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If you’re a female Olympic weightlifter, you can’t use just any barbell. You need a bar that can handle the explosiveness and changing directions that occurs during the snatch and clean and jerk. Since men’s and women’s weightlifting barbells have different specifications, you also need one that’s designed specifically for women.
But what is the best women’s weightlifting barbell? The best women’s weightlifting barbell is the Rogue 25mm Pyrros Bar. It’s made out of durable stainless steel and chrome, doesn’t rust or corrode easily, and has knurling that isn’t too aggressive but still makes the bar easy to grip. It’s also IWF-certified, an important feature for competitive weightlifters.
With so many different styles and types of weightlifting bars on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you.
In this article, I’ll review 10 of the best women’s weightlifting bars, discuss the factors you should consider before buying a barbell, and provide a list of things to look for when shopping for a women’s weightlifting barbell.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Women’s Weightlifting Bar
1. What You’ll Use It For
Some barbells are ideal for weightlifting only while others can also be used for other purposes such as CrossFit or powerlifting.
You’ll need to consider whether you’ll just be using your barbell for snatches and clean and jerks — and squats, which all Olympic weightlifters do often — or if you’ll also be using it for CrossFit WODs, deadlifts, bench presses, and other lifts.
Your budget will determine the type of quality you get in your weightlifting bar. Inexpensive, off-brand barbells are typically made out of lower-quality materials, which may break down faster. With a cheaper bar, you may also have to sacrifice some things like the amount of spin, the rigidity of the bar, and how aggressive the knurling is.
However, while a good weightlifting bar will cost at least a couple hundred dollars, you can still find one that is reasonably priced and will last for several years.
3. Where You Will Store It
Chances are that if you’re buying your own barbell, you’re storing it in a garage gym. If you live in an area with harsh weather, you’ll want to look for a bar that can withstand temperature changes and moisture from humidity, rain, or snow.
If you’re going to be keeping your bar in a partially covered patio, you may also want to consider getting something to cover it with when you’re not using it to protect it from the elements.
Related Article: Barbell Storage Ideas: 4 Ways To Properly Store Barbells
10 Best Women’s Weightlifting Bars
The 10 best barbells for women are:
- Rogue 25mm Pyrros Bar – Best Overall Women’s Weightlifting Bar
- Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 – Most Versatile Women’s Weightlifting Bar
- Rogue Women’s 25mm Training Bar – Best Competition-Style Women’s Weightlifting Barbell for the Money
- ProsourceFit Multipurpose Olympic Barbell – Best for New Weightlifters
- Fringe Sport 15kg Women’s Olympic Weightlifting Bar – Best for Intermediate Weightlifters
- Titan Fitness Women’s Bombshell Olympic Weightlifting Bar – Best for Casual Weightlifters
- Body-Solid Women’s Extreme Olympic Barbell – Best Budget-Friendly Women’s Weightlifting Bar
- Rogue 25mm B&R Bar – Best for Weightlifting and Powerlifting
- Synergee Games 15kg Colored Cerakote Barbell – Best Women’s Weightlifting Bar on Amazon
- Fringe Sport Women’s Bomba Bar V3 – Best Women’s Weightlifting Bar with A Lot of Spin
1. Rogue 25mm Pyrros Bar – Best Overall Women’s Weightlifting Bar
The Rogue 25mm Pyrros Bar is my top pick for women’s weightlifting bars due to its high-quality construction, high tensile strength, and durability. It’s also IWF-certified, which makes it an excellent choice for competitive weightlifters.
The bar was created in partnership with Pyrros Dimas, who’s won three Olympic gold medals and one bronze medal for weightlifting and is the most decorated Greek Olympic athlete. He’s also the current technical director for USA Weightlifting.
This bar is one of the pricier options on this list, so I wouldn’t consider it a beginner barbell. But for advanced competitive weightlifters who want a bar that’s as close to a competition-style bar as you can get, you can’t go wrong with the Pyrros bar.
