It’s important to know that from the Olympic weightlifting, Powerlifting, CrossFit to the overall gym use – all of these kinds of lifting need different types of lifting bars. In this buying guide, we’ll cover 2 main points for you to find your ultimate bar:
- What to consider when buying a high-quality Olympic bar.
- Differences between the bars for Olympic lifting, Powerlifting and overall gym use.
What to look for in a new Olympic bar
What is a bar whip? It involves the oscillation as the bar changes direction fast, or happens when the barbell are quite elastic. You can notice a bar whip once the weights are heavy enough, so different bars could have various tensile features. It tells you how some can be stiffer while the others can be whippier.
When buying a new Olympic bar, the experts can base on 2 main factors to decide the amount of whip: the bar materials and diameter. However, the thickness of the weight plates can also affect the whip as well. For instance, the bumper plates are said to cause the bar to work differently as compared to the calibrated plates.
The weight bar sleeves create a part of every barbell and can decide the amount of spin of a bar. We all know a bar is made up of a shaft with swiveling ‘sleeves’ at every end. These sleeves will connect to the steel shaft via the use of bearing or bushing, which in turn makes the sleeves to spin. The bushings usually do not provide high friction and they’re commonly made of brass for longevity.
As for the bearings, they’re made of small needles or the metal balls that can roll the bar sleeves, giving a quicker and smoother spin. If you’re looking for a high-end Olympic weight-lifting bar, then choose the one having bearings. In other words, most general-purpose bars will prefer using the bushing to bearings in the bar sleeves.
Bar load capacity
The bar’s load capacity is properly the biggest factor determining your buying decision if it’s right or wrong. Consider the width of the plate at first. Most Olympic bars require less load since the overall capacity potential is less and the barbell needs to be wider to absorb shock well whenever you drop the plates unexpectedly.
Normally, there are 4 types of finishes used on a bar: Black Oxide, bright zinc, black zinc, and the hardened Chrome. The first one will need regular maintenance; the second one is a great fit for those who love corrosion-resistant feature; the third one is more corrosion-resistant than the second one and showing up at a black oxide look. For anyone who wants little or no maintenance, choose the last one.
While the chrome finish is the most expensive one, you can choose the right Olympic bar to buy the stainless steel finish that might be even better according to some people. It’s mostly found on the high-end lifting bars.
There’s a thing hardly talked about would be the bar knurling. It features 2 sets of diagonal grooves going into the opposite directions. If the knurling comes further, then the athlete can grip the bar narrower. Some bars made for squats tend to own a wide central knurling for bigger men’s easier use. If you’re a woman, then the bar will bear no central knurling, and in case it’s required for squats, then using a male bar would be better.
The lifters having tinier hands no matter if it’s male or female, the more ‘aggressive’ knurling would be more favorable.
Which weight bars are available to look for?
Olympic Weight Lifting Bars: They’re designed for 2 kinds of lifts: The snatch and clean& jerk. This type of lifting bar gets smaller in diameter to make a difference to your grip. Also, it’s not as aggressive as the weight-lifting bar so it can offer a good grip but it can damage your hands when the bar starts to spin at the moment of catching the lifts.
Powerlifting bars: The bars are perfect for 3 main lifting workouts: Squats, Bench press and deadlift. As compared to the Olympic bar, this one is much more aggressive to give a hand to the lifter in gripping the bar during the challenging attempts. The knurling also gets further than the last one for narrower grips during a squat or a deadlift.
Multipurpose lifting bars: The bars combine some elements of the 2 bars above and are perfect for newcomers and intermediate lifters – the Hybrid weightlifting bars featuring 2 sets of knurling markings that are perfect for doing back squats or deadlifts.
Once successfully deciding which category is the best for you, go to refine further the Olympic bars by price, whip, sleeves, finish, knurling and other special features. Don’t worry since you will choose the the right Olympic bar at last.