Welcome to the Olympic and Powerlifting Barbell Review. If you’re in the market for a quality barbell, or you’re looking to learn the basics of barbell construction, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a man, woman, or youngster; or whether you’re looking for an Olympic bar, power bar, CrossFit bar, or just a general purpose bar, you will find information on a large selection of the bars currently on the market. With any luck, this article will help you find the perfect bar for you and your garage gym.
In an effort to stay current with new equipment and to keep up with changing prices, this page is updated regularly. Last update: August 2014 (Added: the updated 190k Chan Bar, Rogue Ohio Power Bar, Ivanko OB-20KG. Updated: Texas Power Bar, Eleiko Powerlifting Bar.)
Barbell Guide Table of Contents
- Understanding Barbell Specifications (intended for new lifters)
- The Barbell Review & Shopping Guide
- My Top Bar Picks
Understanding Barbell Specifications
Barbell Differences for Men and Women
Barbell’s are not the same for men, women, and junior lifters. They vary in weight, shaft diameter, and in some cases overall bar length. Most bars are men’s bars, but many major manufacturers offer a women’s version of their more popular bars, and less frequently they offer a youth version. Below are the typical specs for each type:
- Men’s Barbell: weighs 20 kg (~44 pounds), has bar shaft of 28-29 mm, and length of 2.2 meters (7.2 feet).
- Women’s Barbell: weighs 15 kg (~33 pounds), has bar shaft of 25 mm, and a length of 2.01 meters (~79 inches). The reduction in overall length comes off the sleeves.
- Youth Barbell: weighs 10 kg (~22 pound) , has bar shaft of 25 mm, and length of 60-67 inches. The reduction in overall length comes off the sleeves.
Type of Bar (Olympic vs Power)
There are three major types of barbells available; Olympic bars, Power bars, and dual-marked bars. Power bars are designed for heavy deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. They are very rigid, stiff bars that do not store elastic energy, making them a poor choice for the Olympic lifts. Power bars have their own unique knurl markings that differ from those on the Olympic bar.
Olympic barbells are designed for the two explosive Olympic lifts; the snatch and the clean & jerk. Olympic bars are generally thinner and more flexible than Power bars (28 mm vs 29 mm), and they store more elastic energy (referred to as whip) that is used to the lifter’s advantage when performing heavy clean & jerks. The markings on an Olympic bar are also a couple inches further out from center than the markings on Power bars.
There is a third type of bar that has become commonplace these days, and that is the dual-marked weightlifting bar. These hybrid bars are intended to be used as a general-purpose bar; a bar that is suitable for Olympic lifts, but can also handle the slower and heavier power lifts. This type of non-specialized bar is generally the best choice for most beginner and intermediate lifters and CrossFitters, and more times than not what you will find in a gym or affiliate setting.
Both the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) and the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) specify that a men’s barbell should have center knurling. While you will always see center knurling on power bars (for heavy squats), it is not that uncommon these days to find Olympic bars offered without the center knurl despite the IWF standard. Having this center knurl is really just about personal preference. Just pay attention to product descriptions if this attribute matters to you.
Sleeve Assembly: Bushing vs Bearing
This describes what components are used to allow the sleeves to spin on the shaft. Bushings are a low friction material (usually bronze) placed between the shaft and the sleeve, while needle bearings spin more smoothly but typically increase the cost of the bar. Both mechanisms allow the sleeves to spin, but bearings allow for a smoother, quieter spin. Nearly all dual-marked/general purpose bars and powerlifting bars are bushing bars. Bearings are generally only found on high-end Olympic bars. Check out this discussion if you’re curious about these two mechanisms.
Measured in PSI, this is the breaking point of the barbell. Avoid barbells with no tensile strength offered in the specifications as that normally means it’s too low to want to point out to the consumer. 150k is a good minimum, 180k is a number you’ll never need to worry about. Ivanko Barbell suggests you never buy under 190k (which covers all of their bars and eliminates a large portion of their competition, so take that with a grain of salt). While higher usually means more expensive, that is not always the case. The York B&R Barbell, for example, is 205k PSI at only $295, and lately even many bars in the $200-$300 range are hitting 190k+ PSI.
