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Barbells are a staple piece of gym equipment because they’re versatile and functional. With a great barbell, you can perform various exercises to target your upper and lower body.
But different types of barbells suit different workout styles, so how do you know which one is best for you?
To help you decide, I compiled a list of the best barbells for various sports and training styles.
The 14 best barbells on the market in 2023 are:
- American Barbell Training Bar – Best Overall Barbell
- REP Fitness Technique Barbell – Best Lightweight Barbell
- Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar – Best Barbell for CrossFit
- REP Fitness Sabre Bar – Best Barbell for Olympic Weightlifting
- American Barbell California Bar – Best Barbell for High-Rep, High-Volume Training
- Rogue Fitness Black Zinc Bella Bar 2.0 – Best Barbell for Women
- Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar – Best Barbell for Men
- RitFit Olympic Weightlifting Bar – Best Budget Barbell
- CAP Barbell The Beast – Best Barbell for Versatile Training
- REP Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar – Best Barbell for Powerlifting
- Titan Fitness Performance Series Olympic Barbell – Best Barbell for Beginners
- Prosource Fit Multipurpose Olympic Barbell – Best Multifunctional Barbell
- Fitness Factory Body-Solid 7 ” Olympic Barbell – Best Barbell for General Strength Training
- Titan Fitness Olympic EZ Curl Barbell – Best EZ Barbell
- American Barbell Training Bar – Best Overall Barbell
- REP Fitness Technique Barbell – Best Lightweight Barbell
- Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar – Best for CrossFit
The Best Types of Barbells: Olympic vs Standard
There are two different types of barbells: Olympic and standard. The chart below outlines the main differences between the two.
|Olympic Barbell||Standard Barbell|
|Length||6.5’ – 7’4”||5’ – 6’|
|Diameter||2” sleeves; 25mm – 29mm shaft||1” sleeves and shaft|
|Weight||33 lbs – 45 lbs||15 – 25 lbs|
|Max Weight Capacity||Up to 1,500 lbs||Up to 250 lbs|
For this review, we only included Olympic barbells. Because they can handle more weight, they’re much more versatile, and you’ll get more bang for your buck. They also tend to be more durable. Olympic barbells basically tend to be the best barbells.
Olympic barbells can be split into categories based on their main purpose. The main types of barbells are:
- Powerlifting barbells
- Olympic weightlifting barbells
- Multipurpose barbells
You can also find specialty Olympic barbells like squat bars or deadlift bars. In some cases, they are even longer and heavier than regular Olympic barbells. However, since those barbells serve a specific purpose and are generally only used by the most elite powerlifters and strength athletes, they are not part of this review.
Powerlifting barbells are used for the squat, bench, and deadlift. They’re great to use when you’re training for a powerlifting meet. They tend to have aggressive, volcanic knurling (which I’ll discuss below) and a thicker diameter (28 mm, 28.5 mm, or 29 mm), making them perfect for very heavy lifts and one-rep max lifts.
Some powerlifting bars have softer central knurling to make squatting more comfortable. Others might have more aggressive central knurling. It’s good to practice with a barbell that has central knurling if you’re planning on competing in the future, as the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) requires the use of these bars during competitions.
Olympic Weightlifting Barbells
Olympic weightlifting barbells are designed specifically for Olympic lifting. They are great for dynamic exercises like the clean and jerk and snatch.
This type of lifting bar has an average diameter of 28 mm for males and 25 mm for females (to make it easier for them to use the hook grip since they generally have smaller hands than men). It usually uses a needle-bearing system for a higher level of spin on the sleeves. The knurling will be volcanic or hilly and won’t be as aggressive as the knurling on powerlifting bars.
Male Olympic weightlifting barbells may or may not have central knurling. Some men prefer to train without central knurling to minimize discomfort. However, male weightlifters use bars with central knurling during Olympic lifting competitions. Female Olympic barbells don’t have central knurling for training or competitions.
Olympic lifting bars are available in two weights – 33 lbs (15 kg) and 45 lbs (20 kg). The former is designed for men’s weightlifting and the latter for women’s weightlifting.
