The Marrs-Bar Complete Breakdown

Many of you are very familiar with the Marrs-Bar. The fully enwrapped, roller-coaster strapped specialty squat bar - note the difference of the verbiage. From the mind of Zac Marrs came a truly unique yet functional and astounding way to continue to train legs, squat, lunge, and more, without all the additional "workload" required to do it. This is due to the curved handle placement that fits comfortably on your shoulders and down to your pecs, making this a bar that you can utilize without hands on your back, but rather, in the front.

The Marrs-Bar might be the king of all specialty bars. The story of its creation is as much entrepreneurial and needs assessment as it is foundational and revolutionary.  

Behind the Scenes – The Birth of the Marrs Bar 

Before I get into the full review of the bar, I think it’s important to give you an idea of how this bar was born. The process of its inception might be as important as the bar itself. I reached out to the founder, Zac Marrs for some background information on how this bar became what it is. 

Zac is an unbelievable person and hardworking, blue-collar man who takes a lot of pride into this bar. Below is his story of how the Marrs-Bar has become what it is today. 

The Beginning 

I started a security company in 1995 providing highly trained and physical fit officers. I’ve been a law enforcement academy instructor since 1997. I began Olympic Iron Gym in 2001, due to our officers "being really nice, but too big and too scary". I never wanted any limits placed on how I train my officers. The same ideology is for my personal training. 

In 2002, I had reworked my training from bodybuilding to more powerlifting and strength gains were continuing to increase. The other side of this double edge sword was my shoulder mobility and wrist injuries were preventing me from continuing to improve on the squat. A low bar squat always felt better on my low spine and knees, but my arms made that impossible, which encouraged cheating on form ... which lead to more injuries. I sadly came to the conclusion that straight bar squats were no more for me. I had every leg apparatus and bar possible, but no matter how heavy I went - it was a sad substitute for the straight bar squat.  

Failure at the Arnold Classic 

I attend the Arnold each year to recharge with positive mojo. I knew the expo had new fitness products and I was hopeful that I would find a suitable replacement for straight bar squats. No luck. Very depressed. I had a couple of safety squat bars (SSB), but I hated them. They placed the load on the base of the neck, the memory arm placed the impact on the low spine, which I felt in my knees as well - while pushing me forward, which caused another adjustment to my squat form. There were as many negatives as positives. Seemed like a crappy investment in my beat up body. 

Frustrated, I took one of my SSBs to a welder. He cut up the bar I provided and added some flat pig iron. He warmed up the flat iron, beat it into shape, tossed water on the bar and threw a wet towel over my shoulders. We went back and forth, repeating the process until I thought the design would work. The Frankenstein MARRS-BAR was born in 2003, ugly as sin and 84 lbs 

But it worked. It dropped the bar into a low bar squat, zero impact on my injured and failing joints/tendons. My training loads jumped in leaps in bounds. The mental stress is identical as jumping into the leg press - not much at all. 

Straight bar squats required; adjusting my squat briefs, knee wraps, locking down my belt, then waddling into the rack before I lost circulation. The bar must be positioned correctly on the shoulders with hand placement. As I carefully control my breathing, I would lift the weight off the rack and attempt to allow the bar to roll down as far as my beat up shoulders and wrists would allow, control my air ... then finally squat. 

The Creation Catches Interest 

The Frankenstein MARRS-BAR provided; comfort, decreased mental stress, transferred training load from low neck and spine to glutes + quads + hams, increased training weights, higher volume of training without the routine collateral damages. 

Only I and those in my gym knew of the bar's existence 

My gym members would joke with me that I have ruined their leg training if they ever leave town or go to another gym - because they can only squat with the no-named MARRS-BAR. 

In 2015 or so, I was at a college buddy's birthday party. He works in the fitness market. Because we are such good friends, I was compelled to rub his nose in a video I had of me squatting 895 lbs. Some of his guests (also in the fitness market) started to gather to watch the video - and no one cared about the number of 45 lbs plates on the bar. They all asked, "what is that bar?". Interest in the Frankenstein MARRS-BAR was growing, which I was ignorant of. 

My wife Jennifer and I decided to put the bar on the market ourselves and sell the design to one of the big fitness manufacturers, to see if there was interest. We were having issues with capital and understanding the patient process. 

Jen and I were at a friend’s birthday party. I college friend (Matt Jones) of mine owned a couple of taverns and one was within walking distance from this party. I stopped in to say hi. Matt asked what was going on. I mentioned that Jen and I were thinking about doing something with this monstrosity that I created, but 

I had no idea what I was doing. Matt wanted to help with the capital and getting the idea moving forward. 

Prototypes were made and the design was improved on. The prototypes were sent to some of the fitness manufacturers we were aware of. One manufacturer returned the bar and passed due to the handles being too long. We stumbled upon a manufacturer in Waterville KS and decided to attempt to manufacture the bars for ourselves. The hurdles that were jumped to manufacturer this bar is another novel entirely. 

Redemption at the Arnold 

March 2019 was day 1 for MARRS-BAR out of the closet, at the Arnold Fitness Expo. I couldn't sleep and was incredibly stressed out. I was worried no one would appreciate the bar and call it a failure. It was perfect for me, but the public ... maybe this idea is a joke. The Arnold went better than expected. We were invited into the Animal Cage by Eric Schwartz - who was fantastic. Eric handed me the microphone and gave me a stage to talk about the MARRS-BAR.  

