Kabuki Transformer Bar Manufactured By Rogue Fitness: A Comprehensive Review

Kabuki Transformer Bar Manufactured By Rogue Fitness: A Comprehensive Review

The Kabuki Transformer Bar is an innovative piece of equipment, offering a range of features that cater to both beginners and seasoned athletes. In this review, we'll dive into the key aspects of the new Rogue version, highlighting its benefits, target audience, and why it's a valuable addition to your fitness arsenal.* 

View on Rogue's Website


WSBB Equipment Rating

New Kabuki Transformer Bar Manufactured by Rogue Fitness

  • Overall:   4.5/5
    • Function: 5/5 
    • Use: 4.7/5
    • Scalability: 4/5
    • Value: 4.7/5
    • Durability: 4.5/5
    • Design: 4.7/5


Original Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar

  • Overall:   4.1/5
    • Function: 4.7/5
    • Use: 4.5/5
    • Scalability: 4/5
    • Value: 4.5/5
    • Durability: 3.5/5
    • Design: 4/5

Bottom Line

When it comes to investing in fitness equipment, knowledge is key. Here are the important details you need to know before making your decision:

What we liked about the transformer bar

  • Adaptability: With 6 different settings and 4 levels of difficulty, this bar provides a staggering 24 variations for your workouts. This level of customization is suitable for many levels of fitness.
  • Enhanced Design: Enhanced based on user feedback, this bar is optimized for performance and comfort. It comes with both short and long, knurled handles, catering to different preferences and grip styles. The design allows users to hold the handles in front allowing greater ability to activate the lats or up high similar to a traditional SSB.
  • Quality: Made in America and comes with a lifetime warranty. Plate & Collar Compatibility: The bar works seamlessly with Olympic and bumper plates, making it a versatile addition to your collection while also using Olympic collars.
  • Laser etched: Looks good aesthetically and is an upgrade from the previous bar's stickers.
  • Handles: Comes with knurled long handles and a short handle/cap unlike a traditional Safety Squat bar (SSB) with a straight handle.

Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar Handle Knurling

What we didn't like about the transformer bar

  • Price vs. SSB: The price is higher than a standard SSB.
  • No End Caps: The lack of end caps on the sleeve is disappointing given the cost. Additionally, the sleeves are going to get scratched, despite the price premium.
  • Settings Changes: Rogue and Kabuki representatives recommended that weight plates be removed to change bar settings.
  • Hinge Setting Issue: Using the hinge setting with heavy weight requires holding onto the bar so it doesn't fall, as the leverage for the makes it difficult to keep the bar in place. 

    Westside Barbell Kabuki Transformer Bar Review Front Angle

    Who Should Buy the Kabuki Transformer Bar?

    The Kabuki Transformer Bar caters to a diverse range of fitness enthusiasts. 

    • Anyone Seeking Comfort & Variety: If you're after a safety squat bar that's both comfortable and adjustable, this is your go-to option. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced lifter, adding versatility to your routine is a breeze with this bar.
    • Shoulder Injury or Shoulder Limitations: Individuals struggling with using a traditional straight barbell due to shoulder injuries or pain using a straight bar will find solace in this bar.
    • Progressive Training: If you're aiming to increase difficulty in your movements before increasing the weight, the Kabuki Transformer Bar is your ultimate training tool.
    • Diverse Gym Settings: Whether you train at home, in a private gym, or a commercial facility, this bar fits seamlessly into your fitness environment.

    The Kabuki Transformer Bar is a game-changing addition to your fitness journey. With its adaptability, comfort, and convenience, it's designed to empower both beginners and advanced lifters alike.

    Now, we'll take a detailed look at the six facets of our review process: 


        • Function
        • Use
        • Scalability
        • Value
        • Durability
        • Design

     Westside Barbell Kabuki Transformer Bar Side Angle Review


    Purpose and Performance of the Kabuki Transformer Bar

    In this section, we'll dive into the core function of this barbell, shedding light on the problems it addresses and the efficiency it offers.