Barbells that weigh 33 lbs are usually a few inches shorter than those that weigh 45 lbs, too. Even if you’re not an Olympic weightlifter, you can use a 33 lb barbell if you’re performing lightweight exercises and are training for general strength purposes.
Multipurpose bars can either be used for general training or functional training. They’re common in CrossFit.
These types of bars usually have dual knurl rings that serve two purposes. The outer knurl rings make it easy for lifters to know where to hold the bar during Olympic lifts. The inner dual knurl rings indicate the widest spot where you can grip the barbell in the bench press during powerlifting competitions.
This type of barbell often doesn’t have central knurling.
Usually, multipurpose barbells have a diameter of 28 mm or 25 mm, making them easy to grip for dynamic movements and suitable for men or women. They can have either bushings or bearings that allow the sleeves to rotate.
On bushing barbells, the sleeves spin more slowly, which is beneficial when doing static lifts like squats or deadlifts. On bearing barbells, the sleeves spin more quickly, which is beneficial for dynamic movements like snatches and cleans.
Types of Knurling
The rough, slightly elevated patterns on the barbell are referred to as knurling. Its purpose is to improve your grip on the bar so you can lift larger weights without the barbell slipping out of your hands.
There are three main types of knurling on barbells – hill, mountain, and volcanic.
Hill knurl patterns are sharper when the barbell is first created. Over time, with lots of use, the knurling becomes milder and each part of the knurling has a rounded top, forming a hill shape.
Because this type of knurling is the least aggressive, the barbell is harder to grip during heavy lifts. Therefore, I’d recommend using a weightlifting barbell with hill knurling if you’re trying to improve your grip strength and that’s your main focus during Olympic or powerlifting movements.
Mountain knurling is exactly as it sounds. It’s diamond-shaped knurling that looks like the peaks of mountains. It’s an aggressive type of knurling that is used on powerlifting barbells and is designed to help you maximize your grip during very heavy lifts, like one-rep maxes.
This type of knurling has a rim around each bump. This rim increases the contact surface area between your hand and the bar, significantly improving your grip without damaging your hands. It’s the most suitable knurling for Olympic lifts or powerlifting movements because it’s practical but also comfortable.
14 Best Barbells in 2023
|Product||Weight||Knurling||Main Materials||Diameter||Tensile Strength||Warranty|
|American Barbell Training Bar||33 lbs and 44 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Stainless steel and chrome coating||28 mm||190,000 PSI||Lifetime||Buy Now|
|REP Fitness Technique Barbell||15 lbs||dual knurling, central knurling||Aluminum||28 mm||-||One year||Buy Now|
|Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar||44 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Stainless steel, Cerakote, and black oxide or hard chrome finish||28.5 mm||200,000 PSI||Lifetime||Buy Now|
|REP Fitness Sabre Bar||33 lbs and 44 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Stainless steel, zinc finish||28 mm||150,000 PSI||One year||Buy Now|
|American Barbell California Bar||33 lbs and 44 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Alloy steel with cerakote and chrome finish||28 mm||190,000 PSI||Lifetime||Buy Now|
|Rogue Fitness Black Zinc Bella Bar 2.0||33 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Black zinc||25 mm||190,000 PSI||Lifetime||Buy Now|
|Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar||45 lbs||Dual and center knurling||Stainless steel with chrome coating||29 mm||200,000 PSI||Lifetime||Buy Now|
|RitFit Olympic Weightlifting Bar||44 lbs||central knurling, no dual knurl marks||steel with chrome coating||28 mm||50,000 PSI||three years||Buy Now|
|CAP Barbell The Beast||44 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Alloy steel with black phosphate finish||28.5 mm||110,000 PSI||-||Buy Now|
|REP Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar||44 lbs||Dual and center knurling||Stainless steel||29 mm||200,000 PSI||One year||Buy Now|
|Titan Fitness Performance Series Olympic Barbell||44 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Steel with chrome coating and bronze sleeves||30 mm||165,000 PSI||One year||Buy Now|
|Prosource Fit Multipurpose Olympic Barbell||33 lbs and 44 lbs||Dual knurling, no center knurl||Steel bar with a black phosphate finish||28 mm (men’s) and 25 mm (women’s)||160,000 PSI||Lifetime||Buy Now|
|Fitness Factory Body-Solid 7 " Olympic Barbell||44 lbs||Dual and center knurling||Steel with chrome finish||30 mm||-||Lifetime||Buy Now|
|Titan Fitness Olympic EZ Curl Barbell||14 lbs||Knurled hand grips, no center knurl||Stainless steel with chrome coating||28 mm||-||One year||Buy Now|
1. American Barbell Training Bar – Best Overall Barbell
- Suitable for men and women
- Hard chrome coating for extra durability and resistance to corrosion
- Dual knurling and rotating sleeves for dynamic lifts
- Not suitable for powerlifting
I’ve given the award for the best Olympic bar in 2023 to the American Barbell Training Bar. It’s available in two weights (33 lbs/15 kg and 44 lbs/20 kg), so it’s appropriate for both men and women.
