What barbells will take residence in your gym is one of the most important decisions you can make. Barbells will be in most every workout you do which means you need them to perform well, be comfortable in your hands, and last you a lifetime. Here is not the place to make budget cuts. On the contrary, since this is the piece of equipment that will be used heavily and have the most demands placed on it, you may want to invest a bit more into a product you can appreciate for years to come.
What Should you Look for in a Barbell?
There are a few characteristics that distinguish one barbell from another and here's a quick guide to help you decide.
Performance - When we talk of performance in a barbell we refer to two main characteristics. First, the spin of the sleeves on the shaft. Olympic style lifts such as the clean and jerk and snatch require a lot of arm and wrist movement to get the bar into postion. If the sleeves do not rotate or spin freely from the shaft then there would be a great amount of torque placed on the lifter's joints. Those sleeves need to spin freely under heavy loads to keep that added stress away from the lifter. Secondly, good performance in a bar comes from whip or flexion in the bar as it is moved vertically. That whip action provides a counter force to the lift which when timed correctly, aids the lifter in moving the weight.
Shaft Diameter - Also important to make note of is the thickness of the bar shaft. Many manufacturers increase or decrease this thickness to vary the whip and strength of the bar. Thicker bars [30mm, 32mm shafts] are more budget friendly but have far less whip and some bars are specifically manufactured at 25mm to be more comfortable for ladies.
Coatings - From bare steel to zinc or chrome plated, coatings are one of the personal choices that a lifter can make. Coatings on both the shaft and sleeve can be the same or can vary into what is called a Hybrid bar. Some lifters like the hand feel of a bare bar but want the rust protiection on the bar sleeves. The bare bar provides no oxidation resistance and must be lightly oiled from time to time while the chrome plated bar is heavily guarded from rust and needs no oil.
Choose from York Barbell and Troy Barbell Barbells below:
What Types of Exercises Can I Do With a Barbell?
There are two main types of movements when using barbells - static lifts and olympic lifts. We refer to movements like the deadlift, shoulder press and squat as static lifts. In static lifts, the shaft of the bar does not need to rotate or spin. In Olympic Style lifts such as the Snatch and the Clean, it is important for the shaft to rotate freely from the sleeves [the ends of the bar that hold the weight]. In these types of movements the bar moves from the ground to shoulder or overhead and the hands and wrists need to rotate.
What Are the Different Type of Movements?
- Back Squat
- Front Squat
- Shoulder Press
- Bench Press
- Upright Row
- Overhead Squat
- Clean and Jerk