10 Types of Barbells to Get Acquainted With
A workman's toolbox is full of tools that may look similar in shape, making it easy to assume it's a collection of implements that do the same thing. The worker, however, understands that each tool serves a specific purpose, and its function depends on what you want to attain.
Similarly, barbell types come in varied shapes and sizes. While it may seem that their work is to hold weights for you to do your thing, they end up helping you achieve your goals at the gym while giving you specific advantages for your chosen fitness regimen.
So, what are barbells, and what can they help you accomplish? Let's take a look.
What Are The Different Types Of Barbells?
Barbells come in various forms. These attributes matter greatly, especially for people looking to do certain types of weight lifting. Let's look at 10 of the most common types of barbells.
1. The Standard Barbell
You've most likely come across this in every gym you've been to. It's the most common barbell type, which many people can readily describe off the tops of their heads.
The standard barbell has maintained its popularity because of its sheer utility and adaptability. You can use it to perform bench press, squats, deadlifts, overhead press, hip thrusts, and curls, among others.
It has dimensions of around 1 inch in diameter and 7.2 feet in length, with a weight of 44 or 45 pounds based on manufacturing specifications.
2. The Olympic Bar
If you're training to Olympic standards, this weight bar is your perfect choice, as you may encounter it during qualifications and other competitions. Meaningful research on the power bar can help you avoid unnecessary injuries when training. Olympic weightlifting doesn't have a lot of events. It only comprises the "Snatch" as well as the "Clean and Jerk."
You may be tempted to try and train with the standard barbell, as it looks quite similar to the Olympic barbell. However, a few differences can affect your overall training and performance. Olympic-type barbells tend to be thicker at 2 inches in diameter and weigh 45 lbs. The 45lb bar has more whip, which is crucial for the Olympians' safety. Women's Olympic barbells are 10 pounds lighter than those for men.
The knurling on the weightlifting bars is softer as the bar is intended to move within the hand's grip, thus preventing injury. Given that they are made from high-quality steel, an Olympic bar costs a lot more than standard bars.
3. The Deadlift Bar
This is another evolution of the standard barbell. In this case, however, the bar has more whip built into it, allowing weightlifters to quickly get the weights off the floor. They have the same overall weight and length as a standard barbell but with increased knurling for improved grip control.
If you're looking to improve your deadlift records, this bar can help you achieve that, as long as you are okay with the increased price tag. Also, the whip means you can't use this bar for anything more than deadlifts.
4. The Powerlifter Bar
On the other side of the standard barbell spectrum is the powerlifter bar. It is known and loved for its rigidity, rather than having an increased whip like the deadlift bar. This is despite being of the same dimensions as a standard barbell. As such, it can hold a lot more weight than the standard one.
The powerlifter bar is formed using high-strength steel to attain such rigidity. Hence, they tend to be pricier. It also doesn't rotate, which aids powerlifters in maintaining grip when lifting. The knurling is incredibly rough to aid a strong grip.
5. Trap Bar/Hex bar
If your deadlift form needs some tweaking to save you from problems, then a hex bar is exactly what you need. As the name suggests, it is a hexagon bar that you can stand inside, with handles to the side. It offers a neutral grip with less strain on your wrists.
The changed stance implies relying on your glutes to lift rather than leaning forward. This takes the load away from your lower back to your arms. When you lift weights, it forces you to have your hands to your side, making this bar ideal for deadlifts.
Another name for it is the trap bar because it helps a lot with shoulder shrugs. Instead of relying on dumbbells, you can add more weight on an Olympic Hex Trap bar, and since you have weight on either side rather than in front, you can easily target the posterior chain of muscles. In comparison to dumbbells, the weight is farther away from your body. You can effortlessly target the upper traps.
6. Swiss Bars
Using the straight barbell can get monotonous, despite their notable versatility. To help switch things up, the Swiss Bar enables you to turn your humdrum workout routine into something else. You can now target different muscle groups and remove the strain away from your wrists and other smaller joints.
The bar is a rectangle with at least three or four grips spaced evenly within the bar. This construction means you can find powerlifting bars with custom barbell collar sizes. It makes them great for people experiencing shoulder, elbow, or wrist pain when doing press movements. Some also have angled grips which, together with the knurling, denote that you can switch up grips whenever necessary.
7. Safety Squat Bar
Squatting is a favorite gym activity for many, although it brings pain. If this describes you, consider squat bars. They are designed to spread the weight evenly around your shoulders and, combined with the padding, make for reduced pressure on your shoulders.
The safety squat bar sits higher on your neck, allowing your quads to soak up most weight. This, in effect, takes the stress off your lower back. It's not uncommon to come across lifters using the safety squat and the regular low-bar squat to target different muscle groups. You may need some practice with this bar before you get the hang of it.
8. Cambered Bar
If you've been lifting for several years and your squatting form is perfect, it's time to move to the next level. While a safety squat bar is superb, it's targeted mostly at beginners. Instead, if you're looking to add to your routine, the cambered bar is ready to take on the extra weight.
The bar looks like an upside-down bicycle handle. It consists of two bars on both sides of the body that allow you to stabilize the lift, making for quite a challenge when squatting. Though the thicker construction can be quite a pain when it sits on your lap, it does help in relieving shoulder pain.
A natural effect of the cambered bar is the emphasis it places on the hamstring and glutes. If your form isn't perfect, the tendency for the weights to swing forces you to refine your squatting form.
9. EZ Curl Bars
Think you know the difference between a curl bar vs straight bar? An EZ curl bar doesn't allow you to slack on your responsibilities, regardless of its name. Because it's angled, it makes for grips that alleviate stress on your shoulders, wrists, and elbows. It also lets you perform close exercises like lying triceps extensions, especially during purposefully intense workouts.
These weightlifting bars are pretty inexpensive and relatively easy to use. They weigh around 10 pounds, permitting more room to customize the weights and exercises you do with them. This is regardless of your experience and strength level. Note that you can also benefit from using an Olympic EZ curl bar to perform a variety of curl bar workouts.
10. Tricep Bars
It's imperative to maintain consistency when you're starting with weight training. This gets your mind in the right place, but more importantly, it primes your body for the journey ahead. In addition, you have an increased likelihood of building, developing, and sustaining your muscles as you improve and gain more experience.
A tricep bar looks similar to a Swiss bar, but has a shorter overall length with half the grips. It is an excellent way to start and manage tricep workouts, particularly with lying tricep extensions. The tricep bar's build has versatility incorporated into it, as the grips let you perform bicep hammer curls, front raises, shoulder presses, and chest presses.
Does The Type of Barbell I Use Matter?
While you can get away with using a standard barbell for various lifts, it becomes very important to opt for different types of barbells as you progress with your experience. The one you choose is highly dependent on your end goals. Are you just looking for strength training, or do you want to be a serious bodybuilder?
What's more, if you're looking to train to Olympic standards, powerlifting won't offer much experience. Crossfit, strength training, and hypertrophy are what most people look for in weight lifting.
So, based on your end goal, the type of barbell you use can come in handy, especially as you gain more experience and look to train specific muscle groups. Also, some of these barbells are designed to reduce the chances of developing injuries. They work in a way that does not aggravate pain and injuries that are already present. Let our team at Tru Grit help get you equipped with the proper barbells for your weightlifting needs.