- Best Olympic Barbell Options
- 1. Annzoe Olympic Barbell
- 2. LIONSCOOL Olympic Barbell
- 3. Sporzon! Olympic Barbell
- 4. E.T.ENERGIC Olympic Barbell
- 5. Synergee Colored Cerakote Barbell
- 6. XRX Barbell
- 7. CAP Olympic Barbell
- 8. HendriFit Olympic Barbell
- Buying Factors
- Barbell Whip
- Fitness Goals
- Is A Barbell Necessary?
- Other Considerations
- Get Advice
- Gaining Muscle
- Long Term Success
At first glance a barbell might seem one of the easier items to buy without knowing much. All barbells look similar and you would expect that they should all perform the same. However there are some material differences to be aware of so join me as I review several of the best olympic barbells on the market.
Best Olympic Barbell Options
1. Annzoe Olympic Barbell
Annzoe produces a range of fitness equipment but we’ll be focusing on their olympic barbell in this review.
The Annzoe Olympic Barbell can be found on Amazon, with 88% of its 750 ratings giving it five stars.
Coming in at 17 kilograms, this is slightly lighter than the expected 20 kilograms that most Olympic bars weigh. It has a 28 mm diameter and is rated up to 700 pounds or approximately 317 kilograms.
The sleeves come in at 2 inches in diameter, and the bar is 1.2 inches along the shaft. With a total bar length of 84.6 inches, Annzoe’s barbell falls cleanly into the 7 foot category, which is the standard size.
Any barbell marked to be suitable for Olympic lifting should also take Olympic-size weights. This means that the weight plates will need to have an approximately two inches-wide hole. The spring collars pictured in the Amazon page also come with the barbell.
It features 15.6 inches of knurling for each hand, allowing both a wide and narrow grip on the barbell that ensures you will have knurling for either grip. Unlike other disciplines of weightlifting, being able to employ a wide grip is vital for many Olympic techniques.
One variation that you will see employed in Olympic lifting a lot is the snatch, which involves putting your hands almost at a full extension to either sleeve of the barbell. Annzoe’s inclusion of enough knurling to cover the variety of Olympic lifts is a big plus for this product.
2. LIONSCOOL Olympic Barbell
LIONSCOOL’s 7 foot Olympic Bar is at the Olympic length of seven feet.
LIONSCOOL actually sells three versions of their product, rated for 500, 700, and 1000 pounds respectively.
All weigh 44 pounds, which is closer to the Olympic standard, typically 20 kilograms. With a grip size of 28 millimeters, LIONSCOOL are clearly striving to produce as close to an Olympic specification barbell as they can.
This has great benefits, as it enables effective training with equipment that mirrors the actual barbells used in competition. This means you can watch professional Olympic lifters, and now that the lifts they’re performing are possible on the equipment you have.
LIONSCOOL barbells are made from high quality bare steel with an attractive chrome finish. Rated at over 180,000 PSI tensile strength (pounds per square inch), the shaft is therefore high tensile and can easily hold many hundreds of pounds.
This tensile strength number suggests the barbell will have medium to low barbell whip.
The sleeves have bushings combined with bearings to enable a smooth rotation. This mechanism also benefits from oil to guarantee a fluid spinning and noiseless operation.
With the loadable sleeve length coming in at 16.3 inches, you won’t have to worry about running out of room when going for your next personal best lift. This is certainly on the higher end amongst the various barbells being reviewed in this post.
3. Sporzon! Olympic Barbell
Sprozon! Olympic Barbell comes in five feet to seven feet versions, as well as the ability to choose either a one inch or two inch sleeve for each of the three length variations.
Weighing 45 pounds in the Olympic setup of seven feet with two inch diameter sleeves, it has a listed weight limit of 700 pounds. It has a polished chrome finish over the entire product, which is solid steel.
The other configurations of the bar will be too short or light to meet the Olympic standards, and may not fit in certain power racks.