    Purpose and Problem Solving

    Let's begin by unraveling the primary purpose of the Kabuki Transformer Bar and the unique problem it sets out to solve:

    • Comfortable Squatting: At its core, this bar is designed to make squatting with a barbell not only more comfortable but also easier to learn. 
    • Balancing Movement and Loads: Here's where the real magic happens. The Transformer Bar tackles the puzzle whether to prioritize improving movement or increasing weight. The bar bridges this gap by allowing you to adjust the level of difficulty. How? By altering the placement of the weight sleeve. This dynamic feature empowers you to achieve significant enhancements in your movement mechanics, regardless of your current fitness level.

    Does the Rogue Kabuki Transformer Bar Perform as Promised?

    This bar delivers as intended. Here are some further thoughts on performance and efficiency:

    • Offers Something for Everyone: The Transformer Bar's comfort factor isn't limited to beginners. Even elite athletes find it a comfortable choice, making it versatile enough for a broad range of fitness levels from weekend warriors to world champions. The bar's adaptability truly caters to various needs.
    • Effortless Adjustments: Changing settings has never been this straightforward. A simple pop-pin mechanism allows you to transition between difficulty levels with ease. Plus, the bar's unique design even permits adjustments with the weight sleeve loaded (despite the official recommendation to remove weight before changing). Imagine the convenience of smoothly transitioning from a high bar back squat to good mornings with the hinge setting in seconds.
    • Safety First: While the convenience of changing settings without unloading weights is enticing, it's wise to heed a piece of advice from Rogue Fitness. Although you can save time by not having to take off all the weight before adjusting the setting, a representative suggested removing all the weight first before for safety. A Kabuki Strength representative recommended that you strip the weight down to 145 lbs at most to avoid any long-term damage to the bar.

    How to Use the Kabuki Transformer Bar

    In this section, we'll guide you through the proper usage, setup, and safety measures, while shedding light on how this barbell delivers force and resistance to elevate your lifting experience.

    Getting Started: Setup and Adjustments

    Using the Kabuki Transformer Bar is easy, but let's break it down step by step:

        1. Selecting the Setting: Begin by choosing the specific bar setting that aligns with your exercise of choice. Options range from Goblet and Front Squat to Safety Squat Bar, High Bar Back Squat, Low Bar Back Squat, and a Hinge position.
        2. Tweaking Difficulty: Once you've selected the setting, it's time to fine-tune the difficulty level. By adjusting the distance between the center of mass of the weight and the bar, you can customize the intensity of your movements. This is where the Transformer Bar shines: simply place the sleeve in the corresponding slot, ranging from Easy (1) to Hard (4). Remember, for a secure fit, push the detent pin all the way into the sleeve.
        3. Loading and Execution: With the adjustments set, load the bar with the desired weight, and you're ready to perform your chosen movement. The process is streamlined, making transitions between exercises smooth and efficient.

    Kabuki Transformer Bar Goblet Squat Setting

    Delivering Resistance: Understand How it Works

    Ever wondered how the Kabuki Transformer Bar delivers resistance and force to your body? Let's look at the mechanics:

        • Customizable Difficulty: This barbell allows you to manipulate the level of difficulty by altering the distance between the center of mass of the weight and the bar on your back. In essence, the farther the loaded weight sleeve is from the center of mass, the more challenging the movement becomes.
        • Progressive Mechanism: This dynamic mechanism lets you dial in the difficulty level before even considering ramping up the weight. It's about honing your form and mechanics first, ensuring a solid foundation for long-term progress.

    Kabuki Transformer Bar Easy Difficulty Setting

    Incorporating the Transformer Bar into Your Routine

    How can you effectively program and incorporate the Kabuki Transformer Bar into your workouts? 

