12 Different Types Of Barbells That Can Help You Build Mass And Strength

Train with the appropriate types of barbells based on your goals and training style to help build strength and mass better

man training with a hex bar

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A barbell is a long, straight bar used in weightlifting, strength training, and various exercises. There are several types of barbells, each designed for specific purposes.

What is a barbell?

types of barbells - woman training with a barbell

A barbell is a versatile piece of weightlifting equipment.

It consists of a metal bar with evenly spaced markings and rotating sleeves at both ends for loading weight plates.

You can use a barbell to perform several exercises, including squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and rows.

You can find barbells in commercial gyms, home gyms, and training facilities. That is because of their effectiveness and versatility in strength training and weightlifting.

They provide a foundation for building strength, muscle mass, and power, making them a fundamental piece of equipment for exercisers and athletes pursuing fitness goals or engaging in competitive weightlifting.

Features of a barbell

Below are the key features of a barbell.

But note there are specialty barbells available with different features and designs to cater to specific training goals or exercises.

  • Length
    A standard-sized barbell is usually 7 feet (2.13 meters) long. That provides sufficient space for various grip widths and lifting techniques. However, shorter barbells exist for specific purposes.
  • Weight
    The weight of a barbell can vary depending on the intended use.
    Men’s Olympic barbells usually weigh 20 kilograms (44 pounds), while women’s Olympic barbells weigh 15 kilograms (33 pounds).
    There are also lighter barbells available for beginners or specific training needs.
  • Diameter
    The diameter of a barbell refers to the thickness of the bar.
    The diameter for men’s barbells is usually 28-29 millimeters, while women’s barbells are slightly thinner at around 25 millimeters.
    The diameter may vary slightly between different barbell manufacturers.
  • Sleeve Rotation
    The sleeves of a barbell are the ends of the bar where the weight plates are loaded. The sleeves design allows it to rotate freely, allowing the weight plates to spin as you lift the barbell.
    The rotation reduces stress on the wrists and enhances the lifting performance.
  • Sleeve Length
    The sleeve length refers to the portion of the bar where weight plates are loaded.
    It determines the maximum number of bumper plates you can add to the bar.
    Standard-sized barbells have sleeves that are around 16-17 inches long.
  • Knurling
    Knurling is the textured pattern on the barbell’s grip area that enhances grip and prevents slippage during lifts.
    The pattern may vary in aggressiveness, with some barbells having more or less pronounced knurling.
    The knurling should provide a secure grip without being overly abrasive.
  • Load Capacity
    Barbells can support various loads, depending on their construction and intended use.
    The load capacity of a barbell refers to the maximum weight it can safely handle.
  • Material
    The main component of most barbells is steel or other durable materials.
    Alloy steel is a popular component in high-quality barbells. They provide strength and durability to withstand heavy loads and intense use.

Benefits of training with a barbell

Training with a barbell offers numerous benefits for athletes engaged in weightlifting, strength training, and various exercise routines.

