Olympic barbells are designed for cleans and jerks. They are relatively smaller in diameter and they offer more flexibility than powerlifting bars. These barbells are not the same for men, women, and juniors. It is overwhelming to choose the best one in a barbell saturated market; it has been a challenge for me and I guess it offers you a challenge too.
The significance of having Olympic barbells in your workout program is that they give you the chance to engage in various exercises regardless of the size of your workout area. Are you looking for a barbell for your workout or gym program, you might consider the following best Olympic barbell:
- The American Barbell USA-Made 7′ Stainless Steel Elite Olympic Power Bar 20KG
- CAP Barbell Olympic 2-Inch Solid Chrome Bar
- The Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Training Bar
Olympic Barbell Basics
The design of Olympic barbells allows them to be useful in two explosive lifts; snatch and clean, or the jerk. The small size makes them more adaptable giving them an edge over their power bars counterparts in cleans and jerks. They are designed to accommodate more whip or elastic energy which is beneficial when one is jerking. Whip is the momentum of the bar when the lifter has stopped lifting.
The bar markings on Olympic barbells are two inches further from the bar’s center compared to markings on powerlifting bars. Most weightlifters are going for the hybrid barbell or otherwise called the dual marked barbell. This bar is versatile and can be used for Olympic weightlifting as well as managing slower and heavier power weight lifting workouts. Again, the hybrid bar is a good choice for beginners.
Olympic barbells for women weigh about 15 kg while that used by men weigh about 20 kg. Most bars are about two meters. However, the women’s bar is shortened at the sleeves.
Why Choose the right Olympic barbell?
Perhaps you are wondering what benefits you can get from using barbells in your home gym. One of the primary goals of any individual engaging in any workouts is to have stronger muscle tissues. Here are a few benefits of using a barbell in any workout program. The right Olympic barbell will offer you a couple of benefits including:
- Versatility – can be used for more than one form of exercise
- Simplicity – ease of use
- Adaptability – allows you to add weights as you please
- Functionality – feels comfortable on your hands
- Durability – does not scratch and does not break
Tips on How to Choose the Best Olympic Barbell
Having a barbell is one thing, but having the right Olympic bar is critical for any home gym program. You need to take some time before making the decision on what barbell to buy. Here are a few factors to consider when shopping for an Olympic barbell.
Components of the barbell
A barbell comprises of various parts. Some of the important components include the shaft, the knurl, sleeves, bushings and bearings, and the markings.
The markings are circular smooth areas that show you the right area to place your hands.
The knurl: lines that offer the grip you need in the course of your weightlifting. The most aggressive knurls are found in powerlifting bars. Additionally, center knurls are applicable in cases of back squats where a grip on your back is necessary.
The sleeves: describe the section used to slide the weight. You need to take a lot of consideration of the mechanics as well as the spin of the sleeves before you buy any bar.
Bearings and bushings: these determine the type of spin that your bar allows within the sleeve. Bars that use bearings tend to have quick spins and hence, are most preferred for Olympic weightlifting.
If any of these elements are missing, then your bar is not complete and it will not serve you as expected.
Yield Strength of the Bar
The strength of the barbell plays an important role in the choice of an Olympic bar. It refers to the weight that upon application causes the bar to bend. While some bend is important, the appropriate bending is one that allows the bar to get back to its original strength. Mostly, bars that give a low yield strength are likely to be cheap and hence, have a high probability of bending and breaking.
The yield strength of a bar determines its capacity; there are bars that hold up to 2000 pounds while others only hold up to 1000 pounds. When choosing a bar based on its capacity, consider what use you plan to place it in. For Olympic weightlifting, consider a bar that allows you maximum capacity.
The tensile strength of a barbell is expressed in terms of pounds per square inch (psi). This rating expresses the amount of weight that upon application can pull the bar apart. Quality barbells have a rating of more than 180,000 pounds per square inch. However, choosing a bar based on its tensile strength is tricky as most manufacturers know you are looking for this factor and will use it as a marketing strategy.
Put simply, finishes are the top protective layer applied on the bare steel. This layer prevents oxidation and enhances the aesthetics of the bar.
Durable bars should not rust or turn odd colors easily. As such, your choice of a bar should be guided by its durability. Most of the effective bar coating includes the black oxide, chrome, nickel, manganese, and zinc. Nevertheless, there are high chances of the coated bars to chip and scratch often. On the other hand, bare steel bars necessitate constant maintenance.
Black oxide finishes look and feel natural. They are highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation but they tend to rub off with time. To this end, they need constant maintenance. Black zinc offers the best protection against oxidation but it does not have a good feel. Black manganese is rarely used; it offers more protection and has a grippy texture. Bright zinc is a better alternative to hard chrome but it is not ideal in humid areas. Hard Chrome finishes are among the most durable of regular finishes; it does not chip, stays shiny and offers great protection against oxidation, but it is relatively expensive.