    Example Routine: Goblet Squat Variation

    Here's a quick sample of how to use the Kabuki Transformer Bar for a Goblet Squat variation:

    1. Setting: Choose the Goblet setting on the bar.
    2. Difficulty: Opt for an intermediate difficulty (Setting 2).
    3. Load: Load the bar with an appropriate weight.
    4. Execution: Perform controlled Goblet Squats, focusing on maintaining proper form and benefiting from the targeted resistance distribution.

    Impact on Training Outcomes: Progress and Consistency

    Wondering what kind of impact the Kabuki Transformer Bar can have on your training outcomes over an eight-week span? Here's a look at the results we've seen.

    • Unlocking the Strength Surge: After dedicating eight weeks to incorporating the Kabuki Transformer Bar into our training regimen, the results were encouraging. We set out to tackle the quest for increasing our absolute strength, and the Transformer Bar met our expectations.
    • Pushing Past PRs: One standout achievement was the significant improvement in absolute strength. By utilizing the bar in the difficult setting for movements like the Safety Squat Bar (SSB) squats, we managed to surpass our previous personal records. The challenge offered by the Transformer Bar's customizable difficulty undoubtedly played a pivotal role.
    • Comfort-Driven Consistency: But the journey wasn't just about the numbers on the bar. The comfort factor of the Kabuki Transformer Bar proved to be a game-changer in maintaining consistency throughout the eight weeks.


    Who Should Buy The Kabuki Strength Bar?

    When it comes to scalability, the Kabuki Transformer Bar is a true chameleon, seamlessly catering to athletes of various levels. Let's unravel its adaptability, explore its movement possibilities, and uncover its unforeseen uses that add a layer of innovation to your training.

    Suitability for All Skill Levels

    • Who Can Use It: Whether you're a novice, intermediate, or advanced lifter, this bar welcomes you with open sleeves. Its customizable difficulty level paves the way for progression without the burden of excessive loading. But that's not all - this feature-rich bar is a blessing for coaches too. Training young athletes? The Transformer Bar's adaptability helps them nail the movement mechanics before jumping in the deep end of the pool with heavy weights.
    • Beyond the Basics: Unlike one-size-fits-all equipment, the Transformer Bar boasts a spectrum of settings to cater to different movements and variations. Let's take a visual tour:

    Kabuki Strength Bar Movement Variation Examples

    1. Hip Hinge (Good Mornings): Kick off your training with the hinge pattern and teach good mornings. The long handles offer an optimal position for maintaining a neutral spine, crucial for effective hinge movements.
    2. Back Squat (Low Bar and High Bar): Transition seamlessly between low and high bar back squats, adjusting the difficulty to your preference.
    3. SSB (Safety Squat Bar): Unleash the Transformer Bar's full potential with the traditional SSB setting, making squatting comfortable and efficient.
    4. Front Squat: Experience a counterbalanced front squat, adding a fresh dimension to your routine.
    5. Goblet Squat (Mimicking Kettlebell Goblet Squat): Embrace the luxury of the goblet squat.

    Innovative Uses and Unexpected Benefits

    1. Abundance of Accessory Options: The Transformer Bar goes beyond the expected. Elevate your accessory game with lunges, step-ups, SSB walks, zercher squats, back extensions, SSB ab twists, side bends, and even heavy sit-ups.
    2. Ideal Spine Alignment: The elongated handles facilitate a better spinal position, making it an excellent tool for those honing their squat technique.

    Value: A Desirable Addition to Elevate Your Gym

    Is the Kabuki Transformer Bar an essential gym addition or simply a desirable one? While not necessary, the bar certainly offers a lot to desire and can benefit many use cases. Let's unravel the worth of this versatile piece of equipment.

    While no equipment is mandatory, the Transformer Bar introduces a refreshing variety. Whether your gym boasts a collection of bars or just the basics, the versatility of this bar breathes new life into your routine. If comfort and progress matter to you, this bar is a must-have. It's a solution for those with shoulder mobility concerns, or simply seeking a more comfortable squatting experience. It's worth the investment. The bottom line is, if a piece of equipment can elevate your performance, it's worth having. The Transformer Bar isn't just a want; it's a strategic investment for increasing your strength and size.

