Olympic Barbell Review and Shopping Guide

Hello and welcome to my comprehensive write up and review of Olympic and Powerlifting Barbell reviews. Regardless of the fact that you are man, woman or youngster, a barbell is a basic piece of equipment that you can definitely use to get fit. It has a lot of applications and applies to different types of regimens like Olympic bars, Powerlifting bars, Crossfit bars or just general purpose bars. You will find all the details you need on a large selection of bars on the market. Hopefully, this article will help you on your quest to get the best out of yourself.

1. Barbell Specifications Explained

There are more than a few differences between bars for men, women and juniors. They differ in their weight, shaft diameter and in a few cases, overall length. Men’s bars are 20 kg in weight and many manufacturers offer women’s versions of the same as well. They vary in weight must are almost always a couple of kgs lesser than the men’s version.

Here are some of the more common stats I’ve been able to find on the market.

  • 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

1. 1  Power Bars Vs Olympic Bars

There are 3 major types of bars available on the market, Olympic bars, power bars and dual marked, multi-purpose bars. Power bars are designed to be more effective at the heavy stuff like deadlifts, squats and bench presses. They are built to be sturdy and rigid and they do not hold elastic energy like Olympic barbells(this property is called whip). It is used to the lifter’s advantage during heavy cleans. The difference also comes about in the markings on an Olympic bar which is also a couple of inches further from the center than the comparative power bars.

dual-marked-barbell-knurling

Of late though, another type of bar has also become commonplace these days and that is the dual-marked weightlifting bar. These types of multipurpose bars are generally suited for both types of lifting and are what you should choose if you are a beginner or intermediate level or are a Crossfitter. This is what you will usually find in a box or affiliate setting.

1. 2  Center Knurling

The IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) and the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) both specify that the men’s range of barbells should have center knurling. This type of knurling is normally found on power bars (used for heavy squats) and it’s not uncommon to find Olympic bars without center knurling in spite of the IWF regulations. Center knurling is normally a bit more passive on an Olympic bar than the rest of it. This is different to the power bar because it can be mostly the same as the rest of the bar. Center knurling is really about personal preference; all you need to do is look at what you want exactly and buy it.

1. 3  Types of Sleeve Assembly

There are basically two different types of components that are used on the sleeves to spin the shaft, bushings and bearing. Bushings are a low friction material (usually made of bronze or composites) placed between the shaft and sleeve. Needle bearing (or roller bearings) move more freely than bushings, but typically increase the cost of the bar. Both mechanisms can produce sufficient sleeve rotation but bearings allow for a quieter spinning motion.

All dual-marked and multipurpose and powerlifting bars have bushings for bars. Bearings are usually found only on high-end Olympic bars. Beginners and intermediate lifters do not need this extra spring for bearings.

1. 4  Tensile Strength

tensile-strength

This is measured in pounds per square inch, PSI. The breaking point of the barbell is usually measured using this. Barbells with low tensile strength are offered in the specifications. If it’s too low, you might want to skip buying them. I’ve found that 165k is a good minimum, 190k means you’ll never have a problem with it ever. Ivanko Barbell suggest that you never should buy barbells under 190k, this really is more of a marketing ploy than anything else because their barbells are all above 190k.

Higher numbers means the bar gets more expensive. These days though you can get bars that are $250 - $300 range which have the coveted 190k title.

While tensile strength numbers are tricky more often than not, and I won’t suggest basing a bar purchase on just this attribute alone. More than a few manufacturers try to slip you inferior bars at a premium price which you think would be the deal of the decade. This is why I’m writing this article for you, because you can then get a better idea of what you are about to get for yourself. Have an idea about what you are looking for and that 210k bar you saw for $200 is not going to be legitimate deal.

1. 5   Shaft and Sleeve Coating and Finish

Shaft and Sleeve Coating and Finish

This is the protective coating on the bar. Depending on whether you opt for a cheap or an expensive bar, you might find them on the bar or not. Bare steel requires the most maintenance but it feels the best for me. Black oxide resists oxidation more than bare steel but it still requires a bit of maintenance. Bright and black zinc offer even superior protection than black oxide but I’ve found that they quickly lose luster. The best protective coating I’ve found is polished chrome but it’s a bit more expensive.

