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May 05, 2022 11 min read

We understand that buying a barbell can be a difficult task and an investment, if you’re new to buying a barbell you can quickly find out that there is more to learn than you expected. The barbell is the longer version of the dumbbell that is used for free weight training and competitive sports, such as powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and CrossFit. Many exercises can be done using the barbell, such as bicep curl, bench press, Olympic weightlifting, overhead press, deadlift, and squat. Many fitness categories use the barbell for different reasons, for example, powerlifters use the barbell to perform compound exercise movements. Whether you’re a powerlifter, strongman, Olympic weightlifter, CrossFitter or for hypertrophy and day-to-day resistance training, each type of lifting and training requires a slightly different barbell. 

Knowing which barbell suits your demand can be a stepping stone in your weightlifting journey. You could also choose premium custom print barbells to fancy your signature mark during workouts. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know while picking up the right barbell. 

Here is the list of what you are going to learn in this buying barbell guide: 

  • Anatomy of a barbell
  • About Men, Women & Youth barbells
  • Specific barbell features 
  • Specialty Bars By GymPlus
  • Time To Buy The Right Barbell

Barbell anatomy and barbell strength

Different Parts of the barbell

Knurling Marks

Knurling Marks: Knurl marks are the rings placed on each side of the barbell that helps you know where to place your hands for an even grip.For dedicated Olympic weightlifters, look for single knurl marks at IWF spec. For dedicated powerlifters, look for single knurl marks at IPF spec.

 

KnurlingKnurling: The portion with crosshatch grips with a rugged and grainy surface is known as knurl. Knurling helps you increase the friction, thus improving the grip while lifting the bar.

 

Bearings & Bushings

Bearings & Bushings: The mechanisms that sit inside the barbell and allow the sleeves to spin. Bearings result in faster spin, and bushings, which are more common, allow for less spin.

Sleeves


Sleeves:
The portion of the barbell where you load plates onto.
 

 

Shaft

Shaft: The main length of the barbell.
 

Endcap


Endcap:
A circular piece of plastic or metal at the end of the sleeves. It helps hold the sleeves in place.

 

Fastener



Fastener:
This part holds the sleeves attached to the shaft.



The tensile strength 

The tensile strength is typically rated in pounds per square inch (PSI), and it refers to the maximum amount of stress that a barbell can take before breaking or fracturing. This number usually ranges anywhere between 120,000-230,000 PSI and most of our products have a tensile strength above 190,000 PSI. Higher tensile strength bars tend to experience less oscillation. Typically, anywhere from 200,000 – 205,000 is recommended for powerlifting, Whereas Multipurpose bars tend to cluster around 190k PSI.

Load capacity and the yield strength

The length of the weight sleeves will determine the load capacity of the barbells. The longer the weight sleeve is, the more plates it can hold / more load capacity. The yield strength or weight capacity of a barbell is the amount of weight a barbell can be loaded with until it deforms. Our highest yield strength capacity is 700kgs which is 200kgs above the heaviest deadlift world record and our lowest yield strength barbell isATTIVO Technique Bar Training Barbell - 6.8KG, the capacity is about 90kgs which is more than enough to be used for practicing different forms.

Rotation and Whip 

Rotation speaks to the barbell’s sleeve’s ability to spin freely without friction. Whip refers to the bounce that occurs in a barbell mid-lift. This is commonly seen during the transition phase of a clean & jerk or during speedy squats loaded with lots of weight. Down below the table shows the recommended rotation and whip needed depending on the sport and the activity. 

 

Rotation and Whip

Recommended sport/activity

No Whip – moderate/little rotation 

Powerlifters

Some whip - moderate rotation

Functional fitness athletes/Crossfitters/Weightlifters

A lot of whip - fast rotation

Functional fitness athletes/Crossfitters/Weightlifters

 
Bushings and bearings

Typically, 99% of the barbell rotations systems that are out there on the market are bushings and bearings. These two components serve the same basic function. They reduce friction between the bar shaft and the sleeve to produce rotation. A bearing consists of a ring with rolling pieces inside. These pieces enable rotation between two mechanical components. The bearing slides over the barbell shaft. The barbell sleeve sits atop the bearing, the bearing separates the bar sleeve and bar shaft, and the rolling pieces allow the sleeve to spin smoothly around the shaft. Whereas a bushing is a smooth and solid cylindrical ring that fits over the bar shaft and therefore the sleeve fits over the bushing. There are many different types of bushings and bearings depending on the sports and activities performed

