What is the Best Olympic Barbell for Home Gym in 2019?

Man in red shirt showing off his best olympic barbell he got for his home gym.

The Olympic barbell is said to set the standards in strength training. The iconic competition moves it’s designed for are undoubtedly an extreme test of human strength and power.

However this Olympic barbell is not just exclusively used by professional athletes, in fact it’s very popular in the home gym.

Many have realised incorporating the best Olympic barbell for home gym use with the right technique and dedication means they too can recreate medal worthy moves.

Therefore I thought I would take a closer look and give you the lowdown on the best Olympic barbell for home gym use.

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Our Rating
Our #1 Rated
Sabre Olympic Bar

Rep Fitness

Sabre Olympic Bar

5 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category

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  • 20 kg (44 lb)1000 lb rated Olympic bar, 150k tensile, ideal for powerlifting movements such as squats, bench press, and...
  • Black Zinc coating - resists rust
  • Dual knurl markings, medium depth knurl, no center knurl, which is great for higher rep workouts so that you don't scratch...
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Our #1 Rated

5 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category


Our #2 Rated
Olympic Bar

CAP Barbell

Olympic Bar

5 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category

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  • SPECS - 110, 000 PSI tensile strength Japanese cold rolled steel; 15 inch loadable sleeve length; The shaft length (inside...
  • CONSTRUCTION - Built from solid cold rolled steel with a black phosphate finish; Used for training, this bar measures 2185mm...
  • FEATURES - The sleeves are designed with snap clips and the bar features medium depth diamond knurling for a secure grip when...
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Our #2 Rated

5 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category


Our #3 Rated
Lumberjack Olympic Bar

XMark Fitness

Lumberjack Olympic Bar

4 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category

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  • The XMark LUMBERJACK 7' Olympic bar with a moderate flex makes it a great performance bar. This bar hits the middle of the...
  • A high quality shaft coating adds to the longevity of the bar. The LUMBERJACK's shaft is black manganese phosphate which...
  • The chrome sleeves of the LUMBERJACK Olympic bar rotates freely on self-lubricating brass alloy bushings and are secured to...
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Our #3 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category


Our #4 Rated
Titan Barbell

Titan Fitness

Titan Barbell

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category

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  • SUPERIOR DESIGN: It's time to maximize your workouts by giving your body the professional set of equipment it deserves....
  • STURDY & SAFE: Our weight bar is maintenance-free and constructed from heavy-duty steel. We've designed it with diamond...
  • WORKS AT HOME OR GYM: Whether you need it for lifting at home or the gym, this metal barbell is ideal for you. Designed with...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category


Our #5 Rated
Olympic Weight Bar

Yaheetech

Olympic Weight Bar

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category

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  • This curl bar is designed to hold up to 300-pound and comes with spring collars.
  • Product Dimensions:Length: 86''; Weighs Approximately: 39.5 lb; Sleeve Diameter: 2'' / 5cm; Grip Diameter: 1.2'' / 3cm;
  • Great addition to your weight room;Perfect weight and length for learning various lifts; Excellent choice for home gym user.
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym Olympic Barbell category

An Olympic Barbell for Home Gym – The Basics

If you are new to lifting it’s always good to get to know some basics before you get started. With an Olympic barbell there is no shortage of jargon to digest and it can seem like a foreign language.

To help you decipher the vocab here’s my A to Z interpretation of what you might come across:

Bushes and Bearings

Bushes and bearings might seem a dull topic of conversation but they are a common talking point for Olympic barbells.

These guys are responsible for the rotation at the ends of the bar. If you didn’t have this mechanism the sleeves wouldn’t turn effectively. This will cause friction that wears out components as well as creating resistance for your wrists.

Bushings

Bushes are usually made with brass and look like large rings. They sit between the sleeve and the main shaft and work by preventing friction and creating a smoother revolution.

The majority of Olympic barbells for home gym use contain bushings because they keep the costs down and are more than adequate for the job.

Bearings

With “bearing bars”, the ball bearings fit between the sleeve and shaft and have a similar function to bushings – they smooth out the rotation and reduce friction giving a better spin.

Overall, ball bearings tend to turn better compared to bushings, but they are generally more expensive.

Coating

Athletic man trying to lift olympic barbell at the gym.

The finish of a bar is not just to make it look good, it also enhances the durability. Let’s face it, your hands are going to get sweaty, and when moisture comes into contact with metal, there is going to be a risk of corrosion.

Barbells are covered in various coatings like zinc, black oxide or chrome and it’s these finishes that provide a barrier against rust – keeping the bar strong.

Each coating has an oxidation rate – the speed it takes to corrode. In comparison to bare steel, black oxide has a medium resistance, whereas zinc and chrome have a slower rate and are therefore considered high resistance.

However this doesn’t mean you can pump iron and rack, you still need to perform regular maintenance on your Olympic barbell at home. It just means the higher resistance materials don’t need oiling as frequently.

Knurl

In a nutshell, knurling gives your bar some additional grip and a maximum potential of lifting. Basically it’s a pattern engraved into the bar in strategic areas of the main shaft.