If you want to skip coatings altogether, then stainless steel is the best option. There are more than a couple of bars that have this material in this guide so you will get some idea of what to expect pricewise. I like this the best. Plus the no maintenance part is a huge draw for everyone.

1. 6  Bar end Sleeve Design

The method by which the sleeve is fastened to the bar depends on what you use snap ring or end cap. I’ve found that both these methods work well and it comes to a matter of preference in the end.

If you see a bar with a hex bolt at the sleeve, you can be sure that you are getting a crap deal and should steer as far away from it as possible because this is a dead giveaway of a badly made bar. You are not going to find this on bars made by reputed brands and mostly only one ones made by chain sporting goods stores and cheap etailer bars.


2. The Barbell Roundup

Most of the bars that are listed here have gone through the grind and been found good by a lot of people. They all have a specific PSI tensile strength value and not just max static weight. Just putting this as criteria eliminates most of the cheaper barbells in the market. I have seen a lot of those bargain $100 barbells give way and end up in the scrapyard. I will never recommend you save a buck buying these at the risk of injuring yourselves if you’re unlucky.

Secondly, all of the bars in the roundup are manufactured by well-established, reputable companies that have been in the business for quite a while. Rogue, Vulcan, Eleiko, Ivanko, American Barbell, etc are all established players in the industry, and they all offer decent warranties.

2. 1  28 mm Olympic Weightlifting Bars

28 mm Olympic Weightlifting Bars

Olympic weightlifting barbells are made for explosive lifting movements like the snatch and clean and jerk. Genuine Olympic barbells have a shaft diameter of 28 mm (25mm for women) and are coupled with expensive needle roller bearings in their construction. But since these are prohibitively expensive to most people and so manufacturers have been venturing to price reduction measures. One way is to opt for cheaper bushings instead of bearing to keep costs down. Bushing based training bars are fantastic for the price and offer you a chance to get under a 28mm Olympic bar at reasonable price.

2. 2  Vulcan 28mm Elite Olympic Training Bar 3.0 (Bushing)

Vulcan 28mm Elite Olympic Training Bar

This is a good amount of quality barbell for the price they’re asking. The Vulcan Elite Olympic Training Bar measures 28 mm in thickness and weighs 20kg and it has an unbelievable 221k PSI tensile strength and 206k yield rating (both confirmed in a lab). It’s a chrome moly bar with a matte look chrome finish on the shaft and hard chrome sleeves. It has an amazing whip combined with a lot of durability with great protection from rust. Overall, an excellent choice!

This bar adheres to all IWF specifications including having a center knurl. Looks wise, the bar is a reasonably aggressive bar and has outside knurling resembling an Olympic bar. The center knurl is of much lower depth in order to accommodate high rep clean sets making this an awesome choice for Crossfit. This bar has sleeves that are also grooved to store plates when used outside of the collars.

You need to note that it’s a bar which is based on bushing not a bearing which is why it’s closer to $600 rather than $400. This bar comes along with a lifetime guarantee against bending, breaking and sleeve separation. But hopefully you’ll never need it. This is literally a steal and it finds itself often on sale.

2. 3  The Vaughn Olympic Training Bar – 15 & 20 kg (Bushing)

The Vaughn Olympic Training Bar

This was developed by two-time Olympian, Chad Vaughn to show that high-quality 28mm Olympic bars can be manufactured and sold at reasonable prices. When you figure this is inexpensive including shipping, the bar is an amazing deal for any aspiring Olympic lifter or CrossFitter.

It has a really high 216,000 PSI tensile strength that is usually reserved for bars from Eleiko, Ivanko and Vulcan. The shaft and collars are coated with black manganese and sleeves are micro-grooved chrome. This bar is by no means a bearing bar but it has proprietary bushings that deliver a reliable and ultra-smooth spin. This has enough spin for people to mistake it for a bearing bar at the price of a bushing bar. The Vaughn has more than adequate amount of whip.

