Barbells are not cheap and buying one is a multi-year investment, so it’s important to purchase the right barbell for your lifting needs. If you’re new to buying a barbell you can quickly find out that there is more to learn than you expected. Whether you’re an Olympic lifter, powerlifter, strongman, CrossFitter or general gym user – each type of lifting requires a slightly different weight lifting bar.
When shopping for a barbell, determine the type of training you’ll be doing and then select a barbell that best compliments your type of training.
Olympic / Standard Barbells
An Olympic barbell is the most commonly found barbell in any given gym and is used as a standard in competitive weightlifting. They contain less aggressive knurling providing enough grip, but not enough to tear your hands in the transition of movements. On both ends of the bar are rotating sleeves on which the bumper plates are placed. The rotating sleeves allow the bumper plates to spin, which is an essential component of several lifts.
A men’s Olympic barbell is 2200mm long (7.2 feet) and weighs 20 kilograms (roughly 44lbs). The sleeves are 50mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28mm in diameter and make up about 1.3 meters of the bar’s total length.
The women’s Olympic barbell is slightly shorter at 2100mm long (6.9 feet) and weighs 15 kilograms (roughly 33lbs). The shaft is also slightly thinner at 25mm creating a more secure grip for lifters with smaller hands
A “shorty” version of an Olympic barbell. A shorty barbell conforms and performs to a standard Olympic barbell but is over a 300mm shorter. They contain the same grip as an Olympic barbell and identical shaft length between sleeves making it a great alternative for anyone training in limited space such as a home gym.
A men’s Shorty barbell is 1880mm long (6.2 feet) and weighs 15 kilograms (roughly 33lbs). The sleeves are 50mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28mm in diameter and make up about 1.3 meters of the bar’s total length.
The women’s Shorty barbell is slightly shorter at 1830mm long (6.9 feet) and weighs 12.5 kilograms (roughly 27lbs). The shaft is also slightly thinner at 25mm creating a more secure grip for lifters with smaller hands.
Big lifts come from strong foundations, and solid foundations are built on great technique. The Technique Barbell is a low starting weight making it perfect for beginners or those looking to perfect their lifting technique and posture. Replicating the feeling of an Olympic barbell, it allows a smooth transition and progression to a heavier standard bar.
The Technique Barbell is 1830mm long (6.9 feet) and weighs 8 kilograms; about 17.3lbs. The sleeves are 50mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28mm in diameter and make up about 1.3 meters of the bar’s total length.
A standard barbell does little to strengthen your hands and wrists unless you are lifting heavy loads. A fat barbell, also known as an axle bar, promotes greater wrist and grip strength by offering a thicker grip. Fat bars are often found at strongman events as they add a whole new dimension of difficulty.
A men’s Fat Barbell is 2200mm long (7.2 feet) and weighs 12.3 kilograms (roughly 27lbs). The sleeves are 50mm in diameter, and the shaft is 43.8mm in diameter – larger than the standard 28mm on standard barbells.
The women’s Fat Barbell is slightly shorter at 1670mm long (5.8 feet) and weighs 9.5 kilograms (roughly 21lbs). The shaft is also larger than the standard 28mm diameter on standard barbells measuring 43.8mm in diameter.
Safety Squat Barbells
The Safety Squat Bar is supported using your hands in a neutral grip with the weight evenly distributed through the pads across your shoulders and back. Your spine position is more vertical, looking more like a front squat or a high-bar back squat. The attribute that sets this bar apart from a standard barbell is the ability to create a more “Neutral” position through the shoulder complex - allowing athletes with shoulder/mobility/stability and impingement issues to lift safely and comfortably.
The Safety Squat Bar is 2270mm long (7.4 feet) and weighs 22.5 kilograms (roughly 49lbs). The sleeves are 50mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28mm in diameter.
Hex Deadlift & Rickshaw Barbells
The Hex Bar, also known as a trap bar, is a favourite specialty bar amongst strength coaches for building strength and explosive power whilst minimising the risk of injury. The hex frame helps athletes keep the weight closer to their body making it more aligned with your centre of gravity. Standing within the frame, athletes can maximise their lifting power through a range of movements including deadlifts, shrugs and carries.
The Hex Barbell is 1630 mm long (5.3 feet) and weighs 22.5 kilograms (roughly 49lbs). The sleeves are 48 mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28 mm in diameter.
The Rickshaw Barbell resembles a similar design as the Hex Deadlift Barbell with one slight but important design change – an open, step through side. This feature allows the bar to be even more functional and versatile allowing the lifter to not only enter and exit the bar with ease but also provide a greater range of motion and offer a wider variety of exercises.
The Rickshaw Barbell is ???? mm long (???? feet) and weighs 18 kilograms (roughly 39lbs). The sleeves are 48mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28mm in diameter.
The Swiss Bar, sometimes known as a football bar or multi-grip bar, is a favourite specialty bar amongst strength coaches particulary for bench exercises as it reduces the amount of external rotation on the shoulders. It features four different grips to help athletes target more muscle groups over a range of movements for the chest, arms and shoulders.
The Swiss Barbell is 2130mm long (7 feet) and weighs 25 kilograms (roughly 55lbs). The sleeves are 50mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28mm in diameter.
As the name suggests, curl bars are designed for bicep curls. The curl in the shaft allows athletes to hold the bar in a more natural setup with their palms angled upward and toward each other in a semi-neutral position. This reduces the risk of common injuries that people develop overtime when using a straight bar to curl such as Lateral Epicondylitis - golfers elbow, caused by the repetitive use of wrist extendors.
The Curl Barbell is 1250mm long (4.1 feet) and weighs 7 kilograms (roughly 15lbs). The sleeves are 50mm in diameter, and the shaft is 28mm in diameter.
Fixed Weight Barbells
Fixed weight barbells save you time on changing plates, making them a convenient piece of equipment for home and commercial gyms. They come in a variety of weights in both straight bar and curl bar options and are commonly used in circuit training due to their compact nature.
The AlphaFit Fixed Weight Straight Bar and Curl Bar are constructed from hardened chrome and feature soft-medium knurling for a comfortable grip. The fixed weights are coated with a black matte polyurethane that is designed to endure and come in a range of sizes from 10kg - 50kg
*Please note the barbell specifications in this document reflect AlphaFit branded barbells and made differ brand to brand.