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A good quality barbell is a necessity for any home gym, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money on one if you know where to look.
IFAST Fitness is a home gym equipment supplier that sells barbells, squat racks, and other pieces of equipment at affordable prices. I’ve been using the IFAST Fitness 7 foot Olympic weightlifting barbell for about six months, and I’m here to share my experience and give you my honest thoughts on it.
So is the IFAST Fitness 7 foot Olympic weightlifting barbell worth it? The IFAST Fitness Olympic barbell is worth it for casual lifters and home gym owners looking for an affordable all-purpose barbell. I’d even recommend it for male Olympic weightlifters who are new to the sport. But competitive powerlifters or weightlifters should opt for a barbell that’s tailored to your sport.
A barbell can make or break your workouts. Having a good one can make you excited to work out, but a bad one or one that doesn’t suit the type of lifting you do can leave you frustrated. It can also be expensive to replace a barbell, especially if you can’t resell your old one and get most of your money back.
In this article, I will:
- Provide a detailed overview of the IFAST Fitness weightlifting barbell
- Discuss the barbell’s pros and cons
- Talk about the barbell’s key features
- Share a list of things to consider when buying a barbell
- Offer alternatives to the IFAST Fitness weightlifting barbell
IFAST 7 Foot Olympic Weightlifting Barbell: A Detailed Overview
IFAST Fitness also sells a line of barbells. The barbell that most people would find most suitable for their home gyms is the 7ft Olympic weightlifting barbell.
Even though it’s called a weightlifting barbell, it’s an all-purpose barbell you can use for powerlifting, CrossFit, or general strength training in addition to Olympic weightlifting (the snatch and clean and jerk).
It weighs 45lbs, has a 28mm diameter, and comes with needle bearings instead of bushings (I’ll discuss the differences between the two later in this article), which give the sleeves a smooth, fast spin.
This barbell has a 700lb weight capacity. While this won’t be enough for elite powerlifters or very strong individuals such as strongman competitors, it’s sufficient for the majority of home gym users.
The barbell is made out of high-grade steel with a shiny chrome finish. The finish is shiny, which adds a sophisticated touch to a home gym, and is able to hold up well against rust and oxidation.
It also has somewhat aggressive knurling, which allows you to get a good grip on the bar. It has dual knurl marks – one powerlifting knurl mark to indicate the maximum grip width allowed for the bench press in a powerlifting competition and one weightlifting knurl mark to act as a visual reference for how wide you may want to place your hands for the snatch.
Like most all-purpose barbells, it doesn’t have a center knurl, which is something to consider if you like the extra peace of mind that the bar won’t slip on your back during squats.
Differences Between IFAST Fitness’s Barbells
IFAST Fitness sells different types of barbells:
- The 7ft Olympic weightlifting barbell I review in this article
- 4ft and 5ft training barbells
- A trap bar
- Four sets of adjustable barbells that you can take apart for storage and also come with adjustable dumbbells
Some of the 4ft and 5ft training barbells are meant for light strength training only. They have shorter shafts and sleeves than standard weightlifting barbells, which are 7ft long.
With weight capacities ranging from 220-400lbs, the training bars are ideal for beginners or those without a lot of space who don’t plan on lifting very heavy. They can only fit a limited number of plates and shouldn’t be dropped.
The adjustable barbells have a much lower weight limit at 110lbs. Like the training barbells, they have smaller shaft and sleeve diameters. The adjustable barbells are also not designed to fit Olympic-sized bumper or steel plates. They can only fit plates with a 1-inch insert (Olympic-sized plates have a 2-inch insert).
IFAST Fitness’s trap bar weighs 25kg (55lbs) and has a 1,000lb weight capacity. It’s a hexagonal-shaped bar with sleeves on each end that you step into to perform a lift. It’s most commonly used for trap bar deadlifts, but you can also do exercises like floor presses, bent-over rows, and overhead presses with it.
Like the Olympic weightlifting barbell, the trap bar has somewhat aggressive knurling, but it has a black finish that could affect how the handles feel in your hands.
All of the bars are made with high-quality steel. One of the training barbells is also coated with Cerakote, a durable finish that provides protection from rust and scratches.
IFAST Fitness 7ft Olympic Weightlifting Barbell: Pros and Cons
I’ve had the IFAST Fitness Olympic Weightlifting barbell for about six months now, and I’ve used it for my squat, deadlift, and bench press workouts, CrossFit workouts, and accessory lifts 4-5 times per week in that time.
The thing that stuck out to me the most when I first received this barbell was how fast the sleeves spin. I was impressed with the spin on the RitFit ToughFit barbell, but the sleeves on the IFAST Fitness barbell spin even faster and more smoothly.