It’s made in the USA with a stainless steel shaft, chrome sleeves, and needle bearings, which give the bar a fast rotation that’s ideal for heavy snatches and clean and jerks. It will also last for years without rusting or corroding, and the chrome sleeves won’t oxidize from contact with the metal inserts on your bumper plates.
The bar also has a more aggressive knurl than some other barbells on this list, which is another reason why it’s not the best choice for beginners. But if you’ve been weightlifting for a couple of years and you know your hands can handle it, the knurling will allow you to get a good grip on the bar without having to use as much chalk.
I have a friend that is a high-level Olympic weightlifting coach, Mike Dewar, who uses the 28mm version of the Pyrros barbell and also trains many of his female clients with the 25mm version. Safe to say he has a lot of experience with Rogue’s Pyrros model, and he said the following when I asked him what he thought of it:
I’ve used many weightlifting bars, both for myself and with my female athletes, and I like the Rogue Pyrros bar more than Eleiko or others. The Rogue Pyrros all stainless steel barbell is the creme dela creme of the elite weightlifting barbells. The stainless steel offers perfect whip and bar flex at heavy loads. The knurling is also perfect and is left exactly how it was machined, giving it an awesome feel with and without chalk. This is the go-to bar for the serious weightlifter looking to train on one of the best barbells in the world, without the hefty price tag of an Eleiko.Mike Dewar, Olympic weightlifting coach
I agree with Mike regarding his statement about Eleiko. There’s a reason why I didn’t include Eleiko barbells on this list, because I think you can get the same bang with the Pyrros barbell without paying Eleiko prices.
Takeaway: If you have some experience with weightlifting and you’re looking to compete or are already competing, this is the barbell for you. If you’re a beginner, go to my number 2 pick.
If you want to read more about the Rogue Pyrros Barbell then check out my complete review.
- Durable and will last for years
- Tensile strength of 200,000 PSI
- Doesn’t easily rust or become corroded
- Made in the USA
- Not ideal for beginners due to aggressive knurl
2. Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 – Most Versatile Women’s Weightlifting Bar
I’ve had a Rogue Bella bar in my home gym for several years, and it’s still going strong despite how often I use it and how much the temperature in my garage fluctuates based on the seasons.
This bar performs well for nearly everything, and I can easily transition from strength work to a CrossFit workout with it. I sometimes get nervous that it will slip on my back during squats (because the knurling isn’t as aggressive as something like the Pyrros), but that hasn’t actually ever happened.
The amount of rotation the Bella bar has is good enough for doing snatches or cleans in a CrossFit WOD, but if you’re a competitive weightlifter, you might want to opt for another barbell on this list that’s weightlifting-specific.
I have a friend who is a military nurse, Stephanie Janes, who uses the Bella 2.0 Barbell as well. She has competed in powerlifting at the national level, and has also dabbled in both Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting.
She said this about the Bella 2.0 Barbell:
The Bella Bar 2.0 is a good all around Bar for general purpose use. I have been able to use this Bar for crossfit style workouts and for Olympic Weightlifting workouts and it performs to an adequate standard for both activities. What I like about the bar is its versatility, dual knurling, and a generous ‘whip’ when doing Jerks or pulling off the floor and it has a nice collar spin for a general purpose bar. What I don’t like is the knurling is not very aggressive, making it harder to grip for heavy movements (like deadlifts if you’re a competitive powerlifter). Also, If you’re about aesthetics, the black coating has a tendency to fade with use.Stephanie Janes, military nurse, Crossfitter, weightlifter, powerlifter
I agree with Stephanie about the black coating having a tendency to fade. One thing that I wish I had thought about more before I got my Bella bar is the finish. It comes in four different finishes: black zinc, stainless steel, cerakote, and black e-coat.
I have the black zinc, and over the years, it’s developed a cloudy film due to a buildup of chalk and sweat even though I wipe it down after every use. The knurling is also a bit passive (again, good for beginners, not so good for more advanced lifters).
The stainless steel and cerakote finishes are more expensive, but they have more aggressive knurling and are less likely to develop that cloudy film. If you go with the stainless steel version, you’ll pay $95 more than the standard version. The Cheroke finish version is about $60 more than the standard version.