Knurling Type

Typically, there are two types of knurling, standard and aggressive. Our standard/medium knurling is the less aggressive knurling, and it feels slightly softer than our aggressive knurling. The standard knurling is recommended for day-to-day training, bodybuilding, casual powerlifting, weightlifting and functional fitness training. Whereas our aggressive knurling is more aggressive, and it will give you a better grip, however as a result of this the barbell can get caught on clothing and be uncomfortable to use at times. The aggressive knurling is recommended for Powerlifting, squats, bench-press and deadlifts. Some bars have no center knurling, and some bars do, the benefit of no center knurling is that your torso and chest don’t get scraped on Olympic lifts. The disadvantage is that you don’t have any grip to help keep the bar on your traps during squats, lunges or any behind the neck exercises.

Knurl marking 

IPF Knurl Marks: These are standard marks for the International Powerlifting Federation and are thus found on powerlifting bars. The marks are 810mm apart.

IWF Knurl Marks: These are standard marks for the International Weightlifting Federation and are thus found on Olympic weightlifting bars. The marks are 910mm apart.

Dual Knurl Marks: Bars with dual knurl marks have both the IPF and IWF knurl marks. These are seen on multipurpose bars, which are used for both the powerlifts and Olympic lifts.

Weight of the barbell 

Our Olympic/powerlifting barbells are 20kg / 45lb and for women’s barbells 15kg / 33lb. We also offer lighter versions that are available for beginners or different activities, for example theATTIVO Technique Bar Training Barbell - 6.8KG.

Material 

Most barbells are built with some type of steel. Higher-end barbells are typically made with stainless steel. For the coating, barbells that use black oxide, Cerakote, and zinc all tend to provide solid durability. Another factor worth keeping an eye on is the sleeve coating.

Barbell Types

Men’s barbells

Typically, a men’s Olympic bar is a metal bar that is 2.2 metres (7.2 ft) long and weighs 20 kilograms (44 lb). The outer ends are 1.96 inches (50 mm) in diameter, while the grip section is 28 millimetres (1.1 in) in diameter, and 1.31 metres (4.3 ft) in length. Down below are our men’s barbells options that are available.

Olympic Men's Power Bar - ZEUS Bar 20KG


The ZEUS Bar is the best garage gym barbell, with an impressive, customised gold and black coating, it is easily one of the best looking and quality barbers that gym plus offers. It is optimised for the power movements like deadlifts, bench pressing, and squatting, while still allowing efficient performance in CrossFit training and Olympic lifting.




ATTIVO Power Bar – Hercules Powerlifting Bar 20KG

      

The Hercules Powerlifting Bar is designed for powerlifters and people whose three favourite words are squat, bench and deadlift. This barbell is strictly designed for powerlifters! by giving you a max weight capacity of 675kg and a tensile strength of 2100,000 this barbell can be used to lift very heavy weight. The barbell itself weighs about 20kgs and by also offering rough and aggressive knurling can provide powerlifters with the grip they need. Overall, The Hercules Powerlifting Bar is an extraordinary barbell for powerlifting, strongmen and lifting heavy.

Olympic Weightlifting Barbell – The Alps Bar 20KGg

Olympic Weightlifting Barbell – The Alps Bar 20KGg

This barbell was designed for Olympic weightlifting with the perfect amount of spin and an ultra-durable construction, this Olympic bar is built to last you a long time. Weightlifting clubs, home gyms, commercial gyms, and military bases across the country have put their trust in this bar to be used for their PRs. This bar offers a max capacity of 675kg and a tensile strength of 210,000 PSI with medium knurling for comfort. This bar is designed for Olympic weightlifting, day-to-day resistance training, Functional fitness athletes and crossfitters.

