When it comes to weight lifting equipment, barbells are a must-have. However, there are many different types of barbells all with their own unique designs to serve different purposes.
When looking to buy a barbell, it’s important to consider the lifts you will be doing as well as your budget and home gym set-up. To help you choose the right barbell for your needs we have broken down which weight lifting style they’re best suited for.
The main differences between barbells are their weight capacity (how much weight the bar can hold), the weight of the bar itself and the length of the bar, as this dictates what rack it will fit on and how many weight plates it can hold.
Standard barbells are very versatile. They can be used for a wide variety of exercises, including squats, bench press, deadlifts, hip thrusts, overhead press and bicep curls. These bars are typically between 120cm - 180cm long, weigh under 10kgs and have a 25mm diameter to fit standard weight plates.
Standard barbells feature more pronounced knurling (gripping on the metal) which allows for a solid grip and have a varying weight capacity from 40kg - 150kg (always check the specs section of the product page for the max load). These are budget-friendly weight bars and are great for beginners or high rep exercises.
Olympic barbells are made to hold heavy weights and are designed specifically for competition-style lifts like squats, deadlifts, chest press, clean and jerk and snatch. These bars are 15kg, 17.5kg or most commonly 20kg as per the competition standard and are either 6ft 7 (200cm) or 7ft2 (219cm) in length. Olympic barbells have a sleeve (the smooth ends of the bar that hold the plates) diameter of 50mm and fit Olympic weight plates.
Unlike standard barbells, Olympic barbells have rotating bearings or bushings and sleeves. This acts to reduce the amount of torque which in turn helps protect the joints. Olympic barbells are made from steel that is incredibly strong and has the ability to bend, with commercial-grade barbells holding up to 680kg of weight.
The bend of the bar is known as ‘whip’, which is essential to performing Olympic lifting safely. The knurling on the bar also tends to be smoother compared to standard barbells. When the bar spins in the hands too much grip can be painful and damage the hands.
Since functional training utilises Olympic lifts, an Olympic barbell is also best suited to this style of training.
Trap Bar (Hex Bar)
The trap bar, also known as a hex bar, is a hexagonally shaped bar that you stand inside and grip either side of your body. This style of weight bar is great for developing your deadlift without putting pressure on your lower back. It protects the back because the load is placed in line with the body rather than off-centre, which puts less stress on the lumbar curve. The drawback of the trap bar is that due to its shape, it isn’t very versatile.
EZ Bar/EZ Curl Bar
The EZ bar is smaller and lighter than other barbells and designed specifically for arm training. The bends in the barbell help to reduce stress on the wrists and elbows when performing bicep curls and tricep exercises. We recommend the EZ curl bar to anyone who experiences discomfort when using straight bars.
You may have noticed some bars already have weights fixed onto them. Fixed barbells are popular in commercial gyms because they don’t require set up time to add or remove weight plates. This convenience makes them very popular where barbells are used by multiple people.
Since they’re fixed, you are of course limited to the weight of the bar. So for a home gym, you’d have to buy multiple fixed barbells as you get stronger. This becomes expensive and quickly takes up space.
Fast Australia-wide Shipping
Our range of weight bars are eligible for Australia-wide shipping. For further details check out our delivery information.
Flexible Payment Options
Barbells are an investment, especially if you are wanting to purchase an Olympic barbell. So that you can get the barbells you need to take your training seriously, we offer flexible payment options like Zip Pay and Afterpay.
Shop in Store
If you're located in Western Australia, pop into one of our stores to view our different barbell styles. Our staff can help demonstrate how each barbell is used and help you find a barbell that suits your training goals and budget. Head to our locations page to find a store near you.
Get in Touch
Got a question about our weight bar range? We’re always here to help. There are several ways for you to get your questions answered. You can call us on 1300 13 42 13, send us an enquiry, or for a quick answer, check if your question has been answered in our Frequently Asked Questions.
We stock a range of commercial-grade barbells suited for commercial gym and competition requirements. Head to our commercial weights and bars page to view the full range or if you have specific questions, please call (08) 6241 3019 to speak to our commercial team.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Buy a Barbell if I Am a Beginner?
The first step is to decide on your training style and goals. Do you plan on doing heavy lifting or bodybuilder style training with high reps, or functional training? Below is a guide for what we suggest for each training style:
- Heavy lifting = Olympic barbell
- High reps = a standard barbell
- Functional Training = Olympic barbell
- Beginner to strength training - a pumpset is a great place to start and very affordable.
What Barbells Are Best for a Home Gym?
Most racks are designed for Olympic sized barbells, so keep this in mind if you are purchasing a rack. You may also want to do high rep exercises in your home gym, so a standard barbell would be the best choice for that.
Which Barbell Is Best to Incorporate Into HIIT Workouts?
Most HIIT workouts use standard barbells as Olympic is too heavy. Unless you’re doing functional training style circuits that include deadlifts or Olympic lifts, then we’d recommend just a standard barbell.
Is It Better to Buy a Weight Plate & Barbell Package or Barbells & Weights Separately?
A package is great for beginners because you will need to progress in weight to build muscle. If you are a seasoned weight lifter, then a package could be too limiting as you will need heavier plates.
What Is the Best Barbell for Bench Press?
Olympic barbells are best for bench press as most racks are designed for Olympic sizes barbells. It’s also important to note the grip area of an Olympic barbell is longer than a standard barbell which can be essential for correct grip technique in a bench press.
If you’re a beginner, remember an Olympic barbell weighs between 15kgs - 20kgs so you may find yourself lifting just the barbell or using fractional plates like 1.25kg or 2.5kg for a while, which is totally fine!