While writing this GUIDE on “How to choose best barbell for home gym”, I dove too deep into finding out the best barbell for home gym.🧐 I just don’t want to pick any barbell online or offline, though. A barbell that perfectly FITS the needs and is something to buy once and never needs to think about replacing in a lifetime, is a key.🔑
This means I have to make a continued effort in searching the various options on the market. And whether I must look for a multi-purpose strength training barbell, powerlifting barbell, or an Olympic weightlifting barbell is the big question I ask myself❓
Something more I have to decide on is, what are the best barbell brands, where to buy barbells, which coating prevents rusting, barbell price in India, how many types of barbell is there, and so on and so forth. PERHAPS most importantly, the barbell construction or build.🏋️ After all, the barbell is the link that connects you to the weight, you’re lifting.
There are many types of barbells available on the market. All look fairly similar, but they have to serve for different styles of lifting, which makes it even harder 😅 for me to find the best barbell fit for your lifting needs.
But anyhow I managed to pick a few best barbell for home gym of all whose names I would reveal at the last section of the blog. (Also got Speciality barbells)
So which barbell to buy?
Here is the full BREAKDOWN of what you’ll get inside this Champion’s Guide. 📓
- How To Pick The Best Barbell For Home Gym?
- Barbell Basics: What To Look For In A Barbell Before Buying?
- 1. Purpose Of The Barbell:
- 2. Coating Material Of The Barbell:
- 3. Barbell Dimensions
- 4. Knurling Type To Choose
- 5. With/ or Without Center Knurling?
- 6. Sleeve Assembly: Bearing or Bushing.
- 7. Knurl marking – IWF/ IPF
- 8. Barbell Sleeves
- 9. No Whip, or More Whip
- 10. Tensile strength For A Barbell
- EXTRAS: Speciality Barbells
- Which Barbell Should I Buy, Among all?
- 👍 Where to buy barbells in India?
- 1. The Silver Tiger Bar 2.0 – Bullrock Fitness (The best Olympic weightlifting barbell)
- 2. The Sabertooth Bar – Bullrock Fitness (The best “powerlifting” barbell)
- 3. Toros Training Bar 1.0 Bullrock Fitness (a good “multi-purpose” weightlifting bar)
- 4. The Lady Turtle Bar – Bullrock Fitness 🐂(a good Women’s Barbell)
- 👍 Where to buy barbells in India?
(Please without a skip, READ what points I found USEFUL for you to know before selecting a barbell)
How To Pick The Best Barbell For Home Gym?
A popular saying goes, “You can get by without a lot of things, but cannot get by without a good barbell. – Art of manliness” Certainly, true. 😃
📣 It’s no secret that if you want to work on your deadlifts, squats, and bench press in the safety of your home, then the barbell is one piece of home gym equipment to hit different muscle groups with a wider grip that lets you lift weights with intensity to your maximum.💪 (which otherwise your home gym workouts have neglected.)
Well, with the right barbell in hand, you can also make an informed decision and plan whether to become an Olympian, Powerlifter, or a Bodybuilder. That thinking (or lack thereof) of selecting a good barbell can help you avoid big issues – like barbell bending, rusting, and breaking.
This guide will help you go about explaining every small or big thing that comes in the way of how to choose a barbell, and also making it easy for you to understand all complicated jargon, so you can become an informed consumer of a barbell.
Let’s get on. 🏃♂️
Barbell Basics: What To Look For In A Barbell Before Buying?
Barbell’s Buyer Guide uses some pretty niche terms which get thrown around more than a medicine ball. ⚽
🤔 Here are some 10 POINTS that would be an essential glossary that’ll make your decision about buying one easier.
Let’s get all in.
1. Purpose Of The Barbell:
The very first step is identifying for what purpose you want a barbell. Otherwise, you would end up selecting either a barbell that doesn’t make the end-to-end meet 🔚 or is marked overpriced by what is required.
Leaving you in anguish to ask yourself why I had made a purchase, which is no use for me. 🤯
What I found is a good barbell can range from anywhere around 10k – 29k 💰, 10k for a decent one, and 29k for more premium ones. Again, a premium barbell doesn’t mean it is the only right fit for you. ⛔ The PRICE factor might make you think the premium is the better, but that’s not certainly the case. It all boils down to your lifting style.
Then, how to identify my need❔
Simple, there are mainly 4 types of barbell rod found:
- Olympic weightlifting barbell
- Powerlifting barbell
- Multi-purpose barbell
- Women Barbell
Starting with 1…
A. Olympic weightlifting barbells:
The “oly” barbell 🏋️ is one made with a smooth, not so aggressive knurling, designed for gaining a GOOD pain-free grip and it also possesses high tensile strength to be tossed and dropped over a hard floor with no worries of bending.
Who uses Olympic barbells?
✔️They are most beneficial for crossfitters, people performing Olympic lifts, power cleans, jerks, and snatches. Mainly used in practice or on the Olympic events by Olympians.
Why only Olympic bars? Because they have a feature of fast-rotating bearings in the sleeves which help to lift the barbell with FULL explosiveness take advantage of a momentum created by barbell high flex/ or whip that it launches the barbell up in the air, where the athlete olympian catches it on their shoulder and over its head.
