Whether you've been in the gym for a week, a year, or a decade, there's a good chance when you hear the word "barbell" you think of steel. Would you ever associate bamboo with some of the best barbells?
Probably not, but this BandBell Earthquake Bar review may change your mind.
Believe it or not, bamboo bars ARE a thing and they are quickly gaining popularity among a variety of fitness niches—everywhere from rehab to CrossFit. Pretty soon, your home gym may include some bamboo items, even including barbell collars.
How did our team here at ACTIVE come across the bamboo bar? We wanted to find one of the best budget barbells that would also offer low-impact and effective workouts for people of all fitness levels, right down to beginners.
Our team is in tune with the latest fitness trends and when we heard about a 6-pound barbell that could hold over 300 pounds, we knew we had to check it out. In this BandBell Earthquake Bamboo Bar review, we'll take a look at the incredible benefits of a bamboo barbell and provide you with what you need to make your own decision about whether or not the BandBell Earthquake Bar is worth the buy.
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Why Trust Us?
ACTIVE.com’s editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated.
A Quick Look at the Rogue BandBell Earthquake Bar
- Weight: 6.3 lbs. (2.86 kg)
- Diameter: 1.5” (3.81 cm)
Maximum weight capacity: 300 lbs.
Dubbed by reviewers and fitness equipment brands alike as the ultimate device for rehab, prehab, CrossFit, strength training, and any functional training program, the BandBell Earthquake Bar is a textbook example of an "outside the box" idea.
Crafted with the notion of Oscillating Kinetic Energy (OKE) in mind, BandBell Bars are custom-made 80-inch barbells that only weigh 6 pounds, yet can take on weights of over 300 pounds!
Hold on a minute—barbells are supposed to be made of steel, right? How can a bamboo bar possibly compete with some of the best barbells for CrossFit?
To really appreciate this bar, you need to throw out everything you know about barbells. Although you’ve probably only used steel barbells like the Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar, there are bars out there made with different materials specific to different goals.
For example, PVC is used to make barbells, but these barbells are suitable for fitness goals of flexibility, mobility, and coordination. You wouldn’t use a PVC barbell to set a new deadlifting record. And the same goes for bamboo barbells.
While they are very strong and can hold over 300 pounds, they are made with a specific purpose in mind: functionality and athleticism—not overall strength and raw power. Does this mean steel barbells are better? Not at all.
For what it’s designed for, the BandBell Earthquake Bar is at the top of its game. It’s primarily used to challenge neuromuscular connections. This may not sound as sexy as gaining a ton of muscle mass or setting a new personal record in the bench press, but strong neuromuscular connections form the foundation of your fitness ability. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to effectively perform compound lifts, for example.
The BandBell Earthquake Bar challenges these connections on both sides of the body, demanding that your muscle fibers fire simultaneously with your brain signals to ensure optimized performance. After consistently using the BandBell Earthquake Bar for just a month, you will notice improvements in all of your other lifts.
What We Like
- The BandBell Earthquake Bar is the equivalent of getting two barbells in one, offering you the flexibility of rehab exercises as well as the intensity and heavy weight of cross-training.
- All materials for the bamboo bar are sourced from the U.S., and they are hand-assembled in Ohio.
- This bar is specially crafted with 2-inch grooves expertly cut into the wood to secure the bands as the bar itself bends from the heavy, variable resistance.
- It allows you to perform unique and effective exercises that would be difficult, if not impossible, with a normal steel barbell, such as utilizing resistance bands safely wrapped around kettlebells.
- It focuses on aspects of athletic training that might be overlooked, such as stability and coordination.
What We Don’t Like
- A few of the reviews mention that the initial set-up requires a second person, both for ease and safety. If this turns out to be true for you, don’t worry—this is a one-time set-up.
- There is a learning curve with this bar, especially if you are focusing on variable resistance training with resistance bands.
A Closer Look at the Rogue BandBell Earthquake Bar
While Rogue isn't the official creator and producer of the BandBell Earthquake Bar, the brand wouldn't feature a piece of equipment they didn't believe in. But does Rogue really trust a barbell dubbed the "Bamboo Bar?"
Let's take a closer look at the features and benefits of the bamboo bar:
How does something labeled as a "barbell" only weigh six pounds?
Crafted from long-lasting ash wood with a composite resin core intelligently engineered for unparalleled flexibility and durability, this is truly the best of both worlds for weightlifting.
For those people who want to focus on prehab, rehab, or strengthening overall muscle functionality, this barbell is lightweight so there’s no initial shock that some get when they try to pick up a traditional 45-pound Olympic barbell. What’s more, this barbell can safely bend and flex, helping to provide that necessary instability to shake awake those neuromuscular connections.
What if you are a trained lifter who wants to challenge yourself in a new way? You’re tired of the usual steel barbell routines and you want something new that will improve your functional movement patterns in a new way. The BandBell Earthquake Bar is capable of handling over 300 pounds, giving you both a tough workout and one that will effectively challenge your muscles in a new way, improving your overall performance.
