The All American Fitness Bar is one of THE most versatile pieces of training equipment I've had the opportunity to review.
The construction of the bar allows for a variety of hand positions and angles. In addition, because it's cambered, it allows you to set yourself directly "inside" the weight, similar to a Trap Bar, but with a much greater variety of function.
Here's what it looks like:
Pushing the red buttons on the ends of the handles allow you to tilt the handles in or out at a 45 degree angle. The little red levers at the base of the handles allow you to slide them up and down the bar, attaching in any of 4 holes, letting you very easily adjust grip width...and by easily, I mean in a matter of seconds.
Is it a Good Piece of Equipment?
Absolutely. Honestly, it's become one of my favorite additions to my home gym. I use it regularly for rows, core-focused front squats, shrugs, and hack squats. I also find it extremely useful for neutral-grip curls and extensions.
It's very well constructed, has a good load limit (I tested it up to 4 plates on either side for deadlifts), offers both Standard and Olympic plate capability (adapter included). It's super simple to learn how to use and the bar weight itself is light enough that literally ANYBODY can use it for training...even a total beginner.
This is a bar I would give top marks to in terms of versatility and durability...definitely worth the price, especially if you train at home and are looking to maximize the number of exercises you can with your training equipment.
Exercises You Can Do With the Bar
Beyond the standard curls that immediately jump out at you when you see a bar that looks like this, there's a HUGE variety of other very effective exercises you can do with it...and that includes exercises that CAN'T be done with any other piece of equipment.
Here's a run through of some of the movements I use it for:
This exercise is a standout. The bar allows you to set yourself inside the weight so that you can row it straight up, without having to work around your knees. GREAT lat activation with this one.
And you can tilt the handles to 45 degrees and target your upper back with a wider, overhand grip.
Standing Shoulder Press
Again, this allows you to stay more in the center of the weight, without having to work around your head. Also, the neutral grip really targets the lateral head of the delts effectively, just like a W press with dumbbells.
You can also use the bar as apparatus instead of resistance. Just set the bar on the ground, set your hands on the ground and you've got neutral-grip push-up handles.
Not pictured here but also VERY effective is using this bar for ab roll-outs. The blue disks on the ends of the bar roll very freely and are prefect for that exercise.
Clean to Front Squat
This exercise is one of my favorite uses of the bar. Set the handles to neutral grip then clean the bar up to your shoulders in a front-squat position.
The neutral grip is easy on the shoulders and because your hands are held out in front, a good portion of the support of the weight comes from the core. It's sort of like doing a Safety Squat Bar Front Squat in terms of how it feels on the shoulders due to the neutral grip.
You can also use that same front racked position for lunges and split squats
Trap Bar Deadlifts
Even though this isn't exactly a Trap Bar, it operates pretty much exactly like one in terms of allowing you to sit inside the weight. This is easier on the lower back then regular straight bar deadlifts.
I loaded this bar up to 4 plates on either side and had no trouble with durability. I wouldn't load it much heavier than that, though.
One advantage this bar does have over a regular Trap Bar is in the handles. I found the balance to actually be much better in the grip than with the Trap Bar that I have.
This bar is ideal for shrugs, again because how you're able to sit inside the weight. I like to do these kneeling, to help take away any leg drive that you might inadvertently assist with a standing shrug. You can also tilt the handles out 45 degrees to do overhand shrugs and then face the other way and do underhand shrugs.
If you don't have any other way to neutral-grip pull-ups, the bar can be set on the safety rails of the rack and used as a set of pull-up handles. The only issue I ran into was my knees touching the ground at the bottom of each rep, but that's an issue with the height of my rack, not the bar.
Hacks are a great old-school bodybuilding exercise that I, personally, have never found comfortable. Due to my body structure and/or flexibility, I ended up putting too much strain on the lower back. Set the cambered part around behind you and you'll mimic the Hack Squat, with the focus on the quads...without the stress on the lower back.
Lying Tricep Extensions and Close Grip Bench Press
The neutral grip allows you to start with the bar on the ground with the handles beside your head for a complete range of motion...and starting from a dead stop at the bottom of every rep, if you're lying on the floor.
The neutral grip Close Grip Bench Press can be done from this position as well.
As you can see, the All American Fitness bar is an extremely versatile and fun piece of training equipment to work with. If you train at home, I would rank this bar very high on the list of items to get...there are so many exercises you can do with it...many of which are even better than the "normal" version.
It's lightweight but VERY strong...all-in-all, killer piece of training equipment.
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