Though Olympic weightlifting has its bad name in gaining muscle and strength, as there are too low to be good REP RANGE and training volume is used which make this sport unpopular with bodybuilders, powerlifters, and most casual lifters. 😐
However, once we get big enough, Olympic lifts can teach us to generate force more rapidly – to explode that force into action. Where surely an Olympic weightlifting barbell has its special appearance. 🚀
How to spot them:
Olympic barbells have a few key features that make them great for Olympic weightlifting & CrossFit. Some common things to note while searching them are🔎:
- Dimensions: They normally weigh 20kgs and are 7.2ft long📏, with an eminently whippable diameter of 28mm.
- No center knurling: The center of the barbell is kept smooth so a lifter won’t scratch his collarbone when jerking the weights on its shoulder.
- Snatch marks: It has a clear mark in the knurling to help align our grips on the snatch.
- Mild Knurling: With many, (but not all) knurling on this barbell is smoother to prevent your hands from grinding. However, the knurling is also not too smooth, so it makes the barbell too likely to slip from hand while doing crucial lifts. While the knurling extends to the sleeves collars, as they are not meant to be racked.
- Thinner and flexible: The thinner the bar, the more flex/ whip it gains. Olympic barbells are made thinner (28 mm) than all other strength training barbells, making them springer.
- Expensive bearing: Olympic barbells use needle bearing, which is expensive of all it helps the weights spin smoothly as you carry & throw the barbell.
B. Powerlifting barbells or “Power Bar”:
Powerlifting barbells are used for lifts that stack the heaviest of heavyweights for an only aim to LIFT as much as one is capable of within a 1 RM range🦍.
The lifts performed with power barbells aren’t chosen for building muscle or to stimulate muscle growth as hypertrophy training programs do, where a lot of accessory exercises are involved.
Rather here in powerlifting, even so, there is much strong overlap in building a solid foundation for strength and gaining size. 💪 But here the safety of the lifter is at stake.
And even though you are not a powerlifter but do lift heavy, you still want an advanced thick barbell designed for heavy and deliberate lifting – that’s why Power Bars.
▶️ The Powerlifting barbells look fairly identical to an untrained eye (aside from often being black in colour) but they have an array of unique features which make them better for training muscle for a casual weightlifter than any other barbell in the commercial gym.
🔎How to spot them:
Look for the toughest and heaviest barbell in the gym, it must be a powerlifting barbell. What else to look at?
- Dimensions: With tremendous tensile strength, this barbell is made for the heaviest lifts. Thus they can weigh up to 25kgs, with 7.2ft in overall length📏 and a bigger 4.3ft length between inner faces of collars to load more weight plates.
- Aggressive Knurling: Most people often found this barbell rough with aggressive knurling, but this only whips out the problem of the barbell slipping out from hands in heavy movements like deadlifts, bench presses.💦
- Center knurling present: Squat is a center move of powerlifting, so power bars come with a strip of knurling in the middle to stop the bar from slipping down your torsos. But unlike a dedicated squat barbell, this barbell got two little strips of the smooth surface just near the middle center knurl so we didn’t scrape our shins while deadlifting.
- Bench press marks: The knurl marks indicate the bench press width that’s allowed in powerlifting competitions. Power bars have single IPF knurl marks, with center knurl. However, this doesn’t matter in hypertrophy training where we use different grip widths to train muscle from every angle.
- Thicker Diameter: Powerlifting barbells are the thickest of all (29 mm) which makes them durable, and secure with no flex/ whip when you perform your lifts.
- Bush bearing present: As in Olympic lifts where weightlifters throw the weight around, 🆓 freely spinning weights are important. This prevents the momentum of lift. But here powerlifters won’t need this feature and instead opt for a cheap bushing.
C. Multipurpose barbells or Weight Training Barbells
These barbells are a mix of Olympic weightlifting barbells and power barbells, making them great all-round barbells for improving general strength, muscle size, and aesthetics.
Similar to power bars, Multi-purpose barbells are also designed tough enough to be used for programs, where powerlifting lifts like back squats, bench presses are programmed alongside 🏋️♂️Olympic weightlifting lifts like the power clean, C&J.
They are smooth and just springy enough to be held on your shoulders comfortably, also they have enough grip to be combined for muscle building, strength gaining workouts.
▶️ Most times athletes assume that multipurpose weight lifting barbells are only meant for hypertrophy workouts & lighter bodybuilding lifts, but not for heavy powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting, but that’s not an actual case.
It is a one-barbell ideal for two styles of lifting📌. If your goal is to be bigger, stronger, and fitter and want a barbell that is good for power training and hypertrophy training. These are good for that, which can also outlift the benefits of other barbell rods.
🔎How to spot them?
- Dimensions: Barbell differs from other factors, all have a standard length of 7.2 ft (which is within IPF/USF competition standards📢) with a diameter of shaft 28.5mm.
- Mild Kurling: The barbell may come in moderate diamond knurl or a volcano knurl depending on a manufacturer which doesn’t affect grip strength any less and is as powerful if rugged on the skin can scrape it easily.
