Barbell Buying Guide: What to Look for in a New Bar

Barbell Buying Guide: What to Look for in a New Bar?

The first thing you need to do when buying a new barbell is to check its specifications. You want to make sure it meets your needs and will meet your expectations. There are several factors that determine the quality of the barbell. These include weight, diameter, thickness, finish, and many other features. Here are some things you should look out for: Weight : The heavier the better! You don’t want to pay too much for a bar with a lighter weight than what you’re used to using. If the bar weighs less than what you normally use, then it’s probably not going to be strong enough or durable enough for your purposes. A heavy bar might even break easily if dropped from time to time.

Diameter : Diameters vary greatly among different brands and manufacturers. Some bars have a smaller diameter while others are larger. The diameter determines how much force it takes to lift a certain amount of weight. For example, a 10 kg (22 lb) bar might weigh only 5 kg (11 lbs).

That means that lifting 5kg requires more effort than lifting 1kg. A large diameter bar would therefore be best suited for someone who lifts weights regularly and wants to increase their strength without adding too much bulk.

Thickness : Thickness plays an important role in determining the durability of a barbell. Most standard bars are between 28 and 29 millimeters in diameter. A thicker bar tends to be more durable than a thinner one. If you are looking for a bar with a thicker diameter, then you should consider buying a powerlifting bar or weight lifting competition bar.

Length : Most barbells have a length of 2.2 meters (7 feet). There are other options if you want something shorter or longer. Be aware that a shorter length could be a disadvantage when lifting.

Knurl : The knurl is the pattern found on the surface of the bar. This is what you grip when you lift weights. There are several different types of knurling designs, so it’s just a matter of personal preference as to which one you like best. The four most common types are:

Rackable: These are designed with small teeth all the way around the bar. They are excellent for powerlifting.

Continuous: This type of knurl has small divots in a single row down the center of the bar. They are good for bench press and other lifting as well.

Intermediate: These have the same design as a normal Olympic bar. They don’t provide as much grip as a traditional powerlifting bar, but they are better than no bar at all.

Barbell Buying Guide: What to Look for in a New Bar - gym fit workout

No Knurl: These are usually Olympic bars that have been de-centered. They provide less grip than a traditional bar, but more than a powerlifting bar.

Finish: Most bars are finished with either hard chrome or a zinc coating. These protect the metal from rust and other external factors. Hard chrome is known to provide better corrosion resistance than zinc. Zinc coatings can chip and flake off after extended use.

2. Collars

Collars are usually sold separately from the barbells themselves. They provide a secure fit around the bar so that the plates don’t slide off during use. If you do not purchase collars when you buy your bar, then you might have trouble finding collars that are specifically made for your type of bar later on.

3. Plates

These are the discs that are placed on the ends of the bar. They come in a variety of different sizes and weights. Most plates have a diameter of either 45 or 50 millimeters. The most common weights are 2.5 lbs, 5 lbs, and 10 lbs, but they can range anywhere from 2.5 to 150 lbs.

You should choose which weights you want and purchase them individually. Buying a bar and plates separately will almost always end up being cheaper than buying a pre-made barbell.

Things to Consider Before Making Your Purchase

There are a few things that you should consider before purchasing your first barbell. These items can help you narrow down your options and find the best bar for your preferences and ability.

What muscles do you want to work?

– Different bars are better suited for different exercises. For example, a Powerlifting Bar is great for Squats and Deadlifts, but not so great for the Overhead Press. An Olympic Bar is just the opposite; it’s great for the Overhead Press, but not so great for Squats and Deadlifts. Choose which exercises are most important to you and determine which bar is best for that purpose.

What is your budget?

– This one is self-explanatory. There are a wide variety of bars available, so you have a wide range of prices to choose from. Make sure you research all of your options and don’t hesitate to pay a little more for a bar with premium quality. If you’re on a tight budget, consider buying a bar and weights separately. This will almost always be cheaper in the long run.

Do you want interchangeable weights?

– Some barbells have removable or even adjustable weights. These types of bars are great if you plan on adding weight as you get stronger or even if you just like a heavier bar feel. On the other hand, they tend to be more expensive and may be more hassle to transport and store.

Do you want a grip end?

– Some bars come with a flattened end to place your hands. This type of bar is called a power bar. Power bars are great for Deadlifts and Overhead Presses, but not all gyms have them. It might be best to buy a bar that is compatible with your gym, but if you buy one with a grip end you may be able to convince your gym to purchase a power rack so that you can use it.

