It just wants to shoot out of the bottom of your hands,” he explains.

Bowler wraps up the session with an attempt at a new PR: 233 lb. from floor to overhead.

Video by Again Faster.

5min 27sec

Additional reading: KingKinggg KongKonggg by Rob Orlando, published Nov. 3, 2008.

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8 Comments on “Lifting With a Fat Bar”

1

wrote …

Nice work. 233# clean and jerk ain't too shabby, even with an Olympic rig.

2

wrote …

great trng video..
I cant wait to buy one of those bars now. it was geat to see a female athlete doing that. she made it look easy! STRONG GIRL! kudos to you both
thank you so much for sharing that info..train hard and stay safe.
lisa
crossfit suffolk
www.spartanperformance.com

3

wrote …

The country fairs in the Northeast used to feature outdoor clean and jerk contests; (I wonder if they still do). The "Continental," as it was practiced, was most often done by folks who'd strap on a big weight belt and heave the bar high enough to hang it inside the corner of the buckle. From there, they'd continue wrestling it upward.

John Davis, a strong man of the 1930's, clean and jerked the famous Railway Wheels of Apollon, using an over-under grip and switching in mid air. That was 366 pounds.
An old Olympic Weightlifting coach of mine, Joe Mills, had stories of traveling with Davis from meet to meet and sleeping in their car. Davis, an African American, was a hero in Europe but couldn't get a hotel room in the States.

4

wrote …

Here's a video of my buddy, Rob Orlando, doing the Axle Clean and Press at a competition in New Jersey. The lift, 365 pounds, set a North American record in the Light weight Division. It also broke the Heavy weight record by 2 pounds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWS5wbzT3oA

5

wrote …

Cool video, but I'm not sure I understand the purpose of the grip-switch lift. How does it contribute to developing the productive application of force? It seems the body would move more efficiently with the traditional oly technic. If the bar's to heavy/fat then you just have to address that weakness. Nice work on the lifts though.

6

wrote …

George,
A both hands over grip would allow you to move more efficiently. But grip strength is the limiting factor when cleaning a fat bar. Most of the top guys can put overhead more than they can get to their shoulders with a both hands over grip on a fat bar. If they want to do well, they have to figure out another way to get the bar to their shoulders to press. Enter the continental and reverse grip.
Should people continue to work both hands over to improve their grip? Absolutely!
As for the productive application of force, it's allowing someone to get more weight from ground to overhead, so I think that would apply.
It's a good technique to know if you have something too big to do a tradional clean with, that you need to get to your shoulders.
This says Laurie on it because she filled out the subscription info, but it's really Kurtis.
If this doesn't answer your question let me know and I'll take another shot at it.

7

replied to comment from Timothy Burke

Hell yes! Rob in his old strongman "beefy" stage... Rob was always a blast at strongman competitions, awesome to watch and always brought the crowd to a roar!
I'm glad his energy and enthusiasm has blended so well into the CF community!

8

wrote …

How does this interact with "the position"?

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