- Smooth center: The Knurl pattern is removed from the area where the barbell is racked, to reduce wear & tear. A smooth center is also provided so during the CrossFit movements, a lifter won’t scratch its collarbones.
- Bench press and snatch marks: The multi-purpose bar has dual IPF+IWF knurl marks, with no center knurl that provide flexibility to follow different gripping widths and also use it for CrossFit exercises.
- Medium Whip: Unlike power barbells, a considerable amount of whip is needed here since they are made to practice all kinds of lifts.
- Standard bushing: All quality barbells have bushing that provides the required spinning mechanism for lifts. Here, choosing bushing over the bearing helps reduce the overall cost of the barbell.
D. Women Barbells
The obvious thought around goes that a barbell designed solely for women is called a “Women barbell”👧. But that’s not quite a case I see here.
👉In actuality, these barbells are made short in length 6” ft, and usually, weigh 15 kgs with a thinner diameter (25mm) compared to all other barbell rod. Making them a little easier for shorter people to carry around.
So first of all, these barbells aren’t ideal for only women, they are ideal for all shorter men or women and skinny people who are new to weight lifting.
Specifically, only they would benefit more from these than any taller men/ women who are already quite strong. View them as short, light-weighted multi-purpose barbells, with the same knurling marks and revolving sleeves but made for shorter athletes.
The women barbell is designed to keep the average height difference between men and women in mind. If you are experienced and are used to training with a 20 kg barbell, then this won’t help, but for shorter people, these barbells would certainly make learning the lift easier.
Remember, they are not allowed for doing competition lifts. So if you are preparing for a competition these barbells you must avoid from the beginning.
Who should buy them?
Finally, there is no harm in using a women’s barbell👧. Most of the weights will come from the added weight plates, and this barbell will still be able to hold the 600 kgs weight easily.
Overall, a women’s barbell isn’t needed, but many people may prefer a lighter, smaller barbell. 😄
E. Standard Barbells
😄 For most people, the first barbell that catches their eyeballs when searching for a cheap barbell rod online is an old-school “standard barbell”. You could spot them if you have ever trained in your nearby old basement gym.
They weigh 7-13 kgs, with an even smaller diameter, and have poor knurling on. The weight plates fit poorly and rattle at the time when you move the bar or re-rack like it would spin/ fall out at any time and would knock you off balance.💥
If I have to describe standard barbells in one line it would go like, “An outdated standard 13kg barbell with unswirl sleeves”– Obvious observation.
Still, this barbell exists, and it wound up doing its job just fine. Because “load is load” and you would continue to gain muscle if you keep on increasing the load. May that come from a cheap barbell or a more premium “power barbell”. Even with the crummiest barbell, you could gain strength or muscle.
But the point I am making if you have an opportunity NOW, would you opt for new technology or stick with the old? ❌ Indeed, updating would make your lifting more FUN and safer.
Who should buy them?
Most newbies who are very short of budget and training experience go for these standard barbells just to take advantage of their newbie gains. But for any other experienced, casual lifter, this barbell sucks. Hard.
Any inexpensive multi-purpose barbell would be a better option for others. Anyday.
Navigate to the heading “Which barbell should I buy, Among All” at LAST in the blog to know the best barbell picks in each category.
✔️ For Whom Which Barbell Is Best?
If you’re into a certain sport, Olympic lifting or powerlifting only, going for a barbell designed for both doesn’t make sense. 🧠 Choosing a barbell should therefore be based on how it meets your needs and your style of training.
2. Coating Material Of The Barbell:
All types of barbells come in many finishes – chrome, zinc, black oxide, unfinished, and even stainless steel 🤩, which clearly has to do with the aesthetic appeal of the barbell but also with its vulnerability to corrosion and durability.
If you haven’t thought about it yet, start WORRYING about your barbell coating otherwise it would quickly turn into a pile of rust in the first few years of your purchase.😑
Fortunately, most barbells are made of durable material offering a lifetime warranty, which of course comes with a protective finish (such as black oxide), and plating (zinc or chrome) which protects them against all environmental adversities.
Each coating offers a different degree of protection against corrosion, which you must know.
What are the SAFEST options?
📢The safest options are listed in an ascending manner, while 1st is the least and the last is the most.
- Bare Steel
- Black oxide
- Bright zinc
- Black zinc
- Stainless steel
Which coating should you get?
Most serious lifters would agree on buying a stainless steel barbell as it has a longer life against corrosion, something which you can also pass on to your children. This makes sense, as barbells are to be used day-in and day-out. 🚨
However, for others, zinc coating barbells are a famous choice because of their lower price and durability.
One obvious question asked by many is:
Which shaft surface finish should you get b/w Black Oxide or Hard Chrome❓
Compared to Black Oxide, Hard Chrome is more oxidation proof and therefore less maintenance is needed. To help those who want to have a rather less aggressive grip and can’t pay much thought to maintain Bar, especially when you use the bar in a humid atmosphere, they should buy Hard chrome. (Like The Wild Rhino Bar 1.5)
However, the finish in Black Oxide gives a feeling of gripping a bare steel bar, which makes knurl more aggressive and more alive (compared to Hard Chrome). That is why it is a selection of the most serious powerlifters.