Yes, the stainless steel and Cheroke versions are more expensive than the standard version, but both are still cheaper than my #1 pick, the Pyrros.
There is also a black e-coat finish version that appears to be more durable (same prices as standard version). It’s similar to the coating that’s used on automobiles, so it can easily withstand being in a garage gym environment.
If you want to read more about the Rogue Bella Barbell then check out my complete review.
- Will last for years
- Can be used for weightlifting, CrossFit WODs, and powerlifting
- High quality for a pretty reasonable price
- Amount of sleeve rotation isn’t the best for competitive weightlifters
- Zinc finish can become cloudy from sweat and chalk buildup
3. Rogue Women’s 25mm Training Bar – Best Competition-Style Women’s Weightlifting Barbell for the Money
I feel inclined to preface my review of the Rogue Women’s 25mm Training Bar by saying that this is not the cheapest barbell on the market. The Bellar bar in black zinc can often be found for cheaper, and you can find other brands that are less expensive as well.
But for a weightlifting-specific bar that’s good quality for a reasonable price, the Rogue Training Bar is one of the best products around.
Even though it isn’t IWF-certified, it is manufactured to the exact IWF specifications. It’s an excellent choice for competitive weightlifters who want a bar that’s similar to one you’d use in a competition but can’t afford the Pyrros bar or a bar from a brand such as Eleiko.
This bar only has one Olympic knurl mark, so it truly is made specifically for the Olympic lifts. You could use it for powerlifting if you train for both sports and don’t want to purchase a separate bar. But it’s not ideal for competitive powerlifters since you don’t have the inner knurl mark for bench presses.
The only thing I don’t like about this bar is that it has a black zinc finish, which may pose some of the same issues with cloudiness from sweat and chalk buildup that I experienced with the Bella bar.
- Reasonable price for a competition-style women’s barbell
- Made in the USA, like most Rogue products
- Knurling is aggressive without being too sharp
- Isn’t versatile enough for powerlifting
- Black zinc finish can become cloudy over time
4. ProsourceFit Multipurpose Olympic Barbell – Best for New Weightlifters
If you’re just starting out with weightlifting, you don’t have to shell out a lot of money for an expensive barbell. The ProsourceFit Multipurpose Olympic Barbell is a good entry-level bar because it’s affordable and is durable enough to handle several months’ worth of training until you graduate to a better bar.
This barbell is finished with black phosphate. This isn’t very common in weightlifting bars, but it softens the knurling a bit, which can make it more tolerable for new lifters whose hands haven’t yet toughened up to heavy barbell training.
The bar only has a 160,000 PSI tensile strength. This is sufficient for beginners, but as you get stronger, you may notice that the bar bends more easily.
Additionally, it’s made with bushings instead of bearings, so it’s not the fastest spinning bar, but this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about when you’re new to the sport.
- Good entry-level bar for beginners
- Softer knurling is easier on beginners’ hands
- Doesn’t have very fast rotation
- Isn’t strong enough for intermediate or advanced lifters
5. Fringe Sport 15kg Women’s Olympic Weightlifting Bar – Best for Intermediate Weightlifters
The Fringe Sport 15kg Women’s Olympic Weightlifting Bar is an excellent choice for women who are ready to graduate from a beginner’s barbell but don’t yet have a need for a more expensive bar. It has more spin, can support heavier weights, and will last longer than a cheaper entry-level bar.
This bar has a matte chrome finish that looks like black zinc but is more resistant to rust, corrosion, and chalk and sweat buildup. This also makes it less likely to slip in your hands and gives it a more aggressive knurl, which may be too rough for some people but is ideal for experienced weightlifters.
With a tensile strength of 216,000 PSI, this barbell is one of the strongest on the market. Like the Rogue training bar above, it only has single knurl marks, so it’s not ideal for competitive powerlifters. But if you like to alternate between weightlifting and powerlifting just for fun, you’ll be able to lift some serious weight with this bar.