types of barbells - woman training with a barbell
  • Full-Body Strength and Muscle Development
    Barbell exercises engage multiple muscles simultaneously, allowing for efficient and effective full-body strength development.
    Exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and rows target major muscle groups, including the legs, back, chest, shoulders, and arms.
    The comprehensive muscle activation can lead to balanced muscle development and improved strength.
  • Progressive Overload
    Barbells provide the ability to progressively overload the muscles by adding weight plates.
    Gradually increasing the resistance challenges your muscles, leading to strength gains and muscle growth.
    The progressive overload principle is essential for continuous improvement and adaptation.
  • Core Stability and Control
    Many barbell exercises require core stability and control to maintain proper form and balance.
    The barbell’s instability forces the engagement of the core muscles to help stabilize the body during lifts.
    Strengthening the core through barbell training can enhance stability, posture, and functional movements.
  • Functional Strength and Power
    Barbell exercises mimic real-life movements, making them highly applicable to everyday activities and sports performance.
    The compound movements involved in barbell training improve functional strength, power, and coordination, enabling you to perform tasks efficiently and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Joint Strength and Stability
    Training with a barbell can enhance joint strength and stability, particularly in the hips, knees, and shoulders.
    The controlled movements can strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joints, providing stability and reducing the risk of injuries.
  • Increased Bone Density
    Resistance training, including barbell exercises, can contribute to increased bone density.
    Loading your bones during weightlifting stimulates bone remodeling and the development of stronger, denser bones.
    That can help prevent osteoporosis and promote bone health as you get old.
  • Hormonal Benefits
    Barbell training, especially with heavier weights and lower repetitions, can stimulate the release of hormones like testosterone. These hormones can help with muscle growth, fat loss, and metabolic function.
  • Versatility and Exercise Variety
    Barbell training offers several exercise options, allowing for versatility and variety.
    Different grip widths, stances, and barbell positions allow you to target specific muscles, emphasize different movement patterns, and create challenging workout routines.
  • Convenience and Accessibility
    Barbells are readily available in most gyms and fitness facilities, making them easily accessible for training.
    Additionally, you need minimal space to perform barbell exercises, making them suitable for home gyms or limited training environments.
  • Mental and Emotional Benefits
    Barbell training can have positive effects on mental and emotional well-being.
    Engaging in challenging workouts, setting and achieving strength goals, and experiencing progress can boost self-confidence, reduce stress, and promote a sense of accomplishment.

Why have different types of barbells

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Different types of barbells exist to accommodate the diverse needs, preferences, and training goals of exercisers engaged in various forms of strength training, weightlifting, powerlifting, and fitness activities.

Below are some reasons for different types of barbells.

  • Exercise Variation
    Various types of barbells offer unique grips, angles, or designs that allow for variations in exercise execution.
    That allows exercisers to target specific muscles, emphasize different movement patterns, or perform exercises with special equipment requirements.
  • Performance Enhancement
    Certain types of barbells allow for optimized performance in specific lifts or sports.
    For example, powerlifting barbells have specific features that cater to powerlifting movements, helping to provide stability, grip, and durability for heavy lifting.
  • Safety and Injury Prevention
    The design of some types of barbells can help reduce stress on joints or enhance safety during exercises.
    Safety squat bars and Swiss bars, for example, offer specialized designs to reduce strain on the shoulders or wrists, providing alternatives for exercisers with mobility issues or injuries.
  • Specific Training Goals
    Different types of barbells cater to specific training goals.
    Olympic barbells, for example, are for Olympic weightlifting and enable athletes to perform explosive lifts like the snatch and clean and jerk. Specialty bars like trap bars or log bars allow for specific strongman training or sport-specific movements.
  • Grip Comfort and Variation
    Barbell variations, such as the EZ curl bar or Swiss bar, offer alternative grip positions or angles that can be more comfortable or beneficial for individuals with specific needs or limitations, such as wrist or shoulder discomfort.
  • Muscle Activation and Emphasis
    Certain types of barbells can alter the biomechanics of exercises, leading to variations in muscle activation and emphasis.
    For example, a cambered bar or buffalo bar changes the bar path during squats or bench presses, challenging different muscles and movement patterns.
  • Progression and Skill Development
    Barbells of varying weights and designs can help with progressive overload and skill development.
    Exercisers can gradually increase the load or move on to more advanced types of barbells to continue progressing as they become stronger and more proficient in their training.
  • Sport-Specific Training
    Different sports or athletic disciplines may require specialized training tools.
    Strongman, powerlifting, weightlifting, and functional fitness competitions often have specific barbell requirements to meet the demands of those sports.

Types of barbells that can help maximize your gains

Standard Barbell

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Standard barbells are generally smaller, lighter, and have a lower load capacity than Olympic barbells. Thus they are suitable for basic strength training and home gym setups.