Those who can oil the bar shaft every fourth or two and want a more aggressive knurl should get Black Oxide finish like one in The sabertooth bar.
3. Barbell Dimensions
These numbers are just estimates, read your barbell specifications on the company site prior to buying any barbell.
- Length: All barbell lengths between 4-8 ft, with the most common Olympic barbell being 7.2” ft.
- Diameter: The diameter of a barbell varies from 25mm-32mm, most good (for men) Olympic barbells diameter go about 28mm.
- Sleeve Diameter: Both Olympic and powerlifting barbells have a sleeve of about 50 mm. There is no difference as sleeves are designed in accordance with bumper plates, and they are all made of the same diameters.
- Weight: 20 kgs is the standard weight of almost any Olympic barbell. Whereas powerlifting barbells which are meant for lifting extremely heavy can go around being 30 kgs.
4. Knurling Type To Choose
Knurling is a rough, cross-hatched pattern you see on a barbell. Most people favor gentle SOFT knurling as it would keep their hands softer 🤲 and so Gym owners without a thought pick the barbell, which comforts most beginners, casual lifters, and limits more serious lifters. 🤨
The barbell has a machine-pressed knurl and can be made rough depending on the manufacturer. However, a GOOD MILD TO AGGRESSIVE KNURL is important for grip and most high-end barbells have them.
Why is it important? Knurl is crucial to feel the bar in your hands and get an idea of what you like. (unless you are shopping barbell rod online- search for reviews)
What Are Many Knurling Types?
There are majorly 3 types of knurling to be found:
- Hill knurling is one in which the individual “diamonds” cut is present; these have rounded tops instead of points. It is LESS aggressive and difficult to hold onto. (Personal opinion: A bad knurl type, to go for.)
- Pointy Mountain knurling is a diamond shape knurl with a point that makes the most contact with the skin of the hand. A very aggressive knurl designed solely best for 1REP max in powerlifting bars. (The thought behind the idea of this knurling is if it feels more aggressive, then it must GRIP better, but this knurl is optimal for only powerlifters, leaving the rest 👋)
- Volcano knurling is the most optimal barbell knurling pattern.👍 Instead of sharp points like in pointy mountain knurling, volcano knurling has a rim that has four points of contact with the hand in the same amount of area vs one. This gives a SUPERIOR GRIP on the barbell and feels quite easy on the hands. (My personal knurling preference)
Overall, if you are looking for the best knurl type. I suggest one with the volcano knurling. As for most people, especially if you perform more Olympic movements, or deadlifts, bench press where the grip most matters. A bad knurl should not upset you.
5. With/ or Without Center Knurling?
Some bars have knurling which extends to the sleeves, while other barbells have a gap where the bar meets the sleeve. Some bars have center knurling present, while in another center knurling is absent.
Are companies too reluctant to not see the knurl doesn’t extend to the whole bar.😕 Or what the other case, maybe? No center knurling presence/ absence is made on a purpose.
Let me put 4 common cases in front of you, so a person playing a certain sport can choose from one:
- Olympic lifters🏋️♂️: Let’s say you do Olympic lifting and do more snatch with a wide grip, then get a barbell where knurling extends to sleeves. In C&J movements, a knurl in the center can do significant damage. So you must choose a barbell with no center knurling only.
- CrossFit trainees: If you do more CrossFit movement like front-squats, that too shirtless then avoid center knurling as there is a high chance of you scratching your neck while doing high numbers on reps.😭 In this case, you may want to get a barbell with no center knurling.
- Squatters: If you do more low bar back-squats, and need a bar that holds onto your shoulder blades firmly, then get center knurling. If not, and if you do only front squats, then get a barbell with no center knurling.
- Deadlifters: These people need not worry about the barbell with center knurling or without, because their exercise demands the grip wider or just equal to the shoulder width and you haven’t to place the barbell on your body part which can possibly lead to a cut or abrasion.🚨
6. Sleeve Assembly: Bearing or Bushing.
Unless you are extremely picky, the difference between bearing and bushing doesn’t really matter. 😏
Olympic barbells use a high-end bearing, such as needle bearing (that tends to combine bearings with bushings) which spins more smoothly helping your collarbones prevent excessive damage during the initial pull-up and catch phase of the lift. This also prevents the momentum of the lift from throwing the lifter off balance.
Who should BUY them? The bearing makes the barbell expensive and only worth it for elites and serious Olympic weightlifters. (If you got extra money to spend on bearings, this feature is a luxury.)
On the other hand, power barbells don’t care much about this feature, and instead, these barbells use cheap bushing– they are more affordable and offer low-friction reliable, safe spin that is required for an ideal powerlifting exercise.
You would find bushing in most of the barbells placed around your gym corners. It can save you thousands of rupees 💰 and you may find a better upgrade to a great-quality barbell instead.
7. Knurl marking – IWF/ IPF
Smooth rings/ Knurl marking sit approximately 36 inches apart from sleeves and help you line your grip width.
What are the knurling marks for different barbells:
✔️ Olympic barbell: In place of having marks in the knurling to guide you to line up your grips for the bench press, it has a single knurl mark to help us line up our grips for the SNATCH.