Shaft and Sleeve Finish
This is the protective coating on (or not on) the bar. Bare steel requires the most maintenance but has the most natural feel. Black oxide offers slightly more oxidation protection than bare steel, but still requires some maintenance. Both bright and black zinc offer even more oxidation protection, but quickly lose their luster, while satin, hard, and polished chrome offer almost full protection from oxidation but can increase the cost of the bar significantly. Read reviews on bars with finishes you’re interested in to see what people think of the feel.
Sleeve Design (Snap Ring vs Pin and End Cap)
This is the method by which the sleeve is secured to the bar. Both of these methods work well and I wouldn’t worry too much about which your preferred bar has. If however you do want to learn more about how these both work, try this article. I do suggest that you run away from any bar with a hex bolt sticking out of the sleeve. You shouldn’t come across a hex bolt if you’re shopping for a reputable brand; you’re likely only to see this on barbells offered in box stores and a good number of the inexpensive bars on Amazon, for example.
The Barbell Review
All the bars listed here met a couple minimum requirements. First, they all have a stated PSI tensile strength, not just a max static weight. This eliminates pretty much every cheap box-store barbell. I strongly believe that buying a $100 bar is an absolute waste of money, and I refuse to pretend otherwise by recommending anyone even consider buying one. If you’re lucky, you’ll just outgrow a cheap bar in a few months and just be out the $100. If you’re unlucky, you’ll break the bar during a lift and hurt yourself.
Second, all these bars are manufactured by well established, reputable companies that stand behind their products. York, Rogue, Eleiko, Ivanko, and WerkSan are all established players in the industry and they all offer warranties.
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28 mm Olympic Weightlifting Bars
Olympic Weightlifting Barbells are designed for the two explosive lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk. True Olympic barbells are 28 mm bars (25 mm for women’s) and they will almost always have bearings in the sleeves. However, there are Olympic training bars (like the Vaughn) that utilize bushings instead of bearings to keep the price down. Training bars are a great way to get under a true 28 mm Oly bar for less cash than what a bearing bar will cost you.
The Vaughn Olympic Training Bar (New)
The Vaughn Bar was developed by two-time Olympian, Chad Vaughn in an effort to show that a high-quality true 28 mm Olympic bar can be manufactured and sold at a reasonable price. At only $399 including shipping, this bar is an amazing deal for any aspiring Olympic lifter or avid CrossFitter.
For starters, this bar has an very high 216,000 PSI tensile strength. This is an impressive number that is typically reserved for bars like Eleiko, Ivanko, and so forth. The shaft and collars are coated in a beautiful black manganese, and the sleeves are micro-grooved chrome. While this bar is not a bearing bar, it has proprietary bushings that deliver a very smooth and reliable spin. In other words, it spins like a bearing bar, but is priced as a bushing bar.
I have a review for this bar. You can learn much more about it there and also see a video demonstration of the fancy sleeve spin. Great bar and great price.
Rogue Olympic WL Bar
Rogue recently designed their own line of Olympic weightlifting bearing bars to compete with the high dollar imports like Eleiko and WerkSan. The Rogue Olympic WL Bar is an American-made bar that definitely appears to be comparable in quality to many of those imports but at a fraction of the price. It’s a little lower PSI that the Euro bars, but it’s half the price of the Eleiko and 190,000 PSI is still nothing to scoff at.
The Rogue WL bar is your standard 20 kg, 28 mm Olympic bearing bar and it is available in three different finishes; bright zinc, satin chrome, and polished chrome. All three of these finishes are also available either with or without the IWF center knurling. This bar is made with the highest quality American steel available and it has a minimum tensile strength rating of 190,000 PSI. Like the Eleiko and Ivanko bars, all of these bars are straightness tested before they leave Rogue.
