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If there’s one thing we love here at Garage Gym Reviews, it’s finding a good deal. Even though brands like Rogue Fitness arguably make some of the best barbells and dumbbells, there are many home gym owners who simply can’t afford them.
Enter Bells of Steel (BOS), which makes budget-friendly home gym equipment we’ve enjoyed in the past. In our Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar review, we’ll see if they’re able to do the same with one of our favorite specialty bars.
We’ll give you our honest thoughts on the bar, tell you who it’s meant for, and let you know if we’d recommend it over the more expensive options on the market.
We’ve Got a Good Grip on the Home Gym Equipment Industry
It’s always great to see the look on people’s face when we say we “test gym equipment” for a living. But that’s exactly what we do, and because of that we’ve researched, used, and tested hundreds of barbells, from the best Olympic barbells to specialty ones like the one we’re talking about today.
We also use barbells in our roles as weightlifting and CrossFit coaches, certified personal trainers, and competitive lifters. If we recommend a bar, it’s because we can see ourselves or our clients using it in an everyday training session.
A Budget Specialty Bar
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar offers more than just three grip options seen on many specialty bars. It also functions as a cable attachment so it can be used for lat pulldowns, low rows, and a variety of other pulling movements. The narrow grip measures 12 inches long, the middle is 20.5 inches, and the wide grip comes in at 29 inches, all of which contribute to its versatility and functionality. Dubbed by Bells of Steel as a “shoulder saver and bench maker,” this bar is intended to alleviate shoulder pain experienced in pressing movements and to develop lockout strength when benching. At just 24 pounds, the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is lightweight with a maximum weight rating of 600 pounds, which is more than enough for the majority of users. It features a black powder coated finish to protect the bar from scratches and is equipped with steel tubing sleeves. However, these sleeves are smaller than a typical barbell by a few millimeters, which means traditional 2-inch collars will not fit correctly. The knurling on the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar falls on the passive side, which may be an issue for anyone who appreciates aggressive knurling. Still, costing less than $200, the Arch Nemesis Bar is one of the most affordable on the market with impressive specs.
A Quick Look at the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar
The Swiss Bar was originally called the “Football Bar,” because it was created to allow American football players to bench press without aggravating their shoulders. The bar accomplishes this by allowing the user to switch their grip, which allows the shoulders to retract more easily and puts less pressure on them when compared to a bench press performed with a typical Olympic barbell.
There’s a theory that it’s now called the “Swiss Bar” because you can use a neutral grip, and Switzerland typically remains neutral in foreign policy matters. Anyway, back to barbells.
The Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis bar can be used for more than just pressing, as it comes with an attachment you can hook to your functional trainer or cable machine. It’s also great for seal rows, hammer curls, and skull crushers, making it a great choice for those interested in bodybuilding as well.
- You can’t use normal 2-inch barbell collars on this, due to the slightly smaller steel tubing. A screw-top collar, like the Proloc 1 collars, would work best.
- You can try out the bar for 30 days and return it for a full refund if you don’t like it, minus a $20 shipping fee.
- Budget-friendly at $199.99
- Allows you to use multiple grips for pressing and other movements
- Has a cable attachment that allows the bar to be used for lat pulldowns
- Has a low weight capacity for a Swiss Bar, only 600 pounds
- At 24 lbs, it’s also about half the weight of similar bars
- Knurling and powdercoat are not the best
Is the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar Worth It?
Unless you’re someone who has a nagging shoulder injury, or you’re an athlete who needs to protect their shoulders at all costs, there’s absolutely no need for any Swiss Bar. Yes, it’s also good for those focused on muscle-building, but you can accomplish a lot with just a typical barbell and dumbbells.
But for those who fit into one of those categories, or simply just want to add a specialty bar to their home gym collection, here’s our honest assessment: The $199.99 Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is not the nicest option out there, but it’s probably the best value Swiss bar.