It is available as both a women’s 15 kg bar and men’s 20 kg bar. The specs are identical the only difference being shaft diameter and weight. I’ve heard from people that there is a bearing version of this bar in planning. Let’s wait and see.

2. 4  Vulcan Professional Needle Bearing Olympic Bar

This is the top the line, professional version of the Elite that I just covered above. If you can’t tell already, I like bars from Vulcan. I’ve found specs-wise this has a lot of bigger companies on the ropes with their myriad steel choices, attention to craftsmanship and finishing touches.

Vulcan Pro Bearing Bar is a standard 20 kg, 28 mm, Olympic bar with eight precision needle bearings. This bar has been made to specific standards of the IWF including the center knurl. The outer knurl is quite aggressive and it has a certified, lab tested tensile strength of about 240k PSI and a 203k PSI yield strength. This bar is said to have one of the highest whip numbers currently on the market. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the chance of testing it myself or reviewing it.

The bar is finished with hard chrome which resists oxidation perfectly with little maintenance and looks absolutely gorgeous in your gym. It also contributes to bar strength. If you are on the lookout for a true, Olympic competition level which does not cost you 800-1000 dollars then this is an absolute bargain complete with free shipping.

2. 5  Rogue Olympic WL Bar & Cousins (Burgener, Froning)

rogue-28mm-oly-bar-web5

Rogue is one company that designed their own line of Olympic weightlifting bearing bars few years ago to compete against expensive imports. That bar is the Rogue Olympic WL Bar and I’ve found that this American built bar definitely exceeds all expectations and much better when you compare it to imported expensive Euro and Chinese bars. All this comes to you along with a better price. It has a comparatively lower PSI number to the Eleiko bars at 190k PSI but it’s literally half the asking price, which is a pretty awesome deal!

You will find that there are 2 close cousins to the Rogue Olympic Bar, their signature Froning Bearing Bar and the Burgener Bearing Bar. Well, it’s the same bar with two different finish options. The Froning is finished in a murdered out black zinc and Burgener is offered either with a polished chrome finish or a brigh silver zinc. Pricing is identical among the three different bars, so it finally comes down to just a matter of personal preference.

A 15kg women’s version of the Olympic WL bar is also available.

2. 6  Rogue “Euro” 28 mm Olympic WL Bar

Released recently the Rogue Euro Olympic Bar going after the title of the Best American-Made Olympic Bar and I have no doubt that it will succeed. This bar quite similar to the US-steel version because both of them are Olympic bars with 10 needle bearings. Just about anything else is different.

The Euro has a shaft which is rated at 215k PSI rather than the usual 190k PSI. This number puts it completely on par with the Eleiko range of Olympic bars. The manufacturers and people who have used this have claimed that the bar is whippier, smoother and quieter than its US-steel predecessor and I firmly believe that too. You will find that the sleeves are friction welded rather than it being just one-piece. The entire bar is chrome finished which looks beautiful. The Euro is completely IWF spec’d including the presence of center knurl.

The price of this bar is a decent amount higher than the original Rogue Oly WL bar but I feel it’s quite well-spent. I find that the Euro handles itself quite well when it comes to fighting it out amongst competitors like any European or Asian IWF bar, and it a lot expensive than comparable WerkSan, Eleiko and Uesaka bars while being competitive with the cheaper DHS and ZKC training bars.

I feel this bar was worth every cent.

2. 7  American Barbell Stainless Steel Olympic Bar

American Barbell has come out with Stainless Steel Bearing Bar which is their most expensive bar and it also happens to be their best bar. The core is very much like the Rogue Olympic WL Bar, they are both 20kg 28mm Olympic bearing bars. They are built to withstand 190k PSI steel shaft. The most obvious differences between the two apart from the price difference ($200+) is that the American Barbell SS is a stainless steel bar and hence able to resist oxidation.