The BandBell Earthquake Bar is designed around the principle of Oscillating Kinetic Energy, or OKE. Naturally, your first question is going to be, "What is Oscillating Kinetic Energy?"
OKE is a type of therapy that utilizes the vibration and oscillations of equipment to stimulate muscles. It works to improve joint function, increase muscle activation, enhance flexibility, and give you improved coordination.
This was the original intention of the first version of the bar, which was nicknamed the Bamboo Bar. The company kept receiving rave reviews, but they were also getting requests. Among them, one kept coming up over and over again:
Make a barbell that trained weightlifters can use to go really heavy.
And that’s what BandBell did. The upgraded version kept the features of flexibility and durability, but it is far stronger than its predecessor. This is how this lightweight barbell is able to be used for rehab exercises as much as for functional training and cross training.
The diameter of the BandBell Earthquake Bar is 1.5 inches, which is around the size of a standard Olympic Barbell.
If you've already been using standard commercial barbells or Olympic barbells in your local gym, the grip won't feel much different, as far as the diameter is concerned. This makes it perfect for any of your Olympic weightlifting exercises, whether it's deadlifts, squats, or bench presses.
With that being said, while your grip will feel familiar, it’s important to realize that the “feel” of the bar won’t be the same. As we break down below, the BandBell Earthquake Bar is based on instability.
The diameter of your grip won’t change, but you won’t be getting the same solid and rigid feel of a steel barbell. Rather, you’ll find yourself working extra hard to get accustomed to the “feel” of the barbell as you’re using it. It’s this instability and unfamiliarity that is the key to seeing better results.
Maximum Weight Capacity
The BandBell Earthquake Bar boasts an impressive 300-pound weight capacity. For a barbell made from wood and only weighing 6 pounds, that's pretty incredible. If you use it as demonstrated in many of the video reviews, you’ll be able to safely place three 50-pound kettlebells on each end without any issues.
While we don't recommend pushing the barbell to see how much it can truly hold, there are several reviewers who mention the bar can hold much more than the suggested 300-pound limit.
Again, we don’t want you testing it out for yourself—rather, this should bring you some peace of mind if you were to attempt a 300-pound squat, for example.
What Is the BandBell Earthquake Bar?
A type of kinetic exercise bar—and the original, according to the BandBell website—the BandBell Earthquake Bar is a lightweight, flexible barbell designed to provide a wide range of benefits.
It focuses on OKE, which challenges and activates all of the major and secondary muscle groups. This will help you to strengthen neuromuscular connections while simultaneously improving the following:
- Bio-motor control
- Neuromuscular innervation
Not only does it elevate circulation to muscles and joints for improved healing and development, but it is ideal for pre-habilitation, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.
How To Use the BandBell Earthquake Bar
Although we’ve talked a lot about how the BandBell Earthquake Bar is a great tool for those who are new to fitness or going through rehab, it’s also fantastic for athletes. Developing coordination, neuromuscular control, and reflexes are crucial, no matter which sport you’re playing.
With that said, here’s how to properly use the BandBell Earthquake Bar for its original intended purpose—focusing on instability:
Start with a bench press. Set up a traditional bench and put it in a flat position. You can alter the angle in a later workout after you get used to using the bar.
Wrap a thick loop resistance band around the handle of a light kettlebell. Again, you can increase the weight once you become accustomed to the barbell. Once it’s secured, hang the resistance band in the middle of one end of the BandBell Earthquake Bar. Repeat this for the other side.
Taking your time, move through a typical barbell bench press. You’ll immediately notice that something is very different. The bar is focused on maximizing instability and as the resistance bands holding the kettlebell starts to bounce and shake a bit, your body will be forced to adjust, dramatically strengthening your neuromuscular connections as you do so.
Once you feel comfortable with the bench press, try other compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, overhead press, etc.
Want to get the most out of your workouts? Look no further than this ingenious piece of equipment. It's simple and effortless to load, making even complex kinetic variations with multiple bands, kettlebells, weights, or chains attainable. Crafted with patented composite resins and fitted on both ends with solid ash loading sleeves, the Earthquake bar is designed to withstand up to 300 pounds of weight. You'll never have to worry about plateaus in progress as there are so many options for variation!
FAQs About the BandBell Earthquake Bar
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the BandBell Earthquake Bar (BandBell Bamboo Bar):
Does the Earthquake Bar work?
Yes, the BandBell Earthquake Bar does work if your goals are focused on improving your balance, stability, coordination, neuromuscular innervation, and overall athletic ability.
What is the point of a bamboo bar?
The main point of a “bamboo bar” is to provide instability for the purposes of functional training, rehabilitation exercises, and cross-training. As a kinetic energy bar, the bamboo bar can make "normal" exercises more challenging through this instability.
How do you load the Earthquake Bar?
Loading the BandBell Earthquake Bar is easy: To begin, secure a thick loop resistance band around the handle of a light kettlebell and hang it in the middle of one end of your BandBell Earthquake Bar. Repeat the same process on the other side to balance out both sides of the bar. Perform the exercise of your choice and once you're comfortable with that amount of weight, increase it to test out different intensities.