Another thing I like about this barbell is how well it’s been holding up in my home gym. My garage gets very humid during the summer months, and I haven’t noticed any rusting so far. I wipe it and brush the chalk out of it when I’m done lifting, which has helped. And even though I’ve only had the barbell for a few months, I haven’t noticed any fading or dullness in the steel.
Storing a barbell properly can also help prevent rust. Check out some of my favorite ways to store a barbell.
I also like the barbell’s knurling. It’s more aggressive than the knurling on both my Rogue Bella barbell and my RitFit barbell, but it’s not so rough that my hands rip every time I use it. I already have some calluses built up on my hands, though. Beginners may find the knurling too uncomfortable at first.
Even though I do like this barbell, there are a couple of drawbacks to it.
One is that the steel feels thinner than the steel on either the RitFit barbell or the Rogue Bella barbell, and I questioned whether it weighed what IFAST Fitness said it weighed.
Confusingly, the product description on the website says the barbell weighs 46.2lbs. I weighed it using my scale at home, and it came to 44.8lbs.
I’m not sure where IFAST Fitness got the 46.2lbs weight from, especially since it’s a weight that’s not common for a barbell. But I was relieved to find out that it was just shy of 45lbs and not over, which makes tracking my lifts much easier.
The thin steel also made me wonder whether the barbell could hold 700lbs like IFAST Fitness claims it can. I reached out to the company about this, and they sent me the following video showing the barbell maintaining its integrity with 700lbs of weight:
With that said, a 700lb weight capacity may not be enough for certain lifters. I’d also recommend looking for a barbell with a higher weight capacity if you’re going to be lifting weights at the higher end of the 700lb limit often.
Another drawback is that the barbell isn’t available in a women’s version. Women’s weightlifting bars are shorter, weigh less (33lbs as opposed to 45lbs), and have a smaller diameter. The smaller diameter makes it easier for women, who typically have smaller hands than men, to use the hook grip when lifting.
As a female, I haven’t had any issues using the hook grip with this bar. But the fact that there’s no women’s version is something to note if you’re a competitive female weightlifter and want a 33lb (15kg) barbell to train with.
- Fast, smooth spin on the sleeves
- Fairly aggressive knurling (though it may be too much for beginners)
- Holds up against rust as long as you maintain it properly
- Doesn’t meet the specifications for a women’s weightlifting barbell
- Steel feels thinner than the steel on other barbells
- 700lb weight capacity may be too low for some lifters
If you want a 12% discount, use the code “powerlifting” when checking out.
IFAST Fitness Olympic Weightlifting Barbell: Key Features and Benefits
There are two features in particular of the IFAST Fitness Olympic Weightlifting barbell that stick out to me:
- Chrome-plated finish
- Needle bearings
The chrome finish on the IFAST Fitness Olympic weightlifting barbell gives it a sleek, shiny appearance. I like this because it helps brighten up the workout area in my dark, dingy garage!
Beyond appearance, chrome is rust-resistant, which is an important feature to look for in a barbell that will be stored in a humid gym or one that’s not temperature-controlled. And even though chrome can scratch or flake off, neither has happened with my barbell yet, and I’m not exactly gentle with my gym equipment.
I also highlight the chrome finish because it doesn’t affect the sharpness of the knurling in any way. Other barbells I’ve used that have finishes on them (whether it’s Cerakote, e-coat, or zinc) have softer knurling, which affects my grip. I don’t have that problem with the IFAST Fitness barbell despite the chrome coating.
Many budget barbells have bushings instead of bearings. Bushings are single cylindrical rings inside a barbell’s collar that attach the sleeves to the shaft. Bearings serve the same purpose but are made out of small steel balls or needles. Bearings spin much faster and require more maintenance, so they are often more expensive.
It’s rare to find a budget, all-purpose barbell that has needle bearings, so I like that the IFAST Fitness Olympic weightlifting barbell has them. The sleeves spin much faster and more smoothly than what I’d expect in a barbell at this price point.
I primarily only do snatches and clean and jerks in CrossFit WODs, but I’ve enjoyed using this barbell for those types of workouts. The fast-spinning sleeves make barbell cycling easier than it is when using a bar like the Rogue Bella barbell, which has bushings instead of bearings.
Alternative Weightlifting Barbells
If you’re looking for a barbell that suits your needs better than the IFAST Fitness Barbell, check out some of my favorite alternatives below.
