Monday, July 27, 2020

Titan Fitness: Yukon Bar Product Review

Product Details:
LOSE UNNECESSARY PAIN: Using the black oxide-coated Yukon Bar means adding six inches of barbell curvature to help keep your body in pristine form, and put an end to back and shoulder pain from squatting.

OUR BEST CURVED BARBELL: The Yukon Bar is longer than our Bison Bar (96” instead of 87”), comes with more loadable sleeve length (17 1/2” instead of 16”) and a higher weight capacity (2,000 LB versus 500 LB).

BLACK OXIDE COATING: Your barbell will last longer, look great, and exceed expectations with the black oxide coating process – guaranteeing a resistance to rust and corrosion.

TOUGH STEEL CONSTRUCTION: Never fear your barbell suffering under too much intensity. Bring your toughest workout to the Yukon Bar – the durable steel construction will make it through.

DIMENSIONS: Between sleeves, this barbell measures at 58 1/8”, and the grip size is 32 mm (or 1.26”) in diameter. The Yukon Bar is designed with a 6” curvature.

- Overall length: 96”
- Length handle to handle: 58 1/8”
- Loadable Sleeve Length: 17 1/2”
- Grip Diameter: 32 mm / 1.26”
- Barbell Curvature: 6”
- Coating: Black Oxide
- Weight Capacity: 2,000 LB
- Weight: 50 LB

Don’t settle for unnecessary strain and discomfort, pick up the Yukon Bar from Titan Fitness and give yourself a better workout! Lose your worrisome back and shoulder pain with the brilliantly curved barbell design. The Yukon bar is longer than our other curved barbell, the Bison Bar, at 96” instead of 87” – and a loadable sleeve length of 17 1/2” for each side. Our older Bison Bar maxes out at 500 LB, but the Yukon Bar comes in at a whopping 2,000 LB capacity. Other functional design changes were made, for example, the Yukon Bar will now remain upright when it’s racked.

Our Yukon Bar will rest comfortably on your shoulders for squatting, with a 6” curvature that feels more natural than an ordinary barbell. The black oxide coating ensures that your barbell’s stunning finish is resistant to rust and corrosion. Knurling on the handle stretches across five different sections of the bar; including knurling directly at the center. Between the loadable Olympic sleeves, this bar measures 58 1/8” in handle to handle length. The barbell grip measures at 32 mm, or 1.26” in diameter.

There are many reasons this bar can help your bench; the two most commonly spouted are the ability to centre the wrist joint and shoulder joint more effectively especially with wider grips, and of course the ability to do extended range pressing aka go lower than you could with a standard barbell. Although both of these are great, I think the most important benefit that comes from benching with the Yukon bar is the ability for the bar to teach you the proper elbow position for benching.

Over-tucking the Elbows: the unspoken cause of elbow pain and missed benches

Cambered bench bars have been around forever, but most if not all of them have you grip the bar at the same level as the centre of the plates, and the cambered portion bends around the lifter; however, with the Yukon bar, you’re actually gripping the weight slightly above the centre of mass, creating a small swing arm between the lifter that can swing in pendulum fashion either towards the hips, or towards the face. This means smaller fore/aft mistakes are magnified and you’ll be made immediately aware of whether you are sitting directly under the centre of mass, or if you’ve dumped the bar to low to touch your chest, or over-tucked your elbows to try and drive the bar back towards the rack

The 6in bend encourages proper joint centration and reduces rotational demand on the shoulder
Improves scapular retraction and lat engagement in the press and squat.  With a standard barbell and sub-maximal weights, this isn’t always easy to feel, as many people are strong enough to bully the bar back into position even after a suboptimal start until they get to the last couple reps of a set, or the weight gets heavy enough, but with the Yukon those errors become immediately apparent. If your weakness is off the chest or in the low midpoint of your bench press, before you go blaming the chest and anterior delt, take a hard look at your bench press path.

