The benefits and implementation of speciality bars and and effective individual training programming

by Ryan Gibney

Traditionally the barbell lifts ( bench press, squat, deadlift and overhead press) reign supreme when it comes to bang for buck strength and size exercises, and they still hold their own to this day , And you can see why gym goers and athletes feel the “need” to do these lifts to progress regardless if they cause discomfort or pain, what if i told you there was another way ?

If you look deeper at these movements you soon realise that these movements are actually just that, movement patterns (our bodies don’t minic lifts the lifts mimic certain movement of our body), and how we choose to load them should be as individual as we are as we all have our own ranges of movement where we can produce force optimally and without pain and unnecessary risk of injury.

Remember what are we trying to accomplish with our training? We our looking to create a stimulus to achieve a certain physical outcome, be that strength, hypertrophy (muscle size) power or all of the above? But what about longevity and joint health and pain free lifting that you can enjoy for years to come?

As an older athlete or athlete coming back from injury/surgery or even for a beginner just looking for a more comfortable and productive outcome, rather than being in a fixed linear mindset when it comes to training think about the use of speciality bars and dumb bells, different grips that suit how YOUR body moves, think how does your body move?  In a very basic form we push, pull, squat, hinge, lunge, jump and throw. Now think of the main exercises we use when we follow a strength training program, can you see the resemblance?

Now think of the muscles involved in those movements?

Sometimes a conventional straight barbell just doesn’t feel comfortable on your wrists, shoulders, or maybe you don’t have the range of motion in your upper back to get a bar in the correct position to utilize a safe and effective squat.

At AF we have you covered you may have noticed some of the vast array of strange looking bars we have such as SSB ( Safety squat bars) hex bars, football and swiss bars ( neutral grip barbells) strongman logs, belt squat machine, and assortment of handles and cable attachments, all these implements are tools to allow your train pain free in a comfortable full range of motion to maximise your training without increased risk of injury and help you to reach your goals faster safer and smarter.

For any information or help with the correct use or how to best implement these tools into your training or for coaching and memberships email :


Ryan has worked with elite teams and athletes ranging from a wide range of sports and backgrounds such as Warrington Wolves in Rugby League as an First Team S&C coach moving then to Rugby Union as Head of Strength & Conditioning then more recently High Performance Manager for Georgia rugby union. Ryan has also consulted with many of the world’s leading rugby union 7’s and XV a side squads as well as rugby league teams domestically and from around the world.
He has also developed other professional and amateur athletes ranging from boxing to hockey from Amateur to Commonwealth and Olympic Athletes and been mentored and interned with some of the world’s leading coaches in human physical performance. He brings with him a BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning degree and an impressive over sixteen years hands-on experience.
He holds the world-renowned Westside Barbell Certification, a leading concept in Elite powerlifting, NFL and contemporary world class sport, with a showcase of accreditations in fitness, nutrition and strength and conditioning from – and not limited to – UKSCA, NSCA, CPPS (Joe Defranco & Jim Smith) BioForce (Joel Jameson) NASM and Precision Nutrition.

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