Multi-grip barbell or dumbbells for neutral grip training. Multi-grip barbell or dumbbells for neutral grip training.

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Thread: Multi-grip barbell or dumbbells for neutral grip training.

  1. #1
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    Default Multi-grip barbell or dumbbells for neutral grip training.

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    Due to a very severe injury when I was younger, elbow pain sometimes limits my training. Although exercises like bench and overhead presses that utilize a pronated grip rarely cause problems, some light weight exercises with a supinated grip cause intense elbow pain. Unlike muscle pain, joint pain persists long after I quit training and is rarely a good idea to push through. Since a neutral grip avoids most of my all elbow pain, I avoid using a supinated grip on some exercises at the end of my workout rather than aggravating my joints.

    I have an inexpensive gym membership where I used to go a couple of days per week after I completed my barbell training in order to use the dumbbells there. Unfortunately, that gym has been forced to close again.

    Since all of the 10 pound and higher plates that I own are bumper plates, these plates don't play well with Olympic dumbbell handles due to their 450 mm diameters. A rackable multi-grip bar, which is sometimes called a swiss or football, would allow me to use the plates I already own.

    Since single arm training is useful, I was curious if others think it is worthwhile to either purchase some smaller diameter plates and dumbbell handles or a set of adjustable dumbbells.

  2. #2
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    So you get pain from a supine grip - what exercises do you want to do that you can't because of the supinated grip requirement?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewLewis View Post
    So you get pain from a supine grip - what exercises do you want to do that you can't because of the supinated grip requirement?
    Thank you very much for responding. I broke my humerus and have a plate in it that begins just above the elbow. Although I worked very hard trying to regain full motion, the last few degrees of rotation never came back. The number of exercises that I can't do at all, unlike those activities that result in intense pain, is fairly limited.

    Although it isn't related to the use of dumbbells, three sets of chinups will result in elbow pain that might last until the following week but pullups only hurt where they are supposed to. Bicep curls also cause the same problem. If I use dumbbells and rotate my grip towards neutral, the elbow pain goes away.

    Although there is some elbow pain with a pronated grip, the amount of discomfort isn't something I'm worried about. Still, a neutral grip for LTE's or other triceps exercises might not be a bad idea.

  4. #4
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    I don't know your exact set up, so take this as speculative. I wouldn't bother with LTEs and curls if they're causing horrible pain. There are so many exercises you can use to drive bench and press progress that don't require you to buy specialized equipment. But yeah, if you like them and have the money, I don't see a problem with buying a neutral-grip bar. I just think there are better things to spend time and money on.

  5. #5
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    The problem with the football bar is that the moment of inertia around the bar shaft is about 3-4 inches, vs. 14.5mm for an actual barbell. It is terribly unstable, and will interfere with incremental increases.

  6. #6
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    That makes sense. I've never used that kind of bar for anything particularly heavy or incrementally progressive, but I can see how that would be a problem.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewLewis View Post
    I don't know your exact set up, so take this as speculative. I wouldn't bother with LTEs and curls if they're causing horrible pain. There are so many exercises you can use to drive bench and press progress that don't require you to buy specialized equipment. But yeah, if you like them and have the money, I don't see a problem with buying a neutral-grip bar. I just think there are better things to spend time and money on.
    Thank you, Andrew. My equipment includes a power rack with safety straps, a power bar and a deadlift bar, a bench, a deadlift platform, some mats and pads and a Stairmaster. I also have a set of cheap adjustable dumbbells that my son left behind when I bought him a much better version.

    I spent almost a year on the 3 day Texas Method before I finally accepted that for this 64 year old it is just too hard to recover from. I have been utilizing Jim Wendler's advanced 531 program (5X5, 5X3, 5X1) for several months. Since that 531 version doesn't prescribe accessories, I recently incorporated the ones in Andy Baker's Strength and Mass after 40 which is a 531 version (3X5, 3X3, 3X1). Since SM40 included some dumbbell exercises, I was trying to find a way to perform similar exercises.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    The problem with the football bar is that the moment of inertia around the bar shaft is about 3-4 inches, vs. 14.5mm for an actual barbell. It is terribly unstable, and will interfere with incremental increases.
    Thank you very much for the information. Although I had never used one before, it seemed like a good option until I read your comments. Although I have been lifting since I was 15 and understand the basics, I have learned a lot from reading your books and listening to your suggestions.

    When responding to Andrew, I listed some of the equipment I own. If I did not mention that I own a flat competition bench, could you please add it to my response? I am getting forgetful in my old age.

  8. #8
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    I understand that the moment of inertia will be much lower around the shaft of a 29mm barbell than a 200mm wide specialty bar. Since I can't utilize a neutral grip on a conventional barbell, I believe the only practical neutral grip options for a home gym are dumbbells or a football bar variation. A 200mm specialty bar held with both hands with a neutral grip should be more stable than a pair of 400 - 500mm long dumbbells held with the palms facing each other.

    As Andrew has said, there are other exercises that can be substituted for those that cause joint pain. One of the reasons that I considered a non-barbell option for some exercises is that I have experienced significant AC joint pain in the past. At one point, it the pain was so bad that it was difficult to go to sleep. Since I am unwilling to to stop training in some form even during the worst periods of joint pain, I thought that changing my grip might be a good option.

    Than you both for all of the advice.

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