    Problem-Solving and Versatility

    Whether you're setting up a garage gym or launching a new facility, the Transformer Bar caters to your needs. Instead of accumulating multiple bars, this one bar offers a spectrum of movements and variations.

    For those starting their lifting journey, this bar offers a smoother squatting experience with its extended handles, encouraging proper form and neutral spine alignment.

    For us, the Transformer Bar isn't merely an addition. It's a replacement for the previous model. The secured sleeve via the detent pin enhances safety and ease during Safety Squat Bar walks and swift transitions between movements.

    Durability & Maintenance

    The Kabuki Strength Bar is Built to Last and Easy to Care for

    Let's take a look at the quality, durability, and how the Kabuki Transformer Bar stands up to the test of time. We'll also explore maintenance requirements and provide insights into safety features and concerns.

    When it comes to build quality and durability, the Transformer Bar doesn't disappoint. 

    • Clean Welds, Heavy Weight Handling: The welds on this bar stand out with their clean finish, indicative of solid craftsmanship. Beyond aesthetics, these welds contribute to the bar's overall sturdiness. The Rogue Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar has proven its enhancement from the previous model by handling heavy weights with grace, making it a reliable tool in the arsenal. During our testing, we did notice some loose stitching on the front pad. While this could be an isolated issue, it's worth keeping an eye on for long-term durability.
    • Dual Handle Benefit: One standout feature contributing to the Transformer Bar's durability is the inclusion of both short and long handles. This adds to the bar's versatility and also serves as a testament to its well-thought-out design.
    • Slight Movement Under Pressure: Under heavier loads, the long handle experienced a slight turning movement when pressed out to the sides. While this is a minor observation, it's worth considering during exercises that involve going heavy on a movement.

    Kabuki Transformer Bar Stitching Issue

    Kabuki Transformer Bar Stitching by Rogue

    Maintenance and Longevity

    Keeping your equipment in top shape is crucial. Here's how the Transformer Bar fares in terms of maintenance:

    • Finish: The bar's matte black finish isn't just visually appealing; it's practical too. It's easy to wipe down, ensuring a clean and hygienic training environment.
    • Sturdy Padding: Maintenance extends to the padding as well. Its easy-to-clean material  ensures that your training sessions remain hygienic without added hassle.
    • Sleeve Wear: Keep in mind that the finish on the sleeve is prone to showing signs of wear due to plates sliding on and off. While this doesn't impact performance, it's a natural outcome of regular use.
    • Warranty: Rogue Fitness provides excellent customer support and offers a lifetime warranty against any manufacturing defect should you encounter any issues. This adds a layer of reassurance to your investment

    Kabuki Transformer Bar by Rogue Padding and Logo

      Stability and User Experience

      The Transformer Bar's stability and user experience are crucial factors that shape its effectiveness:

      • Balanced Lifting: Walking and lifting with the padding felt comfortable and balanced. It's a testament to the thoughtful design that ensures a seamless user experience.
      • Enhanced Bounce Control: While you might feel a slight bounce when walking with the Rogue Kabuki Transformer Bar, this is notably improved from the previous version, providing a more stable and controlled lifting experience.

      Design & Aesthetics

      When it comes to the Kabuki Transformer Bar, aesthetics meet functionality in a seamless fusion. Let's look at the design, ergonomics, and how it blends into your gym environment. Join us as we examine the unique features, compare them to competitors, and highlight the stand-out benefits that set this bar apart.