“For many home gym owners, the Kabuki Strength Kadillac Bar is overkill,” says Coop, referring to one of the more well-known Swiss Bars on the market. “This fits in well at the price point and feels pretty similar in hand.”
There are some areas where BOS falls short on this bar, but for 99 percent of trainees, those things probably won’t be an issue. Here’s who we think will enjoy it, and who should look elsewhere.
- Budget shoppers
- Those with persistent shoulder injuries
- Home gym owners who want a multi-grip bar
Not recommended for:
- Anyone looking for the best-of-the-best
- Trainees who plan on lifting really heavy weights
- Those who want a bar with good knurling
Arch Nemesis Bar Specs
|Footprint||78.1” L x 5.4” W|
|Weight capacity||600 lbs|
|Grip handle distances||Narrow: 12″|
Lifting With the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar
Functionally speaking, the Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar works just like any other Swiss bar out there. Coop took it for a spin and used it for bench presses, tricep extensions, seal rows, overhead presses, and other movements during his strength training sessions.
It has a cambered design, similar to the Kabuki Kadillac Bar, but already comes with an attachment so it can be used with a cable pulley (Coop added this feature to his Kabuki bar). A Swiss Bar is already a great value purchase, but the ability to use it on a cable machine makes it one of the most versatile bars out there.
Coop also noted this bar was comfortable in the hand, due to how slim it is. Most Swiss bars are twice the weight of this one, and because of that the grips are a little thicker. Again, this isn’t a bad thing and many people may even prefer a thinner grip.
However, the smaller sleeves can present a problem when it comes to durability. The sleeves are made with steel tubing, which is just a few millimeters thinner than what you’d see on a typical barbell sleeve (which is what most Swiss bars use). This presents two problems, with the first being that you can’t use 2-inch collars to secure weight plates.
It also means the weight plates won’t fit as tightly as they would on other sleeves, and may move around and could cause scarring to the sleeves.
One bonus is that the bar is rackable, meaning it can be placed on your power rack on top of your J-cups. Not all Swiss bars are made this way.
Good news: Every grip section of the Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar comes with knurling. The bad news: It’s pretty poor and uneven, but that’s honestly not too surprising considering the price point.
“Poor grip and knurling,” Coop says. “I would have preferred just a more textured powder coat, personally.”
Durability and Construction
With any piece of budget home gym equipment, there’s going to be some areas that are lacking. In this case, the Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is not made with the most durable materials.
The bar uses pretty thin steel, which results in the relatively light weight of only 24 pounds and low weight capacity of 600 pounds. The welds and powder coat are “just OK,” Coop says, but that’s another thing to be expected when you’re only paying around $200 for a specialty bar.
Although 600 pounds is light compared to other Swiss bars, it’s a weight that should be fine for 99 percent of trainees. If you’re planning to enter a Strongman or powerlifting competition and need something that can hold more weight, we’ll have other suggestions for your home gym in a second.
At 78.1 inches in length, the Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis Bar is one of the shorter Swiss bars out there. The Kabuki Kadillac is 87 inches in length, and the REP Fitness Cambered Swiss Bar is 80.7 inches.
It’s still pretty long, and if your cable machine is in a tight corner of your home gym, it could be a tight squeeze.
Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar vs Kabuki Strength Kadillac Bar
Cambered the same angle as the Duffalo Bar for increased range of motion. Machined Sleeves allow the use of regular barbell collars and include our signature end caps. 10°, 12.5°, and 15° grip angles promote optimal, stacked joint position and improve movement mechanics. Useable in both standard and reverse grip positions. Plated sleeves and powder-coated center for durability and corrosion resistance. Removable sleeves to reduce shipping cost.
To be fair, this is kind of like comparing a Big Mac to an A5 Wagyu steak. That said, there are times when the former is a better call even though the latter is objectively better.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is more affordable ($199.99, with free shipping), and it already comes with a piece to use on your cable machines. The Kadillac bar doesn’t have that, though with the right power tools you can easily add that to it.