This makes it ideal for sprinters, soccer players, and CrossFitters. Of course, CrossFit is largely responsible for the recent rise in popularity of Olympic weightlifting. Apart from this, the Olympic barbell has a no center knurl to guide Clean & Jerk grip placement.
✔️ Powerlifting barbell: The Knurl marking indicates the maximum bench press width— Index fingers on the rings—that’s permitted at powerlifting matches (IWF/ IPF).
This isn’t important for hypertrophy training, since we’ll want to use a range of grip widths, but it’s useful to know how wide we’re holding the barbell. The power bar has an IPF-5 knurl mark, with a center knurl.
✔️ Multipurpose barbell: A multipurpose barbell mix for both CrossFit and bodybuilding. That’s why here you got dual knurl marks to indicate the grip for the bench press as well for snatch.
The bar has IPF+IWF knurl marks, with no center knurl in the middle that helps athletes to learn how to generate more power from Olympic lifting.
8. Barbell Sleeves
The sleeves are simply a place where you load the weight plates. Usually, the barbell with revolving sleeves is called an “Olympic barbell”.
Though the revolving sleeves element were originally developed for Olympic weightlifting barbells, they can also be used in powerlifting, deadlift, and CrossFit barbells. In fact, every good barbell has revolving sleeves including Curl Bars.
😃 Why Get Revolving Sleeves?
It fills up the purpose when you lift the barbell for doing any exercise let’s say clean & jerk or shoulder presses, and in the upward phase of the rep, if your wrist twists and stresses the revolving sleeves allows the plates to rotate as you move the bar.
Thus, this lessens the torque created by weight plates and gives you a more SECURE grip.
Revolving sleeves won’t matter when you bench press, as in here your wrist stays ideal.
🤔 Which Sleeve Finishing to select?
The second thing to take note of is whether to BUY grooved or ungrooved barbell sleeves.
- Grooved sleeves:
A tiny groove keeps weight plates in place if you choose not to secure them with barbell collars. A lot of elite lifters do not use barbell collars, especially on a bench press, because they have no problem at all in getting the weight up smoothly and balance it on the top.⚖️
Also not to mention most elite athletes practice only with a top-end barbell, which already has a groove element attached, making it a no-brainer🧠 for them stressing about the displacement of plates.
- Ungrooved sleeves:
Doing heavy sets, with unsecured plates and too with ungrooved barbell sleeves is dangerous. Imagine if you fail a heavy rep and lose your balance⚖️, the weight plates can slide and could drop with both barbells ends. You may not want this to happen.
Some say, attach a barbell clip/ collar but it is also not advisable to attach collars in some exercises, like bench presses. Why? In case if you want to back off from a heavyset, you can easily drop weights from sides and easily get out. 😮💨
Hence, the GROOVES can significantly help keep weight plates from slipping, notably, you can secure the plates also with barbell collars for other exercises, but fastening and detaching the collars is tiresome.
✔️ Better to go with a grooved sleeves barbell and make your LIFTING secure.
😌 How much Sleeve Length and Diameter?
A quality barbell would have a sleeve diameter of 2” inches. It is to be precise because if not, then good bumper plates may not fit well if this demission is off. Normally it would because all plates are made with the same diameter center hole (2”). It is a standard size.
While on the other half, standard plates are only made 1” in diameter, which does not fit well into the Olympic barbell. So before buying a weight plate, compare its center hole diameter with your barbell.
Loadable Sleeve Length is the measure of how much load can you place on each side of the barbell. If you have Olympic bumper plates and those too, which are thicker, then your loadable sleeve length will fall short. And if you’re a strong lifter, this would affect you.
Normally all barbells come with a sleeve length of 415mm (16.33 inch) which is good enough to raise the weight to 600 lbs or more.
9. No Whip, or More Whip
The barbell comes with a variety of whip (flexibility of the bar under load) options, ranging from 0 to a lot. A whip can either be effective or completely knotty depending upon your style of lifting.
So, how much whip is adequate for what style of barbell:
- Olympic Weightlifting bar- More whip, the better.
- Powerlifting Bar- No whip
- Crossfit Bar- Moderate whip
How Did I Decide?
Assuming you are an Olympic weightlifter, a moderate to high barbell whip is beneficial for snatch, clean, and jerk movements. How?
👉 A more experienced lifter bounces the bar off the chest and uses the momentum of the bend, coming upward to help catapult the bar into the jerk position. Which helps the lifter carry the bar overhead more effortlessly.
However, in powerlifting movements, such as low-bar squats, and deadlifts a more whip (or flex) can be disruptive.
▶️ Remember, the thinner the barbell is, the more whip it has. Choose the barbell with the thickest diameter (like Power bar) if you want LESS WHIP.
10. Tensile strength For A Barbell
The overall barbell strength is determined in 3 areas:
- Tensile strength
- Yield strength and
(Time to reopen strength of mechanics chapter of your engineering book📕)
- Tensile strength measures how much a barbell can hold without fracturing, or bending. The company will list their barbell tensile strength in the product specifications area. Find it. The higher tensile strength = good barbell.
- Yield strength measures how much pressure the barbell can handle before it takes to permanently bend and deform the bar. It is checked by adding weights on both ends. Unfortunately, most manufacturers don’t mention the yield strength of the barbell in specifications.
