5 Axle Bar WODs

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The axle bar is the fat barbell that’ll help you increase grip/hand strength. From far away, the axle bar looks like any old barbell; but look closer and you’ll see that the bar has a significantly thicker diameter—a subtle, potent distinction.

Why the Axle Bar: Hand and grip strength is often a limiting factor in functional fitness. You might have the lungs (cardiovascular endurance) or the will (mental toughness) to perform a workout, but if your grip fails you’re going to have a hard time pushing through a WOD. Perform movements like the deadlift, bench press, and bent over rows with the axle bar—it’ll not only add variance to your routine, but it will build critical grip strength and make sure that’s not what’s holding you back.

Olympic Barbell Versus Axle Bar: In addition to being thicker, the axle bar is also unlike traditional Olympic barbells because it has a smooth surface (no knurling) and is fixed, meaning the sleeves on the axle bar don’t rotate. These differences make the bar feel harder to hold on to and less stable.

Pro Tip: Don’t think of the axle bar as a substitute for the barbell (you’ll want to use a traditional Olympic barbell for the majority of your barbell training) but a tool to add variance and skill to your routine.

Have an axle bar? Try out one of the benchmark axle bar WODs below and build up your grip.