The sleeves are not separated from the bar and this lends Sporzon!’s barbell to have sturdy construction. The sleeves are ribbed in a subtle way to provide bite to the weight plates, allowing them to be more stable, especially when the barbell is not perfectly held straight.
A downside is the non-inclusion of collars. Make sure you grab a pair when you source a weight plate set, as collars are necessary for some exercises.
You get a generous amount of knurling, including center knurling to enable back squat stability. Center knurling may not be desirable if you intend to only do Olympic style lifting.
4. E.T.ENERGIC Olympic Barbell
E.T.ENERGIC makes a seven foot Olympic barbell that is rated to an incredible 1500 pounds upper capacity.
This barbell takes the standard Olympic two inch plates made of heat treated alloy steel for maximum strength. It has a hard chrome finish to give a metallic look, however this is much more noticeable on the sleeves as the knurling gives the bar a dull look across the shaft.
Weighing in at 44 pounds and 86.61 inches complemented with a 28 millimeter grip and knurling, this is about as close to the real thing an Olympic athlete would use.
While the sleeves of most barbells use bushings or bearings, E.T.ENERGIC instead uses welding to get additional strength.
The sleeves still rotate, using four needle bearings and one bushing, increasing the effectiveness of the turning mechanism. This is particularly useful for two of the major Olympic lifts; the snatch and clean and jerk.
5. Synergee Colored Cerakote Barbell
Synergee makes an attractive range of colored barbells that match Olympic specs and are rated to 1500 pounds.
With a 190,000 PSI tensile strength, 86.4 inches of length and the Olympic 28 millimeter diameter grip, Synergee Barbells are great for Olympic lifting and powerlifting.
Weighing 20 kilograms with needle bearings instead of bushings for the sleeves, you get a solid 16.4 inches of sleeve length on the 20 kilogram version of this product, whereas the 15 kilogram bar only has 13 inches.
These barbells have a unique look due to cerakote. Cerakote refers to a range of ceramic-polymer coatings developed by NIC industries. This covering is super thin but extremely durable, adding a layer of protection to your barbell from Synergee.
You get some bonuses with the Synergee purchase of wrist wraps and lifting straps.
Wrist wraps support your wrists for specific exercises like the overhead press and bench press.
Lifting straps supplement your grip by being secured to your wrist and then getting wrapped around the barbell, helping you overcome weak wrists or forearms. Often this is the weakest point of someone’s deadlift, so by effectively using wrist wraps you can lift much heavier.
6. XRX Barbell
The XRX 7 Foot Barbell takes Olympic weights with an innovative anti-slip design along the length of the shaft.
The barbell is confirmed to be 20 kilograms and comes with wire collars. Made out of high-quality carbon steel, it is only rated to 450 pounds and has low amounts of whip.
XRX mercerizes their barbells, giving a texture across the length of the shaft similar to etching knurling.
7. CAP Olympic Barbell
CAP is a long time supplier and distributor of fitness equipment. For over 25 years CAP has produced free weights and barbells, with a current product line of over 1000 over 30 categories.
The CAP 7 feet Olympic barbell comes in at 44 pounds and 30 millimeters in diameter. It features knurling extending to 28.5 millimeters in total, meaning over half an inch per hand. The knurling is rated as medium, in the standard diamond pattern.
It is worth noting that there is no center knurling for the CAP Olympic bar.
The CAP barbell is made from cold rolled steel, with a significantly dark finish named black phosphate. With a length over 86 inches, this is a full size Olympic barbell. The sleeves are still the polished chrome style, giving the barbells an interesting look.
The sleeves are 15 inches each, which is the standard and will fit Olympic-size 2 inch plates.
CAP barbells come in many varieties which have their own names. The Rebel has center knurling, while the Boss has a 28.5 millimeter diameter. Certain Olympic lifts are much better when the bar is missing knurling, as it can scratch the front of your throat.
8. HendriFit Olympic Barbell
With 1.1 inch diameter for the grip size and measuring a massive 86.6 inches, the HendriFit Olympic Barbell can take up to 1500 pounds while tipping the scales itself at 44 pounds.