If you want the Rogue Olympic WL Bar in a murdered out, all black zinc finish, take a look at the Froning Bearing Bar. It is the exact same bar, only it’s a signature bar. Price is the same. There is also a women’s version of the Olympic WL Bar. You can see that here.
Burgener Bearing Bar from Rogue (updated)
The Burgener Bearing Bar is a great barbell for both Crossfit and true Olympic lifting. This 28 mm, 20 kg Olympic bar has moderately aggressive knurling, no center knurling, and is offered in either a bright zinc finish or a polished chrome finish.
As the name implies, this is a bearing bar. It has 5 top-of-the-line German needle bearings in each sleeve. This bar has snap rings and a PSI tensile strength of 190k. This bar is guaranteed for life and starts at $525. This is one of my favorite bars hands-down.
I should note that this bar was recently given a stronger shaft and is now identical to the Rogue Olympic WL Bars, so if you prefer Satin Chrome or you want a center knurl, you can always turn to that bar instead.
Ivanko OB-20KG Olympic Bar
You will not find a nicer bar made in the United States than Ivanko bars. No other company more thoroughly tests their bars. Each and every bar is tested for defects in the steel with no less than three separate tests: x-ray, mag, and ultra-sonic. Ivanko bars are also straightness tested to ensure no deviation greater than 0.006/ft over the length of the bar exists.
The OB-20KG Olympic bar is a polished black oxide, true 28 mm Olympic bar. The steel is rated at 200,000+ PSI. The MSRP for this bar is about $650 (it’s actually less on Amazon thanks to seller competition), which is extremely reasonable for an Ivanko bar. There is also a stainless steel version of this bar, the OBS-20KG Olympic Bar and that bar is rated at 218,000 PSI and sells for over a grand. Both are fantastic bars.
WerkSan Training / Competition Olympic Barbells
WerkSan Olympic Bars are IWF certified Olympic bars which means they adhere to all IWF specifications. WerkSan bars are premium bearing bars that will add 10% to your PR’s. Ok that’s not a fact, just a myth. Maybe 5%.
The WerkSan Olympic bars are available both in a men’s 20 kg bar and a women’s 15 kg bar, and each version is available as either a full competition bar or a training bar. You’ll only save about $80 by going with the training bar, so why bother. Comp is $960, Training is $880.
Eleiko Training / Competition Olympic Bars
The Eleiko Olympic WL Barbell is the Olympic Barbell. All Eleiko Competition and Training bars are individually tested in accordance with the Eleiko quality policy and provided with a serial number. These two bars are both 20 kg with 28 mm shafts. The Competition Bar is calibrated while the Training Bar is not. Eleiko bars use needle bearings and they have an impressive 215k PSI tensile strength; that Swedish steel. The training bar sells for $854 and the competition bar sells for $1044.
Eleiko offers both of these bars in 15 kg women’s versions as well. The Eleiko Women’s Olympic Barbells are the same except for the shaft thickness of 25 mm and the weight. Pricing is also the same as the men’s bars.
Zhangkong (ZKC) Competition / Training Olympic Barbells
You may recognize the name from the Beijing Olympics; ZKC Competition Olympic Bars are IWF-certified barbells that are a little tougher to come by stateside than the other high-end imports. Though fear not, word is that there will be a new American distributor for the entire ZKC catalog in the near future. I do not have technical data on the ZKC bars beyond that which is made obvious by the certification. Prices range from $770-$1000 USD before shipping and taxes.
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Many of the most popular bars on the market right now are dual-marked bars. These bars will allow you to perform both the explosive Olympic lifts and the slower power lifts all on the same bar. These bars are generally bushing bars, and the bar shaft is usually 28.5 mm. These bars are much more affordable and versatile than the Olympic bars, great for most athletes, and ideal in a garage gym setting.