Ask around and you will find that stainless steel is one of the best finishes for a barbell to have. It offers almost perfect protection from oxidation and you get a completely natural and rock-solid feel that beats other finishes for quality. Just the grip area of this barbell is vastly superior when compared to the other barbells.

My own view is that American Barbell makes one out of the two shafts I’ve ever considered the best for grip and quality of knurling. I can tell you that no other chrome bar feels like this bar, stainless steel truly feels leagues better than anything else in its class.

But like all good things, this comes with a hefty price tag. On an average, expect to pay about $200 more for an SS finished bar compared to a non-SS bar. AB’s Pro Olympic Bar (the chrome version of this same bar), the Rogue Olympic WL bar, or the Vulcan pro. Even Rogue’s Euro is $100 less than the AB SS.

So this begs the question: is it worth it? Well, I have owned this bar. Several of my gym bros still do and we all think it’s pretty awesome for the price. The sleeves are beautiful chrome which is resilient and durable. The grip is solid and completely secure. The strong bearing can handle more weight than Dirk could even put on the bar and the whip is close to being perfect.

This bar is aesthetics and functionality all wrapped into one beautiful package which is definitely worth it. You only need to look at different reviews of the bar to find out how much people are in love with them. If you haven’t yet lined up a premium Olympic bar for your purchase, please, please check this bad boy out. You won’t be sorry!

2. 8  Ivanko OB-20KG Olympic Bar

Ivanko OB-20KG Olympic Bar

When it comes to making sure that their bars are tested properly, Ivanko Barbell leads the field. Each of the bars is tested for defects in the steel with nothing fewer than three separate tests: x-ray, mag, and ultra-sonic. They also run straightness tests which ensure that the deviation is not greater than 0.006/ft over the entire length of the bar.

OB-20KG Olympic bar is a polished black oxide finished, true 28 mm Olympic bar. The steel used for the bar is rated at 200k PSI. When looking at the cost, this extremely reasonable price to pay for an Ivanko bar. The stainless steel version for this bar also exists and it’s rated at about 218k PSI and sells for $1000 more. They are both fantastic bars and while the oxide bar is reasonably priced, the stainless steel is an attractive option which you should consider.

2. 9  Eleiko Sport Training Bar – 15 and 20 kg

eleiko-sport-bar-20-15

Eleiko produces the Sport Trainer as a “budget” 28 mm Olympic bar, but if you’re paranoid about the word budget being used here, don’t. Eleiko bars are a cut above the rest even if this was their economy range.

Their Sport model uses the same 215k PSI Swedish steel shaft and similar high load, ultra smooth bearings that you are likely to find on the Eleiko Comp and Training bars. Differences that are apparent is one less bearing per sleeve (4 instead of 5) and price that is about $300 less than the Competition bar and $150 less than the trainer bar. While the knurl is much softer than their training range, it’s still the same, firm, Eleiko grip.

The Sport is available as both bars for men and women (20 kg and 15 kg). The price is extremely competitive and they have 10-year bar warranty as standard. It looks pretty great, a sale on this would be extra incentive to buy it.

2. 10  Dual-Marked / Multi-Purpose Bars

I’ve found several bars on the market that are dual-marked meaning they are suitable for all regimes from weightlifting to Crossfit. To illustrate my point: you can perform the slower variety of power lifts and explosive Olympic lifts on the same bar. These are bars that are generally 28.5 mm bushing bars but variations of it exist. These bars are definitely a better and affordable alternative to Olympic bars. It’s perfect for athletes and ideal in Crossfit and View more information on garage gym and Garage Gym Equipments..

2. 11  American Barbell California Bar

Check out American Barbell’s answer to Rogue Bar 2.0, the California Bar. Like the Rogue bar, the USA-made California spots a 190k PSI, black-zinc shaft with dual marks and no center knurling. Both of them are bushing bars and use a high-load composite bushing rather than bronze.

The significant difference is that the California Bar has its sleeves finished in a beautiful, durable hard chrome rather than less expensive and ineffective bright zinc that’s found on the iterative 2.0 model. The California has the benefit of being offered in both 20 kg and 15 kg version, but comparatively the Rogue also offers the Bella range for women at the same 15 kg.