Now, the Kadillac bar ($499.99, not including shipping) is going to feel a lot better in your hand due to the use of more durable and higher-grade materials. It can also hold up to 850 pounds, and won’t scratch as easily as the Bells of Steel bar.
And though the Kabuki bar doesn’t have knurling, the powder coat on it is incredibly textured and you should have no problem gripping it.
If you’re someone who enjoys the finer things in life, the Kadillac bar is worth the $499.99 price tag. But if you just want a Swiss bar that will get the job done, Bells of Steel is the better choice for most home gym owners.
Read our full Kabuki Strength Kadillac Bar review to get more thoughts on this bar.
|Bar:||Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar||Kabuki Strength Kadillac Bar|
|Bar length||78.1”||87” L|
|Weight capacity||600 lbs||850 lbs|
|Grip handle distances||Narrow: 12″Middle: 20.5″Wide: 29”||Narrow: 15”|
Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar vs REP Fitness Cambered Swiss Bar
Affordable and Versatile
The REP Fitness Cambered Swiss Bar is an incredible value for a specialty bar at less than $300 with free shipping. It has a multi-grip Swiss bar, with a powder coat finish, built with round tubing so it feels comfortable on your chest during pressing. It also features chrome-plated Olympic sleeves on either end.This Swiss bar features passive knurling on all grips, and a removable eye bolt screw so you can attach it to any cable machine for lat pulldowns or low rows. Our two complaints is that the eye bolt screw has to be removed during pressing movements (it can hit your chest if left in), and the sleeves can't be detached quickly when you want to use it on a cable machine.Overall, we'd recommend this specialty bar for most home gym owners looking to diversify their barbell collection. It's not the best on the market, but it's certainly the best value out there.
This is a fairer comparison, as the REP Fitness Cambered Swiss Bar comes in at a still agreeable price tag of just under $300. So a little more expensive than the Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar, but still cheaper than other brands.
Both have the same design, can be used with a cable machine, and unfortunately have passive and uneven knurling. The REP Swiss bar gets a few points for having a higher weight capacity, and better durability (it’s made with higher-quality steel, and the welds are better than the BOS bar).
We understand money’s tight, but if you can afford the extra $90 for the REP bar ,that’d be our pick. If you can’t, Bells of Steel will do just fine.
Read our full REP Fitness Cambered Swiss Bar review for more information.
|Bar||Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar||REP Fitness Cambered Swiss Bar|
|Weight capacity||600 lbs||810 lbs|
|Grip handle distances||Narrow: 12″Middle: 20.5″Wide: 29”||Narrow: 9.05”|
Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar vs Titan Fitness Multi-Grip Camber Bar
Budget Bar Battle
The Titan Fitness Multi-Grip Camber Bar is a great piece of equipment for athletes who want to add a little variety to their upper body workouts. There are three different grip widths along with four different grip options to choose from. The variety of different grips targets different muscle groups than a standard barbell could. Also, the cambered center of the bar creates more range of motion while bench pressing or rowing. The knurled handles on the bar provide for a secure grip as well.Besides being versatile, the Titan Fitness Multi-Grip Camber Bar fits Olympic-sized plates and is rackable. According to some reviews, it does take some precision to rack the bar on the J-hooks without hitting the upright of the rig, but it can be done to most rigs.
