Join Shane Sweatt and Laura Phelps-Sweatt of Westside Barbell as they introduce the bamboo bar for stabilization training.
“This bar is great for stabilization. It’s great for shoulder rehab—also teaches you a really good release (the negative phase of the lift),” Sweatt says.
Sweatt spots a lifter using the bar with bands and kettlebells to safely work on the athlete’s stabilization. Sweatt says you can perform reps or just hang out at the top for static-hold competitions. The drills can be performed with a light barbell but, according to Sweatt, the best tool is the bamboo bar.
“The thing with the bamboo bar is the bar is so light, the kettlebells are moving and you don’t have the extra weight to help slow it down at the top,” he says.
Sweatt says he used kettlebell benching to rehab after a shoulder injury and afterward, when he went back to the straight bar, his shoulders felt “phenomenal.” Phelps-Sweatt says the specialty bar can even speed up recovery times.
Sweatt says the bamboo bar also teaches you to lift consistently over your chest to maintain balance and speed. It forces you to place your forearms at a 90-degree angle to the ground or else you’ll lose the bar forward. Similarly, the bar forces you to fix lifts that drift too far backward and gives you a faster reaction time.
Finally, the bamboo bar loaded with kettlebells isn’t just for benching; it can also be a useful tool for overhead squats and other movements.
Additional reading: Shake Hands With the Fat Boys by Daniel Hersee, published June 20, 2011.