The Bomba Bar V2
The Bomba V2 has the same dual marked, 20 kg, 28.5 mm barbell shaft as the original Bomba. It’s a 165,000 PSI bar with oil-lite bushings and snap ring sleeve design. The changes made to the V2 include knurling that now goes all the way to the sleeve, and the width of the sleeve shoulders were cut down by about half; giving you more loadable area on the bar. Nothing too drastic has changed with the V2 really.
I like this bar as a beginner and intermediate CrossFit bar, and for lifters on an extremely tight budget. Advanced lifters may want something with a slightly higher rated steel and more reliable sleeve rotation; perhaps the Vaughn Bar if you’re already a Fringesport fan. Warranty is for one year.
The Rogue Bar 2.0 (updated)
As of July 2014, The Rogue Bar is now The Rogue Bar 2.0. This bar has been drastically improved over the original, and the price has been lowered by about $20. Considering that both the price and the craftsmanship of the original Rogue Bar was already nothing to complain about, this is fantastic news.
So what’s the same? The Rogue Bar 2.0 is still a 20 kg, 28.5 mm bar with dual Olympic/Power markings (with no center knurl); the coating is still black zinc for the shaft, and bright zinc for the sleeves; and the bar is still guaranteed for life not to bend or break.
What’s new with the 2.0? The steel is of a much higher quality. The PSI tensile strength of this bar has been improved to 190k from the previous 155k. The bronze bushings have been replaced with composite, self-lubricating bushings that should extend the life of the bar and keep those sleeves spinning. Machined grooves have been added to the sleeves so the bar can be customized with colored bands. Finally, the price has been lowered from $274 down to $255.
The Rogue Bar 2.0 should be on most people’s short list when shopping for a barbell. If your budget is in the under $300 range, this is an outstanding bar for the price. Additionally, the original bar had an unbelievable
65, 5-star review on Rogue’s site, and I see no reason that these updates wouldn’t keep that perfect rating alive and well. Only complaint I’ve heard so far is that this is a loud bar when dropped, but still much quieter than other bars in its price range.
*The Rogue Bar was replaced at the CrossFit Games with the new Rogue Olympic WL Bar. Bye-bye.
The Bella 2.0 (The Women’s Rogue Bar)
This is the women’s 15kg version of The Rogue Bar. The Bella 2.0 has similar construction to the Rogue Bar (bushings, snap rings, zinc coating and 190,000 PSI steel). However, the shaft is smaller at 25 mm, the Bella still uses bronze bushings, and this bar is slightly shorter at 79 3/8″. The difference in length comes off the sleeves, not the shaft. This is a great women’s barbell, and a steal at $215.
Vulcan 15 kg Women’s Bearing Olympic Barbell
Say hello to the only women’s Olympic barbell I know of to have bearings and be priced around $300. The Vulcan 15 kg Women’s Olympic Barbell is an impressive 191,000 PSI, 25 mm bearing Olympic bar with a completely blacked out oxide coating. This bar has a nice amount of whip, has four needle bearings in each sleeve which give it a very smooth spin, and couldn’t be any more affordable than it is.
If you’re wondering how a bearing bar costs only $300, Vulcan explains that they were able to keep costs on production down by using a black oxide coating versus black zinc; and by lowering the PSI rating of the steel used for the bar to 191,000. I must say, lowering to 191,000 is nothing! You will not find another women’s barbell with both 190k+ PSI rating AND needle bearings for less than $500. This beast is a steal.
The Vulcan 15 kg Women’s bar has a lifetime guarantee, has medium knurling depth (no center knurl), and is dual marked for Olympic/Power lifting. FYI: Black oxide offers better protection against oxidation than bare steel, but does require an occasional oiling with 3-in-1 to help keep the bar looking new.