- Test, which means the barbell has been loaded and tested with weights, at which there was no breaking and bending. Measured in PSI.
What is a best-rated barbell?
Here is the best parameter to find out- in terms of Tensile Strength Ratings:
<150,000 PSI = Ehh (Decent for beginners)
150,000-175,000 PSI = Good (Suitable for most athletes)
175,000-200,000 PSI = Better (Well constructed barbell)
>200,000 PSI = Best
☑️ Considering the cost and quality, a barbell in “GOOD” tensile strength is perfectly acceptable and would last for a very long time.
EXTRAS: Speciality Barbells
Similar to other big home gym equipment, a barbell is a staple gym need. Once you BUY a barbell of your choice, your most requirements of building strength, or lifting heavy are well taken care of.
However, purchasing specialty barbells come with an added benefit➕, for you to do certain exercises better though.
Specialty barbells are exactly similar to their name “special”.😀 They offer specialty.
Understand these “special barbells” are not meant to replace your main barbell basics, but rather improve the maneuverability and adaptations of some exercises when we use them.
To explain it better Justin Ochoa writes in this blog 🖊️simplerfaster.com -- “For me, to not consider utilizing new, advanced equipment such as specialty bars would be like using Bell’s original 1876 telephone design instead of at least checking out the new iPhone.”
Whether it be tall athletes doing deadlifting and farmer walks with TRAP BAR, or powerlifters using SAFETY SQUAT BAR to allow for hand-assisted lifts, Specialty bars fill the void by allowing you to take a different grip on the shaft and therefore putting your arms and body in a position which is potentially safer.🚦
They aren’t essential, but these can make lifting quite more enjoyable.
☑️ What are some Specialty Barbells to Buy:
1. Curl Bars (EZ Bars)
Curls bars are popular for bicep training💪🏻. They are shorter, lighter barbells that are bent in EZ shape from certain places, giving you an angle instead of a straight bar to grip onto. The main feature, though, is it allows you to take a grip with different degrees of pronation.
For most people, different hand positions allow them to make their biceps engage in a slightly different way and feel a better mind to muscle connection vs using a straight bar. While being extra easy on joints and tendons.
✔️ Besides training for the biceps curl, an EZ bar™️ is also used for:
- Overhead extensions
- Skull crushers
- Preacher curls
- Barbell pullover
- Reverse curls
- Underhand rows
📣Good enough, you must have done all of these exercises in the gym and probably for doing them you have picked up the CURL BAR. Yes?
Many other curl bars are also available, like straight 5ft curl bars and 4 ft curl bars apart from EZ bars that work similar and smaller muscle groups such as your biceps and triceps. Because a 7ft, 20 kg barbell is already heavy, you can not use it to train smaller muscles that can’t bear too heavy a load.
Should you BUY them?
Curls bars are not necessary, and they won’t necessarily help you to gain muscle or strength but allow for more different arm exercises. They are cheap, and the second-best barbell for your home gym to buy especially for curls. 😄
Recommendation: BullrocK Olympic Utility EZ Curl Bar
This 4-feet curl-bar barbell is compact and convenient enough for all gyms and homes, which allows you to keep workouts shorter and more efficient. It easily holds weights up to 300 LBS which is sufficient for any curl bar.
2. Trap bars (or Hex Bars)
Trap Bar is for hardcore believers💪, these are the hexagonal barbells where you have to stand in the middle of, and the two prongs that go in front of your two legs with handles allow you to grip keeping a more neutral hand position while maintaining an upright back for fewer injury chances.
A trap bar can be used for farmer walks, shrugs, deadlifts, but we can’t use them for squatting, bench pressing, or curling, which is what most people are training for in the first place. Decent enough.
✔️ Other significant advantages of using a Trap Bar are:
- During a deadlift, it puts the upper body in a slightly more upright position.
- Neutral grip where handles face each other.
- Raised handles to keep shorten the range of motion of our deadlifts, boon for people having limited hit mobility.
- The Ankle and Free Knee movement make the trap bar deadlift more like a squat.
- Trap bar puts less stress on your lower back, reducing the risk of injury.
- A safer, deadlift alternative.
Should you BUY the Trap Bar?
Maybe… they do cost more than a curl barbell, but less than your Power barbell. If you are good at doing deadlifts with a “powerlifting barbell” and shrugs/ farmer walks with your heaviest dumbbell, you could SKIP them. If you do perform only deadlifts, most of the time this barbell is a must ADDITION.😊
A decent trap bar would cost anywhere around 10k💸, but know they aren’t essential, and they won’t replace your straight barbell. Have them if you want to have them.
Recommendation: USI Universal Trap BAR
Here is the most affordable Trap bar made by USI, weighing 20 kgs. It has Mild steel box pipe construction, with fine knurling on raised and flat grip/handles. You can easily load it up to 280kgs for your max deadlifts.
3. Safety Squat Bars
Safety Squat Bar– barbell of powerlifters.💢 Where other barbells are straight, a safety squat bar looks like some kind of saddle bag of lifters that compels people to talk and click pictures.📷 But actually, it is a more similar and advanced prototype of a cambered bar that is solely designed for doing squats.