Knurling comes in different levels and the depth determines how aggressive the grip is – more depth equals more grip. With Olympic barbells, a moderate knurling is enough to allow your hand to move through the various lift stages of cleans, jerks and snatches.

One of the biggest bug bears with the knurling has to be that it can tear your hands up. For many the palm calluses are all part and parcel – the sign of hard determination and effort. However, if it gets too uncomfortable wearing gloves can add relief. Over time your hands will toughen up.

Hand placement plays a key role when getting the max out of your lifts and the knurling location is a good indicator. You’ll find your hands naturally gliding to these places.

Olympic Barbell Specs

Just for the record, an official Olympic barbell used for competition use should be made to the following specification:

The bar should weigh 20kg (44lbs) for men and 15kg (33lbs) for women. The weight of the bar is also included as part of your total lift. (source)

For men, its total length should be 2.2 meters which is a just over 7 feet and have a diameter of 28mm. The women’s bar should be just over 2 meters and have a diameter of 25mm.

It’s these characteristics that are used to form the basis of the Olympic barbell for home gym use too.

Sleeve

Woman adjusting the sleeve of an olympic barbell at the gym.

The sleeves are the two sections at either end of the main shaft, in simple terms it’s where the weights go.

In the case of an Olympic barbell they work hand in hand with the bushings or bearings to help turn the weights as you lift.

Spin

Combine together the sleeves and the bushings or bearings and you have the mix for barspin. Good spin is a crucial element for any Olympic barbell because it allows the weights to remain neutral.

Think about the technique required for the “clean” and “jerk” – the hands and wrists are put through many different motions and the entire process is done without having to release any grip.

If you had sleeves that didn’t rotate, it would mean literally using extra force to turn the weights along with the bar and that puts immense pressure on your wrists. Considering the amount of weight we are talking about, this will only lead to injury.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is defined as the resistance of a material to breaking under tension. This means the maximum amount of stress the barbell can withstand before it reaches breaking point.

To find out this data, manufacturers perform dynamic tests, which basically involves putting the bar material under extreme pressure and analysing its reaction.

The tensile strength is a good indicator of durability although it can be a little tricky deciphering the information in relation to your needs.

It’s normally measured in the pressure rating of pounds per square inch (PSI) and in most situations the higher the rating the better.

Whip

The whip is the level of flexibility and bounce a barbell can produce under heavy loads. Basically the ends of the bar still move when the lifter is static.

Olympic bars are designed to be more “whippy” than other bars because of the dynamic power moves it’s geared for.

Using the whip as an advantage is a technique that takes a little practice, but once mastered the whip effectively acts like a spring when you pull up which helps you propel the weights and get them moving quicker.

Pros often use the momentum of the whip to help them with finish off over head lifts. Here’s a great example of how the whip of the barbell aids a pro in competition:

The barbell material and the diameter of the bar are a good gauge to determine whip.

Yield Strength

Yield strength is the total force a barbell can take before it permanently bends and doesn’t return to shape.

This measure of strength is established through static testing. This is a simple process involving the loading of vast quantities of weights then watching to see if the bar returns to shape after removal.

Yield strength is measured in the same was as tensile, pounds per square inch (PSI) and it’s normal to have ratings of similar figures for both.

Olympic Barbell vs. Standard Barbell – What’s the Difference?

When stacked in a rack, you can be forgiven for assuming both types are one and the same. Granted, they do have similar appearances, but on closer inspection there are differences.

To help you differentiate, here is a quick run-down:

Size Matters

An Olympic barbell generally out-sizes its standard counterpart in every aspect. It’s longer, thicker and also heavier than a standard bar. You only have to compare the sleeves and you will understand what I mean.

Although I would like to point out, manufacturers have started making shorter and lighter Olympic versions to accommodate the market.

Weight Capacity

Due to the all round larger structure, Olympic bars can carry a greater amount of weight than a standard bar. This is one of the main reasons they are popular in commercial gyms.

It’s common for Olympic bars to accommodate anything up to 1500lbs however bars for home gym use usually reach around the 1000lbs mark. I do recommend you check the spec beforehand to make sure it covers your load requirements.

Stability

With a heavier profile, it means Olympic barbells have a greater stability than a standard barbell.

For example, you will find they are less likely to fall over when you load up uneven plates on the rack. The weight of the bar counterbalances heavy plates with no problems.

Sleeves

The biggest difference between the two types has got to be down to the sleeve section on the bar. Olympic barbells have a 2-inch diameter sleeve that rotates, causing the “spin” needed, whereas standard barbells have a smaller 1-inch circumference with a fixed sleeve.

One thing you need to remember – if you have Olympic plates you can use them on a standard bar with an adaptor, but you cannot use standard plates on an Olympic bar.

An Olympic Barbell – The Fitness Benefits

The Olympic barbell can be used for a number of strength training moves, yet it was primarily designed for two specific lifts: the “snatch” and the “clean and jerk”.

The “Snatch”

In short, the “snatch” is a single continuous move where the barbell is lifted from the ground using a squat position to push the weight above the head.

The lower body is worked through the squat and also again as you rise into the standing position. The upper body is targeted from the pull at the beginning and then again for the final drive up overhead.