The Rogue Ohio Bar (updated)
The Rogue Ohio Bar is a 20 kg, dual marked bar with a 28.5 mm shaft. It is available in four different finishes including satin hard chrome, black zinc, bright zinc, and black oxide. This is a bushing bar with snap rings, and while the tensile strength used to vary by finish (150k – 165k), the Ohio Bar got an upgrade recently that raised all variations of the bar to 190,000 PSI. This bar has no center knurling and ranges in price from $282 to $365.
The Ohio Bar is Rogue’s flagship bar; the first to be manufactured entirely at the Rogue campus in Ohio. It currently has a flawless 5-star rating based on 45 reviews, and tons of positive feedback for this bar can be found all over the web. However, unless you intend to purchase the satin chrome version of this bar, I suggest you consider The Rogue Bar (above). Both have the same shaft, but The Rogue Bar is priced better and has bad ass collars.
FYI: The following bars are identical to the Ohio Bar, only with different finishes: The Castro Bar (bare steel), The Froning Bushing Bar (black zinc), and the Rogue Operator Bar (olive drab). I go into some detail about why this is here.
Burgener and Rippetoe Men’s Bar by York
If you’ve seen any other posts from me about Olympic Barbells, you’ll already know I love this bar. This bar is a beast for the price. The B&R Bar is 20kg, has a 29 mm shaft, is marked for both Olympic and Power lifts and DOES have a center knurl. This is a sintered bushing bar with an end cap and it has an amazing 205,000 PSI tensile strength. This is a bare steel bar and does require maintenance. This bar is a steal at $295.
I consider the B&R to be one of the best priced bars on the market, and ironically the only York bar that interests me. This bar is one of the strongest bars in its price range, but again, it requires maintenance. Read my review on this bar here.
*Aug 2014: FYI, I still use this bar in my gym more than any other*
Burgener and Rippetoe Women’s Bar by York
The Women’s B&R Bar is a little different than the men’s. While still a bare steel bar with bushings and end cap sleeve design, the weight is 15kg, the shaft is 25mm. It is still dual marked, but there is no center knurling. The tensile strength is 195k and it’s a few bucks less at $285. Like the men’s B&R, this is a very versatile bar; great for women who Olympic lift/CrossFit and still like to get under a heavy bar inside the rack as well.
The Matt Chan Bar (updated)
The Chan Bar is one of Rogue’s most unique and versatile bushing bars, and it’s on my short list of new bars to get. To be completely honest, it’ll probably be my next bar purchase; in maintenance free chrome, of course!
The Chan Bar is a 28.5 mm dual marked bar with a 190,000 PSI shaft. It is available in two finishes; satin chrome or black zinc. The knurling on the Chan Bar is more aggressive than the rest of the Rogue bushing bars, and that knurling is set further away from center to allow for a wider stance with deadlifts. The Chan bar also has a passive center knurl for squats. The zinc Chan is $295 and the chrome is $375. 5-star rating, of course.
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Power Bars are designed for the big three powerlifting lifts: the bench press, deadlift, and the squat. Power bars are knurled and marked a little differently than Olympic bars (the marks are closer to center). A power bar should always have the center knurling.
Power bars are also more stiff and rigid than an Olympic bar due to the large amount of weights that gets put on the bar. Additionally, powerlifting bars don’t need the sleeves to spin as smoothly and are almost always bushing bars.
Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar
The most talked about Power Bar around. The TPB is 86″ long with 15″ sleeves, 4″ center knurling, and it has a 28.5 mm shaft. It’s 20 kg and has a 1500 lb test capacity. Don’t assume that because find a bar called Texas Power Bar that it is the real TPB. The name wasn’t copyrighted so all kinds of knock-offs exist (Troy, Ader, etc.) Look for the state of Texas decal at the end of each authentic TPB. The Buddy Capps TPB is finally easy to buy on Amazon.