Other finishes include decorative chrome, which is commonly used on cheap quality bars, and cerakote which is very rare. Cerakote is basically a colored ceramic. Unfinished bars are made of carbon steel. Though they feel natural on the hands, they will rust with time and they require constantly being maintained.
Mini-Reviews of 3 Best Olympic Barbells
The choice of the best Olympic barbell for your home or gym use is a daunting task. The advancement in technology has increased the need for strong and efficient bars for powerlifting and weightlifting. Here is a review of three best-rated barbells that you can choose for your home gym or workout program.
This bar is finely crafted and aligns with the International Powerlifting Federation specifications. It is used in both Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. Its commercial-grade makes the Stainless Steel Elite Olympic Bar ideal for use in a variety of settings including commercial gym, military, training studies, colleges, schools, and heavy home gym use.
The original propriety characteristics of the Olympic Stainless Steel bar makes it stand out as an Olympic barbell. In addition, it is designed according to the IPF standards. The sleeves have high strength such that it can accommodate loads of any weight.
- The American Barbell Stainless Steel Olympic Bar is stiffer with a close hand grip measurement
- It has a minimal rotating speed due to the fact that it uses bushings within the rotating sleeves
- The area of the knurl extends up to the sleeves of the bar
- The position of the knurled area is ideal for a positive grip
- It has a wide range of applications
- Has a high tensile strength of more than 180,000 psi
- Lacks pronounced grooves, which can be used in keeping change plates whenever collars are not in use
- It has a chrome polish and hence, requires much maintenance since the polish might chip and scratch easily
This type of barbell has a strength capacity of 300lbs. It is 5-feet, making it ideal for long-lasting and balanced performance. In addition, its length is suitable; you can comfortably use it in a gym or even at home. The design of the CAP Barbell Olympic 2-Inch Solid Chrome Bar makes it appropriate for use in various workouts; both easy and complex.
- It is chrome polished, ensuring that it does not rust and lasts long
- It can be used for several, easy to complex, workouts
- The knurl surface’s design swivels smoothly
- It comes in a small design that allows you to use either in a gym or at home
- The sleeves are perfectly designed for the purpose of reducing wrists’ pressure and tension
- The chrome polish on the bar can easily come off with time
- The bar has a week knurling and this makes it hard to establish a tight and strong grip
- It does not have a center knurl and hence, not ideal for lifters who snatch
The Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Training Bar is a 15kg load bar ideal for women. It uses bearings which makes its rotation smooth and easy. Its tensile strength is 215,000 pounds per square inch. The design and original propriety of the Eleiko Olympic training bar ensure that it lasts long. In comparison to other barbells, the Eleiko training model comes with a unique whip, grip, and spin that makes your weightlifting easy and productive.
- It has a high tensile strength of 215,000 psi
- It is ideal for weightlifting for women
- Highly flexible but strong, making it able to return back to its original strength after use
- It has a similarly elastic chrome coating protecting it from rust
- It is tested fully and meets the IWF certification standards
- Its manufacturing process entails steel treatment, which makes the bar to be very strong
- Uses 10 bearings to maintain rotation precision hence, minimizing friction greatly
- Its design allows smooth and easy movement of weights even at high speeds
- The chrome polish on the bar can easily come off with time
The efficiency of any weightlifting or powerlifting barbell depends on several factors. Some of these factors include the bar’s functionality, simplicity, adaptability, strength capacity, tensile strength, versatility, and yield strength among many other factors.
With respect to the above review, it is evident that there are various barbells for weightlifting and powerlifting. However, the suitability of any bar depends on the personal needs and functionality of the specific type of barbell.
Based on the review above, the American Barbell USA-Made 7′ Stainless Steel Elite Olympic Power Bar is the best among the three bars. First, its design is fine and falls in line with the International Powerlifting Federation specifications. Secondly, it is multipurpose in that it can be used by either Olympic weightlifters or powerlifters. It can be used by both women and men considering its weight.
The Stainless Steel Elite bar is applicable in various settings; in gyms or at home. Thirdly, the bar has original propriety features making it appropriate for Olympics competitions and training. It is made of stainless steel, hence, long-lasting. The bar’s area of the knurl extends up to the sleeves, making the barbell ideal for a positive grip.
In your next search for the best Olympic bar, ensure that you choose a simple, flexible, durable, and versatile bar that meets all your needs for a high-quality weightlifting or powerlifting bar. Try to settle for one that can serve you both at home and in the gym. This way your workout regime will always be on point.