The quality of a powerlifting bar determines how effectively you clean and how comfortable you feel while at it. While they may all look the same, I have come to realize that these bars are very different in terms of their quality and performance. Besides how a bar looks, there are a couple more factors to consider if you are to get value for your buck; this is all explained in this guide.
Here are some of the best powerlifting barbells:
- Rep Sabre Power Bar
- CAP Barbell 2-Inch Power Squat Bar
- Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar
- Troy Barbell 7-Feet Black 1500-Pound Power Bar
- Body-Solid Olympic 7-Ft Black Power Bar
Shopping for a Powerlifting Barbell
If you are going to part with between $200 and $2000 for a powerlifting bar, you will want to shop for a bar that is worth your money. This bar needs to last through the rigorous abuse that you may put it through during workouts. Though most bars will be marketed as being durable, you need to consider the following qualities to get the best.
The steel used to create a bar provides more than just looks; it is the core essence of a successful powerlifting bar. While you will need whippy steel for weightlifting, you will need a bar that is straight and stiff in powerlifting. While you could have a whippy bar for powerlifting, a straight bar will give you better results. This is true considering the number of weights that you may need when squatting or benching. You also need to consider the tensile strength of the bar; most bars fall between 150 and 170k tensile strength.
Knurling determines your comfort during powerlifting. It refers to the patterns of angled, straight or crossed lines on a power bar that enhance grip. While some people may prefer knurling that grips on their hands to a point of almost ripping them, others prefer a light knurl that requires chalk to enhance grip. The knurl you choose should be determined by the bar’s use and your preferences. If you will be experiencing a lot of friction when using the bar, a light knurl will protect your hands. For powerlifting, especially when you are working out a maximum, for instance, a deadlift, you need a strong grip; sharp knurling will do here.
A bar’s spin is crucial; this will, however, depend on the use. Spinning refers to the property of a bar rotating where the weights do not. This reduces the torque that would be applied on the user’s hands had the weights been tied to a non-spinning bar. Most of the bars in the market today use bushings to produce spins, these are dubbed bushing bars. For powerlifting, any bushing bar will work just fine. If you need maximum spin, you will need a bearing bar. These types of bars are offered with bearing needles that allow them to spin from the shaft without restrictions. Bearing bars are not necessary unless you do Olympic level weightlifting besides powerlifting.
Simply put, whip is the bounce experienced when you stop lifting but the bar’s momentum is still active. It allows a swift transition between a clean and jerk. For powerlifting, a bar with a moderate whip should be chosen.
Overall Bar Construction
Different bars offer different ways of attaching sleeves to shaft; most manufacturers, however, have employed the same mechanism. There are bars that use snap rings to attach sleeves and shaft; these are reliable and convenient but noisy. If you are to invest in a good powerlifting bar, you will need to ensure that you can conveniently and safely attach sleeves to shaft and expect no noise.
This is all about the looks; your eyes will (mostly) choose the best for you. Different finishes will oxidize at different rates. A finish that oxidizes fast will need frequent oiling. You can avoid frequent oiling by avoiding looks and going for a bar with a slow oxidizing rate.
A CrossFit bar is versatile; this is what sets it apart from other bars. You can use it for weightlifting, powerlifting and more. In most cases, these bars are used in affiliate settings and as such the owners do not take as much care as a garage gym bar receives. To this end, they are designed to be highly durable. In the recent past, CrossFit bars have gained popularity thanks to their versatility, strength, and durability. With their rise, a horde of brands have come up and are now selling sub-standard bars.
To get the best CrossFit bar for your powerlifting, ensure that it is offered at a good price, it is durable, requires low maintenance, offers a medium knurl, has a low whip, bushing grip and its steel is strong. Consider the finish too.
Standard Weights for Powerlifting Bars
For a dedicated powerlifter who needs to build their strength, a barbell is an indispensable tool. It can be used by a beginner doing squats at home or at the gym and by athletes during competitions. While most bars will look simple in design, sometimes weak, these rods can hold more weight than most workout equipment. Some bars can hold up to 1200 pounds.
Though all bars are not created the same, their weights are standardized. The standard powerlifting bar is about 2.2 meters in length and weighs about 2 kg. This bar is about 28 millimeters in diameter with 32-inch grip marks. They are offered with crosshatched knurling to offer the needed stiffness for squat, deadlift and bench presses.
There are also junior and women powerlifting bars that weigh 10 kg and 15 kg respectively. These, like their names suggest, can hold lesser weights for children and women. Lightweight metal collars are recommended when powerlifting. In most gyms recommend collars that are 2.5 kg or lower. Collars are the sleeves slid on the bar’s ends to keep the plates from sliding out. Though they add significant weight to the bar, they are essential in stabilizing a weighted bar.