ATTIVO Men's Remarkables Bar 20kg Olympic Barbell - Black Zinc

ATTIVO Men's Remarkables Bar 20kg Olympic Barbell - Black Zinc

ATTIVO Men's Remarkable Bar 20kg Olympic Barbell was designed and built to make it the best bar suited for commercial gyms while it is available to you at a home gym price. This versatile bar will serve almost everyone well. You can set world records on this bar or just use it for day-to-day training. This bar offers an impressive 700kg max capacity and a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI.

Cerakote Utility Barbell for Men - 20KG:  

Blue Cerakote Utility Barbell for Men - 20KG   OrangeCerakote Utility Barbell for Men - 20KG 

 Blue Cerakote Utility Barbell for Men - 20KG OrangeCerakote Utility Barbell for Men - 20KG

The Cerakote Utility Barbell for Men is in Cerakote coating, Cerakote is a ceramic and polymer coating that creates stunning looks and better durability. The coating is considered the best in the barbell game next to stainless steel. Our Cerakote Utility Barbell is designed to be an all-around solution for bench press, squats, deadlifts, and the Olympic lifts (cleans, jerks, and snatches). This barbell is an excellent option for well-rounded garage gym athletes, as well as commercial gyms. As a generalist bar, the Utility Barbell is designed for people who don’t adhere to a particular strength sport and just love an excellent bar. Brass bushings means the sleeves and no bearings makes for a smooth but not over-rotational use and an ultra-secure snap ring is used to keep it all together. A medium-light knurl won’t chew your hands up when power cleaning. 

Women’s barbells

A women's Olympic bar is like the men's bar but is slightly shorter - 2.01 metres (6.6 ft) - and lighter - 15 kilograms (33 lb) - with a smaller grip section diameter (25 millimetres (0.98 in)). Also, in contrast to the men's bar, the women's bar does not have a centre knurl. Down below are some of our women’s barbell.

Olympic Weightlifting Bar for Women – The Alps Bar 15KG

Olympic Weightlifting Bar for Women – The Alps Bar 15KG

This bar was designed for Olympic weightlifting with the perfect amount of spin and an ultra-durable construction, this Olympic bar is built to last. Weightlifting clubs, home gyms, commercial gyms, and military bases across the country have put their trust in this bar to fuel their PRs. This barbell weighs 15kg and has a max capacity of 675 kg and the tensile strength is 210,000 PSI. it comes with a dual knurling mark for multipurpose training.

ATTIVO Women's Remarkables Bar 15kg Olympic Barbell - Black Zinc

ATTIVO Women's Remarkables Bar 15kg Olympic Barbell - Black Zinc This bar offers a lot of grip, and by offering the prefect spin it makes the transition of the bar from the ground to overhead flawless. Women's hands tend to be smaller than men's, the thinner shaft allows for a better grip and better form in transition and in overhead positions. Our Remarkable Women's bar weighs 15kg and features a 25mm shaft diameter. The finish of this barbell is all-black Zinc finish and offers a weight capacity of 450kg.

 

Cerakote Utility Barbell for Women - 15KG

Cerakote Utility Barbell for Women - 15KG

This barbell has a Cerakote pink finish, Cerakote is a ceramic and polymer coating that creates stunning looks and better durability. This barbell is an excellent option for well-rounded garage gym athletes, as well as commercial gyms. As a generalist bar, the Utility Barbell is designed for people who don’t adhere to a particular strength sport and just love an excellent bar. Brass bushings means the sleeves and no bearings makes for a smooth but not over-rotation and an ultra-secure snap ring is used to keep it all together. This bar offers a medium-light knurl which won’t chew your hands up when power cleaning.

Specialty Bars

ATTIVO Technique Bar Training Barbell - 6.8KG

ATTIVO Technique Bar Training Barbell - 6.8KG

ATTIVO 6.8KG, aluminium barbell is the lightest possible bar that simulates some of the properties of a full-size bar that enable a lifter to pattern the movements for lifts, particularly Olympic lifts (i.e. the snatch and clean & jerk), with an extremely light load. Our training barbell's aluminium composition makes it less dense than steel, creating a nice, light bar. Aluminium has different strength properties than steel, so our training barbell has a max capacity of 90kg and is stiff, with no whip. This bar fills the need of lifters with some level of strength but no experience with Olympic lifts (snatch and clean & jerk). Whether you're an amateur or still building your strength, this light barbell will show you the correct movements. Once you've learned the                                                             proper technique of each lift, you then can move onto a full-size barbell.