The bar shaft is made of alloy steel with a hard chrome finish to reduce the risk of corrosion. The 45 lb bar has a standard diameter of 28 mm, and the 33 lb bar has a standard diameter of 25 mm.
Each bar also has a knurl ring on each side to improve your grip during Olympic lifts. There is no center knurling, so the bar will sit comfortably on your upper back during barbell squats. It also won’t irritate the neck area during front squats.
With excellent whip and rotating sleeves, this bar is suitable for dynamic lifts, like cleans, jerks, and thrusters. It meets the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) standards and is also suitable for general weight lifting.
2. REP Fitness Technique Barbell – Best Lightweight Barbell
- Affordable price
- IPF and IWF knurl marks
- Ideal for beginners who aren’t lifting very heavy weights
- Low tensile strength and maximum weight capacity, so would be unsuitable for powerlifting
The REP Fitness Technique Barbell is a budget barbell that takes first place for being a top-quality lightweight option. Its maximum weight capacity is 200 lbs, which is enough for most beginner lifters but may not be suitable for all powerlifters.
It has a medium knurl that won’t tear up your hands, even during high-volume training.
If you develop calluses from lifting and need help treating them, check out How To Deal With Calluses From Lifting (5 Tips).
3. Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar – Best Barbell for CrossFit
- Available in a variety of colors and finishes
- Dual knurl marks and no center knurl for practicality and comfort
- High tensile strength for heavy lifting
- The Cerakote sleeves can begin to show wear and tear or imperfections quickly
This barbell has high tensile strength, between 190,000 and 200,000 PSI, so it’s ideal for regular, heavy lifting. It has a standard 28.5 mm diameter, making it versatile, multipurpose, and perfect for CrossFit.
The lack of central knurling also makes this bar ideal for CrossFitters. While the knurling on the grip sections helps improve your grip, the smooth center of the bar offers upper body comfort during popular CrossFit lifts like cleans or thrusters.
This bar is available in various finishes, including stainless steel, Cerakote, black oxide, and black zinc. You can customize your bar according to your needs and preferences. You can also customize the bar's color, the type of bushing, and the sleeves’ coating.
4. REP Fitness Sabre Bar – Best Barbell for Olympic Weightlifting
- Affordable price
- Available in two different weights
- The bar has dual knurl marks and ball bearings
- Relatively low tensile strength
The REP Fitness Sabre Bar is ideal for the Olympic lifts, is available in 33 lbs/15 kg or 44 lbs/20kg, and has knurl marks that match the IWF specifications. It’s also suitable for a range of exercises and is a multi-functional option for general strength training.
Furthermore, powerlifters can use it because it has IPF knurl marks and a ball bearing.
The only reason it’s not the best barbell for powerlifting is that it has a low tensile strength. Its 150,000 tensile strength is lower than many other barbells on the market. However, this would be adequate for most home workouts.
5. American Barbell California Bar – Best Barbell for High-Rep, High-Volume Training
- Has a high tensile strength of 190,000 PSI, so it is suitable for regular, heavy lifters
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Has smooth sleeves
- Low or passive knurling
The American Barbell California Bar is available in 44 lbs (20 kg) or 33 lbs (15 kg). It has dual knurl rings, so it is suitable for a range of exercises.
