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How to choose a barbell for home workouts
How to choose a barbell for home workouts

The most demanded "pumping items" at all times were barbells. How does the purchase of home training equipment begin? With the thought that it would not hurt to pump up …

So, the thought was born and now we need to translate it into reality. With a decisive gait you go to the store and …

Wow! Eyes scattered across the counters. The huge assortment boggles the imagination. Around everything glitters and shines, on every item the label of a renowned company flaunts … What to choose?

Choosing a barbell for home training

The most popular "pumping items" at all times were barbells. Nowadays, their assortment is huge and each company is trying to convince customers to choose their own products. But the whole question is that the barbell has a very simple design, so it is rather difficult to introduce something new into it. Do the most famous manufacturers do it? Let's figure it out …

There are only 4 things to look out for when buying a barbell: the shape of the bar

landing diameter

device locks


Neck shape

Straight neck

At first, the barbell shape was simple. And what can be difficult there? I hung up the load from the ends, took it in the middle and push yourself to your health. Nobody even thought about the length of the bar. They just chose (or did it themselves) the one that seemed most convenient. Although the length is the first thing that the manufacturers of sports equipment decided to change in the bars. After all, someone might also need miniature barbells for training in a confined space. In addition, with short weights, you do not have to spend energy on balancing the projectile in space, which means you can concentrate more on working out the target muscle. Now, of course, there are many more reasons for releasing bars of a certain size (for example, most bench press racks are designed for barbells longer than 190 cm).

EZ neck

More recently, just a couple of decades ago, it occurred to some intelligent person to bring the movements of flexion and extension of the arms closer to a more natural position. Either his wrists ached when lifting the biceps, or there were some other reasons, but as a result of this, the EZ-bar was born. When training with it, the wrists are in a more correct (anatomically) position.

Initially, it was believed that such wisdom can increase the load on the biceps and triceps, because the body no longer has to spend extra energy to stabilize the wrist joint in an uncomfortable position. But! As always, pioneers cannot take everything into account. Recently, scientists have consistently received denials of full biceps stimulation with an EZ bar. Do you know why? Under natural conditions, no muscle NEVER works in isolation. Therefore, the more comfortable we grip the barbell, the more chances that a few more small muscles will connect to the movement. This is what allows us to lift large weights. And scientists get opposite results in their experiments, because even the most intelligent equipment will not be able to register mental concentration on the tension of a particular muscle. It turns out that those people who consciously transfer the effort to the biceps really get almost all the load, regardless of what kind of bar they are doing. You just need to understand and use it, and not wait for official confirmation.

W-shaped neck

This is a "modified" copy of EZ. The curvature in this bar is stronger, which allows you to hold the bar with a grip close to neutral. Many people find that these barbells give excellent feedback when doing French presses and similar exercises.

Landing diameter

As always, people cannot do without unnecessary complications with standards. So all bars can be divided into American, European and Olympic. For the first, the landing diameter is 25 mm, for the second - 30 mm. The very name "Olympic" already speaks of the solidity and seriousness of the product, therefore their diameter is 50 mm (otherwise how could such huge weights be supported on them?). If you already have a barbell at home, it is wise to buy another bar with the same diameter. This will save money on additional drives.

The device of locks

This is the most interesting thing. Do you know how the Weider nut differs from the Kettler nut? I would give a medal for attentiveness to anyone who finds at least one fundamental difference.

Each company is trying to add, if not to the device of locks, then at least to their name something of their own. In fact, there are only three varieties of these mounts: smooth bushing, nut and spring.

With the nuts, everything is immediately clear: put on a pancake, tightened the nut. The only trouble is that it gets boring to constantly screw it on and then twist it. It's easier with springs. They are simply squeezed lightly, put on and released. Naturally, such a design will not be able to hold the pancakes if the bar is turned vertically. Well, why turn it like that?

Locks made on the principle of a smooth sleeve deserve special attention. They put on instantly, lock quickly enough and provide a high level of fastening. They can be locked with a bolt or a spring latch. The latter option is used in Olympic competitions.


There are a few other things to look out for when choosing a barbell, such as the size of the notch and the diameter of the neck.

Notch size

Have you ever tried a heavy barbell pull motion without a notch bar? The fear of dropping the barbell severely limits maximum effort.

The secret of the notch is not only in the relief surface, which is easier to hold, but also in the fact that a little air remains in these small grooves, protecting the palm from excessive sweating.

The size of the notch usually does not change. If you make it larger, then it will reduce the comfort of the grip, and if it is less, then it will add sweating …

Neck thickness

Usually, this is a standard parameter, but … If you need to increase the grip strength, then it makes sense to look for thicker specimens. Large diameter bars are much more difficult to hold. You have to do your best to strain the muscles of the hand and forearm. If you want to become stronger - remember this. The usual thickness of such "power" bars is from 5 to 7.5 cm.

Now that we seem to have sorted out the theory, let's find options that are suitable for various requirements.

For convenience, we will consider only bars with a 50 mm bore.


Compact neck
Compact neck

Length - 1250 mm

Weight - 12.5 kg

Locks - smooth bush

Price - $ 130

(with a landing diameter of 25 mm, the cost is half as much)


Medium neck
Medium neck

Length - 1800 mm

Weight - 17 kg

Locks - smooth bush

Price - $ 180

(the best option)


Long bar
Long bar

Length - 2200 mm

Weight - 25 kg

Locks - Self-Locking (Olympic)

Maximum weight - 350 kg

Price - $ 500

EZ bar

EZ - barbell
EZ - barbell

Length - 1270 mm

Weight - 12.5 kg

Locks - smooth bush

Price - $ 150


W - barbell
W - barbell

Length - 1270 mm

Weight - 12.5 kg

Locks - smooth bush

Price - $ 150

With the vultures sorted out. Now they need to be weighted with something for fruitful training. Maybe pancakes? It's a good idea, but which pancakes should you choose? Perhaps the attention will be drawn to rubberized, but with a spectacular chrome edge? They look great, but what about practicality?..

All the "bells and whistles" on pancakes are invented either for beauty or for convenience. In particular, chrome is purely beauty. Only here, in terms of convenience, it significantly lags behind ordinary rubber. Hands do not slip on it. But even a chrome-plated disc will not fall out of hands if special grooves for carrying are provided in it. Also, smart people came up with pancakes not round, but, for example, multifaceted. Such discs will never roll away from you …

Choosing pancakes for yourself in the store, try to lift them, evaluate the comfort for the grip, and, of course, the appearance. For comparison, I give the average prices for wheels of various weights:

Weight (kg) Cost per pair (USD) 0.5


0, 75




1, 25


2, 5













A little tip for saving money.

If you want to purchase a barbell and dumbbells, but do not set yourself goals for lifting huge weights, then you can consider choosing a bar with a landing diameter of 25 or 30 mm. The same size is found on dumbbells, so you don't have to buy separate pancakes for them.

Photo: ericmcgregor

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