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Lifting Bar Buying 101: Choosing The Perfect Bar For You (part 1)

by Gym 51 SG 23 Jun 2021

Have you ever wondered why there are multiple lifting bar to choose from? What do they do? What are their specialties? Most importantly, why are they so expensive? And this article will guide you through the maze and help you to find the perfect bar for you. 

First things first, bar can be categorised into men's barbells, women's barbells, and junior's barbells. Each bar comes with different length and weight, which you can choose according to your needs or strength level:

Men's barbell
Length: 2.2 metres
Diameter: 28mm (Olympic) or 29mm (Powerlifting)
Weight: approx. 20kg

Women's barbell
Length: 2.01 metres
Diameter: 25mm
Weight: approx. 15kg

Junior's barbell
Length: 1.7 metres
Diameter: 25mm
Weight: approx. 10kg

Now that we have that covered, here are some specifications that you can look into when researching for a bar: whip, knurl, sleeve, and finish.

Whip: Whip is the bounce that occurs as the lifter stops moving and the momentum of the bar continues. A bar with a good whip will be a great help in transition between a clean and a jerk. Skinnier bar tends to have more whip and you might want to watch a tons of YouTube reviews to determine this. 

Sleeves: Inside the sleeve of the bar are the mechanics that determine how much spin the bar will have. Bushings are solid materials that have low friction, while bearings are small balls or needles within a sleeve that rolls. Most powerlifting or general purpose bars will use bushings for a steadier lift; bearings can provide a more secure grip and reduces stress on your wrists and elbows during clean and jerk. 

Knurl: Knurling is made from two sets of diagonal grooves cut into the barbell. The thicker the knurling, the better the grip, especially when lifters are doing heavy powerlifting. You might see some bars have knurling at the centre, this helps keep the bar on the back during back squats.

Finish: Great finish can help prevent rusting and provides a great grip sensation to lifter. Bare steel bars have no finish on them and are prone to rusting, but have a nice grip. Cerakote, Black Oxide and Chrome finish can be more expensive, but they are great in preventing the bar from turning rusty, and only require minimal maintenance. 


Gym 51 offers competitively priced gym equipment with great quality. All the products offered here sourced with great care and have received a lot of great reviews from our past users. With a great selection across different type of home gym equipment, you can be assured to find just the perfect equipment without breaking the bank.

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