  • Size and Weight
    Standard barbells are typically 5-6 feet long and weigh between 15-20 kilograms (33-44 pounds).
  • Sleeve Diameter
    Standard barbells have a smaller sleeve diameter, usually around 1 inch (25.4 millimeters).
    That limits the amount of weight plates the bar can take.
  • Load Capacity
    The smaller sleeve diameter and lighter bar weight mean standard barbells have a lower load capacity.
    That makes them suitable for lighter strength training exercises and home gym setups.
  • Design
    Standard barbells may not have the same level of precision and quality as other types of barbells.
    The rotating sleeves and knurling may not be as well-designed, impacting the lifting experience.
  • Versatility
    Standard barbells are commonly used in home gyms or for general fitness training.
    They are acceptable for basic exercises like curls, presses, and squats but may not be ideal for advanced weightlifting techniques.

Olympic Barbell

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Image Courtesy of Rogue Fitness

Olympic barbells are much heavier and designed for competitive weightlifting and advanced strength training.

  • Size and Weight
    Olympic barbells like the Rogue Ohio Bar are standardized at 7 feet long and weigh 20 kilograms (44 pounds) for men’s bars and 15 kilograms (33 pounds) for women’s bars.
    The length provides ample space for various grip widths and lifting techniques.
  • Sleeve Diameter
    The sleeve diameter of these types of barbells is much larger, typically measuring 2 inches (50 millimeters).
    That allows for the loading of multiple weight plates on each end.
  • Load Capacity
    Olympic barbells have a higher load capacity than standard barbells.
    The larger sleeve diameter and more robust construction enable the barbell to support heavier weights, making it suitable for advanced weightlifting and powerlifting.
  • Design
    The design and construction of these types of barbells are precise and high quality.
    They have rotating sleeves with smooth bearings or bushings, allowing for optimal rotation during lifts.
    The knurling is usually well-defined and provides a secure grip.
  • Competition Standards
    Olympic barbells adhere to the standards set by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), making them suitable for competitive weightlifting events.
    The build quality of these types of barbells is such that they can withstand the demands of professional weightlifting and meet specific specifications.

Powerlifting Barbell

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Image Courtesy of Rogue Fitness

A powerlifting barbell is for powerlifting competitions and training. These types of barbells meet the specific demands of these lifts and the powerlifting sport itself.

Apart from powerlifting competitions, you can also use these types of barbells for other strength exercises like rows, overhead presses, and lunges.

Thus the powerlifting barbells are an essential tool for powerlifters and anyone focusing on building maximal strength.

  • Stiffness and Strength
    Powerlifting barbells are usually stiffer and more rigid than Olympic barbells.
    The stiffness of these types of barbells helps to minimize barbell whip, allowing for better stability during heavy lifts.
  • Length and Weight
    Powerlifting barbells have the same length as Olympic barbells, measuring 7 feet (2.2 meters). The standard weight of these types of barbells is 20 kilograms (44 pounds) for men’s bars and 15 kilograms (33 pounds) for women’s bars.
    However, there may be variations in weight and length depending on the manufacturer.
  • Diameter
    Powerlifting barbells tend to have a larger diameter than Olympic barbells. The standard diameter is 29mm (about 1.14 inches), providing a more secure grip for heavy lifts.
  • Knurling
    The knurling on these types of barbells is often more aggressive than on Olympic barbells.
    That provides a firm and reliable grip, especially when using heavy loads.
  • Center Knurling
    Powerlifting barbells tend to have center knurling, which provides additional grip and helps prevent the bar from sliding down the back during squats.
  • Markings
    These types of barbells may have markings or rings on the shaft to indicate hand placement for bench press exercises.
  • Load Capacity
    The design and build allow these types of barbells to handle extremely heavy loads. They can withstand the high levels of weight used in powerlifting competitions and training, allowing lifters to load higher weights onto the bar.

Women’s Barbell

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Image Courtesy of Rogue Fitness

The design of these types of barbells makes them suitable for women or individuals with smaller hands and frames.