However, since the knurling is passive, it’s best for higher-volume training and high-rep exercises because it won’t tear up your hands. It isn’t the best option for heavy movements or powerlifting one-rep max attempts because the low knurling won’t offer maximum grip support.
As a standard 28 mm barbell, it’s suitable for most people and training styles. It’s a smooth and quiet bar that won’t make too much noise when it comes into contact with the floor during deadlifts or with the squat rack when racking and unracking it.
6. Rogue Fitness Black Zinc Bella Bar 2.0 – Best Barbell for Women
- 25 mm in diameter and 33 lbs in weight, making it ideal for most female lifters
- Olympic knurling for dynamic lifts
- Available with different coatings
- Might be too lightweight for some advanced lifters
The Rogue Fitness Black Zinc Bella Bar 2.0 is one of the best Olympic barbells for women. It’s got a smaller diameter of 25 mm and weighs 33 lbs (15 kg), so it is easier to lift than a standard Olympic weight bar.
With five different coatings available, this 15 kg barbell is customizable. You can find the perfect options to add to your home gym based on your storage environment and needs.
Check out our full review of the Rogue Bella Barbell.
7. Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar – Best Barbell for Men
- Ideal for most male lifters with a 29 mm diameter
- Suitable for powerlifting
- High tensile strength of 200,000 PSI
- Center knurling may be uncomfortable for some lifters during squats
As with the Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0, the Ohio Power Bar is available in five different options – silver stainless steel, black stainless steel, E-Coat, bare steel, and black zinc. Based on your preferences regarding material and aesthetics, you’ll easily be able to find the perfect Ohio Power Barbell.
Because the Ohio Power bar a is 20 kg barbell with a 29 mm diameter, it is the best Olympic barbell for men. It has a high tensile strength and can be loaded for heavy powerlifting.
The central knurling will keep the bar in place during heavy squats, though it might be uncomfortable for some. The bar has little to no flex, meaning the weight you’re lifting will feel accurate to the true weight of the bar.
8. RitFit Olympic Weightlifting Bar – Best Budget Barbell
- Suitable for general purpose use
- Medium knurling for non-abrasive grip
- Needle bearings for smooth spin
- Knurling may not be aggressive enough for heavy powerlifting
The RitFit Olympic Weightlifting Bar is an affordable option when you want to practice Olympic lifts in your home gym. It’s a 28mm barbell that weighs 44 lbs and is compatible with 2-inch weight plates.
This barbell also has needle bearings that enable the bar to spin smoothly during dynamic lifts like cleans and snatches.
9. CAP Barbell ‘The Beast’ – Best Barbell for Versatile Training
- High maximum weight
- Medium knurling for improved grip
- Relatively affordable
- Black oxide finish isn’t the most protective coating
I’ve labeled the CAP Barbell, which is nicknamed ‘The Beast,’ as one of the best Olympic bars for versatility because you can perform various exercises with it. It’s suitable to use in a power rack or cage, and because of its high weight capacity of 1,200 lbs, you can load up the bar to a heavy weight.
There is medium knurling for improved grip but no knurling in the center, which is either a good or bad thing, depending on your preferences. Lack of central knurling is comfier on your upper back but reduces your grip on the bar during squats.
The bar is coated with a black oxide finish, which isn’t the highest quality but will still provide some protection for the steel underneath.
10. REP Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar – Best Barbell for Powerlifting
- Stainless steel bar, which is highly resistant to corrosion and rust
- Designed with powerlifters in mind
- IPF knurl markings
- Not ideal for dynamic lifts
This stainless steel Olympic barbell from REP Fitness was designed with powerlifting in mind. It has IPF knurl markings, with medium knurling to allow good grip and minimal discomfort during your lifts.
With a high maximum weight capacity of 1,500 lbs and tensile strength of 200,000, you can load up this bar for one-rep max lifts or heavy low-rep sets.
The bar has a bushing design that makes slower, more controlled strength or power-focused lifting easier and safer. However, this design isn’t the best Olympic weight bar for dynamic lifts, such as those you’d perform in CrossFit.
