What is a Barbell?

A barbell, also known as a gym bar, is one of the most prominent weightlifting equipment.

Bar bells come in different types, each with its unique features and applications. The most common types include the Olympic Barbell, Trap Bar, Curl Barbell, and EZ Curl Barbell.

Consisting of a long metal bar that can accommodate weights attached at each end for varying levels of resistance

The central portion of the bar, where it is gripped, may vary in diameter and is often engraved with a knurled pattern to improve grip.

This knurling is a pattern of cross-hatching on the weight bar that helps to provide a more secure grip, especially during heavy lifts. The knurling can vary in depth and coarseness depending on the specific barbell and its intended use.

Lifting bar vary in length, with short barbell ranging from 1.2 meters (4 feet) to long barbell measuring around 2.4 meters (8 feet).

The weight of the lifting bar itself can differ, with Olympic types typically weighing around 45 lb bar and can go as low as 15 lb barbell.

Whether you aim to enhance your home gym or equip a professional facility, understanding the different barbells can help you make an informed choice in choosing your barbell set.

Weight lifting bar types.

Various gym barbell types may be found when shopping for lifting bars.

Olympic Bar

The Olympic 7ft barbell is designed specifically for Olympic weightlifting. It is a 45 lb bar that meets the standard weight used in competitive lifting.

The diameter of the sleeve is 50 mm, allowing for weights, which have a 2-inch hole.

Olympic bars are known for their rotating sleeves, which reduce the torque created by the bar and weights, helping to prevent injuries and allowing smoother lifts.

In addition to their rotating sleeves, Olympic barbells often feature a medium level of knurling to provide a secure grip without being too harsh on the hands.

This knurling pattern is designed to accommodate the snatch and clean and jerk lifts, which are one of the main movements of Olympic lifts.

Also, the flexibility or "whip" of a 45lb Olympic bar is a sought-after characteristic. This whip enables the bar to store elastic energy, which can be helpful during intense lifts, particularly when moving from the pull phase to the catch phase in Olympic movements.

In commercial settings, such as gyms and training centers,Olympic weight bars facilitate proper technique and safety in weightlifting training.

They are built to withstand heavy and repetitive lifting, making them a durable choice for facilities with a high volume of users.

Their durable build and compatibility with Olympic plates make them an excellent choice for any strength training regimen.

When selecting an Olympic barbell, it is important to consider the type of lifting and the exercises you will be doing, as this will ultimately determine the most suitable barbell for your needs.


The weightlifting bar, commonly referred to as the lifting bar, is essential in both commercial and home gyms; it can accommodate various exercises and training styles.

Constructed to handle heavy loads, it supports strength-focused workouts effectively.

This type of weight lifting bar is favored for compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, aiding in efficient muscle growth and strength development.

Compatible with standard weight plates, it allows for incremental loading, which is crucial for progressive overload and is a fundamental principle in strength training.

Additionally, there are variations like standard barbells, typically lighter and suitable for beginners with basic exercises such as curl barbells and fixed barbells found in commercial settings with pre-set weights ideal for drop-set workouts.


Powerlifting barbells are tailored for squat, bench press, and deadlift - the main lifts in powerlifting.

They differ from Olympic weightlifting bars by having reduced whip to ensure stable lifts relying on strength rather than speed.

The aggressive knurling on these power lifting bar offers a secure grip for heavy lifting. Their larger diameter accommodates bigger weight plates, providing more stiffness and durability.

Powerlifting barbells measure approximately 7 feet long, enhancing balance during lifts. The standardized weight of 45lb barbell allows for fair competition and ensures consistency for athletes.

Overall, these barbells are designed to optimize powerlifting performance, with distinct characteristics such as minimal whip, aggressive knurling, larger diameter, and a standard 45-pound weight.

These features of the lifting bar contribute to a controlled and secure lifting experience for powerlifters during competitions.


Barbells for women are characterized by their tailored dimensions and weight, optimized for comfort and performance.

The women's weight barbell typically has a lighter overall mass and a reduced shaft diameter, allowing for a more secure and comfortable grip, particularly for individuals with smaller hands.

The construction of the women's weightlifting bar considers the biomechanics and ergonomics suitable for women, aiming to enhance their lifting experience.

The design also often includes a distinctive whip, or flex, which can be advantageous in certain lifts by working with the natural elasticity of the bar during dynamic movements.

These features collectively contribute to a women's Olympic bar that supports the development of strength and technique in weightlifting disciplines.

Naturally, women’s barbells have the exact same characteristics as men's weightlifting barbells, except for their dimension and load capacity.

Women’s barbells are just as strong and high quality as your best Olympic barbells.


A specialized type of gym bars explicitly designed for the exercise known as the deadlift.

This deadlift bar is distinctively longer and thinner than standard Olympic bars, which allows it to flex more significantly under heavy loads.