Do you care about the knurling?

– Knurling is the texturing found on the hands of some bars. A bar with more knurling will help you from slipping, especially when the bar starts to get wet from sweat. On the other hand, some people prefer a smoother bar for certain exercises like the Bench Press.

Do you want center knurling?

– Some bars have a center knurling. This is helpful for maintaining a strong grip when you do exercises like the Squat or Deadlift where your hands tend to rotate. If you are unsure if you need a center knurl, just try the bar before buying it and see if you like it.

Flat, Medium or Deep Knurling?

– Most bars will have one of three varieties of knurling. A flat bar will have no sharp edges on the knurling and feel very smooth to the touch. A medium knurl will have small lines that tend to be sharp to the touch. A deep knurl will have large points on the bar that can be painful on your hands, but provide exceptional grip. Choose whichever you think you’ll prefer or try them all out at a store before making your decision.

Full, Medium or Half-Whitened?

– Whitening is a process that hardens the steel of the bar to make it stronger and longer-lasting. A full-whitened bar will be the most expensive, but also the strongest and most durable. A half-whitened bar will be more affordable, but not quite as strong. A medium-whitened bar will fall in the middle.

Center-Locked or Quick-Change?

– Some bars come with a center bolt that can be tightened or loosened to adjust the spin of the sleeves. A center-locked bar is great for heavy lifting as you won’t have to worry about the spin. However, they are often very expensive and not always necessary. A quick-change bar is great for both heavy lifting and regular use as you can quickly adjust the spin.

Stainless Steel or Iron?

– This refers to the material that the bar is made out of. An iron bar will be more cost-effective but will also rust if it isn’t cared for properly. A stainless-steel bar will be stronger and more resistant to bending, but will be more expensive.

Alloy or Chrome?

– Some companies make bars out of alloys which are stronger and more resistant to bending than stainless-steel, but not as strong as steel or iron. An alloy bar will be stronger than an iron bar but not as strong as a steel or stainless-steel bar. Also, an alloy bar will often have a chrome plating to make it more resistant to sweat and moisture, if that’s a concern of yours.

Does It Come With a Warranty?

– All good companies provide warranties on their bars and most warranties last for about a year. The length of the warranty will vary from brand to brand.

Does It Come With a Coating?

– Some bars come with protective coatings to minimize damage caused by sweat and moisture. If this is a concern of yours, look for a bar that comes with this coating.

Does It Come With Nuts & Bolts?

– Some bars require the use of nuts and bolts when installing it in your power rack. Other bars have the bolts and nuts built right into the sleeve so you can start using it immediately. A bar with bolts and nuts will be less expensive, but you’ll have to make sure you keep up on maintenance and not lose any of the bolts or nuts. A bar with a built-in system will be more expensive initially, but in the long run you’ll save some money and have peace of mind.

How Does It Feel In Your Hands?

– Some bars just feel right in your hands, while others feel awkward and weak. Try holding different bars to see which ones you like the feel of.

How Will The Bar Actually Be Mounted In Your Power Rack?

– This is an important question that not many people think about. Most power racks have holes and slots for mounting barbells, but some do not. You’ll want to make sure your power rack has these holes and slots so you can actually use your bar.

Sources & references used in this article:

From milo to milo: A history of barbells, dumbells, and Indian clubs by J Todd – Iron Game History, 1995 –

The strength builders: a history of barbells, dumbbells and Indian clubs by J Todd – The International Journal of the History of Sport, 2003 – Taylor & Francis

Head First Java: A Brain-Friendly Guide by K Sierra, B Bates – 2005 –

Muscletown USA: Bob Hoffman and the manly culture of York Barbell by JD Fair – 1999 –

Reverse Cyclic Tests on High Performance Cement Concrete Shear Walls with Barbells by A Rees – 2019 – Ten Speed Press

Bitcoin exposed. Today’s complete guide to tomorrow’s currency by N Ganesan, PV Indira, P Seena – Advances in Structural Engineering, 2015 – Springer

New Gym in the Neighborhood by D Forrester, M Solomon – 2013 –

Building strength: Alan Calvert, the Milo Bar-bell Company, and the modernization of American weight training by M Coutinho –

Thick Handle & Fat Gripz Training for Serious Strength Gains by KA Beckwith – 2006 –