I recently came across a lot of thick barbells that got me curious about researching and training with thick bars.
Currently my experience is limited to a short axle bar that I got from Rep Fitness for $40. I have used it on occasion for deadlifts and that is about it.
These are different:
Curl Barbell - GymRatz (a UK company)
2.5 Inch Barbell - Black Iron Strength
3.0 Inch Barbell - Black Iron Strength
Gargantua Barbell - ?? Appears to be featured in a strength camp video
I could not find much information online.
Black Iron Strength's claim to fame is rotating sleeves and they make barbells in 6.5' and 7' length in diameters from 1-3/4" to 3-0". They are patented, made in the USA and quite expensive.
Ironmind makes the Apollon's Axle which is used in competition.
Black Widow Training Systems offer thick barbells that are basically welded axle bars. They also offer a curl thick barbell.
Power Lift has a set of axle bars in different diameters, up to 3 inches.
Rogue offers a 3" beam.
Perfect world, I would pick up the 2.5 inch and be happy with it. There is no point in me grabbing the 3.0 inch except that I am getting a good value on it.
I do not need a curl bar and the Gargantua is really long and makes me curious as to what potential uses there were. It does not appear to have rotating sleeves.
Thick bar training was touted by old time strongmen and old school lifters. Dave Draper is a big fan.
Poliquin Group offers simple reasons include grip, forearm and functional hand strength. There have been a number of studies that have been touted as well.
I have dabbled in thick bar training with Fat Gripz and the earlier mentioned axle bar. I will unfortunately admit that a primary driver is unique physical culture and relative rarity. Standard bars, plates and dumbbells come and go, but these are cool.
I ended up grabbing the 2.5 Inch Black Iron Strength Thick Bar. It is 6.5' long and weighs 45#. The 3 inch barbells were ridiculous and I could barely pick them up. The curl bar was in fine condition, but nothing special.
UPDATE 4/25/2023 - After six months, I have used this bar a handful of times and while I have enjoyed it, it is certainly not utilized much by me.