It is a variation of the standard Olympic barbell tailored to meet the needs and the difference in the anatomy of female lifters.

You can use women’s barbells for exercises similar to those performed with Olympic barbells.

These include compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, cleans, and snatches.

The smaller diameter and lighter weight of these types of barbells make them more accessible and suitable for individuals with smaller hands or less upper body strength.

  • Length
    A women’s barbell is a bit shorter than a men’s barbell. It is 6.6ft (2.01m).
    The slightly shorter length of these types of barbells allows them to accommodate the average height and proportions of female athletes and lifters.
    They can be more comfortable and much easier for exercisers with shorter arm spans to handle or exercises requiring a narrower grip.
  • Diameter
    Women’s barbells typically have a smaller diameter than standard Olympic barbells. While the standard diameter for Olympic barbells is 28mm (1.1 inches), women’s barbells often have a diameter of 25mm (0.98 inches).
    The reduced diameter makes it better for exercisers with smaller hands to grip the bar.
  • Weight
    Women’s barbells are lighter than men’s barbells. The standard weight for a women’s barbell is 15 kilograms (33 pounds).
    However, some women’s barbells may be slightly lighter or heavier.
  • Knurling
    While many men’s barbells typically have center knurling, it is less common for women’s barbells.
    That is because center knurling may be less necessary or desirable for exercises commonly performed with women’s barbells.
    Note that the presence or absence of center knurling can vary between brands and models of women’s barbells. Some women’s barbells may have center knurling, especially those designed for specific powerlifting or strength training purposes.
    We recommend checking the specifications or contacting the manufacturer or retailer of a specific women’s barbell to confirm whether it has center knurling or not if the presence or absence of center knurling is essential for your needs,
  • Load Capacity
    Despite being lighter, women’s barbells still have a substantial load capacity and can handle significant weights.
    They can withstand the demands of Olympic weightlifting and other strength training exercises.

Any exerciser who finds the dimensions and weight more appropriate for their needs and preferences can use women’s barbells, regardless of gender.

Specialty Power Bar

Specialty power bars, also known as power bars, are types of barbells for powerlifting and heavy lifting exercises.
The specification allows them to meet the unique demands and requirements of powerlifters and athletes focusing on strength training.

  • Stiffness and Strength
    Specialty power bars are rigid and stiff, minimizing barbell whip during heavy lifts.
    The rigidity helps maintain stability and control while lifting heavy loads.
  • Length and Weight
    These types of barbells have the same length as Olympic barbells, measuring 7 feet (2.2 meters). Their weight is usually 20 kilograms (44 pounds) for men’s bars and 15 kilograms (33 pounds) for women’s bars, similar to Olympic barbells.
  • Diameter
    The diameter is generally the same as Olympic barbells, measuring 28mm (1.1 inches), making them comfortable for most lifters to grip.
  • Knurling
    The knurling on these types of barbells can vary, but it is typically more aggressive and pronounced than on Olympic barbells.
    That allows for a secure and reliable grip, especially during heavy lifts.
  • Center Knurling
    These often have center knurling, which provides additional grip and helps prevent the bar from sliding down the back during squats.
  • Load Capacity
    Specialty power bars can handle extremely heavy loads.
    They can withstand the intense demands of powerlifting training, allowing lifters to load high amounts of weight onto the bar.
  • Markings
    Power bars may have markings or rings on the shaft to indicate hand placement for exercises.

Deadlift Bar

A deadlift bar is a specialized barbell for deadlift exercises and can enhance deadlifting performance and technique.