The increased flex, often referred to as "whip," helps lifters by enabling the bar to bend and the weights to start closer to the lifter before they fully leave the ground.

This characteristic of the deadlifting barbell can significantly aid in the initial phase of the lift, potentially increasing the overall amount lifted.

The deadlifting bar typically features a more aggressive knurling pattern to ensure a secure grip, crucial for handling heavy weights during intense lifting sessions

Bench Press Bar

A bench press bar, typically used in strength training, is designed to accommodate the specific needs of bench pressing exercises.

These Olympic bench press bars usually feature a standard weight of around 45-pound bar and a length similar to a 7ft Olympic barbell.

The diameter of the shaft is typically around 28 to 29 millimeters, providing a balance between a firm grip and comfort during lifts.

The knurling on an Olympic bench press bar is moderate to ensure a secure grip without causing hand discomfort. This essential feature prevents the press bar from slipping during exercises.

Most bench press bars use bushings in their construction, which helps in providing a stable, controlled spin ideal for the slower, controlled movements typical of bench pressing.

The bar's flex or whip is minimal, as stability is key in bench press exercises to ensure safety and effectiveness in targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

ez curl bar

The EZ curl barbell is primarily designed for upper body exercises, particularly targeting the biceps and triceps.

EZ curl bars features a unique "W" or zig-zag shape to reduce stress on the wrists and elbows, promoting a more natural arm position.

The medium knurling on the EZ bar is suitable for high-repetition workouts and heavier lifts.

Weighing the same as a 25lb barbell, EZ curl bars have bushings in the sleeve design for a smooth, consistent spin, supporting controlled movements with minimal rotational force.

This is ideal for targeted muscle isolation in specific upper-body exercises.

The curl bar's minimal flex emphasizes stability and precision, making it a favored choice for strict-form exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions.

How to Choose the Best Barbell?

The answer depends on a few factors, including your experience level, what type of lifting you plan on doing, and what your overall goal is.

Choosing your barbell

Choosing the best bar bell for your needs involves carefully analyzing several key factors to ensure you select the most suitable equipment for your training requirements.

Initially, you must identify the primary purpose of the barbell. Whether you're gearing up for general fitness routines, dynamic Olympic weightlifting, or seeking a versatile multipurpose lifting bar, understanding the specific use will guide your selection process.

Your budget is another significant consideration. It not only influences the range of barbells available to you but also affects the quality and features of the bar you can afford.

Investing more typically yields a barbell with higher durability and better performance features than a cheap barbell, which is a must for those engaging in intensive training or competitive lifting.

A high-quality barbell should be able to handle frequent and heavy lifts without bending or breaking.

This is determined by factors such as the weight of bar material, construction quality, and design specifications, such as tensile and yield strength, which indicate the bar's ability to handle stress without permanent deformation.

Ultimately, the best barbell is a personal choice based on a compilation of one's specific needs, budget, and the lifting one plans to do. It's about finding the right balance that meets your requirements and enhances your training experience.


When planning to buy a barbell, the initial consideration should be identifying the kind of weightlifting exercises you intend to perform.

To put it differently, establish your objective. Are you a beginner in weightlifting, or do you participate in performance-focused sports such as Olympic lifting, Cross-Training, Bodybuilding, or Powerlifting?

If you're new to weightlifting, then you might want to start with a standard multipurpose Olympic barbell so you can learn the basics and get used to the barbell.

If you’re a seasoned lifter looking to narrow your fitness goals to performance such as powerlifting or CrossFit, then you might want to consider a powerlifting bar or a weightlifting bar.


Another important factor to consider is your budget. Barbells can significantly range in price, depending on the quality and features. 

If you're a beginner, you may prefer a barbell with fewer features while still maintaining quality.

On the other hand, if you're committed to weightlifting, consider investing in a barbell with a higher weight capacity or attributes tailored to your specific sport.

Although the latter option may be more costly, it is a valuable investment in yourself, your time, and your objectives.

Investing in a high-quality barbell is crucial for both your safety and long-term progress in weightlifting.

This not only ensures the barbell can withstand the rigors of heavy lifting but also provides you with a more consistent and enjoyable training experience.


Ensure that the barbell's durability aligns with the demands of your training regimen.

Weightlifting barbells, for example, are designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear, making them perfect for Cross-Training and Olympic lifting sessions.

Powerlifting bars, on the other hand, are designed to be significantly more durable, catering to the rigorous requirements of powerlifting exercises.

Durability is often correlated with cost; therefore, it is essential to take this into consideration when looking for a barbell.

It is advisable to invest slightly more in a reputable and robust barbell brand to ensure long-lasting performance and reliability.


The importance of a barbell's finish should not be underestimated. The finish not only contributes to the barbell's overall appearance but also plays
a crucial role in its durability and resistance to corrosion.

Various finishes are available, such as bare steel, chrome, zinc-plated, stainless steel, and Cerakote, each offering unique benefits and drawbacks.

