If you are just getting into lifting, or thinking about setting up your own home gym, you have probably been considering a weight set.
No doubt about it…
An Olympic weight set is the crown jewel of any home gym, and the selection out there is pretty vast, as are the prices.
Best Olympic Bars
|Rogue Euro 28MM Olympic WL Bar|
|Rogue Athlete Cerakote Ohio Bar – Froning Edition|
|Rogue Echo Bar 2.0|
|TROY USA Sports Olympic Weight Set|
|XMark VOODOO Olympic Bar and Bumper Plates|
How do you choose the best Olympic Weight set for you?
We will go over a few things you should consider before deciding for yourself.
Once we touch on what you should look out for we will review 13 of the best Olympic barbells and sets and give you out take. These range in price from the beginner home gym, to elite barbells.
- Why it is Important to Choose the Right Bar and Weights
- Types of Lifters and the Kind of Bar They Need
- The 5 Aspects to Consider before Choosing Best Olympic Lifting Bar
- TOP 13 Best Olympic Barbell Sets & Bars 2020
- Rogue Euro 28MM Olympic WL Bar
- Rogue Athlete Cerakote Ohio Bar – Froning Edition
- Rogue Echo Bar 2.0
- XMark's Olympic Lifting Package Elite Series
- Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar
- Wright Equipment 350lb Bar and Bumper Set
- Wright Equipment - Cerakote V3 Colored Barbell
- Champion-Olympic Weight Set 500 lbs
- Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Competition Bar
- TROY USA Sports Olympic Weight Set
- XMark VOODOO Olympic Bar and Bumper Plates
- American Barbell 7' MAMMOTH Olympic Power Bar
- Rubber Grip Olympic Weight Sets with Chrome 7' Barbell
- Bottom Line
Why it is Important to Choose the Right Bar and Weights
Because choosing the wrong bar may mean:
- The bar may not hold up under the weight you intend to lift without warping
- The bar may be too heavily knurled that you tear up your hands or not knurled enough for you to get a decent grip.
- The bar may not match your style of lifting. Power lifters, Olympic lifters, CrossFitters, Heavy lifters, and casual strength trainers have different needs and specific bars that suit their sport best.
Types of Lifters and the Kind of Bar They Need
Olympic Style Weight lifting
Oly lifters need a bar with good spin to perform the snatch and the clean and jerk and quickly get under the bar.
You may see needle bearings on an upper level oly bar because bearings spin better than bushings, usually. There are, however, plenty of good oly bars that use brass bushings.
Oly lifters usually lift really heavy weight and slam or drop the bar. A cheap barbell will eventually warp.
The best Olympic weightlifting bars have good whip to peel the weights from the ground.
Oly weights are called bumper plates and have a uniform diameter, and are coated in rubber or similar material. They are meant to be dropped.
Power Lifter Bar
Power lifters focus on the Squat, Bench press and Deadlift. The bar does not need a huge amount of spin and these moves are performed slowly, compared to the snatch and clean of Oly lifters.
A power lifting bar should be stiff with minimal whip, and usually has bushings.
Crossfitters also perform the snatch and clean and jerk, along with the Squat and deadlift.
They need a multipurpose bar, which usually has dual hand placement markings. CrossFitters often do Olympic style lifts using lower weights and far more repetition.
Crossfitters use rubber bumper plates when lifting, like Oly lifters. The best Olympic lifting bar for crossfitters is a bar with good whip.
The 5 Aspects to Consider before Choosing Best Olympic Lifting Bar
When it comes to the best Olympic weightlifting bar, you get what you pay for.
Ideally, the bar diameter should be 28mm for a good grip on the bar. Cheaper bars are often thicker because the use Lower grade steel which means the bars are made thicker to compensate, making grip challenging.
A good Olympic weightlifting Barbell often costs upwards of 400 dollars.
2. Tensile Steel Strength
Tensile strength is the strength it takes to pull the steel apart.
Tensile strength is measured in Pounds of pressure per square inch, or PSI. The higher the PSI, the stiffer the metal is.
Coating of the barbell matters. The coating is what keeps the bar free of rust and corrosion, and in some cases, the coating adds grip.
Many Olympic barbells will have one coating for the bar portion and a different coating for the sleeves because hands affect the barbell in a different way than weights, so different applications are necessary.
The sleeves need to be protected from impact and metal on metal wear. The grip or bar portion needs to resist sweat, salt, perspiration dirt etc.
In order from least effective to most effective, the most common coatings are:
Worst: Bare steel
Not much protection, unless the steel is a high quality stainless steel
OK: Black Oxide
This type of bar is immersed in chemicals that darken the bar, and finished with an oil, while the bar is hot.
This coating leaves the bar feeling bare, which means you can get a good grip, but it requires maintenance.
Chrome often flakes or chips, and then rusts. Chrome is also easily chipped by the impact of the weights.
Chrome also has a slippery feel and when applied over the knurling, tends to dull it, decreasing grip.
Chrome does provide excellent corrosion protection, provided it stays on the bar. It requires virtually no maintenance.
Chrome is common on power bars, because power lifters do not drop the bar. This is one reason power bars are less expensive than other bars.
Better: Black Zinc or bright zinc
The bar is dipped in zinc, imparting a silver color that is not shiny like Chrome.
Zinc feels more ‘bare’ than chrome, but it still causes the bar to lose a little grip.
Zinc imparts excellent corrosion and oxidation properties.
Even Better: Manganese Phosphate
Manganese Phosphate resists rust better than black oxide, and has a nice matte finish that helps improve grip.
It also requires no maintenance, and does not chip like Chrome might.
Cerakote is a relatively new coating often seen on firearms. It is a polymer ceramic coating that is said to last up to 70 times longer than any other coating.
A few of the bars featured in the review are Cerakoted. Cerakote does not wear away, like a zinc coating will, and it has a natural matte finish that improves grip.
Best: High Quality Stainless Steel
While not technically a coating, High quality stainless steel bars resist rust and corrosion on their own, and do not need a coating.
The best Olympic barbells are made with stainless steel.
4. The Sleeves: Bushings or Bearings
Olympic weightlifting bars that get dropped are better off with a needle bearing system than a bushing.
Bearings not only turn more freely, but bushings can get crushed and malformed from repeated drops to the ground.
Power bars, which are not meant to be dropped, use bushings exclusively.
Bushings do not turn as freely as bearings, but power lifters do not need much spin as they lift much slower that Olympic lifters.
5. Bar diameter
High quality Olympic bars are commonly 28mm. This width offers a good grip and decent whip.
Power bars are more often made with larger diameters like 30 mm. This makes the bar stiffer, and less flexible, hence, less whip.
Watch out for cheap bars, which are also made thicker to compensate for poor quality steel.
TOP 13 Best Olympic Barbell Sets & Bars 2020
If you are an Olympic weightlifter or intend to lift heavy weights, you can expect to pay more for a barbell than a power lifter.
Regardless of what lifting sport you are involved in, investing the money in a decent bar is worth it.
Even one failed deadlift on a power bar can warp the bar, which will need to be replaced.
One of the most common regrets I see among lifters is not getting the best Olympic barbell set.
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