- Conforms to IWF standards
- Bearing needles give it a fast spin
- Matte finish provides better gripability
- Knurling may be too aggressive for some people
6. Titan Fitness Women’s Bombshell Olympic Weightlifting Bar – Best for Casual Weightlifters
Any female who does Olympic lifting for fun and wants a decent barbell that doesn’t have to be IWF-certified should check out the Titan Fitness Women’s Bombshell Olympic Weightlifting Bar.
I consider this bar to be a mid-tier option. It’s not a competition-ready barbell, but it’s durable and reliable enough for non-competitive weightlifters. And if you tend to cycle through periods of weightlifting and other types of training such as CrossFit, you can use this bar for both.
A unique feature of this bar is that the sleeves are also coated in cerakote, but this is more of a drawback than a positive. While cerakote is excellent for preventing rust and corrosion, it can scratch easily.
As a result, the sleeves may get scuffed up pretty quickly from bumper plate inserts. It won’t affect the bar’s performance, but the sleeves won’t look as nice after a few months.
- Durable cerakote coating
- Available in several colors
- Can also be used for CrossFit
- Cerakote coating on sleeves can get scratched easily
7. Body-Solid Women’s Extreme Olympic Barbell – Best Budget-Friendly Women’s Weightlifting Bar
For weightlifters on a tight budget, the Body-Solid Women’s Extreme Olympic Barbell is a less expensive alternative to some of the other name-brand bars on this list.
Body-Solid isn’t a company that most people think of when it comes to weightlifting bars, but the Women’s Extreme bar is a decent product for the price. The shaft has a black zinc coating, so it may accumulate some sweat and chalk buildup over time, but it won’t rust. The sleeves are made out of chrome, which will help prevent damage from bumper plate inserts.
This bar has a 1,000lb weight capacity, which is more than enough for most people. It’s made to IWF specifications and has dual knurl marks. You can use it as a weightlifting or powerlifting bar as long as you don’t mind squatting with a bar that doesn’t have a center knurl.
- Manufactured to IWF specifications
- Can double as a weightlifting or powerlifting bar
- 1,000lb weight capacity
- Chalk and sweat can build up on the black zinc coating over time
8. Rogue 25mm B&R Bar – Best for Weightlifting and Powerlifting
The Rogue 25mm B&R bar takes the best elements of weightlifting and powerlifting barbells and combines them into one. It has dual knurl marks and although the knurl itself is a little on the passive side, it’s grippy enough for snatches, cleans, and deadlifts without tearing up your hands too much during a long workout.
Since this is a dual-purpose bar, I wish it had a center knurl for a little extra reassurance that it won’t slip down your back during squats. But this does mean you won’t get scrapes on your collar bones from catching a lot of cleans.
And while this bar has bushings instead of bearings, which typically don’t rotate as much, it still provides a good amount of spin for snatches and cleans.
One drawback of this bar is that it rusts fairly quickly. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to cover it when you’re not using it so moisture doesn’t accumulate on it.
Also, since this bar is designed for women to be able to use for snatches and clean and jerks, it has a 25mm diameter, which is smaller than a bar you’d use at a powerlifting meet. While you can use it for the majority of your training, you’ll also want to practice using a bar with a larger diameter when you’re preparing for a powerlifting competition.
- Reasonable price
- Can be used for both powerlifting and weightlifting
- Knurling isn’t too aggressive but still provides a good grip
- May rust after a few months depending on what kind of climate you live in
- No center knurl to help it stay on your back during squats
9. Synergee Games 15kg Colored Cerakote Barbell – Best Women’s Weightlifting Bar on Amazon
I couldn’t get through this list without providing a women’s weightlifting bar that can be bought from Amazon. Most barbells on Amazon aren’t that much cheaper than some of the other options on this list, but if you want to take advantage of the convenience that shopping on Amazon offers, you can find a decent barbell for a reasonable price.
My favorite women’s weightlifting barbell on Amazon is the Synergee Games 15kg colored cerakote bar. It’s made from alloy steel, which has a higher tensile strength than stainless steel. But while it’s ideal for weightlifting and CrossFit WODs, the soft knurl and lack of a center knurl make it more difficult to do heavy powerlifting movements.
