Buying the right barbell set isn’t that difficult. Moreover, there are various Barbell sets for sale, that you can find easily on ecommerce websites such as prosportsae, as you can get the quality equipment at lower price.
This guide will help you to find what’s right for you and fits your need perfectly.
Features to Consider When Buying a Barbell Set
Whip of the Bar
- The “whip” is the common term for the ends of the bar bouncing at the end of a repetition, or a phase of a lift. Here, the lifter will be stationary but the ends of the bar will be moving.
- Experienced lifters can use this during certain transitions in their lifts. For example, between the clean and jerk they can bounce the bar off their chest and propel the bar up by using the momentum of the bend coming upward into the jerk position.
- The main factors in determining the amount of whip are; the material from which the bar is made, and the diameter of the bar.
- The thickness of the plates can also affect the whip that the user can generate. For example, bumper plates, spreading the load on the collar of the bar, will make the bar behave in a completely different to the way it will behave with calibrated weight plates, which take up less collar space.
- The sleeves make up the part of the barbell that will determine how much spin the bar will have. Spin will be permitted via the use of either bearings or bushings.
- Bushings are placed between the shaft and the sleeve. They offer low friction and are most commonly made of brass to ensure longevity.
- Bearings offer a faster, smoother and quieter spin. They are usually made from high quality small needles or metal balls that roll within the sleeve.
- Bearings are usually found in high-end and more expensive Olympic weight lifting bars.
- Barbell strength can be determined using two measurements – the yield strength and the tensile strength.
- Yield strength is the amount of weight it takes to permanently bend and deform the bar. The yield strength is tested statically by simply adding weight to each end of the barbell.
- As mentioned earlier, some whip (elastic deformation) may be desirable for various reasons, depending on the discipline and exercise.
- Load is determined from the length of the sleeve (common for most IPF or IWF approved bars) which can be longer on barbells manufactured for niche powerlifting federations.
- The biggest determining factor on load capacity is the width of the plate.
- Olympic Weight lifting bars require less load. This is because as the overall load potential is much less.
Finish on the Bar and Sleeves
- The finish on a barbell serves a number of purposes. It adds to the “feel” of the bar in the hands, aid (or hinder) grip, and can help protect against rusting.
- Bare steel bars offer a nice grip with a natural feel. However, bare steel is more likely to rust so will need more regular maintenance. We've set up this guide to barbell maintenance to help you take care of your bars in the long term.
- Black oxide bars offer more oxidation protection than bare steel and do not require as much maintenance as bare steel.
- Chrome finish bars are the most expensive finish, but offers the best protection from rusting.
- Stainless steel offers a similar, some say even better, feeling to the barbell than bare steel. Oxidation protection is very similar to the chrome finish. Stainless steel is usually found on the most high-end weight lifting bars.
- Knurling is made from two sets of diagonal grooves cut into the barbell, usually going in opposite directions. This forms tiny diamond shapes, which dig into the skin on your hands when you hold the bar and assist with grip.
- The width and depth of these grooves will determine how “aggressive” the knurling is on the barbell.
- knurling is required during squats then using a male bar is preferable. The wider bar will also make squatting more comfortable on the upper back.
What Type of Barbells are Available?
Olympic Weight Lifting Bars
- Olympic bars are designed for the two main Olympic lifts - the snatch, and clean & jerk.
- They are usually smaller in diameter, but only by 1mm. However, this makes a difference to your grip strength.
- Knurling is marked out for the snatch lift and is further apart than a power bar which is marked out for the bench press.
- Olympic bars also require collars that spin.
- Olympic bars also require more bend and flexibility. As mentioned earlier, this "whip" helps during the initial pull and the catch phase of the lift to avoid unnecessary damage to your collarbones.
- Weight lifting barbells for powerlifting are designed for the big three lifting exercises: Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift.
- Knurling on powerlifting bars is much more aggressive to help the lifter grip the bar during heavier attempts.
- The knurling comes in further than an Olympic bar to allow for narrower grips during deadlifts and a more secure squat.
- Powerlifting barbells are rigid, stiff bars, and therefore do not deform, when compared to Olympic bars, under load (or whip
- Specialised deadlifting bars are available that are longer and have more whip. This means the end plates are left on the ground for longer, which allows the lifter to get into a stronger position before the full load comes off the floor.
Hybrid, Training & Multipurpose Weight Lifting Bars
- Hybrid weightlifting bars are useful for gyms, CrossFit boxes and facilities that offer both Olympic weight lifting and Powerlifting.
- They are great for beginner and intermediate weight lifters as they have the characteristics of both a powerlifting and Olympic weight lifting bar.
- Hybrid barbells usually have two sets of fine knurling markings to accommodate for both Olympic lifting and power lifting standards.
A Few Other Types of Barbell
In addition to the specialist powerlifting and weightlifting bars we've discussed there are, of course a whole range of other types of barbells available to buy for your home or gym. Here we've listed just a few of the most popular ones along with their most common uses.
- The final barbell we'll mention for Olympic weightlifting is the technique bar. As the name suggests this isn't a competition bar by any means. This is a lightweight bar that's used as a training tool for technique work that requires a something that weighs more than a broom handle or PVC pipe, but not as heavy as a standard Olympic barbell.
- Technique bars are usually made from aluminium to ensure they are lightweight - normally ranging from 5kg to 12 or 13kg.
Hex Trap Bar
The Hex Bar (or Trap bar) is an interesting barbell variation that is most commonly used in the gym for deadlifting as an alternative to the traditional straight bar deadlift. Many people prefer the trap bar deadlift because due to the load being placed in line with the user rather than off centre it puts less stress on the lumbar curve especially at the start of the movement. This makes it a common choice for users with back issues. Hex bars are normally 6ft or 7ft long and weigh around 25kg and 30kg respectively.
The EZ Curl bar is a shorter barbell variation which tends to be quite light weight and has a distinctive jagged shape. This is great for users who experience discomfort in their wrists when using a straight bar for curls (the angle of the EZ Curl bar lets them grip the bar in a more natural position).
Fixed barbells are more commonly found in a health club or high-street gym setting than in any sports performance, weightlifting or powerlifting facility. These are a durable convenience item that doesn't require any set-up time like adding collars or plates. Fixed barbells are generally around 110mm long and range in weights from 5kg up to 45kg.
Choosing the right type of weight lifting barbell can be very challenging. There are many different features and types of bar to consider when making your final decision. We hope that this barbell buying guide provides all the information and details required to make an informed choice to ensure you buy the right type of weight lifting bar for your needs.