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The Marrs-Bar is a safety squat bar with a unique camber and harness system that makes it feel different from any other specialty barbell I’ve ever used. The Marrs-Bar is a very expensive bar, but after using it for back squats, front squats, good mornings, lunges, and other exercise movements, I will say that it’s replaced the SSB in my training. I do think it’s a bit too expensive to recommend for most people, but, based solely on how it feels and performs, I think it’s a fantastic bar.
The Marrs Bar is a safety squat bar with a unique camber. By redistributing weight like a "backpack", this is the ONLY bar that doesn't rest on your neck and cervical spine. With an ultra-comfortable memory foam harness, you can load more weight without discomfort. Our revolutionary design lets you do lunges, back squats, and front squats - hands free - like no other bar on the market. By reducing axial load on your neck and back you will reduce wear and tear on your spine, shoulders, hips and knees.
What is the Marrs-Bar?
The Marrs-Bar is a specialty barbell specifically designed for squats. It is most similar to a safety squat bar, albeit with camber angles that are quite a bit different. In talking to the inventor of the Marrs-Bar, the idea was born out of a desire to create a bar that would help him be able to squat heavy again after dealing with various issues.
The creation of the Marrs-Bar actually reminds me quite a bit of how Louie Simmons created the Reverse Hyper. In a similar vein, the Reverse Hyper, a table with a swinging pendulum arm beneath it, was created to help Louie Simmons rehab his twice-broken back so he could get back on the powerlifting platform. It’s funny to think that many of the great pieces of training equipment we have today were made simply to help those passionate about their hobby/sport to get back to doing what they love.
The Marrs Bar, much like a safety squat bar, places the load in a different place than a traditional Olympic Barbell. But, the Marrs Bar differs from a safety squat bar in that it places the load lower on the back. I like to think of the Marrs Bar as somewhat of a low bar safety squat bar. The handles remain out in front to help those with shoulder issues to easily grip the bar without aggravation, there are camber angles that place the load in a unique position, but it does feel much different.
Due to how low the weight is distributed, it can force more hip drive (Mark Rippetoe would be proud) and I’ve found I can lift significantly more with the bar than with a safety squat bar due to where the load is focused.
So, the Marrs Bar is essentially a low bar safety squat bar with some other minor changes.
What We Like About the Marrs-Bar
I’ll start by saying this, the Marrs Bar is one of my favorite bars to squat with. There’s just something about getting into the harness like yoke shoulder system that makes you feel locked in, unlike any other bar I’ve used. It actually feels most similar to a hydraulic harness on a roller coaster.
The bar itself is made by a US-based manufacturer who makes barbells and specialty bars for many in the industry (you’ve likely used and heard of many of them, but I was asked not to divulge the actual manufacturer.) The quality of the Marrs Bar is rather high, although there are things that I think could be improved from a cosmetic standpoint.
What really makes the Marrs Bar stand out is how it feels when you step under the bar. You see, with Olympic Bars, the load is placed directly across your upper back/cervical spine. There are no cambers or angle so the weight is felt in alignment with where the plates are. The Marrs Bar, much like a traditional safety squat bar uses cambers to place the load in a different place than where the bar sits on your back.
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The best way I know of how to describe how the weight feels is if you loaded up a backpack with as much weight as you could. The weight, due to how low it sits on the back feels similar to a very heavy, but comfortable backpack. This loading allows you to lift more weight because of its more advantageous position. I’ve seen guys squat well above their maxes with either an SSB or an Olympic Bar with the Marrs Bar and that’s largely due to where the load is placed. I don’t consider this “cheating” as it’s not a competition lift and if you want to make it tougher–throw on more weight.
The other part of the bar that really allows it to stand out in comparison to typical safety squat bars is the wrap-around yoke that secures you under the bar. This part of the bar was what I was most skeptical of as I wasn’t sure how it would accommodate various sized people. The creator of the bar is, to put it lightly, massive. He squats over 700 and looks like he may squat much more. I was worried that he created it solely for his use and people of his stature and therefore it wouldn’t work for the general public.
However, after using it myself and putting quite a few different people under the bar of various sizes and strengths, I’m pleasantly surprised to find that it works fine for most people. Similar to a one size fits all hat, I’d say that the Marrs Bar will feel comfortable on most people, including women. It does look a little bit goofy on those with thin shoulders as the pads are massive and can be a bit wide, but that’s necessary to accommodate powerlifters with 20” necks.