The cerakote coating offers a decent amount of protection from rust and corrosion. It’s not as durable as stainless steel, but you can leave it in a humid garage without worrying about the finish getting ruined.
I also like that the bar comes in black, pink, or red, so you can add a bit of personality and color to your garage gym.
- Available in three different colors
- Reasonable price
- Cerakote coating helps prevent rust and corrosion
- Soft knurl and no center knurl aren’t ideal for powerlifting
10. Fringe Sport Women’s Bomba Bar V3 – Best Women’s Weightlifting Bar with A Lot of Spin
For an at-home training bar that offers the kind of spin you’d find in a competition bar, look no further than the Fringe Sport Women’s Bomba Bar V3.
My favorite thing about this bar is the black and pink aesthetic, but appearances aside, it’s a high-quality barbell that performs well when doing heavy lifts. With a tensile strength of 206,000 PSI, it’s a sturdy bar that will hold up to near-daily usage.
The Bomba bar is marketed as a multi-purpose bar, but I don’t consider it to be a good all-around bar. Unlike similar types of barbells, it’s made with bearings instead of bushings. This allows the sleeves to rotate faster, which is essential for snatches and clean and jerks, but is a drawback when it comes to the powerlifting movements.
But if you’re looking for a heavy-duty bar to use for weightlifting only, this bar is one of the strongest and best-performing bars on the market.
- Made in the USA
- Has a lot of rotation for snatches and clean and jerks
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- High tensile strength
- Too much spin for powerlifting
- Black zinc coating loses its shiny appearance over time
Women’s Weightlifting Bars: Buyer’s Guide
Women’s Bar vs Men’s Bar: What Are The Differences?
There are five main differences between women’s and men’s weightlifting bars: weight, overall length, sleeve length, diameter, and knurling.
Women’s weightlifting bars weigh 15kg while men’s bars weigh 20kg. Women’s bars also have a 25mm diameter while men’s bars have a 28mm diameter. The smaller diameter makes it easier for women, who typically have smaller hands than men, to use the hook grip.
Women’s bars are also 201cm in length as opposed to men’s bars, which are 220cm. And while the sleeves on men’s bars are 41.5cm long, they’re only 32cm long on women’s bars.
Interestingly, according to the IWF standards, men’s bars must have center knurling while women’s bars do not. The center knurl was necessary for the one-hand lift that was a component of Olympic weightlifting in the early 1900s, long before women’s weightlifting was allowed.
There doesn’t seem to be a good explanation for why the center knurl is still required on men’s bars today even though it’s not required on women’s bars, but there are some pros and cons of using bars that have it, as I’ll discuss below.
Things To Look For In A Women’s Weightlifting Bar
For recreational lifters, it’s not crucial for a weightlifting bar to meet the exact specifications set forth by the IWF. But if you plan to compete, you should get a barbell to train with that meets the IWF standards.
The official IWF specifications for women’s barbells are:
- Must be made out of chromed steel
- Must have knurling in the grip section
- Must weigh 15kg (33lbs)
- Must be 201cm in length
- Sleeves must have a 5cm diameter and be 32cm long
- The grip section must be 2.5cm in diameter and 131 cm long
- Grip sections must be spaced 42cm apart
- Non-grip section in the middle must not have a center knurl and must be 19.5cm from the inner sleeve
- Must have yellow markings at each end and in the center of the bar (though this is for barbells supplied at competitions and isn’t necessary for a training bar)
- Sleeves must rotate freely
Tensile strength refers to the maximum load a material can handle before it breaks. The best weightlifting bars will have a tensile strength of at least 190,000. Anything less than that will be suitable for casual weightlifters or if you’re trying to save some money, but competitive weightlifters should look for a bar with at least that PSI.
I’ve already mentioned that a women’s weightlifting bar should weigh 15kg (33lbs). High-quality bars will be within 1% of that weight.