Best Powerlifting Barbell
This is a powerlifting bar created for both men and women; not many manufacturers have achieved such a feat. It is made with knurling that accommodates everyone. The female version is made lighter and less aggressive while the male bar is designed with a center knurl, more weight, and a relatively larger diameter. The bar will give you great performance whether you decide to do squats, deadlift or presses. The bar, according to the manufacturer, has been put through static tests to ensure that it is up to the task.
Rep Sabre Power Bar is offered with a tensile strength of 150k. It is a bushing bar offering enough grip for an active powerlifter. With a zinc coating, the bar looks stylish and motivating. The standard version is offered with a center knurl. The bar, though designed for powerlifting, is also ideal for weightlifting. Granted, it is a solid buy.
- Great value for money
- Strong construction to endure frequent use in the house or at the gym
- Ideal for both sexes
- Can be used by beginners and intermediates as well as experienced powerlifters
- The knurl could have been made more aggressive
- Bushing grip can be a little harsh on hands
You will fancy the black oxide finish this bar is offered in; it has a great grip that users may never differentiate from bare steel. The CAP Barbell 2-Inch Power Squat Bar has clear hand placement markers allowing the user to position their hands correctly for convenient powerlifting. The bar is ideal for deadlifts, bench presses, and squats. It is designed with an ergonomic center knurling which enhances the way squats are done. This knurling is deeper to ensure that rows and deadlifts are done effectively.
The CAP Barbell 2-Inch Power Squat Bar allows an easy spin on the sleeves making it a bar of choice for powerlifters interested in snatches and power cleans. Its slides are highly receptive to plates. This lightens the task of sliding the plates in and out without hassle. The bar can hold up to 2000 pounds maximum weight thanks to its high tensile strength. It is created to fit 2-inch plates and has a 28.5mm diameter. This bar sells relatively cheaper but will not disappoint; it will serve you for years on end.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Great features to mirror a premium barbell
- Can accommodate tough punishment and does not deform
- Black oxide finish will scratch after some time
- Requires frequent oiling
This is an all-encompassing powerlifting bar. This is so as the bar has been used in competitions from the 80s and is used highly in training. Due to its long history in weightlifting competitions, the bar has earned its place and has become popular with many individuals. It is offered with a zinc coating that makes it look stylish and expensive; this is a bar for those who care about aesthetics. The zinc coating makes it resistant to corrosion and rusting.
The Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar features perfect knurling to enhance all powerlifting exercises. You do not need to slide in collars as they are attached to the sleeves making it one piece of equipment. Fitting the collars on the sleeves, without bolts, makes it easy and safe to add plates to your bar. Powerlifters do not need to be stressed by bushings maintenance as they are created maintenance free.
The bar sports 186k tensile strength, it has a center knurling and has a 29mm diameter.
- High grip during heavy workouts thanks to intense knurling
- Ideal for all powerlifting exercises
- Highly durable
- Looks and feels nice
- Could chafe your neck when used on the skin directly
- Sleeve rides slightly affecting collar performance
The Troy 7-Feet Power Bar is offered to last long and endure harsh punishments that a powerlifter might put it through. It is designed with fairly deep knurling that feels comfortable on the powerlifter’s hands. Though the bar is not deeply aggressive, it does not slip from the hands of the user as such, the user has an edge to take their deadlift to a higher level. It has relatively wider collars that make it easy for you to slide the plates.
This power bar is offered with a black zinc coating, it has snap ring sleeves and a 28mm diameter. With its polished steel finish, the bar looks stylish. Its intense, 4-inch knurling ensures that users can have great deadlifts, squats and bench presses.
- You can use any Olympic plates
- Comes with grip marks for right positioning
- Tough and strong to last long
- Not deeply aggressive
- Black oxide-finish scratches with use
The Body-Solid Olympic 7-Ft Black Power Bar is a budget powerlifting bar that offers you great performance. It has a slightly bigger diameter compared to other bars in the market but this does not affect it in any way. It is designed to spin easily. Its intense knurling blended with its wide diameter and its solid strong build, you have a bar that will tick all the powerlifting essentials. The bar is ideal for deadlifts, squats and bench presses.
This power bar is designed with a shoulder bolt collar mount, a triple plated finish, and a 30mm diameter. Given the quality that this bar brings, it is a solid buy for any home gym.
- Coarser knurling making this an ideal bar for powerlifters
- Affordable price
- The finish does not scratch off easy
- Chrome or silver metal finishes available
- Versatile – can be used for powerlifting and Olympic lifts
- Sleeves attached by Allen bolt that gets loose with time
The above-listed bars are all good, each in a unique way. Among them, we love the Rep Sabre Power Bar more thanks to its versatility and its price. The bar is offered with enough tensile strength to survive all sorts of punishment in the gym, it is offered with good knurling to accommodate powerlifting, squats, and bench presses, it has an easy bushing with markers for a good grip and correct hand position and even better, it is offered at a competitive price. Put simply, the bar performs almost seamlessly.
Choosing the best powerlifting barbell among the above listed will depend on your workout routines, mainly how you intend to use the bar. While one bar may be all-encompassing, it does not mean that it is the best for you.