3 Way Finisher’s Using the Football Bar

If you go to a gym that has specialty bars you probably recognize the one in the photo above. The Swiss bar, or Football bar as it is commonly referred to is a very versatile piece of equipment and it has found its place into my training at Old School Iron Gym in Cleveland. One of my favorite ways to use the Football bar is for multi-grip finishers, or 3 Way Finishers. This exercise allows you to completely fatigue a muscle group from 3 different angles in each high rep set at the very end of your workout ensuring you leave the gym with a nasty pump! Here’s the format:

On each of the following exercises perform 10 close grip, 10 middle grip, and 10 wide grip for 3-4 sets at the end of the workout as a finisher. Each set alternate between starting with the closest grip and starting with the widest grip to balance out which part of the muscle gets fresh reps. Be sure to choose a weight light enough that you can control it and get through the reps without having to take an extended break beyond stopping to switch grips.

Here are three examples of how I use 3 Way Finishers in my training!

  1. 3 Way Rows:

Execution: This movement can be set up virtually anywhere including the floor, but in the video I am set up in a power rack.

Start with a close grip for 10 reps, then moving your hands out to a more middle grip for 10 reps and finishing with wide grip keeping the elbows high for 10 reps.

Focus on controlling the weight and taking advantage of the “stretch” at the bottom of the movement and the “squeeze” at the top.

Benefits: The Back is a complex group of muscles and multiple grips/angles must be used to properly develop each part if we want to create a wide, thick back. The swiss bar’s unique grip also allows for a neutral grip which is the position where it is usually easiest to execute any pulling movement with, allowing for a greater stretch and squeeze, and mind to muscle connection.

The close grip rows will act in a way like a reverse grip row or close grip seated row, primarily attacking the lower lats. The middle grip rows will still hit your lower lats but will bring in more mid back at the top of the movement. The wide grip rows focus primarily on the uppermost part of the back, completely crushing the rear delts, traps and rhomboids.

Using this movement as a finisher to your back day will allow you to completely burn out the back from three different angles making for an absurd pump from your lower lats to your upper back and rear delts which will lead to a thicker, more complete back!

  1. 3 Way Bench Press:

Execution:  Set the Swiss Bar up in the bench rack or a power rack. This exercise can be used as a finisher on the usual bench press, or taken a step further and used as a floor press. Both are equally a fantastic burnout for your chest and triceps.

Start by grabbing a close grip first, perform 10 reps and then rack it. Next grab a middle grip, perform 10 reps here and rack it and finish off with wide grip for 10 more reps. Work your way in from the outside on the next set and alternate back and forth between starting with a close grip and starting with a wide grip. Focus on getting a full range of motion to get the full benefits from the movement!

Benefits: Using the swiss bar on the bench or floor press puts your hands in a position that is most advantageous for targeting the chest and triceps while also taking stress off the shoulders, which is especially important when using a wider grip.

The close grip will focus primarily on the triceps, with the inner chest and front delts getting some work also. The middle grip puts more emphasis on the chest, but still uses a lot of triceps. The wide grip will build up the upper and outermost portions of the chest, with the triceps taking a backseat.

Use this exercise as a finisher to your next bench press session to blow up your chest and triceps from a variety of angles!

  1. 3 Way Bicep Curls

Execution: Set up the swiss bar anywhere you would set up for normal bicep curls (you can use a squat rack if your arms are big enough lol).

Start by grabbing a close grip first, perform 10 reps and then rack it. Next grab a middle grip, perform 10 reps here and rack it and finish off with wide grip for 10 more reps. Work your way in from the outside on the next set and alternate back and forth between starting with a close grip and starting with a wide grip. Again, focus on getting a full range of motion to get the full benefits from the movement, let your arms stretch all the way down at the bottom and focus on peaking your biceps at the top.

Benefits: Just like any other muscle group, in order to have a complete set of biceps, we have to take advantage of different grips and different angles. Using the swiss bar for curls puts your hands in a hammer grip position which is great for developing not only the two heads of the biceps, but the brachioradialis as well, which is the muscle that runs through the middle of the upper arm down to the forearm giving the biceps a thicker, wider look when developed fully!

The closest grip will help to develop the outer thickness of the bicep, while the further out you go, the stress is placed further on the inner part of the bicep.  Excellent finisher to add to your bicep routine!

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