The Titan Fitness Multi-Grip Camber Bar is the same price as the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar, and to be honest they perform just about the same. This is a case where we call a draw, though Titan might eek out a photo finish win due to the use of normal barbell sleeves.
|Bar||Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar||Titan Fitness Multi-Grip Camber Bar|
|Weight capacity||600 lbs||1,000 lbs|
|Grip handle distances||Narrow: 12″Middle: 20.5″Wide: 29”||Narrow: 10”|
Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar vs. Rogue Fitness MG-4C Multi-Grip Bar
The Rogue One
The Rogue Fitness MG-4c Multi-Grip Camber Bar is a patent-pending design that offers you rotating sleeves as well as options for the width and angle of the handles. Essentially, you can build this bar any way you want it for your training.Select from several options:A short bar with 9-inch loadable sleeves A standard bar with 15.5-inch loadable sleevesBoth options come in either Rogue's proprietary matte black finish or in stainless steel (stainless steel is an additional charge for the upgrade).There are straight handles that come with your purchase. Rogue also gives you the choice to purchase additional handle pairs at 16 or 20 degrees, available in both finishes. Each handle can be added to the frame in 1-inch-spaced intervals, giving a number of options for close-grip work, tricep-specific movements, or simply adjusting the width of the handles to accommodate your frame.On the MG-4C, there is a 3.5-inch camber drop.The bar arrives unassembled but with all the tools necessary to put it together.
Coop’s initial impressions of the Rogue Fitness MG-4C Multi-Grip Bar were, “Eh.” He actually said it felt most similar to the Titan Multi-Grip Camber Bar, which is a bit weird considering the Rogue Bar is $425 and the Titan bar is $199.99.
His main issues with the Rogue bar were the shape, and the space between the handles. For the price, you’d actually be better off with the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar despite the smaller weight capacity and durability concerns.
|Bar||Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar||Rogue Fitness MG-4C Multi-Grip Bar|
|Bar length||78.1”||83.8” (standard sleeve) / 70.8” (short sleeve option)|
|Weight capacity||600 lbs||Not listed|
|Grip handle distances||Narrow: 12″Middle: 20.5″Wide: 29”||20-degree: 26″/22″ (standard/long sleeve) 16 degree: 18″/14″ Straight: 10″/6″|
Ordering and Assembling the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is easily available for purchase online, and comes with free shipping. Best of all, it ships in a well-packaged box already assembled. All you have to do is unbox it and get to lifting.
Bells of Steel can be reached via phone, email, social media, or a form on their website during business hours, which are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Returns, Financing, Warranty
Bells of Steel offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can use the product for a month to decide if you want to keep it. All you have to do is return it in its original packaging and ship it back to the BOS headquarters, and you’ll only be charged a $20 shipping fee.
Financing options are available through Affirm, which can be selected at checkout. There are three-, six-, and 12-month financing options available.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which basically means it’s protected for life so long as you don’t use it improperly (read: Don’t slam the barbell down while lifting with it).
With more than 70 reviews, the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar has a 4.7 rating, most of which are 5-star reviews. People rave about the bar saving their shoulders and allowing them to get back to bench pressing again.
The lowest ratings are 3 stars, and most of the complaints center around the lightweight nature of the bar.
Final Verdict of Our Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar Review
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: You get what you pay for. The Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar will be great for most home gym trainees, but you will probably see some durability issues and not be able to lift quite as much weight with it as other bars. But like any other Swiss bar, it’s an incredibly versatile piece of equipment that, while not necessary, can be a great addition to your home gym.
Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar Rating
Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar
Our Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar review takes a close look at this specialty barbell and compares it to other options on the market today.
Product Brand: Bells of Steel
Product Currency: $
Product Price: 199.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar FAQs
Is a Swiss bar worth it?
Truth is, most people don’t need a Swiss bar. But if you’re someone with shoulder injuries, a Swiss bar is a great investment that allows you to keep pressing without aggravating your joints. It also can be used for several pulling movements, and some bars like the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar can be used with cable machines, making them a versatile piece of equipment.
What is a Swiss bar good for?
A Swiss bar is good for those with shoulder injuries, as it allows you to change your grip in a way that lines up your shoulder muscles for more comfortable pressing movements. It was originally called a Football bar, because football players who were susceptible to shoulder injuries would use it for bench pressing.
Can you deadlift with a Swiss bar?
Sure, you could deadlift with a Swiss bar and there’d be nothing wrong with doing so.
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