The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar from Bells of Steel is not your ordinary specialty barbell. It’s a remarkably versatile and budget-friendly tool that offers a wide range of training options, making it an excellent choice even for those on a limited budget.
I’m not blowing smoke when I say the Arch Nemesis Cambered Swiss Bar is the best bar I own right now for developing my entire upper body.
Read on to find out why.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar arrived packed simply in a cardboard box with no padding.
A little bit surprising, but the Arch Nemesis has no moving parts, so the lack of padding wasn’t an issue.
The bar arrived intact and undamaged.
Nothing out of the ordinary to say about the shipping and arrival condition, so I’ll move on.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar bears a very strong resemblance to the Kabuki Kadillac Bar, currently sold by Rogue Fitness.
Like the Kadillac Bar, the Arch Nemesis is cambered and offers multiple grip options.
Unlike the Kadillac Bar, which currently costs 2.5 times the price of the Nemesis Bar, the Arch Nemesis won’t break the bank.
The Arch Nemesis is a no-brainer if you’re in the market for a cambered Swiss bar.
The Arch Nemesis is made of thick steel and looks heavy duty, but at 24lbs it’s surprisingly light.
But light doesn’t mean flimsy. The Arch Nemesis Bar is rated for 600lbs, which I can confidently say is more than the majority of home lifters can hoist. The Arch Nemesis bar will outlast your will to use it.
This means that standard Olympic barbell collars won’t work with the Arch Nemesis.
However, Bells of Steel offers their own brand of 3-D printed barbell collars, including a set sized for axle bars, and they work very well.
If you buy an Arch nemesis, just spring for the axle collars as well, you won’t be sorry.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar measures 78″ in length, weighing 24lb, and boasting a maximum capacity of 600 lbs. With a mild knurling, it offers narrow grip handle distances of 12″, middle distances of 20.5″, and wide distances of 29″.
Additionally, the handles are mounted at 13-degree angles, enhancing its ergonomic design. The three angled grips on the Arch Nemesis help reduce wrist and shoulder strain, increase muscle activation, enhance grip strength, and reduce stress on your joints.
The more natural hand positions also make it suitable for individuals with shoulder issues or limited mobility.
But that’s not all – thanks to its unique arch shape, the bar enables you to surpass the ordinary range of motion provided by a standard barbell, resulting in heightened muscle activation and maximizing your strength gains.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is an extremely versatile bar.
There is a wide variety of lifts you can do with this bar, but they boil down to three different categories: pressing, pulling, and pull-ups.
I’ll cover each in turn.
Right out of the box, the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is perfect for pressing exercises like bench press and overhead presses.
I use it consistently for pressing and it has replaced my standard barbells as my bar of choice for bench pressing.
Pressing with the Arch Nemesis feels amazing.
When I bench press with the Arch Nemesis bar from Bells of Steel, I feel a different sensation in my shoulders and elbows. They feel more comfortable and stable than when I use a regular barbell.
I also feel my triceps and chest working harder as I push the bar up. The bar is well made and solid, and the knurling is not too rough but not too smooth either.
The arch shape of the bar lets me lower the bar past my chest, which makes me feel like I’m working my pecs more than when I bench with a standard barbell.
Pressing with the Arch Nemesis is fantastic, but it’s the cable attachment welded to the top of the bar that makes it extra special.
The cable attachment opens up a whole other dimension of workout possibilities when combined with a lat pulldown and/or cable row setup.
With the right setup, you can do lat pull-downs and cable rows with this same bar. In my opinion, this one feature makes the Arch Nemesis superior to the similar and more expensive Kadillac Bar.
Prior to owning this bar, I did not have a lat pulldown setup in the Lab. I remedied that situation by building my own lat pulldown / cable row machine using parts purchased from Amazon.
The setup works amazingly well, and all I can say is I wish I had done it years ago.
This is where I will interject my one complaint about the Arch Nemesis bar.
The sleeves are much longer than they need to be, which makes using the bar for pulldowns very awkward in tight spaces.
As you can see in the picture above, I don’t have a lot of room to work with. Setting up and using the Arch Nemesis to use with my DIY lat pulldown and row setup was extremely cumbersome in the space I have available.
Since the sleeves are just steel pipe, I used my angle grinder to cut 4.25 inches off each sleeve and the bar is now much easier to use.
The sleeves on the Arch Nemesis offer an impressive loadable space of nearly 14 inches. After giving it some thought, I decided to trim off 4.25 inches from each side, leaving me with about 9.5 inches of sleeve length.
With that, I can fit my entire Titan Urethane Olympic Plate collection (full review) on the bar, assuming I ever get strong enough to hoist that much weight.
Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you do the same because, well, it would void your warranty.
However, it would be great if the Bells of Steel team considered offering a shorter version of this bar.
Just a thought, but it could be a fantastic addition to their lineup.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar from Bells of Steel isn’t just limited to traditional barbell exercises – it can also be used as a versatile and effective pull-up bar!
With its rackable design and grip handle distances, the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar can provide an excellent platform for engaging in challenging pull-up workouts.
Using the different handle grips on the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar, you can vary your pull-up grip positions to target different muscle groups and add variety to your routine.
The narrow grip handles at 12″ apart are great for targeting your biceps and inner back muscles, while the wider grip handles at 29″ apart provide a challenging wide grip pull-up that engages your lats and outer back muscles.
The middle grip handles at 20.5″ apart offer a balanced grip position that targets your overall upper body strength.
The Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar from Bells of Steel is a must-have for anyone serious about strength training.
Its versatile and budget-friendly design offers a wide range of training options, making it an excellent choice even for those on a limited budget. With its remarkable features, this bar stands out among its competitors.
Firstly, the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is perfect for pressing exercises like bench press and overhead presses, providing a comfortable and stable feel.
The unique arch shape allows for a greater range of motion, enhancing muscle activation and maximizing strength gains.
Additionally, its cable attachment opens up a whole new dimension of workout possibilities, making it superior to more expensive options on the market.
Furthermore, this bar serves as an effective pull-up bar, offering various grip positions to target different muscle groups.
Its durable construction, rated for 600 lbs, ensures it will outlast your will to use it. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, the Arch Nemesis Swiss Bar is an invaluable addition to any home gym.
Got any questions I didn’t cover in the review? Drop them in the comments below!
I'm a software product manager with a full-time job, family, and a desire to stay strong, mobile, and fit. I separate fact from fiction to find the most effective and affordable options for home fitness. If you'd like to build your own home gym, start here.