  • Length and Weight
    Deadlift bars have the same length as a standard Olympic barbell, measuring 7 feet (2.2 meters). The weight is usually 20 kilograms (44 pounds) for men’s bars and 15 kilograms (33 pounds) for women’s bars, similar to Olympic barbells.
  • Diameter
    The diameter of these types of barbells is slightly thinner than a standard barbell.
    The diameter of Olympic barbells is 28mm (1.1 inches), while that of deadlift bars is about 27mm (1.06 inches).
    The smaller diameter allows for a better grip, especially for lifters with smaller hands.
  • Whip and Flexibility
    A distinct feature of a deadlift bar is its increased whip or flexibility compared to other barbells. The bar has more bend and elasticity, which allows for better load distribution and smoother pulls during the deadlift movement.
    The increased whip can help reduce strain on the lifter’s grip and improve performance in heavy deadlifts.
  • Knurling
    The knurling pattern on a deadlift bar is usually less aggressive than on other barbells.
    That provides a reliable grip without causing excessive abrasiveness or discomfort to the lifter’s hands.
  • Center Knurling
    Deadlift bars usually do not have center knurling.
    The absence of knurling in the center section helps prevent the bar from scraping against the shins during the lift.
  • Markings
    Deadlift bars often have markings or rings on the shaft to indicate hand placement for deadlift exercises.
    The markings assist lifters to find consistent hand positioning and grip width.

The unique characteristics of a deadlift bar make it a preferred choice for powerlifters and individuals focusing on deadlift strength and performance.

It’s worth noting that deadlift bars are not for other exercises like squats or bench presses, as their specific design and features make them more suitable for the deadlift movement.

Trap Bar

types of barbell - trap bar exercises

A trap bar or hex bar is a specialized piece of weightlifting equipment shaped like a hexagon or diamond.

It is distinct from traditional barbells due to its unique design that allows for different exercises and grip variations.

  • Shape
    Trap bars have a hexagonal or diamond-shaped frame with two parallel handles at the sides.
    The lifter can stand inside the bar and grasp the handles.
  • Grip Variations
    These types of barbells allow for multiple grip variations, including a neutral grip with palms facing each other and a pronated grip with palms facing down.
    The flexibility in grip options provides variety and allows lifters to choose the most comfortable and suitable grip for their needs.
  • Loadable Space
    These types of barbells have a central area where the lifter can load weight plates.
    The loadable space is separate from the lifter’s body, allowing for unimpeded movement during exercises.
  • Versatility
    You can use trap bars for exercises such as deadlifts, shrugs, and farmer’s walks.
    They offer an alternative to traditional barbell deadlifts that can benefit athletes with mobility restrictions, lower back concerns, or those seeking to target specific muscle groups differently.
  • Reduced Strain
    Standing inside the trap bar allows lifters to experience a more centered and balanced weight distribution.
    That can reduce strain on the lower back and place less stress on the spine.
  • Engaged Muscles
    Trap bar exercises engage multiple muscles.
    It can also provide a different stimulus for traps and upper back muscles during shrug variations.
  • Accessibility
    The trap bar can be more user-friendly for beginners or individuals new to deadlifting due to its ergonomic design and reduced technical demands.
    It can help individuals build strength and technique gradually while maintaining proper form.

The trap bar is primarily associated with deadlifts but offers versatility for other exercises and grip variations.

It can be a valuable tool in strength training regimens, particularly for targeting specific muscles and accommodating different lifting preferences and needs.

Cambered Bar

A cambered bar features a curved or cambered design.

The bars are primarily for powerlifting and strength training. They can add variation to exercises and target specific muscle groups.

  • Curved Design
    A cambered bar has a slight curvature or camber along its length. The degree of curvature may vary depending on the specific bar, but the design allows it to provide a different lifting experience.
  • Load Distribution
    The cambered design of these types of barbells changes the center of gravity and load distribution during exercises.
    It can shift the focus and stress on different muscles and create a unique training stimulus.
  • Versatility
    You can use these types of barbells for various exercises, including squats, bench presses, lunges, and rows.
    They offer an alternative to straight barbells and allow for different grip positions and angles, targeting specific muscle groups and accommodating individual preferences.
  • Reduced stress on joints
    The cambered design of the bar can help reduce stress on joints, particularly the shoulders, and wrists, during some exercises.
    That can benefit lifters with mobility restrictions or those recovering from injuries.
  • Increased range of motion
    These types of barbells can enhance the range of motion in some exercises, such as squats.
    The curved design allows for a deeper squat position and greater activation of the glutes and hamstrings.
  • Core Activation
    Using a cambered bar requires additional core stability and engagement due to the shifting center of gravity.
    That can lead to improved core strength and stability.
  • Muscle Targeting
    The cambered bar can target specific muscles differently than a straight barbell.
    For example, the cambered bar can shift emphasis onto the triceps and upper back muscles during bench presses.

