With more and more people working out at home and looking to add barbell movements to their workout, there are many options to choose from, and it can be hard to know which will be the best choice. We’ve gathered some reliable Olympic barbells to help you find the right one for you.
Why should you buy an Olympic barbell?
A quality Olympic barbell will be able to withstand hundreds (or thousands) of pounds of weight and frequent use. They’re typically longer and heavier-duty than standard barbells and are often chosen for commercial gyms. Stable lifts like the strict press or the back squat are often performed with this barbell, but it’s the dynamic lifts that truly deserve the high performance of an Olympic bar. Dynamic lifts like the clean or snatch require fast and smooth rotation to be safe and effective. If you’re into lifting, an Olympic barbell should serve you well.
What should you consider when purchasing an Olympic barbell?
- Weight: Olympic barbells are heavier than standard barbells. They usually weigh 45 pounds; however, some brands offer slightly smaller specs to be more comfortable for women. You will also find some Olympic barbells with shorter lengths and smaller weights. These can be helpful for both less experienced athletes and smaller spaces.
- Bearings vs. Brushings: These are two different ways that a barbell sleeve is able to rotate or spin. Brushings allow the sleeves to rotate during lifts, but there is still some friction. Brushings are best suited for standard lifts like the deadlift, press, or squat. Bearings, on the other hand, provide a quick and smooth spin and are essential for Olympic lifting exercises like the clean or snatch. If you’re not training with these lifts, you can choose an Olympic bar with either mechanism.
- Knurling: Knurling is the type of grip that’s patterned into the barbell to create more friction. It prevents sweaty hands from slipping on the metal. Obviously, this is an important safety feature, and different bars will have different depths and placements of knurling. Deeper knurling can feel quite rough on the hands, while shallow knurling can wear down over time. A medium depth, like 1.2 millimeters, is good for providing an effective and comfortable grip.
Are Olympic barbells for everyone?
Almost anyone who can safely lift an Olympic barbell can use one. It can be used in various exercises, so it works for different people. The biggest concern for those new to using this piece of exercise equipment is using proper form. Since most Olympic barbells are 35 or 45 pounds, they are already a considerable amount of weight and need to be used carefully to avoid injury. That means it may not be the best place to start for some beginner weightlifters; however, it can certainly be worked up to.
Synergee Regional Olympic Phosphate Barbells
Pick the barbell fit that's right for you to maximize your training.
Pros: This barbell comes in two sizes. The men’s size is 45 pounds with a 28-mm bar. This size fits comfortably for a larger hand and is 10 pounds heavier than the women’s bar. The women’s bar is 35 pounds and has a 25-mm bar. This smaller grip is noticeably more comfortable for a smaller hand. Both sizes are made from alloy steel and are available in chrome and black phosphate coatings. Five needle bearings per side make rotation fast and smooth for Olympic lifts. Two knurl marks on each side serve as guides for both standard lifts and Olympic lifts, making setting up in a perfect position easier. This barbell has the ideal grip with 1.2-mm knurling.
Cons: The black phosphate coating may be more noticeable if it chips or fades over time.
Bottom Line: This Olympic barbell comes in two sizes, making it a more accessible product for home athletes. The alloy steel bar can handle heavy weight on a daily basis, and regardless of how much weight is added, it has a smooth spin for Olympic lifts.
Elevens Olympic Barbell
Personalize your home gym with one of these Olympic barbells.
Pros: Choose a barbell based on weight capacity, length, or color. With several different options to choose from, you can likely find exactly what you want. The Olympic barbells come with bearings for smooth Olympic lifts. The diameter of the bar is 28 mm, and it has 1.2-mm knurling for great grip. The bar is constructed from alloy steel, and the colored or chrome coating is made to withstand tough, frequent workouts.
Cons: This bar doesn’t feel as high-end as others due to its coating. The colors may start to fade and wear after some time, but the bar will still withstand heavy loads and usage.
Bottom Line: This is an affordable Olympic barbell that allows you to add extra personality to your home gym.
Olympic Barbell Weight Set
This convenient set is affordable without skimping on quality.
Pros: If you own a barbell, you must also own clamps for safe and effective workouts. This set includes two clamps when you purchase one of their Olympic barbells, making this an even better value. The 5-foot bar weighs 18 pounds, the 6-foot bar weighs 25 pounds, and the 7-foot bar weighs 34 pounds, making each option lighter than the usual 45 pounds. Whichever length you choose, the diameter of the bar stays the same at 28 mm.
Cons: For those used to working with a 45-pound bar, it will take some adjustment to get used to a smaller bar. Each sleeve is 11 inches, which makes sense since they are shorter bars, but this may also affect how much weight you can add to your bar.
Bottom Line: This bar holds up well to rigorous workouts and can be used effectively for both Olympic lifts as well as standard weight training. This way, you can use the bar that fits not only your size and workouts but also your gym space.
CAP Barbell 6-Foot Solid Olympic Bar
This is a shorter bar that fits nicely in a smaller home gym.
Pros: The common length for an Olympic barbell is 7 feet, but this one is 6 feet and still delivers on the other high-performance expectations of a quality bar. The extra foot can make a difference if your home gym is a smaller size. This Olympic barbell weighs 28 pounds, has a 28-mm diameter, and has 11.5-inch sleeves, making it slightly longer for adding on weight than other shorter Olympic barbells.
Cons: While the sleeves rotate like other Olympic barbells, these rotate because of brushings, not bearings. Bearings make for a smoother spin, so you will feel some slight friction when performing Olympic lifts using this barbell because it uses brushings. The weight of this barbell is an oddly low one at 28 pounds. After getting used to different calculations, it won’t be an issue, but those experienced in calculating with the more common 45-pound bar will need to get used to it.
Bottom Line: This Olympic bar is best suited for standard weight training exercises like the deadlift, squat, or press. The 6-foot length makes a positive difference if you’re working out in a small space.
E.T.ENERGIC 7ft Olympic Barbell
This Olympic barbell is a super solid choice for home gym training.
Pros: This Olympic barbell has the specs you want in a quality piece of equipment. It’s made of steel, chrome-plated, 7 feet long, 45 pounds, has 1.2-mm knurling, and has a bar diameter of 28 mm. Above that, it has needle bearings to make fast and smooth spins during Olympic lifts. Each side of the barbell has two knurl marks for both standard training and Olympic lifting grip guides. It’s heavy-duty and can support 1,500 pounds.
Cons: It’s on the expensive side of our top picks, and it might be larger or heavier-duty than some people will need.
Bottom Line: This bar performs well with pretty much any exercise suited for a barbell. It has a hefty load capacity of 1,500 pounds, meaning it’ll grant users ample opportunity to make big gains.
Purchasing an Olympic bar is an excellent investment in your home gym and strength training. One of these quality Olympic barbells could serve you well without breaking the bank.