The California made its entry into the market starting out a few bucks lesser than the 2.0 version. It’s currently so good that it sells for $20 more. While it’s not ideal, the company American Barbell puts out a marvelous top of the line bar and paying $20 for an upgrade sound pretty reasonable when you compare it with other brands. The California Bar boasts a lifetime warranty.

2. 12  The Vulcan One 20 kg Olympic Bushing Bar

While the Vulcan One is currently one of the best priced mid-range, multi-purpose bars available on the bar scene, it doesn’t cost the earth. This 28.5 mm bar has a dual-marked, 190k PSI tensile strength shaft with a reasonable depth of knurl and good whip. The grooved sleeves rotate on bronze bushings and the entire bar is finished with durable hard chrome.

This bar is a direct troublemaker for the sales of the Rogue Bar 2.0 and the AB California Bar. While this is a slightly better deal than Rogue Bar 2.0 because of the chrome finish and free shipping from Vulcan. It’s too close to call between this bar and California Bar with its lifetime warranty.

While the Vulcan One was previously only available in black zinc, currently it’s only available in hard chrome. I feel that Black Zinc is a nightmare, so this was a good thing to change. Other than the finish, not much has changed I think. It’s also priced competitively.

2. 13  The 20 kg Rogue Bar 2.0

The Rogue bar became the Rogue Bar 2.0 on July ’14. While this bar has been drastically improved over the original and the price was lowered by about $20. This is definitely a good deal.

The Rogue Bar 2.0 is a 20 kg, 28.5 mm multi-purpose/Crossfit bar. The 190k PSI shaft is dual-marked with no center knurl and finished in black zinc. Each sleeve sits on a pair of high-load, composite bushings and are finished in bright zinc. The shoulder of the sleeve is machine grooved so you can add custom rubber bands to make your bar personal. A nice bonus!

If the budget you have in mind is under $300 then the USA made Rogue Bar should be considered. It’s sales are most common for Crossfit boxes and it has over 100+ 5-Star reviews for the bar and you can be sure of its incredible value, performance and durability. The only real downside is that the Rogue Bar 2.0 is quite loud when dropped. There also have never been rubber bands released by the manufacturer for it.

2. 14  The 15 kg Bella 2.0 (The Women’s Rogue Bar)

The women’s 15 kg version of the Rogue Bar, the Bella 2.0 has all the distinguishing qualities associated with the men’s bar like bushings, snap rings, zinc coating and 190k PSI steel bar. The shaft is smaller to accommodate women’s grip at 25 mm, it uses bronze bushings and it’s slightly shorter at 79 3/8” long. This difference in length comes because of the sleeves and not the shaft. I think it’s a great woman’s barbell and great value at $215.

2. 15  Vulcan 15 kg Women’s Bearing Olympic Barbell

This is one of the best priced women’s barbell with needle bearings currently available on the market. At a shade over $300 mark, the Vulcan 15 kg Women’s Olympic Barbell is priced well and attractively. Specifications include an impressive 191k PSI, 25 mm shaft with a completely blacked-out oxide coating and four needle bearings per sleeve. Friends who have used this tell me that this has a good amount of whip, but then again it’s a Vulcan.

This is supposed to be a high-quality; affordable alternative to Vulcan’s higher priced Professional range of Women’s Olympic bar. This bar is cheaper by about $300 by using black oxide instead of hard chrome. It also has a slightly lower tensile strength at 191k compared to the professional line. But seriously, 191k is a pretty serious number.

This Vulcan bar comes with a standard lifetime warranty, medium knurling depth, and is dual marked for Olympic/Power lifting. These qualities make this an excellent Crossfit bar. All you need to do occasionally is clean the bar with 3-in-1 oil to keep that oxide at bay and it’s really one hell of a bar for the price.

