A cambered bar is a type of barbell used in weightlifting that has a raised mid-section. This middle section might be arched just a few inches or centimeters, or it may reach over one foot (30.5 cm); this measurement is often referred to as the bar's camber. An individual can add a desired amount of weighted plates just as he would with a normal barbell and then perform a variety of exercises. The bar can be less restrictive during certain moves due to the raised middle, and it should be used with care and supervision.
This type of barbell is often made of iron or another heavy metal that can support hundreds of pounds or kilograms. Some people confuse a cambered bar with an “EZ curl” bar, which has a contoured grip. While the bar is also curved, it is different from the EZ curl bar in that the arched section lies between the two points where one would grip the bar.
This raised portion may have several benefits for weightlifters. For instance, when one performs a squat, the arched part of the bar can rest on the upper back along the shoulder blades. The arms can be situated lower while gripping a cambered bar than they normally are when using a straight barbell.
This stance typically puts far less stress on the shoulders and wrists. Some athletes believe this slightly different posture one takes when using this barbell forces them to put less stress on the lower back as well. The bar may also come with a fitted pad or could be wrapped in a towel for added comfort. A “good morning” is a similar exercise often done with this particular type of barbell.
Many weightlifters also prefer the cambered bar during the bench press. This exercise is typically done while lying flat on a bench on one's back, so the raised portion of the bar is meant to fit over the chest. In this way, it is possible to achieve a deeper movement than when using a straight barbell by lowering the bar until the top of the arch touches the chest.
It is important, however, to understand that using a great deal of weight during this movement can also injure the shoulders. For this reason, many people place wooden blocks on their chests to decrease the effects of a bar’s full camber. Many fitness experts suggest starting with only one added inch (2.5 cm) and increasing the range of motion gradually.
A cambered bar can also be helpful when doing a row while lying flat on the stomach on a weight bench. The raised part of the bar can fit around one’s body and the bench, allowing for both support and a fuller range of motion. It is strongly suggested that individuals use spotters when performing these exercises, especially when large amounts of weight are used.