Cambered bars are considered specialty bars found in powerlifting gyms or training facilities.

They provide lifters with a unique training stimulus and allow you to introduce variations to your exercises to help challenge the muscles differently.

Safety Squat Bar

A safety squat bar, aka SSB or yoke bar, is a specialized barbell designed for performing squats.

It has a distinct design for additional support and stability, making it suitable for lifters with limited shoulder mobility, upper body injuries, or those seeking to target specific muscles during squat exercises.

Padding and Handles
The safety squat bar features thick padding and handles positioned in front of the lifter.

The padding rests on the lifter’s shoulders, allowing for a more comfortable and secure grip during squats.

  • Offset Weight Distribution
    These types of bars have a unique design that places the weight slightly in front of the lifter’s body.
    The offset distribution can help promote an upright torso position, putting more emphasis on the quads, glutes, and core muscles during squats.
  • Reduced Shoulder and Wrist Strain
    The design of the bar reduces the need for excessive shoulder and wrist flexibility, making it more accessible for those with restrictions or injuries. Thus the bar can benefit athletes with limited shoulder mobility or wrist discomfort.
  • Versatility
    While the safety squat bar is primarily for squats, you can also use them for other exercises such as lunges, step-ups, or variations of front-loaded movements.
  • Injury Rehabilitation
    These types of barbells are suitable for injury rehabilitation or individuals recovering from upper body injuries.
    Its design allows exercisers to continue working on lower body strength and stability while minimizing stress on the injured areas.

It offers an alternative to traditional barbell squats, provides additional support and stability, and targets specific muscles.

Swiss Bar

A Swiss bar, aka football bar or multi-grip bar, is a specialized barbell with multiple sets of parallel handles that provide different grip options.

The design offers versatility and can target specific muscles during various upper-body exercises.

  • Handle Variations
    A Swiss bar has multiple handles, each at a different angle or grip width.
    The angle of the handles may be at neutral, pronated, or supinated positions.
    The variety allows for different grip options and hand placements during exercises.
  • Rotating Handles
    Some Swiss bars have rotating handles, allowing for additional freedom of movement and reducing stress on the wrists and elbows during exercises.
  • Neutral Grip
    The primary advantage of these types of bars is the ability to use a neutral grip, where the palms face each other.
    The grip orientation can benefit lifters with shoulder or elbow issues, helping to reduce stress on these joints.
  • Muscle Targeting
    They can help target specific muscles differently than a traditional straight barbell.
    Different grip options allow for variations in muscle recruitment during pressing exercises such as bench presses, overhead presses, or rows.
    The neutral grip, for example, can engage the muscles of the chest, shoulders, triceps, and upper back differently.
  • Wrist and Shoulder Comfort
    The neutral grip of these types of barbells reduces strain on the wrists as they can help alleviate shoulder impingement issues, making them comfortable for athletes with wrist or shoulder limitations or discomfort.
  • Versatility
    You can use these types of barbells for several exercises beyond pressing movements.
    You can use the bars for curls, triceps extensions, rows, and exercises that involve and target the upper body muscles.
  • Training Variation
    Incorporating a Swiss bar into your training regimen can provide variation and help break through plateaus.
    They can help challenge muscles in various ways, stimulating growth and strength gains.

EZ Curl Bar

types of barbells - ez curl bar

An EZ curl bar is great for bicep curls and other arm exercises.