The “skirt” as the founder of Marrs Bar calls it which is the vinyl that covers the padding is thick and very well done. They could have easily cheaped out on this part, much like we see with some lower-end safety squat bars, but I’m glad they decided to use something on the higher-end. It doesn’t soak up sweat, is wrapped tight around the foam, and looks good.
The foam that’s used is extremely dense and for good reason, if the bar is capable of holding over 1,000 LB and people will lift that much on it, then the padding needs to be able to hold up to a lot of compression. Often times when a company is making a specialty bar, they’re more focused on the bar than the padding and it ends up getting overlooked, the Marrs Bar is not that way.
The handles on the bar feature rubber sleeves. I prefer the ribbed sleeves like what is found on the EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar, but these are fine.
The shaft of the bar is likely around 40MM in diameter (this is just an educated guess) and has a bright zinc coating. I cannot state just how much superior this type of coating is to a powder coat. There are still way too many specialty bars using powder coat on areas that are prone to wearing. For instance, both the Rogue SB-1 Safety Squat Bar and the EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar are marketed as premier SSB’s (and they are…kinda) yet Rogue uses black powder coat on theirs and EliteFTS uses clear powder on theirs, both include it on the sleeves. After only a couple uses they end up looking like you took a cheese grater to them and then rust begins to form.
So, all of that is to say that I like the choice of coating for the shaft and wish more companies making specialty bars would follow suit. The sleeves are coated in black zinc which is better than raw steel, but I still have my complaints on it.
In use, although it’s great for back squatting, I’ve found it’s great for other movements as well. Front squats work surprising well, although be prepared to get humbled as the weight pulls you extremely far forward and will torch your lower back, much like a deadlift.
In addition to front squats, lunges are great as are marches and step-ups. Due to the yoke of the bar wrapping around your upper body, the handles don’t need to be held. One of my favorites uses for the bar as of late has been to add the Utility Seat in my Sorinex BaseCamp and doing step-ups inside the squat racks. This torches my quads and glutes and is also pretty fun.
In addition to front squats, lunges are great as are marches and step-ups. Due to the yoke of the bar wrapping around your upper body, the handles don’t need to be held. One of my favorite uses for the bar as of late has been to add the Utility Seat in my Sorinex BaseCamp and doing step-ups inside the rack. This torches my quads and glutes and is also pretty fun.
What We Don’t Like About the Marrs-Bar
The Marrs Bar isn’t all sunshine and rainbows as there are a couple of things we dislike.
First off, and this is one that most reading this will already be aware of and that is the cost. The Marrs Bar is not cheap. It’s not Eleiko Oppen Deadlift Bar expensive, but for a specialty bar, it’s a pretty penny. The cost increases quite dramatically when you factor in shipping as well. Due to the build of the bar not having any shortcuts, it has to ship freight, fully assembled.
Many companies like Kabuki Strength have begun creating bolt-together specialty bars like the Kabuki Strength Trap Bar that help to save on shipping costs. I’d love to see something like this come to the Marrs Bar to lower the cost of shipping and get it in more people’s hands.
The other minor annoyance on the bar is the black zinc coated sleeves. The sleeves are Olympic sized, although they are pinned and therefore don’t spin (not a big deal.) However, since they’re coated in black zinc, they end up looing extremely worn after only a few uses due to the metal on metal contact of the plates on the sleeves.
Again, this is a minor point, but worth noting.
Marrs-Bar vs. Safety Squat Bars
So, the question is, should you get a Marrs Bar or a safety squat bar. In my opinion, they’re different bars. A safety squat bar should be what most people look at first. We’ve detailed all of the best safety squat bars here and plan to add the Marrs Bar somewhere in the mix, but I do think it’s a different enough bar to not be a direct competitor.The Marrs Bar situates the weight much lower on the back, making it great for good mornings as well.If you already have a safety squat bar and want to add something new to your barsenal (see what I did there, bar + arsenal =…) than the Marrs Bar is a great option. I don’t think it’s absolutely revolutionary, however, it is a great specialty bar that offers a unique stimulus and has replaced a lot of the training I typically use the safety squat bar for.
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