11. Titan Fitness Performance Series Olympic Barbell – Best Barbell for Beginners
- Low-maintenance, solid steel barbell
- Versatile and functional for multiple types of training
- Mild knurling that might not be aggressive enough for very heavy powerlifting
The Performance Series Olympic Barbell from Titan Fitness is a 20 kg, 30 mm barbell. It is suitable for both powerlifting and Olympic lifting and a great hybrid option for beginners when you want to practice multiple styles of training.
This steel Olympic weight bar has a hard chrome finish and bronze bushing, so it is a relatively low-maintenance bar. There are dual knurl marks for precision grip and no center knurl for smooth and comfortable squats.
However, for some, the knurling might not be aggressive enough for very heavy lifting.
12. Prosource Fit Multipurpose Olympic Barbell – Best Multifunctional Barbell
- Available in two different sizes, one for men and one for women
- Suitable for multiple types of lifting and functional fitness
- Moderate knurling for comfortable but strong grip on the bar
- Not suitable for very heavy powerlifting
The Prosource Fit Multipurpose Olympic Barbell is one of the best Olympic barbells for functional fitness. You can use it for dynamic CrossFit movements or traditional weightlifting exercises. It’s available in two sizes – 33 lbs, 25 mm for women and 44 lbs, 28 mm for men. Both options are compatible with standard bumper plates.
This durable steel bar has phosphate and chrome sleeves for extra protection. It has 160,000 PSI tensile strength and dual knurl marks to guide your hand positioning. It also offers a decent amount of whip for more dynamic movements.
13. Fitness Factory Body-Solid 7 ” Olympic Barbell – Best Barbell for General Strength Training
- Suitable for general strength training and Olympic lifting
- Moderate knurling for improved grip
- Solid steel bar with a chrome coating for high durability
- Relatively low weight capacity of 600 lbs
If you’re looking for Olympic barbells for general strength training, the Fitness Factory Body-Solid 7” Olympic Barbell is a great choice. It’s compatible with standard 2-inch plates and suitable for traditional strength training workouts and dynamic exercises, such as cleans and jerks.
The grip diameter is 30 mm. There is both dual and center knurling for a strong grip during the bench, deadlift, and squat.
With a decent level of whip, the bar will flex slightly during dynamic lifts to reduce the force placed on your wrists. For this reason, and because the bar’s maximum weight capacity is 600 lbs, I wouldn’t suggest buying this Olympic lifting barbell for heavy powerlifting.
14. Titan Fitness Olympic EZ Curl Barbell – Best EZ Barbell
- Great for working the upper body muscles
- Strong knurling so the bar won’t slip out of your hands
- Ideal for use in a home gym or outside
- Not suitable for deadlifting or squatting
Titan Fitness is one of the best barbell brands for several types of barbells, but this EZ Curl Barbell particularly impressed me. It has a traditional EZ curved bar shape, with knurling on the inner and outer handles to offer a strong grip during your workouts.
Although you can use this bar for lower-body movements, it’s much more suited to upper-body exercises, such as skull crushers, overhead presses, and bicep curls. It can hold up to 200 lbs. This bar is suitable for use outside because it’s made out of durable, long-lasting steel.
Read more: How Heavy Is an EZ Bar?
Why Trust PowerliftingTechnique
PowerliftingTechnique is a team of powerlifters, powerlifting coaches, and fitness experts with a passion for powerlifting, strength training, and CrossFit. With our knowledge and professional experience, we can give expert opinions on which products are the best on the market. Our team understands the importance of using the most suitable equipment for your needs when working out at home or in the gym.
How We Chose and Tested the Barbells
We have tested several of the best barbell brands to determine the best options. We either own many of these barbells ourselves or use them in the gyms where we coach and train.
When making this list, we looked at several factors that contribute to the quality and versatility of any barbell for a home gym, such as the materials, diameter, tensile strength, spin, and knurling. We also analyzed barbell reviews to ensure we’re only recommending products that other athletes are satisfied with.
