Before Setting the Bar: What You Should Know About Barbells

Everyone is setting the bar high for optimal wellness. There’s no need to overcomplicate fitness, though. You can simplify strength gain with barbells! 

No other equipment allows you to gain drastic strength, fast except barbells. You have to pick the right barbells and workout routine for you. Afterward, you’ll surely get a good bang for your buck.’ 

The benefits of barbells

There are a few reasons why a combination of a steel bar and a pair of plates is a useful tool in strength training. Barbells tend to challenge both our musculoskeletal and balance all at once. Several studies have shown that training with barbells for as short as four weeks can significantly result in strength gains. 

Considering that it’ll also challenge our balance, studies have also shown that barbell training improves your vertical height jump. Deadlifts, to be exact, are a potent stimulation for your strength and size, which will eventually improve your jumping performance. 

Ultimately, barbells benefit to one’s overall fitness. That means you’ll also relatively improve your physique and strength. This leads to chiseled arms, defined chest, impressive six-pack, or functional muscles. All the more, being strong also relieves stress and lowers the risks of other chronic diseases. 

Sample Exercises with Barbell for Novice

For beginners, there are seven best compound movements you perform with barbells. These compound exercises tend to work on multiple joints and muscle groups at the same time. As a result, you’ll burn more calories and get impressive strength gains. 

  1. Back Squat
  2. Barbell Row
  3. Bench Press
  4. Bent-Over Row
  5. Deadlift
  6. Lunge
  7. Overhead press

Don’t forget to always start with a warm-up! 

Warming up prepares your body and prevents possible injuries to happen.  It allows synovial fluid to lubricate the joints and loosen the tissues around them. Consequently, it enhances your body’s elasticity by 20%, lowering the chances of stretched tight muscles. After activating muscles, you’ll end up enhancing your range of motions, as well. 

Hence, skipping warm-up is a big no-no, especially when you’re going to lift loads. Movements in strength-training exercises shorten and lengthen your muscles. The chance is that if you aren’t going to prep your muscles, you’ll end up having muscle pull and tear.

Here’s a sample 5-minute warm-up before doing training with a barbell: 

  1. Hip rotations (eight reps inward/outward) 
  2. Arm rotations (eight reps forward/backward) 
  3. 2-minute jump rope
  4. Walk-outs (eight reps) 
  5. Knee Raise to Reverse Lunge to (12 reps/side) 
  6. Squats (15 reps) 
  7. Squat pulses (10 reps) 

You can also incorporate recovery and mobility in a 10-min workout. Do the following: 

  1. Foam rolling (two minutes)
  • Common for advanced lifters
  • Speeds up recovery and at the same time prevent soreness and injuries
  • What to do? Roll your glutes, quads, upper back and lats (each for 30 secs)

2. Mobility (eight minutes)

  • Deep squat lat stretch (five deep breaths) 
  • Dead bug (five reps/side)
  • Kneeling glute mobilization (eight reps/side)
  • Forearm wall slide (eight reps)
  • Walking Spiderman with overhead reach (five reps/side)

It’s recommended to warm-up for about 5-10 minutes. When doing so, you’re increasing your body temperature, technical build-up, and mobility. How will you know that you’re already warming up? Any moisture or sweat at the back of your hands over your nose or on your forehead can mean you’re adequately warmed up. 

Types of Barbells

The kind of lift or exercise you’ll be doing determines the type of barbell you should choose. Listed here are the typical bars you can see either in a sports center or buy in the market for your home gym. Also, specified below are the exercises for each barbell type. 

  1. Olympic weight lifting bars. Snatch, and clean and  jerk
  2. Powerlifting bars. Bench press, deadlift, and squat 
  3. Hybrid weight lifting bars. CrossFit boxes, 
  4. Technique bars. Olympic weightlifting (lightweight)
  5. Hex bar or trap bar. Deadlifting (alternative for traditional straight bar deadlift) 
  6. Fixed barbells . Light weightlifting
  7. EZ-Curl bar.  Any light weightlifting exercises (for those who have wrists discomforts)

How to choose the best barbell for you?

There are a couple of features to keep in mind before purchasing barbells. Let’s start with the differences between men, women, and youth’s lifting bar. Don’t get us wrong. Many can surpass average capacity, regardless of age and gender, through rigorous training. 

Generally, most manufacturers produce bars of 20kg for men, while a few will also produce the same weight for women and youth. The following is the typical differences in weight, diameter, and length of the barbells based on Olympic Competition standards:

Specification of Barbells

Men’s Barbells

  • Weight: 44lbs / 20kg
  • Diameter: 29mm (Powerlifting) / 28mm (Olympic) 
  • Length: 2.2 m / 86.4”

Women’s Barbells

  • Weight: 33lbs / 15kg 
  • Diameter: 25 mm
  • Length: 2.01 m / 79.2”

Youth Barbells

  • Weight: 22lbs / 10kg
  • Diameter: 25mm
  • Length: 1.7 m / 60-67”


One way to distinguish women’s bars from others is to check the center part of it. If there’s no knurling, then it’s a barbell intended for women. There are some instances when women are recommended to use men’s bar. This occasion happens during squats when central knurling is required. 

So what’s knurling? These are the small diamonds shapes or straight-line patterns formed from two sets of diagonal grooves impressed into the bars. Its primary purpose is to assist your grip when you hold a barbell. 

When do you need aggressive knurling? 

  • When you have  smaller hands
  • When doing squats
  • When performing powerlifting

Knurling becomes more ‘aggressive’ for heavier lifts, such as deadlifts. The more intensive the lift is, the higher the chances of grip failure. This, in turn, will lead you to use more aggressive knurling. Check the grooves’ depth and width to determine how aggressive the barbell. To have a list of different bars with knurlings, you may visit

Furthermore, a barbell’s whip, sleeves, strength, load capacity, and the so-called ‘finish’ are the other factors you should be considering before buying or using a barbell. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to consult trainers or other professional specialists. 

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