The knurling on the HendriFit barbell is listed as soft, which can be a downside for high end lifting. Knurling needs to be useful as a way to enhance your grip, and if the knurling is not raised enough or too soft, it can be very hard to grip without chalk.
HendriFit employs the use of copper sleeves and bearings to get the smoothest possible rotation. This is vital for certain Olympic lifts, as the transition between specific stages of lifts needs the sleeves to rotate cleanly, referred to as the turnover.
The sleeves also have grooves to provide more friction and keep the clips or collars on even with many weight plates added. The sleeves accommodate the standard Olympic aperture size of 2 inches.
Deciding between similar products comes down to choosing between degree of barbell whip, fitness goals, barbell finish and material, and intended use patterns. Not all barbells are the same, and if you intend to do any sort of Olympic lifts, you’ll want the right one.
Barbell whip is a way to describe the amount a barbell will flex. Counterintuitively, it may seem like a bad idea if the bar bends, but slight amounts of flex can be very beneficial for certain lifts and exercises.
The more whip a barbell has indicates how much load will shift after certain explosive movements.
However, finding out how much flex is in a barbell is no easy feat. The best indicator is a number referred to as tensile strength.
Testing tensile strength is in effect testing how much force is required to bend the barbell so that it will not return to its original shape. A rough rule is that in general the higher the tensile strength, the better.
Another factor to keep in mind is that there is an upper limit to tensile strength, as if it is too high, then the bar will not bend at all. For certain exercises like deadlifts, more whip is better. For some Olympic lifts, particularly the clean, whip can be hard to handle.
Just knowing the tensile strength numbers for the barbell won’t be enough. If a barbell is listed as Olympic lifting, that is an indication that it is not a stiff bar and will have moderate amounts of flex or whip.
If a barbell is listed for powerlifting, this can reflect the opposite, as it will need to be stiffer to handle the heavier weights that powerlifting typically involves.
Even testing this in a showroom can be tricky, as other physical properties like a high yield strength are hard to demonstrate without piling hundreds of pounds onto the bar. Yield strength measures how much force is required to get the material to bend.
An additional clue of what a barbell will be like is to look at the diameter. A thinner bar is likely to be more flexible than a thick one. The standard for an Olympic lifting bar is 28 millimeters, while all purpose barbells tend to come in at 28.5 millimeters.
Longer bars will also have a working load further out from the center of the barbell, further increasing the leverage and causing more flex.
For powerlifting, bars can be 29 or 30 millimeters. Take note of this along with rated tensile strength and flexibility, if listed, to get an idea of what type of barbell you’re getting.
Keep in mind that barbell whip is unlikely to be an issue unless you are dealing with more than 200 pounds. I’m not all that picky about barbell whip, but particularly for deadlifts I enjoy having whip rather than a stiff bar.
Olympic Weightlifting barbells with a standard amount of whip will be a great all around lifting bar to fit most people’s training. Crossfit and specific Olympic lifting enthusiasts should be fine with the barbells listed above, whereas powerlifters are better off looking for something stiffer.
While barbells fundamentally are similar, given the huge amount of lifts and disciplines that make use of barbells has seen certain features rise to prominence. So it is important to set your fitness goals and purchase the barbell that will help you achieve this.
Fitness equipment in general will be made out of expensive, durable materials. Barbells are no exception and particularities around length, weight, whip and many other factors all can cause prices to skyrocket between two products that may seem superficially the same.
Knurling is an essential feature but where the knurling is on the bar will influence what types of training you will want to do. For example, anything involving putting the barbell in the front squat position will result in lessened desire to have knurling in the center.
Conversely, if you want to do heavy back squats securely, center knurling will be a must-have.
Olympic lifts often involve sitting in the front squat position during the lift, such as the clean and jerk.
