How to choose a barbell for home workouts

The most sought-after “pumping items” at all times have been barbells. Where does the purchase of home training equipment begin? From the thought that it would not hurt to pump up...

So, the idea was born and now we need to translate it into reality. With a determined gait, you head to the store and…

Wow! Eyes darted across the shelves. The huge range is amazing. Around everything glitters and shines, on every object there is a label of a famous company... What to choose?

Choosing a barbell for home training.

The most popular "pumping items" at all times were the barbells. Nowadays, their range is huge and each company is trying to convince customers to choose their own products. But the whole point is that the bar has a very simple design, so it’s quite difficult to introduce something new into it. Does it work with the most famous manufacturers? Let's figure it out...

There are only 4 points that you should pay attention to when buying a barbell: neck shape

seat diameter

locking device


Neck shape.

Straight neck.

At first, the shape of the rod was simple. And what could be difficult there? I hung the load from the ends, took it in the middle and press it to your health. Nobody even thought about the length of the neck. They simply chose (or did it themselves) the one that seemed most convenient. Although the length is the first thing that sports equipment manufacturers decided to change in the necks. After all, someone might need miniature barbells for training in a limited space. In addition, with short weights, you don’t 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 a lot more reasons to release barbells of a certain size (for example, most bench press racks are designed for bars longer than 190 cm).

EZ neck.

More recently, just a couple of decades ago, it occurred to some smart person to bring the flexion and extension movements of the arms closer to a more natural position. Either his wrists ached during bicep curls, 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 could increase the load on the biceps and triceps, because the body would no longer have to spend extra energy on stabilizing the wrist joint in an uncomfortable position. But! As always, pioneers cannot account for everything. Recently, scientists have been constantly receiving rebuttals of full-fledged biceps stimulation with the EZ bar. And do you know why? Under natural conditions, no muscle NEVER works in isolation. Therefore, the more convenient we take on the barbell, the more likely it is that a few more small muscles will be connected to the movement. This is what allows us to lift heavy weights. And scientists get the 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 the entire load, REGARDLESS of what kind of necks they work with. You just need to understand and use it, and not wait for official confirmation.


This is an "improved" copy of EZ. The bend in such a neck is stronger, which allows you to hold the bar with a grip close to neutral. Many people have commented that these barbells are great for French presses and similar exercises.

Bore diameter.

As always, people can't go wrong with standards. So all vultures can be divided into American, European and Olympic. The first has a landing diameter of 25 mm, the second - 30 mm. The name “Olympic” itself 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, then it is reasonable to buy another neck with the same diameter. This will save you money on purchasing additional disks.

Arrangement of locks.

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

Each company tries to add something of its own, if not to the device of locks, then at least to their name. In fact, these fasteners have only three varieties: a smooth sleeve, a nut and a spring.

Everything is immediately clear with nuts: put on a pancake, tightened the nut. The only trouble is that it bothers you to constantly screw it up, then twist it. Springs are easier. They are simply squeezed slightly, put on and released. Naturally, such a design will not be able to hold pancakes if the bar is turned vertically. So why turn it around like that?

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


There are a few other things to consider when choosing a rod, such as notch size and neck diameter.

Notch size.

Have you ever tried a heavy barbell pull without a notch on the bar? Fear of dropping the bar 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 in these small grooves there is a little air, protecting the palm from excessive sweating.


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

Neck thickness.

Usually, this is the standard setting, but... If you need to increase your grip strength, then it makes sense to look for thicker specimens. Large diameter necks are much more difficult to hold. You have to strain the muscles of the hand and forearm with all your might. 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 have sort of figured out the theory, let's find options suitable for various requirements.

For convenience, we will consider only necks with a seat diameter of 50 mm.


Length - 1250 mm

Weight - 12.5 kg

Locks - plain sleeve

Price - $130

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


Length - 1800 mm

Weight - 17 kg

Locks - plain sleeve

Price - $180

(best option)


Length - 2200 mm

Weight - 25 kg

Locks - self-locking (Olympic)

Maximum weight - 350 kg

Price - $500

EZ bar.

Length - 1270 mm

Weight - 12.5 kg

Locks - plain sleeve

Price - $150


Length - 1270 mm

Weight - 12.5 kg

Locks - plain sleeve

Price - $150

We sorted out the vultures. Now they need something to weight for fruitful training. Maybe pancakes? The idea is good, but what kind of pancakes to choose? Maybe rubberized, but with a spectacular chrome edge, will attract attention? They look great, but what about practicality?..

All the "bells and whistles" on the pancakes were invented either for beauty or for convenience. In particular, chrome is purely beauty. Only now, in terms of convenience, it lags far behind conventional rubber. Hands don't slip on it. But even a chrome-plated disc will not fall out of your hands if it has special carrying slots. Also, smart people came up with pancakes that are not round, but, for example, multifaceted. Such disks will never roll away from you…

When choosing pancakes for yourself in the store, try to pick them up, evaluate the comfort for gripping, and, of course, the appearance. For comparison, here are the average prices for discs of various weights:

Weight (kg.) Cost per pair (USD) 0.5 13 0.75 15

1 17 1.25 21 2.5 27 5 50 10 90 15 120 25 185 Total

122 540

A little money-saving advice.

If you're looking to get a barbell and dumbbells, but don't aim to lift huge weights, you might want to consider choosing a 25mm or 30mm bore bar. The same size is found in dumbbells, so you don’t have to buy separate pancakes for them. Photo: ericmcgregor By Ares fatalenergy