Buying Guide: What To Look For in a Barbell
Finding the best barbell for a home gym involves a lot of research. You need to consider several factors to discover which type of barbell is the most appropriate for your training style and goals. The most important factors to consider when choosing the best lifting bar are:
- Sleeve rotation (bushings and bearings)
- Diameter and whip
- Tensile strength
Steel is the best material for a weightlifting bar. Ideally, you’d opt for stainless steel or solid steel. It's a highly durable, corrosive-resistant material that can withstand high pressure and load, making it perfect for heavy lifting.
The quality of steel also determines its tensile strength and maximum weight capacity.
Knurling refers to the rough, slightly raised areas on the barbell. Its role is to strengthen your grip on the bar so that you can lift heavier without the barbell slipping out of your hands.
Most Olympic weightlifting bars, powerlifting bars, and multipurpose bars have knurling, but the quality and positioning of the knurling can vary. Ideally, you’ll want moderate knurling that improves your grip without tearing up your hands.
For heavy powerlifting, you’ll want IPF-marked knurl rings on the bar. These are essential because they indicate how wide your bench press grip can be during competitions.
Although there are no rules stating how wide your grip can be for snatches and clean and jerks, every barbell approved for use in the IWF must also have knurl rings at specified places on the barbell.
Another thing to consider is the center knurling. Although it can improve your grip during squats, it may not be comfortable for very heavy squats or front squats. It can cause pain or discomfort around your upper back or shoulders. It can also cause discomfort on your neck and collar bones during Olympic lifts or other movements like front squats.
3. Sleeve Rotation (Bushings and Bearings)
The type of rotation system a barbell has determines its spin. There are two main types of rotation systems – bushings and bearings. The latter spins more quickly but will wear away more quickly than the former.
Bushings are typically used for powerlifting barbells, where the lifter performs slower, more controlled reps, such as in deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. Look for stainless steel, bronze, or composite bushings.
Bearings are better for Olympic lifts where the lifter moves the bar quickly, such as in clean and jerks or snatches. The bearings enable the sleeve to rotate more quickly, making dynamic movements easier and less stressful on the wrists.
However, multipurpose bars and Olympic weightlifting bars can come with bushings instead of bearings or a combination of the two.
4. Diameter and Whip
The diameter of a barbell is the most influential factor when it comes to its whip, which refers to how easily it bends without breaking when loaded. A thinner barbell, such as one with a diameter of 25 mm, has a higher whip than a wider barbell.
Thinner barbells with a higher whip are more flexible and dynamic than those with a thicker diameter and lower whip, so they’re better for CrossFit and Olympic lifts. However, you’ll still want the bar to be relatively stiff so you can properly control it during your lifts.
You also need to consider your hand size when finding a lifting bar with the ideal diameter and whip for your needs. A thicker barbell will be harder to grip if you have smaller hands.
If you wish to compete in weightlifting in the future, it’s a good idea to practice with a barbell with a diameter of 25 mm if you’re a female or 28 mm if you’re a male. These are the specifications for professional competitions. Practicing with barbells of the same diameter as those you’ll use in competition will make the transition from training to competing much easier.
5. Tensile Strength
Unlike yield strength, which refers to the weight you can load onto the bar before it becomes permanently bent, tensile strength is the weight you can add before the bar breaks.
Generally, stainless steel barbells have the highest tensile strength than those made of less durable materials. They won’t bend or break easily, even during heavy powerlifting sessions.
A tensile strength of 165,000 PSI is suitable for weightlifting. If you’re going for one-rep max powerlifting sets, you’ll need a bar with a higher tensile strength of between 180,000 to 200,000 PSI.
How To Take Care of a Barbell
It’s important to take good care of your barbell to lengthen its lifespan. Barbells are a low-maintenance piece of gym equipment, and following a few simple steps will keep your barbell in good shape for years to come.
Every barbell is different, so the maintenance steps will vary. Depending on the materials used and the type of barbell, you might need different brushes and tools to properly clean your barbell after use.
