If you are new to buying a barbell you can quickly find out that there is more to learn about them than you expected.
There can be strong lifters at the gym who just grab whatever bar is available at the time and eventually they notice one bar is their favourite. However, they may not quite sure of the technical differences and what it is about the bar that they like.
There is more to the design and construction of barbells than you might expect and it could even seem a little overwhelming. We aim to simplify it for you at the end. Sit back, grab a drink and you’ll never look at a barbell in the same way again.
How did buying a barbell get complicated?
Back in the day, bodybuilders and powerlifters were often the same people. “Get strong to get big” was the formula that stood for years. While it is still true, bodybuilding and powerlifting are separated, and we even have strongmen competitions. And of course, there is Olympic weightlifting as an independent sport.
Disciplines branched out, and so did the equipment. Specific needs of top-level athletes complicated even the most basic pieces like barbells. That is easy to understand, considering that barbells are still most widely used, especially in the powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting world.
Even the smallest variations in bar flexibility, knurling, or thickness make a world of difference. Different bars will allow you to lift more weight, hit muscles from new angles, or completely new muscle groups. With some, you will exercise with more comfort, with others you will do it safely. We will explain each type in-depth, in the section below.
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