Aside from the heart break of missed benches, the other unspoken issue with over-tucking and keeping the elbows behind the wrists/centre of mass is that it creates a lateral torque on a joint that is not adequately adapted to handle those forces. The elbow is a hinge joint with the ability to rotate, however it really doesn’t handle continued exposure varus or valgus stresses very well. It takes awhile for this to show up, but if you’re dealing with elbow pain or tendinitis issues in your bench press, first take a look at your squat technique (especially if it’s worse on days that you squat the day before) and then take a good hard look at your bench press path – chances are your elbows are lagging behind your wrists for the majority of your bench press.

From an outsiders’ perspective, it may be hard to see why a bent barbell makes such a big difference. Sure, it’s more comfortable, but is it really worth the additional cost? However, safety is one concern many people face when they start lifting weights. If you use incorrect form or make certain mistakes, you can seriously injure yourself. With the Yukon Bar, you’re taking a step towards safety and protecting yourself when you lift.  Your back isn’t perfectly straight, so why should your barbell be? The bent shape lets it lie properly across your shoulders for stability and comfort.

These main benefits might entice you to add this bar:
Incredible engineering and quality
Maximum comfort during weight sessions
Safe and pain-free with minimal shoulder stress

However, these are some minor concerns I want to make you aware of:
Doesn’t sit properly in most power racks
Takes time to adjust to the shape

It’s covered in black oxide, and to that end looks and feels great. Definitely has the look of a higher end barbell without the added price. The knurl is a little passive, which for a squat and pressing bar, I’m completely fine with. Glad they opted for center knurling this time around.

I had just used the Bison Bar before this (Titan’s first 6” cambered Buffalo/Duffalo Bar competitor),  I overall liked their Bison Bar, particularly for benching. The added depth was great, though a lot of that was near the very edges where you couldn’t actually grip. It didn’t sit well on the rack, however, and overall was a little wobbly. Also pushed the J hooks out just a little if you weren’t careful, no matter how I arranged my particular ones. It was plenty ‘good enough’ for me, and I solved it sitting in the rack very easily by putting fat grips on the parts that sat on the J hooks near the edge, but it definitely had the feel of a 1.0 product.

The Yukon Bar addresses any and all issues I had with the Bison Bar. The balance of this bar is perfect. It sits on the rack just fine without any help. The black oxide coating looks nice, though I’d personally still have been fine with chrome. The spin of the sleeves is just right, far smoother than the Bison Bar.

As to the 6” camber of it, vs the 4” on higher end bars, I think that’s mostly a marketing gimmick. Because a good 1-2” of that is likely going to be outside of your grip range for pressing, you wouldn’t get much benefit from it there as far as range of motion goes. It is 2” more cambered for where the weights sit when squatting and doing anything on your back, but I wouldn’t imagine that’s going to have a substantive impact compared to a 4” camber. For all intents and purposes, the camber on the Yukon Bar’s basically the same as that of the other Buffalo/Duffalo style bars, the main difference being price.

This is the longest barbell I own, sitting way taller than my Titan SSB 2.0 in my vertical rack. It’s so tall/long that I would say that if you only have vertical barbell storage to put it in and low ceilings, you’re going to need to measure. I think it even stands taller than my rack in there. I have tall ceilings for an apartment, and it’s right up there near them. If the space around your rack is also limited, you’ll need to measure if the width will fit too, as I have to duck under one side of it to get by on one side of my rack. It’s 96” long as I recall.

The grip marks on the bar are also very wide, but that’s not that big of a deal. I usually grip wide when using these kinds of bars for presses anyway because that’s part of the benefit of the bars.

I would have preferred it if they somehow managed to mimic the size of their Bison Bar while simply addressing the issues of it without making it significantly longer, but if that’s what it take to make it less wobbly and sit right in the rack, I’m fine with it.  Overall, this is an amazing specialty bar for the price!

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