The Rogue Fitness Pyrros bar is a top-notch weightlifting barbell. It’s certified by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and comes in both men’s and women’s versions. It was made in collaboration with Pyrros Dimas, a former Olympic weightlifting champion from Greece.
This barbell is pricey, and I’d only recommend it for competitive weightlifters who want a bar to train with that’s similar to one you may use in a competition. But it’s also a “buy once, cry once” purchase – you’ll have to pay a hefty price for it, but you’ll likely never have to replace it.
If something were to happen to your Pyrros barbell due to poor craftsmanship (not for things such as negligence or improper storage), you can take advantage of Rogue’s lifetime warranty to get it replaced at no cost to you.
Check out my full review of the Rogue Fitness Pyrros barbell.
For a women-specific barbell, I recommend the Rogue Fitness Bella bar. This barbell is used in many CrossFit gyms and is a top choice amongst females who work out at home.
It’s not a weightlifting-specific barbell and is made with bushings instead of bearings, but it’s still suitable for doing snatches and clean and jerks in CrossFit workouts. It’s also a good barbell to use for general strength training if you do additional lifting outside of your CrossFit training.
The Bella bar comes in several finishes, but I recommend the black e-coat or the Cerakote, which are rust-resistant and less likely to fade over time.
Anyone who’s looking for a barbell with a higher weight capacity than 700lbs would enjoy the Fringe Sport Midas’ Revenge barbell. It has a 1,500lb weight capacity, so it’s suitable for nearly any type of lifter.
It’s more ideal for the three powerlifts – squats, bench presses, and deadlifts – but you can also use it for CrossFit and general strength training. It has bushings instead of bearings, so you may notice that the sleeves spin more slowly than a weightlifting-specific bar. But it’s still a great barbell for anyone who only trains the Olympic lifts on occasion.
The barbell also has a unique-looking design, with a black Cerakote shaft and gold sleeves, that adds some style and personality to your home gym. However, it’s only available in 20kg (~45lbs), so women or lifters with small hands may find it difficult to use for snatches and clean and jerks.
Things to Consider When Buying a Barbell
Six things to consider when buying a barbell are:
- Your budget
- Type of lifting
- Bushings or bearings
- Knurling and knurl rings
1. Your Budget
Barbells range in price from less than $100 (for a cheap, flimsy product) to close to $1,000 (for a top-of-the-line, competition-ready barbell). But unless you’re an elite athlete or own a commercial gym where dozens of people will be using a barbell each day, you’ll be just fine with a barbell that falls in the middle of that range.
Having said that, I’m a big believer in the phrase “you get what you pay for.” I wouldn’t recommend spending less than $200 on a barbell because then you’re sacrificing quality, weight capacity, and durability. Even if you’re not a competitive athlete, a good barbell is necessary so you can work out safely and effectively.
I put together a list of inexpensive barbells that are still good quality. Check it out: 10 Best Cheap Barbells (That Are Still High Quality)
2. Type of Lifting
The type of lifting you do will dictate what kind of barbell you should buy. If you focus solely on powerlifting or weightlifting, you should get a barbell that’s specialized to that sport. They’re made to meet the specifications of barbells that are used in competition, and it’s good to train on a barbell that’s similar to one you’d compete with.
But if you do powerlifting and/or weightlifting in addition to activities like CrossFit, or if you do general strength training, a good all-purpose barbell will suffice. Multi-purpose barbells are designed to be used for various lifts, so you can squat, deadlift, bench press, snatch, clean and jerk, or do thrusters or other accessory lifts like bent-over rows with them.
3. Bushings or Bearings
As I mentioned earlier, bushings are cylindrical rings inside the collar of a barbell that attach the sleeves to the shaft. Bearings also attach the sleeves to the shaft but are made out of small steel balls or needles. Both bushings and bearings allow the barbell’s sleeves to spin, but bearings spin much more quickly and smoothly.
As such, bearing barbells are ideal for the Olympic weightlifting movements.
The snatch and clean jerk are more dynamic and explosive than squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. A barbell with sleeves that spin quickly is beneficial for those speedier lifts because of how quickly the bar has to change directions.
It also prevents a lot of force from being applied to your joints during the “catch” portion of the snatch and clean (where you either get the barbell overhead in the snatch or get it up to your shoulders in the clean).
Bushing barbells are better for the three powerlifts, which are more static in nature.
Fast-spinning sleeves can cause feelings of instability in the squat, bench press, or deadlift, so powerlifting-specific barbells are often made with bushings instead of bearings. However, some spin is still necessary because it prevents friction from occurring between the bar and the plates.
