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Strength Shop – Olympic Cambered Bar



This review is not sponsored by Strength Shop.
(Though if anyone from Strength Shop is reading this and wants to sponsor, please get in touch 😊).
What follows is an honest, unbiased review.
Feel free to skip to the sections below if you’re on a time limit.

Strength Shop Cambered Bar



1. Background

2. Delivery/Condition on Arrival

3. Technical Specifications

4. Build Quality

5. Ergonomic Rating

6. Adaptability

7. WOW Factor

8. Longevity

9. Price

10. Final Verdict



Way back in Summer 17′, I had to shift all my gear to a new house 4 miles away. I had a Honda Civic Mk7 (the 2000-2005 model), a beast of a car in many ways. It was hardly large enough to fit a cambered barbell in though.

The cheapest option was to carry my Strength Shop (SS) Olympic Cambered Bar the entire way on my back. At the time, carrying 25kg for 4 miles didn’t seem like a Herculean task, especially considering I’d tabbed with far more weight than that, for greater distance many times in the Army.

Well, suffice to say that by the end of the walk I was hanging out (that’s extremely fatigued for the more civilised reading this). I tell myself that it must have been a combination of the heat and distribution of weight 😉 Certainly not weakness on my behalf 🙂

It lay on my floor for months whilst I steadily chipped away at building a gym. Eventually though, this bar came into its own.

Similar to the Watson Safety Squat Bar, I’d purchased this bar so that I could introduce variety into my squats in an attempt to break through a strength plateau. And boy, am I glad I did. Eight years on and it’s still going strong.

The Olympic Cambered Bar

  • The camber creates a degree of instability in the sagittal plane (forwards/backwards), as it likes to swing. This forces you to brace, using more effort to control the movement.
  • If the bar swings forward, the posterior chain has to work hard extending to resist and stay upright.
  • If the bar swings backwards, the trunk has to work hard flexing to resist and stay upright.
  • Most lifters experience the bar swinging forwards, therefore the posterior chain tends to be the more targeted of the two mentioned above.
  • The Olympic Cambered Bar also reduces overall strain on the shoulders by reducing the external rotational stress that’s applied to the glenohumeral joint during a back squat with a conventional barbell.

    If this is the reason you’re considering it though, you may be better using a Safety Squat Bar as this also reduces stress on the shoulders – but it’s more stable in the sagittal plane.

The weights lower centre of gravity means you’re also more stable in the frontal plane. Imagine a sumo wrestler squatting.


Ok, enough background. Let’s get into the review!


Delivery/Condition on Arrival

As per all previously reviewed bars, the delivery here was on point. DPD was the courier used for me (this may be different nowadays). It was next day delivery. I received regular updates via text, with an hour delivery slot on the day. The time was respected which meant I didn’t have to stay in all day! The condition of the bar on delivery was perfect.



Technical Specifications

Weight: 25kg
Diameter of Shaft: 50mm
Top Bar Racking Sleeve (rests on J-Hooks/Bar Holders): 190mm
Camber Width: 920mm
Camber Depth: 400mm
Loadable Sleeve Length: 390mm
Sleeves to Collar: 310mm
Rated Load: Up to 400kg


Build Quality

As with all the speciality bars tested so far, this is a metaphorical tank. What it lacks in explosive reactive armour, it makes up for with solid girth. A depleted uranium round may give it a few cuts and bruises, but it’s more than strong enough to take the constant loading/unloading and occasional abuse if used in an old school sweaty underground powerlifting gym!



Ergonomic Rating

This is an interesting one. Due to the bars unique design, you have to stabilise it through movement more than its conventional counterparts. This isn’t uncomfortable in and of itself, however some may dislike the feeling of this if they are a staunch user of conventional bars.

I actually find this incredibly comfortable to use. The thicker top bar provides more surface contact on your traps compared to conventional bars, and there’s less stress on the shoulders compared to conventional squats. My hips also seem to open up more naturally (especially when box squatting) with this bar. It should however be noted that my hips are more battered than a scrap car getting crushed at the local recycling centre.

You may also note by the images that I’ve wrapped some sniper tape around where the bar makes contact with your back, and roughly where your hands grip the bar. I’d reccomend doing something similar as the bar can get a bit slippy if you’re sweating buckets.




This is obviously designed for squats, but it’s actually pretty good for bench pressing too (as long as your bench is set high enough off the floor to allow sufficient ground clearance for the plates on the sleeves of the bar). The instability factor here is akin to that of the famous bamboo bars that utilise kettlebells hanging off the sleeves with resistance bands.

In reality, you don’t achieve anywhere near bamboo bar levels of instability – however it’s not designed with the sole purpose of instability, whereas bamboo bars are. It is however, unstable enough to receive a decent degree of training stimulus for this.

I’ve actually used this for military pressing too, due to providing the instability factor. The rotator cuffs and lower traps really have to work to keep this moving in the optimum manner.



WOW Factor

This would have got top marks for WOW-iness back when I purchased it. However since then, the market competition has significantly increased – this has naturally decreased the novelty factor and unique qualities of the bar. It’s not on the same wow-iness level as the recently reviewed Watson Safety Squat Bar, by a country mile.




It’s 8 years and still going strong. No bends, no breaks, just gains! I have actually managed to chip off some of the black oxide coating on each sleeve. This in no way effects the function of the bar. If you’re super concerned about the aesthetics (and if you’re the type of person who’s interested in buying this bar, I’d like to assume you’re not), then this might be a game changer for you. If it is, then I’d suggest you should look elsewhere and perhaps consider joining your local health club instead 😊




This was pretty much the only Olympic Cambered Bar available in the UK when I bought it. There are many more options available now, but the price still holds up very well to the competition.

It’s actually slightly decreased in price since I bought it (which is pretty impressive when you consider the state of the economy over the past 8 years), currently sitting at £179.99 + free delivery to UK mainland.

At time of writing, the price of the grandaddy of all cambered squat bars (Watson) is unknown as they don’t advertise their prices online. However, a very similar looking version is on offer over at Gym Ratz for £460. Blk Box also offer their own version for £420, with Steelflex offering a cambered bar (not too dissimilar to Strength Shops version) over at Body Solid UK for £187.95. Shipping will likely be on top of those costs too.




Total rating: 4.57/5

Should you:

  • Avoid
  • Consider!
  • Shortlist
  • Buy it NOW!

Overall, I think this is a very good bar that achieves what it sets out to. I would consider purchasing this barbell, as it really is quite a niche thing and I think many people may not appreciate, or use it to its full potential. If this is the type of person you think you are, then you risk being disappointed.

If you’re not the type of person above, AND you understand all of the biomechanical technical jargon that I’ve spurted out above, AND this will accommodate all your biomechanical needs – go ahead and spend that cash now! 🙂

Grab one below today 😊

Strength Shop Olympic Cambered Bar

Or find similar options at Amazon and check them out for yourself.


Whilst not writing for FGUK, Tim works as a Physiotherapist, Personal Trainer and is a Retired Ammunition Technician with the British Army. In his spare time Tim enjoys engaging in a whole variety of sports, spending considerable time with his little rascal of a dog, relaxing with his friends and family, but most of all.. geeking out on all things fitness!


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