From any piece of equipment you'll find in a gym, you'll struggle to find one as versatile as the Barbell.
It's a fantastic tool that can be used for any kind of lifting, meaning you can target all of your required muscle groups, on any given day.
- Leg Day? Let's get squatting
- Chest Day? Do you even press?!
- Shoulders? Barbell Seated Press
- Back? Deadlifts
- Arms? (everybody's favourite) Barbell Curl!
This is just a very small example of the exercises that you can perform. For more, you can view our exercise hub, which contains all of the workouts & it also shows you how to perform them perfectly.
Now, You're most likely reading this article as you are looking at building your home gym setup, now you're trying to find the best barbell for your needs.
The good news? There's quite a lot of choice on the market! The not so good news is that not all barbells are manufactured equally, so there's going to be some types of barbell which just aren't ready for the job at hand.
Types of Barbell
As I briefly mentioned above, barbells come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The ones that we will discuss today, will be the barbells for home use. This means I'll skim over some of the ones that you aren't going to consider for your setup.
A Regular Barbell
If you've been to a commercial gym, you've definitely seen these. In the weights area, or in the power racks, lives the regular barbells. In fact, many gyms love them due to the sheer amount of exercises you can complete with them.
It helps gyms to save money, as they don't have to waste important cashflow on a specific machine which only targets a single muscle.
They're extremely useful for Bench, Deadlifts and Squats… but you can do even more with them.
The diameter of a regular barbell is 1″, with a length of between 6 and 7 feet. This will also weigh between 15-20kg.
Their versatility is definitely a selling point & a reason why you should consider one for your home gym setup. These bars are also designed with a knurling, which helps you to retain a good grip of the bar. This is essential, if you don't want to drop the bar (which we advise you not to!).
When you're shopping around, you'll notice that the cheaper the bar, the more likely it is to have a smoother knurling, or no knurling at all.
A good quality bar will cost you between £90 and £180.
- Great Value Bar
- Perfect for under 220kg lifts
- Lower Quality than Olympic Bar
If you're already participating in olympic lifting, you'll already know what this is. Although it's classed as an olympic barbell, there's actually only two single workouts involved in ‘olympic lifting'.Clean & Jerk is the most popular, with the Snatch being next up).
On first inspection, you could be forgiven for thinking that there's no differences with the olympic and regular bar bells.
However, there are slight differences which will offer a completely different experience.
The Diameter of these are 2 inches, compared to the previous bar with a 1″ diameter. They're also capable of handling olympic weights, hence their name!
This bar also has knurling, but it's designed to be softer on the lifters hands, due to the sheer amount of weight they're holding. I'm sure you've been there yourself where the bar has compeltely destroyed the palms of your hands.
This is my favourite type of barbell, due to the build quality. You can expect to pay anywhere upto £300 for a professional grade olympic bar.
- Higher Build Quality
- Designed for Durability
- A Costly Investment
What is the best Olympic barbell?
The above Olympic Bar is a near perfect example, which ticks lots of the boxes. It's an absolutely fantastic price, it's the 7ft version & the knurled grip is fantastic. I could be being biased, as this is my home olympic bar.
BodyRip make some great equipment & their gear is really durable.
What is the best bar for bench press
If you're kitting out your garage, your best bet is to grab a 7ft Regular Bar. This will set you back around £100, I actually advise you use the MiraFit one… I have this one and it's lasted me for 3 years now. The only issue I've had (my own fault), is a little bit of rust on the knurling, but that's due to my garage not being fully weatherproof.
It's not a fault of the bar, and I actually cleaned it off recently with white vinegar!
With a regular bar, you'll still be able to add sufficient weight without worrying that you'll damage the bar. I'm not the strongest of lifters, but have added 170kg to the bar and it hasn't even struggled.
What size barbell do gyms use
In commercial gyms, you will likely have seen the barbels that are available to use. Whilst not every gym will, most gyms will have a 7ft regular bar, as they're incredibly versatile & can handle what most members have to throw at them.
If you work out at a powerlifters gym, there's a great chance that you will have seen a few variations of the barbell. It could be the Hex Trap Bar, or simply the deadlift bar, which is designed specifically for Deadlifting (who would've guessed!).
Can you bench press with a 5 ft bar
You can bench press with a 5 foot bar, however, you'll struggle to get one to work with a power rack. I would avoid using a 5ft bar in general, as they're just a little bit awkward!
Do you really need a barbell in a Home gym?
You definitely will need a barbell, ensure this is high on your list of priorities. A bar is so versatile, allowing you to activate all muscle groups. Not only this, but if you're short on space it saves you having to purchase lots of different equipment.