While I was entering the Animal Cage, Louie Simmons from Westside Barbell called and said, "Zac, love the bar, its genius, I want one". All I could mutter was "thank you sir, will do" - stunned. 

So much more has happened in a short time. We have blessed to meet so many good and giving athletes. Every new user of the MARRS-BAR teaches me more and more about this bar. This journey has been overwhelming and wonderful. 

Marrs-Bar Breakdown 

Upon first impression, the patent-pending bar is a beast. The 2” zinc coated steel tubing gives a no-nonsense appeal to it that breathes hard work. With a length of 89” and 24” wide, this bar might even give an appearance as preparing to get on a rollercoaster. In many ways you are – you’re strapping yourself into a squat experience you’ve never had before. 

To achieve the low bar effect so the bar sits below the traps, the camber drops 5 inches. To support the bar, the Marrs-Bar comes with arc-shaped shoulder pads. I love the design of the shoulder pads and handlebars because it gives the bar a very snug feeling and one that gives you complete control of the bar.  

You don’t need to use the handles if you don’t want to as the bar will naturally rest on your upper body, not just your spine and back. Once you are under the bar you can feel how it spreads the weight out over your body, and no specific area feels overloaded.  

I know this can be the case, especially for powerlifters and heavy lifters when they squat. Wrists, elbows, shoulders, low back, and knees can all receive excess pressure and result in pain and possible injury. The Marrs-Bar seems to have eliminated all of that. 

This is made with heavy-duty memory foam and is very sturdy and quite comfortable. The shoulder pads are thick and covered with a heavy-duty vinyl liner that wraps over the entire padded area. The padding feels thicker, yet it is not as stiff as the SSB padding feels. This could be the case that a large portion of the padding rests below the traps. The handles are not removeable like the SSB. They are welded on. The handlebar end caps are wrapped with rubber to protect them from wear and damage.  

The bar itself is a bare steel bar, coated with black zinc on the sleeves. It weighs 65lbs empty. The sleeves have a loadable length of 16” for plates, to leave enough room to fit a collar on. There’s no doubt you’ll be able to max out your own training with this bar. 

How it Ships 

The bar itself is quite bulky. At a length of 89” and 24”, the bar ships on two pallets. It was carefully wrapped in plastic and came with endcaps on the bar to protect the edges. The bar arrived after 5-7 days of transit. If you live in the Kansas area, you can pick up the bar and save money on shipping. Thick foam was covered over the shoulder pads and taped soundly to the bar to protect the vinyl.   

The Marrs-Bar also goes on the road to various fitness expos. If you are at an expo where the bar is being displayed, you should be able to pick one up and save money on shipping that way, too.  

Specs and Features 

  • Weight: 65lbs 
  • Dimensions: 89" x 24" 
  • Diameter: 1.5" solid steel zinc coated bar & harness 
  • Machined Olympic black oxidized sleeves 
  • Fully welded design: Max loaded weight 1200 lbs 
  • Harness Padding:  Vinyl-wrapped High-Density Memory Foam 
  • Warranty: Lifetime on Manufacture defect 
  • Uses:  Traditional, Front Squat, Lunge, Good Mornings, Rehab & Physical Therapy 
  • Made in USA 

 Superb Construction 

Upon first glance of the bar, you’ll notice how this bar is built like a tank. Fully welded with high quality vinyl, strong stitching, and rubber end caps make this bar built to last. It’s covered in bright zinc with the sleeves layered in black zinc. The weight sleeves are also grooved to help keep plates intact. One of the best features is the high-density memory foam. I have yet to see this foam conform or compress after many uses. After every use it stays comfortable.  

Pain Free Squatting 
The way the bar is established can allow for more pain free and consistent squatting. Extended use can make this a clear advantage. The Marrs-Bar has also allowed for continued squatting when impacted with shoulder injuries.

The Best Front Squat You’ll Ever Perform 
Front squats can generally be a difficult exercise, especially if you suffer from injury or have mobility issues. SSB front squats were the best alternative for me until the Marrs-Bar. The bar is just as comfortable in a back squat position as it is in a front squat position. It helps keep your torso up, allows you to generate depth and does not dig into your clavicles or collar bone. You’ll be able to control your breathing while focusing on quad and glute drive.  

The best part about front squatting with this bar: you can perform the lift with no hands. Those who like to front squat but suffer from shoulder issues will love this feature. 

A Variety of Lifts 
The number of lifts you can perform this bar is extensive. It’s like a Swiss Army Knife of sorts. Squats, front squats, Hatfield squats, lunges, goodmornings, step ups, box squats; the list goes on. Use it with chains or bands to add a variable load, all while lifting with no pain. You can also use the bar to perform various upper body lifts, like rack rows. If you aren’t competing in any powerlifting meets, this bar could easily become your go-to squat bar. It has for me.  

An Excellent Accessory Lift 
If you are a powerlifter, you cannot negate the traditional back squat. That being said, this can be utilized for accessory lifts. Louie Simmons, from Westside Barbell, uses the bar for good mornings. It could be incorporated for max effort box squats or front squats.

Never Miss Another Leg Day

The Marrs-Bar allows you to bring back the days of squatting bigger weight with lesser pain. While it's a pricey investment, it can be a complete change in how you achieve your strength and posterior chain goals. 

 

 

#GetStacked


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