2. 16  The 20 kg Rogue Ohio Bar

The 20 kg Rogue Ohio Bar

The Rogue Ohio range is a 20 kg dual marked multipurpose bar with a 28.5 mm shaft. Available in four different finishes like hard chrome, black zinc, bright zinc and black oxide. This is a bushing bar with snap rings. While the tensile strength is used to vary by the finish of the bar, (150-160k PSI) the Ohio bar just got an upgrade which increased the tensile strength of all the bars to 190k PSI. This bar is not center knurled.

The Ohio Bar is Rogue’s prize winning barbell, the first to be entirely manufactured at the Rogue campus in Ohio. It is rated pretty high (5 star) based on 45 reviews and lots of positive feedback by people who have used it. However, if you aren’t looking to buy the satin chrome version of this bar, you should consider the Rogue bar I spoke about above. Both have relatively the same shaft, but the Rogue Bar is priced better and has bad ass collars.

These are the bars that are identical to the Ohio bar different only with the choice of finishes: The Castro Bar (bare steel), The Froning Bushing Bar (black zinc), and the Rogue Operator Bar (olive drab).

2. 17  Burgener and Rippetoe 20 kg Men’s Bar by York

While the original York B&R Bar is being discontinued, it’s replaced by the equally competitive Rogue B&R Bar. This new version is being built identically for a majority of the parts involved: 29 mm bare steel shaft, bare steel sleeves, bronze bushings and is dual-marked. The changes involved with the Rogue version is that the tensile strength of the shaft (up to 205k PSI) and the sleeve assembly. The Rogue B&R uses snap rings instead of a cap and the bronze bushings are no longer self-lubricating and sintered, but rather simple cast bronze.

Both these styles are available to buy form Rogue and at regular price. I fit were up to me, I would still prefer the York because of the type of bushings they use. We’ll have to wait to see as most people are still only getting their hands on the Rogue version, if it’s up to par. You need to keep an eye out for the York version as it may be discounted in the near future.

2. 18  The Matt Chan Bar

The Matt Chan Bar

This is clearly one of Rogue’s most unique and versatile bushing bars and I love it!

The Chan Bar is a 28.5 mm dual-marked bar with a 190k PSI shaft. It’s available in two finishes; satin chrome or black zinc. While the knurling on the Chan Bar is way more aggressive compared to the rest of the Rogue bushing bars, the knurling is set a long way away from the center to allow for a wider stance with deadlifts. The Chan bar also has a passive center knurl for squats. 5-star rating for both of them as is typical.


3. Powerlifting Bars

Bars used for power lifts are made with big three powerlifting lifts in mind: the bench press, deadlift and squat. Power bars are differently knurled and marked when compared to Olympic bars and usually has center knurling.

I’ve found that power bars are typically a lot more stiff and rigid than an Olympic bar because of the large forces that act on it when you load heavy weights. Another difference is that powerlifting bars don’t require that the sleeves spin as smoothly, so they are usually bushing bars owing to expense.

You will find that there are no women’s power bars, they are all either 45 pounds or 20 kgs and the shaft diameter will be between 28 mm and 29 mm. Power bars do not typically differ from men to women.

3. 1  Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar

TexasPowerBar-2

This is a very popular brand of power bar, the Texas Power bar is about 86” long with 15” sleeves, 4” center knurling and a 28.5 mm shaft. It weighs 20 kg and has a 1500 lb max capacity while the shift is finished in black zinc.

The original Texas Power Bars come from Buddy Capps and you can buy them from Texas Strength Systems or LB Baker at IronDawg, who is a distributor for Buddy Capps. The reason I stress this is that the name wasn’t copyrighted so there are all kinds of knock-offs (Troy, Ader, etc). You can find authenticity when you check for the Texas logo at the end of the TPB.

3. 2  American Barbell Super Power Bar

American Barbell Super Power Bar

One of the best power bars that I’ve ever seen, it has everything that is needed for people who train frequently using it. From personal experience, the biggest issue I've run into is these days is that the knurl generally is rather too sharp. This is alright for when you are doing singles, but pretty uncomfortable when it comes to sets of 5 or more. The Super Power Bar is made out of stainless steel me and quite a few others are big fans of it. The knurl pattern proves that you don’t need to coat bars with sandpaper to get a good, secure grip.