Most all-purpose barbells are made with bushings, though there are exceptions, like the IFAST Fitness weightlifting barbell. What kind of barbell you get will ultimately depend on what kind of workouts you’ll be doing with it.
If you don’t compete in weightlifting or powerlifting, having a barbell that doesn’t meet competition standards isn’t a big deal. I’d just recommend that the sleeves are at least 2” in diameter (the size of the inserts on most plates), the shaft is 25mm (for women) or 28mm (for men), and the bar weighs 33lbs/15kg (for women) or 45lbs/20kg (for men).
But if you currently compete or plan to in the future, you may want to train with a barbell that’s as close as possible to the standards of a bar you’d use in competition. Below are the barbell specifications for weightlifting and powerlifting competitions:
Women’s Weightlifting Barbell Specifications
- Must be made of chromed steel
- Knurling must be on the grip sections
- Has to weigh 15kg (33lbs)
- Has to be 201cm in length
- Should have a grip section that is 2.5cm in diameter and 131cm long
- Grip sections must be 42cm apart from each other
- Must have single knurl marks 19.5cm from each inner sleeve
- Must have no center knurl
- Must have yellow markings at each end and in the center (though this is more important for barbells used in competition and not necessary for barbells you’re training with)
- Sleeves have to rotate freely, be 32cm long, and be 5cm in diameter
Men’s Weightlifting Barbell Specifications
- Must be made of chromed steel
- Knurling must be on the grip sections
- Has to weigh 20kg (roughly 45lbs)
- Has to be 220cm in length
- Should have a grip section that is 2.8cm in diameter and 131cm long
- Grip sections must be spaced 45cm apart from each other
- Must have single knurl marks 19.5cm from each inner sleeve
- Must have a center knurl
- Must have blue markings at each end and in the center (if it is used in competition)
- Sleeves have to rotate freely, be 41.5cm long, and be 5cm in diameter
International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Barbell Specifications
- Length cannot be more than 2.2m
- Distance between the collar faces has to be between 1.31m and 1.32m
- Diameter of the barbell has to be between 28 and 29mm
- The bar plus collars must weigh 25kg
- Diameter of the sleeves has to be between 50mm and 52mm
5. Knurling and Knurl Rings
The knurling on a barbell refers to the etched pattern where you place your hands. The three types of knurling are mountain, hill, and volcano. Mountain is the most aggressive while hill is the most passive. Volcano falls somewhere in the middle.
How aggressive you want the knurling to be will often come down to personal preference. I recommend looking for a barbell with knurling that’s at least somewhat aggressive so it’s less likely to slip in your hands.
There are also knurl rings on almost all barbells.
Barbells that are made specifically for either weightlifting or powerlifting will have a single knurl mark. On weightlifting barbells, the knurl ring is meant to act as a reference point for how wide you want to take your grip on the snatch. On powerlifting barbells, the knurl ring indicates the widest grip you can take on the bench press in a powerlifting competition.
If you don’t compete in either weightlifting or powerlifting, the placement of the knurl rings doesn’t matter much. But you’ll also find that most all-purpose barbells have dual knurl marks, which makes them suitable for a variety of lifts.
Warranties ensure that you can replace a barbell without any additional cost if it’s damaged due to poor craftsmanship or manufacturer’s defects.
One-year warranties are common amongst barbell manufacturers, though some offer lifetime warranties. Before buying a barbell, I recommend shopping around and looking for brands that offer long warranties. They can save you hundreds of dollars if your barbell gets damaged even if you take care of it properly.
Other Barbell Reviews and Resources
- Rogue Pyrros Barbell Review: I Like It More Than Eleiko
- Rogue Bella Barbell 2.0 Review (Tested With 100+ Workouts)
- Deadlift Bar vs Stiff Bar: Are They Really THAT Different?
- BandBell Bamboo Bar (Ultimate Guide)
- Barbell Sleeve Replacement: How Do You Fix A Barbell Sleeve?
- 8 Different Types of Squat Bars and Their Uses
- 7 Different Types of Bench Bars and Their Uses
- Ritfit Barbell Review: Tried & Tested With 20+ Workouts
The IFAST Fitness Olympic weightlifting barbell is ideal for casual lifters who want an affordable but high-quality barbell. You can use it for weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, or general strength training.
Because it is a multi-purpose barbell, I wouldn’t recommend it for competitive powerlifters or weightlifters. I also don’t recommend it for anyone who would be lifting weights close to 700lbs often, as I’d be concerned that it wouldn’t hold up well to frequent exposure to such heavy lifts.
But if you’re a new lifter or you just don’t want to break the bank on a barbell, the IFAST Fitness barbell can be a solid addition to your home gym.
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.