How Much Does a Barbell Weigh?

Written by Chris

Updated on:

A man in the gym about to lift a barbell weight

A standard barbell weighs 44 pounds (20 kg), and that weight is also shared by a few other common types of barbells. Beyond that, there are a variety of different barbells that each have their own weights and specifications. That’s why it’s very important always to know what kind of bar you’re using before you start loading weight plates onto it.

Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t love math, this process can quickly become the most tedious part of a lifting session. Let’s set the record straight on what the most common types of barbells are and how much does a barbell weigh when compared to each other.

Men’s Olympic Barbell

As stated above, the standard barbell weighs 44 pounds. That weight is also shared with the men’s Olympic weightlifting barbell, which is one of the types of barbells used in various exercises.

However, there is a small distinction between a straight barbell and an Olympic barbell.

Although they weigh the same, Olympic barbells measure 1 or 2 feet longer than standard and traditional barbells. Furthermore, the ends of Olympic barbells are thicker and heavier than those of a standard barbell.

This makes them much more stable for performing Olympic lifts.

While you’re more likely to find standard bars in your neighborhood gym, they are not as well-made as most Olympic barbells. Olympic bars are made to bear extremely heavy loads, but standard barbells tend to bend easier after extended use with heavy loads.

Uses:

Men’s Olympic barbell is mostly used for competitive sports as well as free weight training. Longer than the standard dumbbell, it’s an excellent choice for powerlifting, CrossFit, and Olympic weightlifting. You can use it for overhead presses, deadlifts, bicep curls, and squats.

Women’s Olympic Barbell

A woman in the gym doing a squat with a long barbell

Women’s Olympic bars are designed for the same purposes as men’s Olympic bars, but they’re sized and designed for female lifters. The most significant difference is that this type of barbell weighs only 33 pounds, which answers the question “Are barbells 35 or 45 lbs?”.

That’s because they are noticeably thinner to account for the fact that the average woman has smaller hands than the average man.

Even though a women’s Olympic barbell is lighter and thinner than a men’s barbell, it’s still able to bear a lot of weight without bending. Even an inexpensive Olympic bar is usually able to maintain its structural integrity better than a mid-range standard barbell.

Uses:

Women’s Olympic barbells are great for those who have smaller hands. With a narrower diameter, you can have a more stable and secure grip when doing bent-over rows or curls.

Women’s Olympic barbells are used in Olympic weightlifting competitions, powerlifting, and strength training. They can also be used for fitness purposes, such as in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, circuit training, or CrossFit-style workouts.

Kids Barbell/Technique Barbell

Weighing in at about 11 pounds, the kids’ barbell makes an excellent exercise equipment for children or anyone who wants to focus on their lifting technique. While it is true that you can get similar results from a PVC pipe, the extra pounds on this kind of bar can make a big difference when developing your technique.

If 11 pounds is a bit ambitious, you can also find a similar bar in a 5-pound version. This barbell’s weight is lighter, allowing you to do longer sessions in your home gym.

Remember, developing a proper lifting technique is much more important than grabbing a heavy barbell as soon as possible. Different weight options for kids/technique bars allow all types of athletes to progress at their own pace.

Uses:

These barbells can be used for a variety of exercises and training programs, including strength training, conditioning, and skill work. They are often used in CrossFit gyms, weightlifting clubs, and other fitness facilities where individuals are looking to improve their form and technique.

Kids barbells are excellent for helping kids perfect their hook grip. They encourage proper movement, form, and mechanics better than letting them use a plain straight metal bar.

EZ Curl Bar

A shirtless man in the gym using a EZ curl bar

With EZ curl bars, it becomes a bit harder to pinpoint the weight, as they aren’t used for competitions. The most popular EZ curl bars weigh in around 10 to 15 pounds, but they do exist in heavier weights as well.

Regardless of how heavy your EZ curl bar is, you can always go up in weight over time as you get stronger. However, you have to remember that straight barbells are more effective when it comes to building muscles compared with a curve bar.

Also, keep in mind that heavy EZ curl bars are designed to hold Olympic-sized plates. Although you’ll never need one of these bars in a competitive setting, they are great if you want to focus on building bicep strength.

Uses:

The EZ curl bar is a versatile and effective tool for building strength and muscle mass in the upper body. It’s often used to perform various types of bicep curls, including standing curls, preacher curls, and hammer curls.