▶️ Where’s squats is a challenging exercise in itself, and for most big powerlifters due to their lack of shoulder mobility to completely reach back and grab a standard barbell from a rack.
Safety squat bars actually make things safer, by adding handles to the front of the barbell. The second advantage is by moving the center of gravity forward, safety bars free up space in the hips🍑 and allow for a deeper ROM.
😄Well, I know there is another way to obtain both of these advantages. One is to keep the barbell in front of us instead of attaching a holding handle. Well, I get why powerlifters love these barbells, and they are definitely great, but for most of us, front squatting is a better option.
What more I see is they come with attached safety pads for the shoulder and back of the neck to avoid bruising or marks from the barbell. But does it have any use?
=> A good resource: “You are at injury-risk if you use Squat Shoulder Pad” Read it after completing it here.
Who should BUY them?
For most people, this type of barbell is too specialized, and only useful when doing only very heavy back squats. 💹
Otherwise, you can quickly work around the drawbacks of the back squats by doing squat variants or performing front squats. so we don’t really have a problem that needs solving here. If you are setting up a powerlifting gym, you can ADD them.
Recommendation: USI Safety Squat Bar
If you are a powerlifter and like lifting often and heavy without a spotter. The handles would allow for more hand-assisted lifts and that’s where this barbell will stand to that amount of use.
4. Multi-Grip Swiss Bar
The Swiss bar, or football bar, is a multi-grip bar is well known for offering a wide variety of grip options for different pressing movements varying from slightly pronated to totally neutral. This puts less tension on your wrists, shoulders, and elbows by keeping your hands🤚 in a neutral position.
➡️ Which ultimately translates to fewer injuries and, for others, improved mind-muscle relation. These two factors contribute to better muscle and strength gains. Because slight grip variation changes the muscles, we are emphasizing with our lifts.
What’s not true with Swiss bars is it can be only used for pressing.❌ Instead, it can also be used for the same purposes with row variations including seal rows, or as a varied-grip pull-up bar, stacked on top of a power rack.
Most swiss bars offer at least 3 neutral grip options, along with 2 angled grips at different widths. An athlete may press the Swiss bar vertically or horizontally, performing the exercise standing or sitting.
Who should BUY them?
Swiss bars are only good for a few exercises, and none of them is essential. A curl bar also offers the same variability. Still, swiss bars work for a lot of overhead athletes. 🤝 (For me I use them for Arm presses as a finisher)
Recommendation: USI Knurled Multi-grip Barbell
For around 7000, you would get the USI brand swiss barbell built with 11 gauge heavy metal construction with many grips options. It has 35cm loadable sleeves and is compatible with all Olympic plates. Ideal for bench press, triceps & pectorals Rackable.
Which Barbell Should I Buy, Among all?
If you still can’t decide, then get EASY. This GUIDE is created to make things SIMPLER for you.
There is no doubt that for most people multi-purpose weightlifting barbells align closely to the benchmark of getting strong and gaining hypertrophy.
It is sensible to avoid Olympic barbells which have more flex (whip), have milder knurling, and are more expensive in regards to a casual lifter.
But for Olympians, Olympic barbells are what they love. But for casual lifters (presumably YOU) between the multipurpose gym barbells and powerlifting barbells, the decision is hard to make.
Unless you are lifting extremely heavy, and are a strong athlete, “power bars” are the obvious choice. Because you get volcano knurling in both the barbells that make the bar shaft easy to grip, therefore the last DECISION will be yours.
What would be my Pick?
For me (a POWERLIFTER), powerlifting barbells are best suited for my goals, but still, the only reason I intentionally BUY a Multi-purpose barbell because I also do train with front squats/ bench press, and most other accessory bodybuilding exercises for gaining strength, with stellar looks and flexibility. 😎
Like one in the image below.
📣 Where CrossFit workouts aren’t good for gaining maximum strength but overall great for improving general fitness. And Olympic weightlifting is overall good for athletes who wish to gain explosive power. If you might want to experience Olympic weightlifting, then also a multi-purpose barbell is one that doesn’t limit you.
You know my PICK now. ✔️ (Multipurpose Barbell)
Wait, have you forgotten about beginners barbells?
Oh! Not at all.🙇🏻 You guys can always choose to BUY a Women’s Barbell or a Specialty barbell, which is built with an ambition to encourage young lifters or newcomers by transforming them into good lifters. They are just made lighter (10-15kgs) and provide a convenient firm grip of 25mm for starting.
But it seems to be illogical, why go for a barbell that won’t grow with you as YOU turn stronger with time. After a time you would surely think of an upgrade, maybe after 5, 6 years. But you will!
👍 Where to buy barbells in India?
There are many best barbell brands in India like Bullrock, USI, Domyos, Challenge, and many other imported international brands to choose from. But trust me, Indian barbells are nowhere behind Eleiko, REP, or Rogue and match in compliance with the best IWF standards.