Ultimately, the choice of finish should balance your preferences for aesthetics, maintenance requirements, and budget to ensure a satisfactory and long-lasting investment in your barbell.

What to Look for When Choosing a Barbell

It is important to carefully evaluate specific features when determining the most suitable barbell for one's needs.
Type of Steel

The material of a barbell plays a critical role in ensuring safety during weightlifting exercises, as it can mean the difference between a secure workout and a severe injury.

High-quality materials, such as high-tensile strength steel or stainless steel, provide durability, strength, and resistance to bending or breaking under heavy loads.

Additionally, a well-constructed barbell with appropriate knurling improves grip and stability, further reducing the risk of mishaps.

Type of Knurling

The knurling refers to the elevated, textured design of a barbell, which aids in gripping the bar. Generally, Olympic barbells feature a medium-depth knurl, while powerlifting bars possess a deeper, more aggressive knurl.

The choice of knurling depth is subjective, as some weightlifters favor a deeper knurl for an enhanced grip, while others consider it too abrasive on their hands.


The spin is the amount of rotation on the barbell sleeve. Olympic barbells typically have a high spin, while powerlifting bars usually have a low spin. 

The type of spin you choose should align with your training and fitness goals. Some lifters prefer a high spin for a smoother lift while others find it to be too bouncy.


The whip is the amount of flex in the bar. Olympic barbells typically have more flex, while powerlifting bars usually have less flex. 

Just like with the spin of the barbell, you have to align the barbell with your personal training goals. More whip is better for Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit exercises.


The coating is the protective layer on the barbell. Olympic barbells typically have a hard chrome coating, while powerlifting bars usually have a black oxide coating. 

Some lifters prefer the hard chrome for its durability, while others find it to be too slippery.

If you want a premium material, go with cerakote. This is the same protective coating applied to firearms. It makes the barbell look better and significantly reduces the wear and tear for years to come.

best barbell

Here is a list of our picks for the best barbell in the world.

Top barbells

Barbells come in a variety of designs tailored to specific exercises and fitness goals.

Some are ideal for explosive Olympic lifts, while others offer ergonomic support for arm-focused movements like curls and extensions.

For those looking to enhance their squatting experience without shoulder discomfort, options are available to reduce pressure on the shoulders.

Gym bars explicitly designed for deadlifts effectively pull heavier weights off the floor. Other variations promote neutral grips during specific exercises or challenge stability by offering a more excellent range of motion.

Whether you're new to weightlifting or have limited space at home, there are barbell options that cater to beginners practicing form without added strain from heavy loads.

Versatile bars accommodate various lifts for those seeking flexibility in their workouts.

Different designs target various muscle groups while minimizing strain on joints and supporting muscles.

Here are our top picks:

Best barbell set

Best Barbell for Home Gym:
 Competition bar - Ideal for its versatility, allowing for a wide range of exercises from squats to bench presses, making it perfect for a home setup where space and variety are key.

Best Olympic Barbell: Competition barbell stainless steel - Designed with precision and durability for Olympic lifting, featuring excellent whip and rotation for techniques like snatches and clean and jerks.

Best Budget Barbell: Black barbell zinc - Offers solid performance without the high cost, suitable for lifters who need a reliable barbell that meets general training requirements without breaking the bank.

Best Barbell for Women: Women's barbell - Is lighter with a smaller grip diameter and tailored to fit the ergonomic needs of female lifters, enhancing comfort and control during lifts.

Best Barbell for Beginners: Black barbell zinc - Features a balanced weight and moderate knurling, making it easier for new lifters to learn proper form and technique without overwhelming them.

Best Barbell for Deadlift: Stainless steel barbell - The deadlift bar is built with a stiff shaft and aggressive knurling to handle heavy loads, providing the grip and stability needed for powerful deadlifts.

Best Barbell for Biceps: EZ Curl Bar - The unique angles of the EZ Curl Bar allow for a more natural grip, enhancing comfort and effectiveness in bicep curls and other arm exercises

Best weightlifting bar

Olympic Barbells: Feature a rotating sleeve to reduce torque on the wrists and elbows during Olympic lifts, such as the snatch and clean and jerk.

EZ Curl bars: Ergonomic design minimizes wrist strain and targets arm muscles effectively during bicep curls and tricep extensions.

Heavy barbell: Boast a stiffer construction and aggressive knurling for a secure grip during heavy squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.

Squat bars: Unique yoke design alleviates shoulder pressure, allowing athletes with mobility issues to squat heavy without discomfort.

Deadlift Bars: Thinner diameter and increased whip assist in the initial pull from the floor, which is beneficial for deadlift-focused training.

Technique barbell: Lighter weight and standard dimensions make them ideal for beginners to practice form without the risk of heavy loads.

multiple grip barbell: Versatile enough to accommodate a variety of lifts, suitable for home gyms where space and budget for multiple bars may be limited.