Types of Olympic bars and How much do they weigh?

Introduction

A barbell is the most common equipment of any sort of gym, they are the most versatile training equipment that can help you train full body. 

Unlike dumbbells, you don’t need to buy a wide range of barbells, a single good quality barbell with some weight plate can help you inaugurate your cost-effective garage gym. 

By the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation), an Olympic barbell weighs 20kg (44lbs) and 2.2 meters (7.2 ft) long with grip section is 1.31m (4.3 ft) in length. Sleeve diameter (outer ends) of 50 millimeters (2.0 inches) and the grip section (shaft) is 28mm (1.1 inches) in diameter. 

Although every lifter is familiar with barbells, it’s shocking to see the level of knowledge they have about the barbells they were training with on a daily basis. 

The Olympic bars have been known to provide the standard dimensions and you can find a wide variety of Olympic barbells on Amazon.com ranging from $100 to $1000. 

These are just barbells, right? Then what makes them soo costly? 

The fact is, most of the Olympic barbells that you find on online stores are not even Olympic barbells.   

The cheap barbells that you find on online stores are just the replica of the Olympic barbell’s size and weight. 

For better understanding, you can categorize the Olympic barbell into three categories. 

  1. IWF Certified Olympic barbells:
  2. Non-certified Olympic barbell: 
  3. Specialty barbells: 

IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bars

IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) certified weightlifting bars are the best of the best! Only these bars are being used for the Olympics and other international lifting competitions. 

These bars are built to follow the strict standards of IWF and made by 5 companies: Eleiko, Uesaka, Werksan, DHS, and Zhangkong/ZKC. DHS and Zhangkong only serve the Chinese market. 

TRAINING & COMPETITION BAR

IWF training and competition bars are almost identical in nature. Training bars are the high quality barbells that are IWF certified and follow the IWF guidelines. 

Training bars are manufactured for the training purpose of professional athletes who will be lifting with the competition bars in the main event. 

IWF Certified Olympic barbells weigh 20kg (44lbs) and 2.2 meters (7.2 ft) long. These barbells are made to follow strict regulations about tensile strength, whip, knurling, spinning sleeves, etc. 

According to the official international weightlifting federation rules and regulation pdf 48th page, this is a dimension of certified Olympic barbell.


Non-certified Olympic barbell

Getting hands-on the certified Olympic barbells is a costly affair and can be found in professional training facilities only. 

Most of the commercial gyms and garage gyms own Non-certified Olympic barbells that are almost identical to the Oly bars but are not as costly. 

Non-certified Olympic barbells are created to have identical dimensions and weight, these barbells will also weight 20kg (44lbs) with 2.2 meters (7.2 ft) bar length. 

But these barbells differ widely on the tensile strength, quality of knurling, whip and spinning sleeves. 

Until you are a professional lifter, you should be doing okay with the non-certified Olympic bar as well. 

One of the biggest benefits is its affordability, you can buy yourself a good quality bar in $200-$400 USD. 


Type of Barbells and their weight. 

A wide range of barbells can be found in the market, some are designed for the professional lifting, others are designed to meet the specific purposes. Let’s have a look at the type of barbells and their weights. 

Please note: Most of the barbells listed below are not even Olympic Barbells, they are just called/advertised as Olympic barbell because of their 2″ sleeve.

  • Standard Olympic barbell
  • Women’s Olympic bar
  • Junior Bar
  • Powerlifting bar
  • Aluminum bar
  • Cheap bars
  • Specialty barbells

Standard Olympic barbell

The most infamous barbell that we all are aware of. 

Since we already talked allot about the dimensions and weight of a standard Olympic barbell I am not going into detail again.

Lets recap-  IWF Certified Olympic barbells weigh 20kg (44lbs) and 2.2 meters (7.2 ft) long


Women’s Olympic barbell

Do women need a different barbell to lift the weight? Not necessarily. 

Women’s bodies are smaller than men’s, so does their palm sizes. The majority of women have comparatively smaller hands and palms which might restrict them to properly grip the barbell. 

Women’s Olympic barbells are designed with smaller shaft diameter which helps in enabling improved grip strength.

While the standard Olympic barbell has a diameter of 28mm, the grip section of Women’s barbell is 25 millimeters in diameter. It is 10% less in diameter.

Women’s bars are slightly shorter with 6.6 ft (2.1m) length. These bars are also lighter because of the thinner shaft. 

Women’s Olympic barbell weight: 15kg or 33lbs. 


Powerlifting barbells: 

Many people are confused between an Olympic bar and a Powerlifting bar. 

Olympic lifting consists of two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. While on the other hand, powerlifting includes three lifts: Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press. 

Powerlifting is a sport that focuses on moving as much weight as possible. Powerlifting bars are constructed with the lesser whip to accommodate the heavier weight. 

Initially, powerlifting barbels were manufactured with the same dimensions as Olympic barbells but some powerlifting barbells are extra long to allow more weight to the bar. 

Powerlifting bars also differ by their knurling patterns, power bars tend to have deeper, sharper and more coarse/aggressive knurling.

Weight of power barbell: No standard weight, commonly found to weigh 20 kg. Longer power barbells can weigh heavier. 

Ohio Power Bar is most famous for powerlifting.

Have a look at the Rogue Elephant Bar that’s 9.5-feet long as opposed to the typical roughly 7-foot bars. 


Junior bar

Rogue Junior Bar

The bars that have been designed for young trainees. 

Many parents are paying more emphasis on the training of their kids by a very young age, Rogue designed a bar those young kids. 

Rogue Junior bar weighs 5 lbs, this bar is also perfect for people looking for lightweight barbell for personal training.


Aluminum barbell

A light-weighted barbell that is created for seniors, juniors, and people with low strength levels. 

Aluminum bars are also an effective solution to practice Olympic lifts (the snatch and the clean-and-jerk) which are quite difficult to do. 

Aluminum is 40% lighter than regular steel that makes it a perfect choice for a light-weighted workout. 

These barbells are not created to be loaded with heavyweights and you should not be adding more than 80-100lbs to these bars. 

An average 6ft aluminum bar weighs 15-lbs. 


Cheap barbell

These barbells are not commonly found at commercial gyms but can be found all over online sales. 

The market is flooded with cheap discounted barbells that are advertised to be Olympic standards but are manufactured with far lower quality material. 

Typically you will find these cheap barbells with discounted weight lifting set (including weight plates and barbells). Before buying a barbell from a second-hand store or unknown brand, it gets really important to weight the barbell. Best way to know the weight is to weigh them at a weight scale. 

A cheap bar is easy to spot – It has an Allen bolt in the ends like this.

A cheap barbell may vary in length as well. The typical weight of a cheap 7-ft bar range between 35-45 lbs, 6-ft bar weight in the range of 30-40 lbs.

I used cheap barbell for years, check out my experience


Specialty barbells

Enter on google “Olympic barbell buy”, and you will see the wide variety of barbells that does not compile with the standards of Olympic barbells. 

You can find hex trap Olympic barbell, EZ curl Olympic barbell, Swiss Olympic barbell, Olympic chamber barbell, etc. 

These don’t even look similar to Olympic barbells, manufacturers call them Olympic bars because these barbells are compatible with 2-inches Olympic weight plates. 

In contrast to calibrated Olympic bars, these bars have no standard dimensions and can weigh between 5 lbs to 120 lbs depending on their utility and purpose.


Thanks for reading. Questions welcomed in the comments as always. 

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