Rogue Ohio Power Bar (new)
The new Ohio Power Bar is a 205,000 PSI power bar with a 29 mm shaft. It’s stiff, it’s rigid, and it has practically no whip whatsoever. This bar is not entirely released yet, but there is expected to be both a 20 kg version of this bar and a 45 pound version of this bar. Additionally, there will be a choice between bare steel (awesome) and a black / bright zinc finish. Hats off to Rogue for finally updating the Rogue Power Bar; this is a great looking bar at an even better price point. $250 bare steel, $275 zinc.
Rogue Power Bar
The Rogue Power Bar has been replaced with the Rogue Ohio Power Bar (above). Tootles to you, old Rogue Power Bar.
Westside Power Bar
The Westside Power Bar is a 29 mm powerlifting bar designed to the specs of Louie Simmons, the founder of Westside Barbell. This bar features an aggressive deep knurl and does have center knurling. The shaft is 29 mm thick and the bar weighs 20 kg. The shaft is black zinc and the sleeves are bright zinc. This is a bushing bar with snap rings and it has a strong 205k PSI tensile strength. This is a sweet powerlifting bar for $375. There is also an Econ version of this bar that has pinned sleeves to keep the price down ($315).
Eleiko Powerlifting Bars
Eleiko offers two powerlifting barbells; the competition and training PL bars. Both bars have bare steel shafts and chrome sleeves. They are 20 kilo bars with a 29 mm shaft and they have bronze bearings specifically designed for powerlifting. The training bar is $949 and the IPC-certified competition bar is $1099. I challenge you to tell me the difference other than the certification. Both come with a decent 10 year warranty, but I’ll bet you’ll never need to call that in. Knurl is said to be very aggressive.
Ivanko OBX-20KG Powerlifting Bar
Bust out the wallet. The Ivanko OBX-20KG Power Bar is 20 kg and has a 28 mm thick shaft. This bar is PSI rated at over 200k. Each Ivanko Barbell is mag tested, ultra sonic tested, and x-ray tested against defects in the steel. These guys are serious about putting out quality bars. This bar has a black oxide coating and the center knurling is 4.75″ rather than 4″. This bar is sweet, IPF approved, and expensive.
$667 $605 on Amazon! I’ve been drooling over this bar for a while now.
This bar is also available in stainless steel which gives it a PSI rating of 218,000. That model is $
1259 $1155. What a bad ass looking bar. I’ve given Amazon links because you cannot buy Ivanko bars direct from Ivanko, and the company that is selling these on Amazon is reputable. Plus, you can’t ask for a better return policy than Amazon.
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Training and Technique Bars
Technique Bars are for training and practicing form. Some are steel, some are aluminum. Most have limitations of some kind. Read carefully any product description to make sure that the bar can handle what you intend to put it through. Never leave weights on a technique bar when not in use.
Eleiko 10kg Olympic Technique Bar
The Eleiko Technique Bar is 10 kg with a 25 mm shaft. The shaft is chrome and the sleeves are aluminum. This bar is great for practicing Olympic lifts form. It has a maximum load of 40 kg. Remember to never leave weights on technique bars when not in use. Approx $474
Rogue C-70 Technique Bar
The Rogue C-70 is a unique technique bar. It is a 35 lb, shorter version of the Ohio Bar. It was designed for use in the Crossfit Games where people are in close quarters. This bar is 70″ vs the standard 86″ and the space between collars is 43″ vs the standard 52″.
While shorter and lighter, this is still a real barbell. It has a 28.5 mm shaft, is marked for both Olympic and power lifting, and has a PSI tensile strength of 150k. This is a bushing bar with snap rings and no center knurling. $265
Note that this bar cannot be racked in a power cage or squat stand.
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I am blown away by the limited number of youth barbells (quality youth barbells) available. If you know of any that you’d like to recommend for this review, let me know in the comments.