Metal products have the unique properties to take a large variety of amazing finishes. While the primary material will be steel, you can do all types of powder coating to give both grip and a nice aesthetic appearance.
Black phosphate finish is one of the most common finishes on the market. It tends to make the bar a very dark, gunmetal coloring. If you have a dark workout area, these bars can be a bit invisible and a tripping hazard, but otherwise a great choice.
Cerakote finishes will be noticeable under hand, and provide a lot of corrosion resistance. The interesting feature of cerakote is the ability to accurately display a huge spectrum of colors.
Cerakote is also commonly used in the military, particularly to protect weapons. This suggests that it is a high quality and anti-corrosive substance.
Zinc is the other common finish. Due to the manufacturing process, zinc does not provide as good a corrosion resistance as cerakote or stainless steel, but many love the feel of a zinc coated bar.
Is A Barbell Necessary?
Barbells are one of the best multifunctional pieces of exercise equipment you can get your hands on.
Barbells are going to be your key to get workout flexibility given the variety of exercises that can hit all areas of your body.
By getting access to a few plates, you can create any number of resistance to do deadlifts, rows or even curls.
Barbells don’t have much that can go wrong with them, and so you will own the same one for many years at a time. This should be kept in mind, and it is worth spending a little extra to get exactly the barbell you want as you are likely to have it for a very long time. Other than olympic barbells, you can also take a look at power bars, trap bars, ez curl bars and more. Some notable power bars are the Rogue Ohio PowerBbar, Rogue Ohio Bar, the Rogue Bar 2.0 and the Wonder Bar from FringeSport.
In the end, a barbell is only a tool and what results you get out of it depends on how effectively you use it.
Olympic lifting is a challenging discipline that combines precise technique with awesome physical strength. Swinging hundreds of pounds above your head is dangerous and requires dedication and practice to avoid serious injury or death.
If you’re serious about pursuing Olympic lifting, it’s worth seeking out local groups or experts who you can bounce questions off and can help you with your training. They can give you tips on purchasing equipment or may even have a range of barbells for you to try out.
Olympic lifting will target your legs, glutes, back, abs, shoulders and arms via intense exercise. Training for continuous results will require adjustments to your diet in order to get the right types of food in you and up your calories so you have the energy to perform.
Olympic lifting also helps you gain improvements in other areas. Measurements have revealed that Olympic lifts produce some of the highest power outputs out of all sports.
Weightlifting, particularly through compound lifts, is one of the best ways to increase muscle mass, achieve positive body recomposition, and reduce injury. All Olympic lifts are compound lifts, and promote a full body workout.
To work on your snatch, you perform deadlift variations. To boost your jerk power, working on external rotation and overhead press will do wonders. Picking an Olympic barbell that is rated for all these exercises is the key to long term success.
Most people will equate muscle growth to success when considering gym results. Fat loss or body recomposition may be your actual fitness goal, but the increasing lean muscle and fixing your diet will help with weight loss anyway.
Muscle growth occurs after damage and repair to the muscle fibres. As the resistance on your barbell goes up, your muscles have to work harder to lift, resulting in the microtearing of muscle fibers which are then repaired.
This process builds over the old fibers, meaning each time it happens the muscles are bigger than before. This incremental process eventually leads to muscle growth and increase in strength.
In effect, you’re aiming to encourage this process known as hypertrophy. Barbells can be loaded with a lot of weight to test large muscles, but also bumper plates that are hollow can be extremely useful in rows or pauses, giving barbells a huge range of functional exercises.
Long Term Success
Purchasing your own barbell is the first stage to taking ownership of your fitness goals. Picking the appropriate barbell will motivate you to workout and research more about how to get the best results.
Keeping up your motivation is not the easiest task, particularly given how long it takes to build muscle. Building up your home gym with a great free weight set based around an Olympic barbell will be that visible reminder to do some exercise.
A properly fitted out gym in your house will also make workouts simple to get into. A home gym means you don’t have to worry about gym opening times, travel distance, or whatever other excuse that is convenient for that day.