Thursday, 5 January 2012
In Praise of the Football Bar
If you've trained for a long enough time, are flexibility-challenged, or are a Crossfitter, you likely have had some wrist pain from pressing exercises. Most often, poor warm-up practices and lack of flexibility combined with repeated extension of the wrist will combine to create a descending cycle of pain and limitation. You can only mask this for so long with tape and wrist wraps, so why not give your joints a break?
Enter the Football Bar. Engineered so that the hands are in a neutral (or semi-neutral) position as opposed to fully pronated or supinated (overhand or underhand), the Football Bar is a useful tool. With the hand in a neutral position the wrist is less prone to get pushed into a high degree of extension (i.e. the pain zone). What this means is that you can press, push press, thruster, and bench press to your heart's content with minimal wrist strain. This will minimize damage in the short term that could become a larger problem further down the road.
Because of the orientation of the hands, the angle of the upper arm relative to the torso can change also. This can provide a unique and challenging stimulus along with the subtle alteration in the stability characteristics of the bar (especially at lockout). I've found doing thrusters with this bar to be productive and much easier on my wrists than with a standard barbell. The only difference is that its harder to stay tight in the bottom of the squat. I've also used it for push press, bench press, and regular presses and find it is often easier on my shoulders.
The bar I use is from Westside Barbell (currently $350 US) but I'm sure there are other options out there. Definitely worth a consideration for yourself or your training group.