Rogue Junior 10kg Bar
The Rogue Junior Bar is a 10 kg bar with a 25 mm shaft. This bar is shorter with an overall length of 66.75″, but the distance between collars is the same as a competition bar; only the sleeves are shorter at 7.5″ each. This bar is a bushing bar with snap rings and has an impressive 155k PSI tensile strength (impressive for the size). It is dual knurled for Olympic and Power lifting but has no center knurling. $174.99
York 25 LB Black Oxide Junior Bar
The York Junior Bar is a 25 lb bar with a 30 mm shaft. The shaft is black oxide coated and the sleeves are split chrome. The bar is only 5 ft long so it cannot be racked. I can find no PSI rating for this bar, but due to the lack of Youth bars on the market I decided to include it anyway. $136
Olympic Barbell Review Summary
So the take away is this; there are a lot of solid bars on the market. Just about every manufacturer offers something unique. Rogue has the biggest variety of bars and the most options for bar finishes, Fringesport still has some of the lowest prices on entry level and intermediate bars, and Eleiko, Werksan, and Ivanko still produce some of the best damn bars in the world for prices that force us to buy someone else’s bars. There’s something for everybody.
My Pick for a Competitive Crossfit Bar
Taking money out of the equation, I would go with the Burgener Bearing Bar for a Crossfit bar. I really like the Rogue bars for the money. $525 for the zinc Burgener is a fantastic price for a true 28 mm needle bearing bar. The steel is strong, there is no center knurling, it has a lifetime warranty, and it’s a Burgener. Plus, if you’re serious about competing in CrossFit, it’s probably in your best interest to train on the same bar brand that you’ll compete with; and this is a Rogue Olympic WL Bar; the new bar of the CrossFit Games.
My Pick for a Crossfit Bar on a Budget
This one is easy, especially now that the price came down and the steel got upgraded. The new Rogue Bar 2.0 is the obvious CrossFit bar on a budget, and I would say that for women who want a 15 kg bar, the Bella is just as obvious (although that Women’s Vulcan Bearing Bar is a nice alternative). There is a reason these fill garage gyms and CrossFit boxes all around the world.
My Pick for a 28 mm Olympic Weightlifting Bar
One of the best bars for serious Olympic lifting is the WerkSan Comp Bar. However, it’s a thousand dollar bar, so I’m going to make two other recommendations that are more in line with the average person’s budget.
Of the bars that are not pushing a grand, I have two favorites. Again, the Burgener Bearing Bar is just an obvious choice for me. While less unique than it used to be (it is now identical to the Rogue Olympic WL Bars) it is no less bad ass. Rogue did a great job bringing reasonably price, high tensile strength, Olympic bars into the market.
I also am finding myself very into the Vaughn Olympic Training Bar. While not a bearing bar, the bushings are very smooth and the 216,000 PSI steel used for the shaft is on par with Eleiko and Ivanko bars. This bar is also far less expensive than the Rogue Oly bars, so that may be the deciding factor for some. I actually reviewed the Vaughn. There is a video showing the insane sleeve spin for a bushing bar.
Both are great bars, and both are priced very competitively for their specifications. Honestly, I haven’t heard anything bad about any of the bars I discussed in the Olympic bar section. Matter of fact, there was a York needle bearing bar listed there that I only heard bad things about so I simply removed it.
My Pick for General Weightlifting
Chan Bar, hands down. Two different price points available to fit different budgets (zinc or chrome), great knurling, strong steel, and a brilliant knurl pattern for pulling. Just an all-around, well-designed bar for those who do it all; Oly, power, and a variety of accessory lifts. High-five Matt Chan when you see him at the club.
My Pick for Powerlifting
Honestly I love both the stainless and the black oxide Ivanko, but the price on the stainless is just too rich for my blood. I have been seriously considering buying the black Ivanko Power Bar though. For those not wanting to spend $600, I’d suggest the Westside Power Bar, or wait to see the new Rogue Power Bar that’s currently in the works. I hear the TPB is brutal on the hands. I’m not overly impressed with Eleiko Power Bars; I don’t think they provide enough technical data for a thousand dollar bar.
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