      Kabuki Strength



      Made In USA

      Yes, with Imported Foam

      Other Product Specs

      Distance Between Brackets: 54” 

      Distance Between Handles: 12"

      Loadable Sleeve Length


      Bar Length


      Bar Use


      Bar Weight


      Sleeve Coating

      Proprietary Matte Black Finish

      Ergonomics and Aesthetics

      • Ease of Adjustment: One of the standout features of the Transformer Bar lies in its easy adjustability. Changing settings and modifying the sleeve to alter the difficulty is a breeze, enhancing your training experience.
      • Laser-Etched Upgrade: The laser-etched markings on the bar are a remarkable upgrade from the previous sticker design. 
      • Smooth Edges, Enhanced Comfort: Unlike earlier models that suffered from sharp edges, the laser-etched design maintains a smoother finish, eliminating the risk of accidental cuts or abrasions.
      • Sleeve Uniqueness: Notably, the sleeves lack end caps, which may strike some as unusual at this price point. While it doesn't affect performance, it's a point to consider if you're  looking at such details.

      Integration with Your Gym Setup

      • Handle Limitations: An aspect worth mentioning is that the handles don't unscrew completely, limiting exercises like the SSB JM Press. This could be a drawback for those seeking maximum versatility.
      • Sleek Matte Black Finish: On the aesthetics front, the bar's matte black finish can match  seamlessly with various equipment from different manufacturers in your gym. It's a welcome addition to your training space without clashing with your existing setup.

      Space Efficiency and Storage

      • Vertical Storage Ease: Thanks to the detent pin, storing the Transformer Bar vertically is a breeze. No worries about the sleeve slipping out, and the fact that you can remove the sleeves for the ability to store it in a basement with a  reduced ceiling height is a major plus.
      • Versatile Storage Options: Whether you opt for vertical or horizontal storage, the Transformer Bar adapts to your space constraints. This flexibility ensures that your equipment doesn't dictate your storage choices.

      Competitor Comparisons: A Class of Its Own

      • Transformer Bar vs. Other SSBs: While the Transformer Bar really is in a league of its own, for comparisons it falls into the Safety Squat Bar category. Yes, the Transformer Bar carries a higher price tag compared to standard SSBs. However, the investment is justified by the unparalleled benefits it offers. 
      • Unmatched Functionality: The Transformer Bar triumphs in terms of functionality. Its adaptability and adjustable difficulty levels set it apart from traditional SSBs.
      • Handle Uniqueness: Unlike other SSBs, the Transformer Bar's handles can't be fully removed, limiting certain exercises. However, this minor limitation decreases in importance in comparison to the bar's overall benefits.

      What Makes this Bar Stand Out?

      • Versatility, Functional Adjustability, and Bar Emulation
      • Extended Handles
      • Goes Beyond Traditional SSBs

      The ability to switch between settings, as seen in the hinge setting, showcases the functional prowess of the Transformer Bar. This adjustability becomes your secret weapon opening possibilities for movements like goblet squats previously impossible with SSBs. Additionally, extended handles allow you to grasp them in front of your chest or high and can also be removed for close stance squats and Zercher movements. Through handling positioning and settings, you can emulate the feel of bars like the Marrs Bar, which is a valuable tool for experimenting with your preferred lifting positions. 

      In the world of gym equipment, the value proposition is often a make-or-break factor. Here's why the Transformer Bar triumphs:

      • Multifaceted Use: The Transformer Bar's value is rooted in its capacity for diverse applications. It's not merely a squatting tool; it's a platform for a multitude of accessory exercises, catering to varied muscle groups.
      • Safety Squat Bar Replacement: With its exceptional functionality and adaptability, the Transformer Bar has the potential to replace a traditional safety squat bar. The value lies in the enhanced capabilities it brings to your training.

      As we near the end of our review, it's evident that the Kabuki Transformer Bar isn't just another equipment addition; it's a game-changer. Its design combines aesthetics and function, its versatility stands unrivaled, and its value shines through the unique benefits it offers. With this bar in your arsenal, you're equipped to elevate your training, push boundaries, and redefine your strength journey. Get ready to transform your training and achieve new heights with the new Kabuki Transformer Bar manufactured in Ohio.


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