The Super is highly tempered to give it a tensile strength of about 205k. This treatment not just makes the bar strong and rigid, but changes the color of it, which makes it stand out from the rest of them. The shaft is 28.5 mm, sleeves are finished in typical American Barbell style with thick, protective hard chrome and composite bushing system for sleeve rotation. I find it’s pretty reliable.

3. 3  Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Consider the new Ohio Power Bar, it’s a good 205k PSI rated and it has a 29 mm shaft. It pretty stiff, rigid and practically has zero whip factor. If you have a choice between bare steel and a black/bright zinc finish. Rogue have really outdone themselves with this power bar here. This is a great looking bar at a great price point.

I ended up picking this bar up for myself and it looks pretty good. The knurl is pretty aggressive which I also did like. Eventually I’ll put up a comprehensive review of my Ohio Power bar, but at the moment it looks like I need to spend more time with it.

3. 4  Westside Power Bar 2.0

Westside Power Bar 2.0

Quite similar to the original Westside, the Westside Power Bar 2.0 was co-developed by powerlifter Louie Simmons who is also the founder of Westside Barbell. The updated version of the Westside actually has a decent list of iterative features that are made on it. The knurl is much less aggressive now while maintaining depth and coarseness. The bar is finished with black zinc entirely rather than just on the sleeves. This is a change from when it used to be coated with bright zinc. The bushings are now updated to composite from bronze. What’s more, they are now green to match the updated end caps.

This bar has a super rigid 29 mm shaft which is rated at 205k PSI and so you should feel right at home with it if you’ve been to its predecessor. Currently, it’s also a much better deal than it was when it was priced a bit more expensive, more in line with the earlier Ohio Power bar variant.

When I was writing this update, you can still get the original Westside Power bar, but I figure it will eventually be pushed to the closeouts section.

3. 5  Eleiko Powerlifting Bars

Eleiko Powerlifting Bars

Eleiko has 2 types of powerlifting bars: the competition series and training PL bars. Both types of the bar have bare steel shafts and chrome sleeves and are 20 kg in weight. They have a 29 mm shaft and have bronze bearings designed with powerlifting in mind. A training bar costs you much lesser than an IPC-certified competition bar but there is literally no difference with each other, rather than just the certification and end-caps. Both are available with 10 year warranty and I think it would be something that you never get to call in. I’ve heard from people who’ve used it saying that the bar is extremely aggressive when it comes to knurl pattern.

3. 6  Ivanko OBX-20KG Powerlifting Bar

Ivanko OBX-20KG Powerlifting Bar

There is some mysterious feel-good factor when it comes to Ivanko bars. It’s the same with the Ivanko OBX-20KG Power Bar which is 20 kg and has a 28 mm thick shaft. It is rated above 200k. Each Ivanko barbell is mag tested, ultra sonic tested and x-ray tested against defects in the steel. These guys are pretty serious about putting together a quality range of bars for all purposes and this one is no different. It has a black oxide coating and has a 4.75” center knurling rather than 4”. The bar is sweet, IPF approved and expensive! This bar is something I've always looked forward to owning.

It is also available in stainless steel which gives it a PSI rating of 218k! It’s a bit more expensive but it looks wicked! If you’re planning to get yourself one of these, look for e-tailers rather Ivanko themselves as you can’t shop direct from them. Plus, there’s always Amazon’s return policy.


4. Youth/Junior Bars

Female-Lifter

Ground reality is that there are very few quality youth barbells available today in the market. This is a shocking fact. Do let me know in the comments if I’ve missed a few of them.

4. 1  American Barbell Black & Chrome Junior Bar

The American Barbell B&C Junior Bar is a 10 kg junior bar with a 25 mm shaft. Like most junior bars, this bar has less overall length (1693 mm), the reduction is from the sleeves. This is so that the distance between sleeves is same as that of a standard Olympic bar to allow for a smoother transition between junior and men’s bars.