ATTIVO Olympic EZ Curl Bar

ATTIVO Olympic EZ Curl BarThis barbell was designed for bicep, tricep and isolation / compound exercises. ATTIVO Olympic EZ Curl Bars are the perfect shape for blitzing arm workouts. These bars pack a superior specification, finish and strength rating. Suitable for use with 2" Olympic weight plates and collars.

 

 

 

Olympic Cambered Multi-Grip Swiss Bar

Olympic Cambered Multi-Grip Swiss Bar

The ATTIVO cambered multi grip bar a shoulder saver and a bench builder. The 3 different neutral handle grips on the bar alleviate shoulder pain when pressing. The bar also can allow a lifter with shoulder problems to get back to pressing with little shoulder discomfort. The bar has been used very successfully to develop lockout strength by shifting the stress to your triceps which will increase your lockout strength with big weights. The arch shape allows you to go beyond your typical range of motion and get even deeper.

 

ATTIVO Multi-Grip Olympic Swiss Bar

 ATTIVO Multi-Grip Olympic Swiss Bar

The ATTIVO Olympic Swiss Bar is ideal for helping you to train with precision and quickly switching up grip positions. Perfect for targeting specific muscles while adding variety to your workout. It can also help with wrist pain as it offers a natural grip.

 

 

 

ATTIVO Olympic Trap Bar / Hex Bar – Rotating Sleeves

 ATTIVO Olympic Trap Bar / Hex Bar – Rotating Sleeves

The Trap Bar often called a Hex Bar, is one of the best specialty bars for building strength and developing power in the deadlift.

ATTIVO Olympic Trap Bar is an open trap bar with a built-in deadlift jack. Shorter rotating sleeves offer a smoother deadlift experience. This is one of the most versatile barbells to have in your gym.



ATTIVO Safety Squat Bar - 3 Specialty Handles

 ATTIVO Safety Squat Bar - 3 Specialty HandlesThis barbell was designed for those with limited shoulder, elbow, and wrist mobility, ATTIVO Safety Squat Bar is the perfect implement for developing the posterior chain and the quadriceps. Our Safety Squat Bar set includes 3 specialty handles, fully rotating bushing sleeves and superior foam padding. The high-quality, single-piece padding is dense yet comfortable, and it will always stay in place. The Safety Squat Bar is a magnificent tool to have in your arsenal, whether you have a pre-existing injury or not. It’s incredibly effective at developing the posterior chain, highly versatile, and arguably one of the coolest-looking specialty bars out there.

ATTIVO Olympic Tricep Bar

ATTIVO Olympic Tricep Bar

ATTIVO 2" Olympic Tricep Bars are perfect for helping you to perfect your form while you build strength and muscle. Its designed to improve technique and switch up your weights easily. Our tricep bar allows you to target specific muscle groups as well as vary your workouts. Isolate different parts of the triceps too with our multi grip tricep bars. The solid steel construction makes them durable, and the knurled handles give you a secure grip on the bar.

 


Conclusion & Further Reading

That’s it! You now have all the knowledge and understanding you need to intelligently judge the features and specs of any given barbell and decide which barbell suits your style of training the most. However here are some barbell recommendations that I’ve put together depending on the different activities and exercises.

Recommendedbarbell forpowerlifting:

ATTIVO Power Bar – Hercules Powerlifting Bar 20KG $369.95

 

Recommended barbell for Olympic lifting:

Olympic Weightlifting Barbell – The Alps Bar 20KG $309.95

 

Overall training and coolest looking barbell:

Olympic Men's Power Bar - ZEUS Bar 20KG $359.95

 

weightlifting barbell for Women:

Olympic Weightlifting Bar for Women – The Alps Bar 15KG $289.95

 

Overall training and coolest looking barbell for women:

Cerakote Utility Barbell for Women - 15KG $219.95

 


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