It can be used by athletes of all levels, from beginners to advanced lifters.

Powerlifting Barbells

Powerlifting barbells typically weigh 44.09 pounds for men and 33.07 pounds for women. However, there are also lighter and heavier options available, depending on the manufacturer and the specific use case.

Some powerlifting barbells can weigh up to 55 pounds for men, while others may weigh as little as 22 pounds for women or for use in specific training scenarios.

It’s important to note that the weight of the barbell itself is just one factor to consider when determining the overall weight of a powerlifting lift, as the weight of the plates added to the barbell will also impact the total load lifted.

Power bars are made to handle even more weight than Olympic barbells because many power lifts, specifically the deadlift, can become significantly heavier at the competitive level.

On top of those differences, the grips you get from power bars are also slightly closer and a bit more rigid when compared to an Olympic barbell. A power bar, however, doesn’t require rotating sleeves, but these are a necessity for Olympic barbells.

Uses:

Powerlifting barbells are great for strength training since they are designed to help with building both muscle strength and size. They are also good for doing bench presses, deadlifts, and squats.

Squat Barbells and Safety Squat Barbells

A woman in the gym doing squat exercises with a squat barbell

A squat bar is a specialty bar designed specifically for performing squats. It’s usually heavier than a standard Olympic barbell.

Now, how much does a barbell weigh in this category?

Weighing around 55 pounds, safety squat bars are a variation of squat barbells that come with shoulder and arm pads for added comfort and support. You’ll find these common in the commercial gym setting.

The specialized barbells have a unique design with a curved central bar and handle. These features allow for a more ergonomic grip while squatting.

A safety squat bar is particularly useful for individuals with limited shoulder mobility or those recovering from injuries. They enable athletes to maintain an upright posture during the squat, reducing stress on the lower back and shoulders.

The weight of safety squat bars varies, but they are generally heavier than standard barbells, with some models weighing up to 65 pounds.

Take note that safety bars are different from deadlift bars since the latter has a narrow diameter shaft and lighter weight. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for deadlifting. In fact, it is good for that exercise. It’s a big help for improving your apart straight bar squat too.

Uses:

Even though a squat safety bar weighs more than the standard barbell weight, it’s much safer equipment to use when you want to do heavy squats.

Smith Machine Bar

Much like the EZ curl bar, the weight for this one can vary depending on what you want. They generally range from 15 to 25 pounds, and you should be able to clearly identify that weight on the machine that you’re using.

In some cases, the machine even counterweights the barbell. The best way to test this is to lift the bar halfway and see if it stays in place. If it does, then you’re working with a machine that counterweights the barbell.

Trap/Hex Bar

Trap bars, also known as hex bars, can also be considered deadlift barbells since they are designed for performing deadlifts and other exercises that engage the trapezius muscles. This type of barbell has a unique hexagonal shape that allows the lifter to stand in the center of the bar while grasping the handles on each side.

This design promotes a more neutral spine position and reduces the risk of injury, making it an excellent choice for beginners and those with lower back issues.

The weight of trap bars can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and the material used. Most standard trap bars weigh between 45 and 60 pounds, although heavier versions are available for more advanced lifters.

Uses:

Hex bars or trap bars are your choice when it comes to performing deadlifts without putting a lot of strain on your lumbar area. You can also use them when bench pressing.

Swiss Bar

A Swiss bar, also known as a multi-grip barbell, football bar, or cambered bar, features multiple parallel grips that allow lifters to perform various exercises, such as the bench press, targeting different muscle groups.

Now, how much does this type of bar weigh?

A Swiss barbell consists of steel. Most barbells of this type can weigh between 35 and 45 pounds, depending on the design and construction. These bars are great for individuals with shoulder or wrist issues or those looking to add variety to their pressing workouts.

Uses:

The Swiss bar is designed for pressing movements such as the bench press, shoulder press, and rows. Its unique design allows lifters to target specific muscles and grip positions, reducing stress on the wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

EZ Curl Bar

An EZ curl bar is specifically designed for performing bicep curls and tricep extensions. Its unique shape, featuring angled grips, reduces the strain on the wrists and allows for a more comfortable grip during exercises.

EZ curl bars are typically lighter than other barbells, with most models weighing between 15 and 25 pounds. They are available in both standard and Olympic sizes, with the latter being compatible with 2-inch weight plates.