It features a unique curved or zigzag shape in the middle, allowing for a more ergonomic and comfortable grip during curls.

  • Curved Design
    The EZ curl bar has a distinctive shape with angled bends in the middle portion of the bar.
    The curvature allows for a more natural grip and hand positioning, reducing strain on the wrists and elbows.
  • Wrist and Elbow Comfort
    The angled grip provided by these types of barbells minimizes wrist extension and supination, which can benefit exercisers with wrist or elbow discomfort or limitations.
    They allow for a more comfortable and joint-friendly curling motion.
  • Versatility
    The EZ curl bar is associated with bicep curls, but the bar’s shape and grip options allow for different angles and variations in arm training. Thus you can use it for other exercises that target the arms, such as triceps extensions, preacher curls, upright rows, and front raises.
  • Muscle Isolation
    The EZ curl bar is one of the best types of barbells and can help isolate the biceps and brachialis muscles more effectively than straight barbells.
    The curved grip places greater emphasis on the target muscles and reduces the involvement of other muscle groups.
  • Grip Variations
    They are one of the best types of barbells that offer multiple grip options to target different areas of the arms.
    The outer angled grips allow for a wider grip, targeting the outer portion of the biceps. On the other hand, the inner angled grips provide a closer grip, emphasizing the inner part of the biceps.
  • Weight Distribution
    The EZ curl bar is shorter than a standard barbell, and the weight plates are closer to the lifter’s hands.
    The design helps to maintain balance and control during exercises and allows for more focused muscle activation.
  • Home and Commercial Use
    You can find EZ curl bars in commercial and home gym settings.
    They are one of the best types of barbells for arms training, particularly for exercisers looking to develop and shape their biceps and forearms.

EZ curl bars can be a valuable addition to an arm training regimen.

They provide a more comfortable and joint-friendly option for exercises such as bicep curls and other arm-focused movements.

They allow targeted muscle activation, reduced wrist and elbow strain, and versatile arm training options.

Fixed Weight Barbell

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A fixed weight barbell, also known as a fixed barbell or pre-loaded barbell, is a type of barbell with a fixed weight attached to it.

Unlike a standard barbell, where you can add or remove weight plates, a fixed weight barbell has a predetermined weight that is not adjustable.

  • Fixed Weight
    A fixed weight barbell has a specific weight that is permanently attached to the bar. The weight is evenly distributed on both ends of the barbell, providing a balanced load.
  • Convenience
    Fixed weight barbells are convenient and easy to use.
    There is no need to add or remove weight plates during workouts since the weight is pre-loaded and fixed.
    It saves time and eliminates the hassle of adjusting the weight for each exercise.
  • Variety of Weights
    Fixed weight barbells are available in several weights, typically in increments of 5 or 10 pounds (or kilograms).
    That allows users to choose a barbell with the appropriate weight for their training goals and fitness level.
  • Compact Design
    Fixed weight barbells are usually shorter and more compact than standard barbells.
    These types of barbells take up less space, making them suitable for home gyms, group fitness classes, and commercial gym settings with limited space.
  • Versatility
    You can use them for several exercises, including squats, lunges, deadlifts, overhead presses, bicep curls, and more. They provide a convenient option for full-body workouts or targeting specific muscle groups.
  • Safety and Stability
    Fixed weight barbells offer stability during exercises due to the evenly distributed weight. That can benefit individuals who prefer a secure and controlled lifting experience.
  • Strength Endurance Training
    You can use these types of barbells for strength endurance training, where the focus is on performing higher repetitions with a moderate weight.
    They are well-suited for circuits, metabolic conditioning, or muscular endurance workouts.

Buffalo Bar

A Buffalo bar is a cambered or bow bar used in powerlifting and strength training.

It has a unique design featuring a curved or bowed shape along its length.

The shape resembles the hump of a buffalo, hence its name.