The knurling on a barbell refers to the patterned grooves that help you maintain a better grip on the bar. There are three different types of knurling:
- Hill – the least aggressive type of knurl because it’s flatter than the other two. It won’t hurt your hands as much, but it can be difficult to hold onto when the weight gets heavy.
- Mountain – the most aggressive knurling due to the rougher, sharper finish of the diamond shapes. It’s more common in power bars and deadlifting bars.
- Volcano – medium knurling that’s a cross between hill and mountain. It’s not as sharp as mountain knurling but offers a better grip than hill knurling.
What type of knurling you choose largely depends on personal preference. Beginners may find it easier to start with hill knurling until their hands get used to it while advanced lifters may prefer mountain or volcano knurling so they can better grip the bar when lifting heavier weights.
In addition to the type of knurling, you’ll also want to look at where it’s placed. Some bars have center knurling while others don’t, and as I mentioned earlier, center knurling isn’t allowed on women’s bars according to IWF standards.
However, the center knurling is helpful for squats because it helps prevent the bar from slipping on your back during back squats or down your shoulders during front squats. On the other hand, it can cause scrapes on your collar bones when you’re doing a lot of cleans.
If you’d prefer to train with a bar that’s more similar to what you’d use in competition, you should buy a bar without center knurling. But if you want some extra reassurance that it won’t slip when you’re doing back or front squats, and you don’t mind dealing with some cuts and scrapes on your collar bones, go for a bar with center knurling.
The knurl marks on a barbell are small non-knurled rings that provide a visual reference for where you should place your hands.
Some bars only have one knurl mark on each side while others have two. The ones that have one knurl mark are intended for weightlifting only while bars with two knurl marks can be used for both weightlifting and powerlifting.
For bars with two knurl marks, the inner mark indicates the max grip width for a legal bench press in powerlifting competitions. There is no grip width rule for weightlifting, but using the outer mark as a guide can help you achieve a consistent grip every time you snatch.
Rotation and Whip
Because the barbell changes directions quickly during snatches and clean and jerks, the sleeves should be able to rotate freely. This allows the plates to spin during the turnover in each lift instead of keeping them in a fixed position, which makes it easier for you to lift the weight.
A high-quality weightlifting bar will also have a decent amount of whip so it can flex and bend without breaking under heavy loads.
A barbell’s finish not only protects it from rust and corrosion but can affect your grip and the bar’s appearance as well. Three of the most common finishes are stainless steel, cerakote, and zinc.
Stainless steel bars don’t often have another coating, and the knurling tends to be more aggressive. But stainless steel is also a durable material that’s highly resistant to damage.
Cerakote is a ceramic coating that’s most often used on guns but has become a more popular finish on barbells. In addition to being corrosion-resistant, you can also get cerakote in different colors, and the knurling isn’t as aggressive as it is on stainless steel bars.
Zinc-coated barbells feel the best in your hands, but advanced lifters may find the knurling too passive. It also doesn’t have the rust- and corrosion-resistant properties of cerakote or stainless steel.
You may also find some bars that are coated in chrome, but typically only the sleeves are chrome-plated. Chrome is also rust-resistant and won’t oxidize from the metal inserts on your bumper plates.
If you’re looking for a high-quality women’s weightlifting barbell that will last for years and is IWF-certified, the Rogue 25mm Pyrros Bar is an excellent choice.
It is expensive, though. If you want a competition-style bar with a more affordable price tag, consider the Rogue 25mm Training Bar. It conforms to the IWF standards and is of similar quality to the Pyrros bar in terms of durability and performance.
Other Barbell Resources
- 8 Different Types Of Squat Bars & Their Uses
- 7 Different Types Of Bench Press Bars & Their Uses
- 5 Different Types Of Deadlift Bars & Their Uses
- Deadlift Bar vs Stiff Bar: Are They Really That Different?
- Barbell Sleeve Replacement: How Do You Fix A Barbell Sleeve?
- Ritfit Barbell Review: Tried & Tested With 20+ Workouts
- 10 Best Budget Barbells (That Are Still High Quality)
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.