Preventing Rust and Corrosion
For keeping your Olympic barbell rust-free, the biggest factor to consider is humidity. Storing your barbell in a room with low humidity will lower the rate of rust and corrosion. If you live in a naturally humid region, consider storing your barbell in a climate-controlled room.
You should also clean your bar after every use to remove moisture, dirt, grease, and chalk. If left uncleaned, your barbell will rust more quickly, especially on the knurling.
Cleaning and Maintenance of the Knurling
Use a stiff-bristled nylon brush to clean the bar, particularly around the knurling where your hands will have been gripping the bar. You might also have used chalk during your workouts, which can build up on the knurling.
After brushing the dirt and chalk off the knurling, take some 3-in-1 oil and use the nylon brush to lightly coat the length of the bar to reduce the risk of rust and corrosion.
Maintenance of the Bushings and Bearings
Damaged or faulty bushings and bearings can impact the quality and usability of any good barbell. If you use chalk, properly cleaning the bushings and bearings becomes even more important. If left uncleaned, the chalk can build up on this area of the barbell and reduce its ability to spin smoothly.
You should always brush the bushings and bearings after you’ve used the bar and follow up with a coat of 3-in-1 oil. Avoid silicone-based lubrication, as this will pull moisture out of the bar and cause the bushings and bearings to wear more easily.
Maintenance of Different Barbell Materials
Depending on the coating material of the barbell, the maintenance steps can vary. Cerakote and stainless steel bars are known to be resistant to rust, and they require very little maintenance. Usually, all you’ll need to do is brush off excess dirt and chalk after using the barbell.
If your Olympic barbell is made of zinc, you’ll also need to use a nylon brush along the bar, especially on the knurling. You might also need to apply 3-in-1 oil to the length of the bar to fully remove excess chalk and prevent the bar from drying out and rusting.
The same applies if you’re using a stainless steel bar coated with chrome. For chrome-coated bars, you should use a soft-bristled brush to clean them, so you don’t scratch the metal.
Storing Your Barbell
I’ve already briefly mentioned the importance of humidity to keep your weight lifting bar safe. You should also avoid storing your barbell in areas of your home prone to moisture and keep it out of direct sunlight to reduce the risk of rusting.
Store the bar horizontally and off the ground. Ideally, you should have a wall mount that securely holds the bar while it’s not in use. If you choose to store the bar vertically, alternate which end sits at the bottom and place a sheet on the floor to capture any excess oil that might drip off the bar.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does a Good Barbell Cost?
The price of a barbell depends on the materials it’s made from, its size, and its quality. On average, a well-made Olympic barbell that is ideal for home use costs between $300 and $500. However, some cheaper options can cost as little as $120, which is ideal if you're building a home gym on a budget.
Who Makes the Best Barbell?
American Barbell makes the best overall Olympic barbell. However, there are several best barbell brands, including Titan Fitness, Rogue Fitness, Prosource Fit, and REP Fitness. Each brand offers a range of top-quality barbell products for different uses and purposes.
Is a Thicker or Thinner Bar Better for Bench?
The best Olympic barbells for bench presses are those with a thicker diameter (30 mm or 32 mm). A barbell with a thicker diameter spreads the weight more evenly across the bar, enabling you to lift with more control and reducing the risk of wrist injuries.
Does Whip Matter in a Barbell?
Barbell whip enables lifters to take advantage of momentum in their lifts, allowing them to propel the weight during dynamic movements, such as snatches, cleans, and thrusters. It matters for CrossFit and Olympic lifting but is not desirable for powerlifting.
What Is a Good Olympic Barbell?
The best Olympic barbell is the American Barbell Training Bar, which is available in two weights (33 lbs/15 kg and 44 lbs/20 kg). It has a 28-mm diameter and medium knurling, which are ideal for Olympic lifting. The 25 mm Rogue Fitness Black Zinc Bella Bar 2.0 is the best option for women with smaller hands.
About The Author
Athina is a Biochemistry and Genetics graduate, and a qualified personal trainer with a passion for women’s health and fitness. She is passionate about helping women to learn more about the importance of the menstrual cycle and how to balance their hormones. She is the host and producer of Fertility and Freedom podcast, which covers all things women’s health and hormones.