In addition to the barbells mentioned above, there are various other specialty bars available for specific exercises and training goals. These include:

  1. Log bars: Designed for strongman training, log bars resemble a hollow log with handles and are used for pressing, carrying, and loading exercises. Log bars can weigh anywhere from 60 to 150 pounds or more, depending on the size and material.

  2. Axle bars: These thick-grip barbells are used primarily for grip strength training and strongman competitions. Axle bars typically weigh between 25 and 35 pounds and have a larger diameter than standard barbells, making them more challenging to grip.

  3. Bow bars: Bow bars, or arch bars, have a curved shape that helps reduce stress on the shoulders and lower back during squatting exercises. Bow bars usually weigh between 45 and 55 pounds.

Understanding Weight Bar Weigh Limits

Weight bar weight limits are an important consideration when selecting the right weight bar for your fitness routine. Each type of weight bar has a different weight limit, and exceeding that limit can lead to damage to the bar and potential injury to the user.

This is why it’s important to carefully study weight bar weight limits- whether you’re using powerlifting barbells or Olympic barbells- before you start lifting heavy weights and do powerlifting exercises. It’s also a good idea to check the guidelines released by the International Powerlifting Federation to get a better understanding of the standardized weights and sizes for barbells.

If you want to know if your barbell has been checked, tested, and certified, you can check the approved marks right on its center knurling. The knurling is usually a pattern of small ridges or diamond-shaped bumps. They are cut into the metal using a lathe or other machine.

The center knurling on barbells is typically found on the shaft portion of the bar. It’s designed to provide a better grip for the lifter during certain exercises.

Center knurling is not always present on all barbells. You’re more likely to find them on powerlifting bars or Olympic-style barbells.

Keep in mind that the presence and type of knurling can vary between different manufacturers and models of barbells. Some barbells may have aggressive knurling that provides a strong grip, while others may have a smoother knurling pattern that is gentler on the hands.

Standard Weight Bars

Their weight limits can range from 200 to 300 pounds, with some heavier-duty models capable of supporting up to 500 pounds. Olympic weight bars generally have higher weight limits, ranging from 800 to 1500 pounds.

They are designed to support the heavier-weight plates typically used in Olympic lifting.

EZ Curl Weight Bars and Trap Bars

These bars often have lower weight limits than standard and Olympic bars, usually ranging from 200 to 400 pounds. A women’s barbell in this category may also have lower weight limits, with some models supporting up to 200 pounds.

It is important to note that weight limits are not always the only factor to consider when selecting a weight bar. The quality of the bar, the materials used in its construction, and other factors can also impact its durability and performance.

If you plan to lift heavier weights, it’s important to choose a weight bar with a weight limit that matches your needs.

Exceeding the weight limit can lead to the bar bending or breaking, which can be dangerous. Additionally, regularly lifting weights near or at the weight limit can cause wear and tear on the bar over time.

Always check the weight limit of your weight bar before use. Ensure that you are not exceeding its maximum capacity to avoid injuries and accidents

It’s also important to inspect your weight bar regularly for signs of wear and damage. If you spot any, remember to replace them as necessary.

By selecting the right weight bar and using it safely, you can enjoy a safe and effective workout routine.

Conclusion

When choosing a barbell, it’s not enough to answer the question: How much does a barbell weigh? It’s crucial to also consider your training goals, experience level, and any physical limitations or injuries.

Specialty bars, like the safety squat bars, powerlifting bars, and hex barbells, can add variety to your workouts and target specific muscle groups or movements. However, not all barbells fit everyone.

If you’re unsure which barbell is right for you, consult with a fitness professional or coach in your local commercial gyms to help determine the best option for your individual needs. They can also help you understand how much does the bar of your choice weighs.

In conclusion, how much a barbell weighs can vary depending on the type and intended use. It’s essential to choose the right type of barbell for your specific needs and goals, whether you’re an Olympic weightlifter, powerlifter, or simply looking to improve your overall fitness.

As you progress in your training, you may find that investing in different types of barbells can enhance your workouts and help you reach your goals more effectively.

References

  1. Barbell – Wikipedia
  2. How Much Does a Barbell Weigh? – TheWorkoutDigest
  3. 5 Types of Weightlifting Bars – TheWorkoutDigest
  4. How Much Does a Barbell Weigh? – Students Fitness