How Barbell Knurling Differs and How This Impacts Different Lifters

Barbell Dual Knurling Marks

The first thing that must be understood is that barbell dual knurling marks are not unique to Powerlifting. They have been used in many sports since time immemorial.

Barbell dual knurling marks were developed by Olympic Weightlifters back in the 70’s and 80’s when they wanted to make their lifts more difficult for other lifters. Since then, they have become popular among bodybuilders and powerlifters.

When Powerlifting was introduced into the Olympics in 1984, Olympic weightlifters were given the option to use barbell dual knurling or no barbell dual knurling. Most Olympic Weightlifters chose to go with barbell dual knurling because it made their lifts harder for competitors.

This is why most Powerlifting gyms today still use barbell dual knurling marks.

However, there are some lifters who prefer not to use barbell dual knurling marks. These lifters feel that they do not get enough grip on the barbell during the lift.

Therefore, these lifters like to use no barbell dual knurling marks instead of barbell dual knurling marks.

The best way to decide is to try both barbell dual knurling and no barbell dual knurling. Powerlifters should experiment with different bars until they find one that gives them the best results.

However, the length of the knurl marks can make a big difference in how the bar feels, so it is important to keep this in mind.

How Barbell Knurling Differs and How This Impacts Different Lifters - GymFitWorkout

Barbell Knurling Dimensions

The knurl marks on a barbell have specific dimensions that can vary slightly. The dimensions of the knurl itself can make a big difference in how the bar feels in the hands.

There are three types of knurl marks: fine, medium, and sharp. The width of each type of mark is different.

Fine knurling is usually around 1.5 mm wide.

It is often used in Olympic Weightlifting bars because it gives a good grip, but it is not so aggressive that it cuts into the hands. It is also not too sharp that lifters cannot get their hands around the bar.

Medium knurling is usually around 2.5mm.

Most powerlifting bars use medium knurling. This gives enough grip that it does not slip in the hands, but it is not so sharp that it tears up the hands.

Sharp knurling is usually around 4mm. This kind of knurling is popular on backyard and garage built bars because they are cheap to produce.

The downside of sharp knurling is that it tears up the hands during a heavy powerlifting or strength training session. However, this kind of knurling can provide more grip than fine knurling. It all comes down to personal preference.

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Knurling a Dumbbell Bar

Dumbbell bars do not typically have knurl marks. This is because the hands grip the bar from either end, so there is no need to have knurling marks.

The only exception are plates loaded on dumbbell handles. Some companies produce a plate loaded handle that has small knurl marks. This is done to ensure a good grip, but it is not as aggressive as a traditional barbell or with other plate loaded handles.

The Best Barbells With Knurling

Measuring the length and width of knurl marks is not an exact science. Especially with a handheld grip strength testing device like a Jamton.

There are many other factors that can influence the knurl marks on a barbell. How tight the bolts are, the type of metal, and even the humidity of the room can all have an effect on the knurl marks.

However, you can use a barbell with medium knurling marks to get an idea of how sharp the knurl is. If you already know how sharp you like your knurling, then finding a barbell with sharper or less sharp knurls should be easier.

The best bars for powerlifting and strength training are listed below. These are based on reviews from other lifters, manufacturer reputation, and my personal experience.

Best Powerlifting Bar:

One of the most common questions I get is “What is the best powerlifting bar?”

The answer to this question really depends on who you ask. There are so many different bars on the market that people have their own opinions on which one is the best.

The One bar from York Barbell is a popular choice for powerlifters. It has no center knurl and fine knurling.

Many lifters say that it is one of the best powerlifting bars on the market in terms of performance and price.

How Barbell Knurling Differs and How This Impacts Different Lifters - from our website

The Ohio Power Bar from Troy Barbell is another common choice. This bar has medium depth knurling with multiple center markings.

Many lifters like the sharpness of the knurling for heavy deadlifts.

Best Olympic Bar:

Many people use a power bar for Olympic Weightlifting, but some prefer to use an olympic bar. The best olympic bar for weightlifting is the Training Bar from York.

It has no center knurl and fine knurling to prevent the bar from sliding out of your hands. If you are looking for a cheap Olympic bar, then the Starter Bar from Troy is a good choice. It has medium depth diamond style knurling for a secure grip.

Best Bar For The Price:

The Best Bargain Bar is the Fitness Power Bar from One Chiang. The knurling is fine and the bar has no center knurl.

Many people have reported that this bar has a lot of whip, so it is great for Olympic Weightlifting. The only problem with this bar is that it rusts quickly, so keep it dry if possible.

Best WOD Bar:

For CrossFit workouts that are designed to be completed in a certain time period, a workout called a “WOD” (workout of the day) is used. A good bar for these types of workouts is the WOD Bar from Hard Strength.

It has very sharp knurling so you do not lose your grip during the WODs. It also has no center knurl to prevent the loss of your grip while doing overhead squats or snatches.

How Barbell Knurling Differs and How This Impacts Different Lifters - from our website

There are other types of bars such as Olympic training bars and specialty bars like the Trap Bar or Deadlift Bar. These bars all have their uses, but the main types of bars listed above are what most people will use on a regular basis.

I would pick the bar that is best for your budget, then look at the bars you like within that price range. Most of the expensive bars are very good, so it doesn’t make sense to buy something super expensive if you’re just starting out.

Pick a bar that has a good amount of reviews and looks like it would fit your needs.

Wrapping Up

A barbell is an important tool in any weightlifters arsenal. It allows several different exercises to be performed while placing the heaviest amount of stress on the major muscle groups.

It is important that you choose a bar that will fit your current lifting needs as well as your future lifting goals. Check out the different types of bars I have listed above and find the one that suits your lifting needs.


Sources & references used in this article:

Biomechanical differences in the weightlifting snatch between successful and unsuccessful lifts by J Rummells – 2016 –

Comparing forward and backward chaining in teaching Olympic weightlifting by JW Moore, LM Quintero – Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2019 – Wiley Online Library

The effects of combining elastic and free weight resistance on strength and power in athletes by CE Anderson, GA Sforzo, JA Sigg – The Journal of Strength & …, 2008 –

Ultimate Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide to Barbell Lifts—from Beginner to Gold Medal by D Randolph – 2015 –

Starting strength: Basic barbell training by M Rippetoe, L Kilgore – 2007 –

Market study and design of an induction heating product to warm weighlifting barbells by JM Doglio – 2014 –

Weight training: steps to success by TR Baechle, RW Earle – 2019 –

Effects of personalised motor imagery on the development of a complex weightlifting movement by RS Lindsay, ARH Oldham, EJ Drinkwater… – … Journal of Sport and …, 2020 – Taylor & Francis

The Complete Guide to Kettlebell Training by A Collins – 2011 –