The shaft of the AB Junior bar has a stress factor rated at 189k PSI and completely coated with black chrome. It’s a really good touch for a youth’s bar. The bar is IWF marked and hence does not have center knurling. The bushes used on this bar are high-load composite rather than just bronze. It’s a very slick looking and functional American-made Junior bar which retails for really cheap.

4. 2  Rogue 10 kg Junior Bar

The Rogue Junior bar is a 10 kg bar with a 25 mm shaft and coated with black zinc shaft. The bar is 66.75” long and is a tad shorter than standard 15 kg and 20 kg bars but distance between the collars is literally the same as a competition bar, the only difference comes with the sleeves which are only about (6.6” long each). Rogue’s Junior is a cast bronze bushing bar with snap rings. It has an incredible 190k PSI tensile strength (same as any Rogue bushing bar).

This junior bar differs from the rest because it’s dual marked for both Olympic and power lifting. Also, the knurling pattern is not centered.


5. Olympic Barbell Review – Summary and Takeaways

So what I want you to take away from this rather long write up is this: although there are plenty of bars on the market, you need to find one that suits your exact need. Every other manufacture offers something unique and if you do your research, you might be able to find out the exact bar you’re looking for.

Rogue, Vulcan and pretty much the top players in the market and you can pick up most of their stuff if you are not the kind of person for going through long reviews. Premium bars like Eleiko, WerkSan and Ivanko still are making some pretty solid bars out there but at a premium cost. If you look at it, there’s something for everyone in the end!

5. 1  Competitive Crossfit Bar

If money was no object, I would go for the Rogue Olympic WL bar, eyes closed. In fact, Burgener makes the same kind of bars as well. The Rogue bearing bars are a cut above the rest when it comes to quality and it has a fantastic price for the zinc version which is a 28 mm needle bearing bar. Chrome is also available for those who prefer it. The steel is strong and durable enough for you to hold on to even for competitions. You could use the same bar for your training as well as your competition.

5. 2  Budget Crossfit Bar

Here as well I’m going to go with Rogue again here, the Rogue Bar 2.0 would be my choice for a budget Crossfit bar. They are found in Crossfit boxes all over the world because they are reliable, offer great performance and are affordable. This can act as an introductory bar that can you can hold on to for a lot longer than a normal beginner’s bar.

American Barbell also has an alternative to this called the California Bar which is nearly identical to the Rogue Bar 2.0 the only difference being their use of chrome over zinc. This looks better for longer and offers increased protection from oxidation. You get all this for about $20 extra.


6.  28 mm Olympic WL Training Bar

Again, without price as a factor, I would go with American Barbell SS Pro bearing bar. This is the best, high-end training bar you can get for the money. It has a medium depth knurl and is far more comfortable when compared to the rest in its range. Especially when you compare it to real rough ones like the IWF’s range. Plus, since it uses stainless steel, it’s far more grippy than comparative IWF training bars.

Apart from superior grip compared to most other bars in the market, they also have ultra-durable bearings that simple refuse to give up on you. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to load it up enough to seize the bearings. This bar is awesome and even though you’d have to shell out quite a bit of money (IWF approved) I still think you get a lot as opposed to what you paid for.

The Rogue Olympic WL Bar is also a great choice if you need to spend less. Priced reasonably, it still offers a lot of bar for the money.

6. 1  General Strength and Conditioning Bar

This would have to be the American Barbell Super Power Bar. It’s tough, durable and will last you a good time before you consign it to broken equipment heap. I had a Matt Chan bar earlier which used to be by previous favorite, until it was discontinued in chrome. The next one I went for was the super and I haven’t regretted it since. Check them out for one of the best multi-purpose bars on the market at about $300, it’s a steal if I ever saw one!

If you can handle sharper knurls, the Ohio Power Bar is a great alternative as well as a (genuine) Texas Power Bar.

If this article was able to add value to your choice of barbells for any types of activity, I’m glad! There are several endorsement options on the page and I’d be happier if you could take the time and share this article on your post if it was helpful to you!

Happy lifting out there!

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