Here are the key characteristics and uses of a Buffalo bar:

  • Design
    The Buffalo bar has a significant curve or bow along its length. That alters the positioning of the weight and the lifter’s grip compared to a traditional straight barbell.
    The degree of curvature may vary between different bars.
  • Weight Distribution
    The curved design of the Buffalo bar shifts the center of gravity, resulting in a different feel and load distribution during exercises. The weight moves toward the lifter’s midline and not directly above the wrists and shoulders.
  • Reduced Stress on Shoulders and Wrists
    The cambered shape of these types of barbells can help reduce stress and strain on the shoulders and wrists, which can benefit exercisers with mobility issues or those recovering from shoulder or wrist injuries.
  • Muscle Activation
    The unique shape alters the mechanics of exercises like squats, bench presses, and other movements.
    It may engage different muscle groups to a greater or lesser extent.
  • Accommodates Different Body Types
    The curved design of these types of barbells can help lifters with longer arms or limited mobility.
    It can provide better clearance during squats and presses, allowing for a more comfortable and efficient lifting position.

Buffalo bars are available in powerlifting gyms or strength training facilities.

They offer lifters a unique training stimulus and an alternative to traditional straight barbells.

Many lifters use these types of barbells for squats, bench presses, and other compound movements.

Axle Bar

An axle bar, thick bar, or fat bar is a specialized barbell with a larger diameter than a standard barbell.

It has a thick cylindrical shape, typically measuring 2 inches or more in diameter, compared to the standard 1-inch diameter of a regular barbell.

  • Increased Grip Challenge
    The thicker diameter of the axle bar requires a firmer and more secure grip.
    The increased grip challenge can help improve grip, forearm, and upper body strength.
  • Muscle Activation
    Using these types of barbells for training allows you to engage the muscles of the hands, forearms, and upper arms much more due to the increased grip demand.
    That can lead to enhanced muscle activation and development in those areas.
  • Wrist and Elbow Stability
    The thicker grip of an axle bar can promote better wrist and elbow stability during lifts and exercises. It can help reduce stress on these joints and minimize the risk of injury.
  • Versatility
    You can use these types of barbells for several exercises, including deadlifts, cleans, presses, rows, curls, and more.
    It adds a new dimension to traditional movements by challenging the grip and forearm muscles.
  • Strongman Training
    You will find axle bars in strongman competitions and training.
    Strongman events often involve lifting or carrying heavy and odd-shaped objects, and training with these types of barbells can help develop the necessary grip strength and forearm endurance for the activities.

Axle bars are popular among strength athletes, powerlifters, strongman competitors, and athletes looking to improve their grip and upper body strength.

Technique Barbell

A technique barbell, aka training barbell or practice barbell, is a specialized barbell for beginners, youth lifters, or exercisers focusing on technique development in weightlifting movements.

It is much lighter and shorter than an Olympic barbell. It can help facilitate learning proper lifting form and technique.

  • Weight
    Technique barbells are lighter than Olympic barbells, typically weighing around 10-15 kilograms (22-33 pounds). The lighter weight makes it easier for beginners or youth lifters to handle and practice proper form without excessive loading.
  • Shorter Length
    These types of barbells are often shorter than standard barbells. They are usually around 6 feet long. The shorter length allows for a more manageable and less intimidating barbell for individuals with smaller frames or less experience.
  • Diameter
    The diameter is usually the same as a standard barbell, which is 28-29 millimeters (approximately 1.1 inches) for men and 25 millimeters (about 1 inch) for women. That ensures that the grip thickness remains consistent with the standard barbell.

Technique barbells are for learning and practicing weightlifting techniques. Thus they may not be suitable for heavy lifting or maximal strength training.

As the lifter progresses and gains experience, they typically transition to standard or Olympic barbells for their training.

Final words from LiveLIfe

Different types of barbells allow athletes to customize their training, address specific needs or limitations, target various muscles, and optimize performance in their chosen activities.

Select the appropriate types of barbells based on your goals, training style, and any specific considerations. That can help you target and build your strength and muscles much better and put you on the road to success.

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