But among all…
👉Here are my 4 Best Barbell For Home Gym Recommendations:
1. The Silver Tiger Bar 2.0 – Bullrock Fitness (The best Olympic weightlifting barbell)
This is a gold-standard barbell to buy, for athletes who enjoy the classic silver look of the barbell. Assembled in Nashik, Maharashtra, The Silver Tiger Bar 2.0 represents the highest level of precision engineering with a wide range of new features—including stronger 190K PSI. It is the shining example of how a great Olympic barbell can be.
2. The Sabertooth Bar – Bullrock Fitness (The best “powerlifting” barbell)
Fully machined and integrated Black oxide coating on the shaft, the 29MM Sabertooth bar features a 205K PSI strength for stiff steel shaft (coated with black oxide), single powerlifting IPF-5 knurl marks, and center knurling. The bar’s knurl comes with a 1.5mm aggressive Volcano knurl, that digs extremely well but doesn’t rip the skin – making it perfect for frequent 1RM lifts.
3. Toros Training Bar 1.0 Bullrock Fitness (a good “multi-purpose” weightlifting bar)
The Toros Training Bar 1.0 reigns as the nucleus of the barbell universe. Bullrock Fitness has set a noble quest and set out a barbell that is best for both powerlifting & CrossFit style, available at you at a home gym price. This 28MM bar features an IPF+IWF knurl mark, with no center knurl, 150K PSI tensile strength rating, and bright chrome coating. Overall, a well-constructed barbell from a company with a reputation- which withstands the test of time.
4. The Lady Turtle Bar – Bullrock Fitness 🐂(a good Women’s Barbell)
For women athletes, the 15Kg, 25MM Lady Turtle Bar features the unique polymer-ceramic composite coating made red, IPF+IWF knurl marks with 1.2 mm diamond knurl, and an incredible 221k PSI tensile strength. In other words, this barbell is nothing less than what big guys use, only made lighter to make you learn the difficult lifts till you upgrade. It is priced reasonably for its quality.
1. What is the best barbell to buy in India?
Best Olympic Barbell:Challenge Olympic barbell for Men
Best CrossFit barbell: Bullrock- “Toros” The training bar 1.0
Best budget barbell under 6000: 1RM 7ft olympic barbell
Best barbell for squats:Bullrock- The Wild Rhino Power Bar
Best weightlifting barbell: Decathlon- Domyos weightlifting bar
Best powerlifting barbell: Bullrock- The sabertooth Bar
Best barbell for women in India: Bullrock Fitness- The Lady turtle Bar
2. How long is a 20kg barbell?
A standard Olympic 20kg barbell length around 2.2 m or 7 ft and that’s going to be pretty indifferent across just about every Olympic barbell you can find.
A 7 ft length of barbell works best to do almost any barbell exercises, like squats, deadlifts, bench press, and even landmine twists. However, a smaller 6 ft barbell is ideal for shorter athletes.
3. What should be the ideal Loadable Length of the barbell?
That is going to differ between 15 and 20 kg bars, about 12.5 inches to 16.5 inches of loadable length. The loadable length of the sleeve only comes into play, firstly when you have very thick bumper plates, secondly when you are a strong athlete who is deadlifting very heavy.
Otherwise, if you do also have the smallest loadable length barbell with you, the good news is you can easily load it up to above 400 pounds.
4. Can a barbell break?
With the wrong barbell, you can have big issues- they can wrap, bend, and rust. No, they don’t break unless the metal which the strength training bar is made of is too brittle. Which normally is not the case.
However, the mishaps are bending which results because of missed lifts, and more or less, cheap manufacturing.
5. Is it worth buying a barbell?
Economically, buying a barbell makes sense, where due to the corona outbreak the fitness gyms were temporarily moved, and the gym re-opening date doesn’t seem to be near. Having some private equipment keeps you clean.
And if too are stressed out about using the standard, bad knurling barbell of the gym, a one-time investment in a good barbell can put a smile on your face. A decent barbell price in India would cost you near about 12-20k rupees easily, and if you are lucky enough to buy a second-hand barbell from OLX or eBay, you can bag a heavy discount.
6. What is the women’s barbell?
Barbells designed for women are normally 15kgs instead of being 20kgs for men. They are made smaller because of smaller heightened people to carry around and maneuver. Women’s barbells are designed to keep the average height difference b/w men & women in the account.
However, they’re not just meant for only women, shorter men can also have much benefit from using them than taller women. There is no downside in using a women’s barbell as such.
After researching so extensively on the topic🔬. I know, searching for the best barbell in India is a difficult task unless you have good knowledge & experience in lifting with the different styles of barbells or at least with the ONE you want to buy.
Barbells certainly bring their own unique value and purpose to a training program, they are necessary to get a good workout in, and I can’t imagine not having them in my programs.
🛍️Before buying a barbell, we all must understand equipments doesn’t make us better athletes, but if we know how to leverage them by selecting the best of what an athlete needs, then surely it helps us to find an edge in our training.
Now you are done with selecting barbells, next thing you need is Gym Weight Plates. 🙏
I hope that this Barbell Guide: How to pick the Best barbell for home gym in India provides you all the necessary information to decide your ideal barbell to buy.
My question for you is, Which barbell type, and brand you love the most and plan to buy a unit? (For me, it’s The Toros training bar 1.0) Comment below yours.
Thanks for reading!
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