Check out this clip to watch the “snatch” in slow motion:

The “Clean” and “Jerk”

To sum up the “clean” and “jerk”, it’s a double move starting with a lift from the ground to the shoulders and then from the shoulders to above the head.

The first stage – the “clean” is primarily a squat motion that engages the butt, thighs and hamstrings whilst the second stage – the “jerk” focuses on the upper body of the arms, shoulders and back.

Here is a great slow-mo clip of the “clean” and “jerk” to help you really study the body movements easily:

Both of these are dynamic power moves that force the whole body to work rapidly using immense skill and effort.

It’s the speed of these lifts that sets them apart from any other kind of strength move. With this kind of output, your body is going to see some incredible fitness results.

Increased Strength and Power

Olympic lifts are all about explosive moves and this takes a lot of power and strength to perform.

US National Championships recorded power outputs for the “jerk” ranging from 2140 watts up to 4786 watts and heavier classes exceeded any published estimations. Therefore it’s considered one of the most powerful forms of exercise around. (source)

Improved Core Stability

Olympic lifts are great for working on your core.

Using the “clean” and “jerk” as an example, hoisting the bar from a squat to standing position calls upon your core muscles to work harder to stabilize the trunk.

For the overhead finish or the catchphrase of the move, you push the weight further away from your body and this engages the entire core to an even greater extent.

Enhances Body Flexibility

Two friends celebrating by hand gesture after hard workout at the gym over an olympic barbell.

The wide range of motion your body goes through when performing the “snatch” requires a great deal of flexibility and surprisingly more so than the double move “clean” and “jerk”.

Not only does it require flexibility, Olympic weightlifting is a solid strength or resistance workout which is widely known for improving it. (source)

Better Jumping Skills

It may be a surprise to you, but Olympic barbells can actually improve your basketball skills.

For an effective way to increase your vertical jump height, experts recommend Olympic weightlifting. It’s been shown to improve your jumping skills by almost eight percent. (source)

When you think about it, this shouldn’t be a surprise considering the “clean” and “jerk” requires an explosive jump to catch the bar on the front and also to finish off above your head.

Improves Performance in Other Sports

These days I’m noticing a growing trend towards athletes wanting to lift Olympic barbells because it enhances their performance in other sports. “Crossfitters” are a perfect example, barbells are part of their WODs.

Lifting heavy weights in a quick succession is an intense action which we know generates power, strength and endurance. The same principle also applies to other sports.

Track and field events that use rapid bouts of power like javelin, shot put, discus and sprinting are all sports experts have acknowledged can benefit from a weight training program. (source)

The Best Olympic Barbell for Home Gym

As you try to compile a shortlist for your home gym, you will most certainly be thinking your efforts alone deserve a medal.

It’s no secret, there are many possibilities out there and knowing which one is going to do the job for your specific needs can be a tricky decision.

Therefore, I have selected five popular Olympic barbells and homed in on both good and bad points just to give you the heads up on the best Olympic barbell for home gym use.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Rep Fitness

Sabre Olympic Bar

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Rep Fitness offers the sabre Olympic bar which they claim is best suited for benching, squats, and deadlifts along with Olympic moves.

The spec for this Olympic bar is as follows:

The bar weighs 44lbs and can carry a maximum lift load of 1000lbs. The length totals 86 inches, included within are two loadable sleeves of 16 inches and a total diameter of 28mm.

For the female strength trainer, Rep Fitness also offers this barbell in a slightly lighter weight of 33lbs and smaller circumference of 25mm.

The steel bar has a tensile strength of 150k and yield strength of 120k therefore you should have no worries of it buckling under extreme weight loads. The bushings create a smooth sleeve rotation, which is handy for your clean and jerks.

The dual knurl markings are geared to support both Olympic and powerlifting and the medium depth gives good grip without ripping your hands to shreds through lifts.

As for the finish, this bar has a black zinc coating which has a good resistance to rust and makes it easy to maintain.

The collars spin smooth and the knurls aren’t aggressive which makes it appealing to beginners as well as intermediates. As far as the price/value ratio goes many feel it’s dollars well spent.

However, one thing that threw some people off is a slight vibration when performing deadlifts. Others found the bar becomes slippery with sweaty hands and felt the knurl could be deeper.

Pros
Pro 1000lb maximum lift capacity
Pro 44lb bar weight
Pro 150k tensile strength
Pro 120k yield strength
Pro 1-year warranty
Pro Zinc coated
Pro Snap-rings with bushings
Pro Medium dept knurling
Pro Dual knurl markings
Pro 84-inch bar length
Pro Women’s version available
Cons
Con Slight vibration
Con Some felt the knurl could be deeper
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

CAP Barbell

Olympic Bar

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CAP Barbell has engineered “the beast” Olympic bar for taking on heavy loads and long lasting performance in mind.

In terms of technical jargon, this bar has a total weight of 44lbs and has been tested to carry a maximum capacity of 1200lbs. It has a length of 86 inches and a diameter of 28.5mm.

Medium depth diamond knurling should make sure your hands don’t feel like they are being grated every time you power up; the sleeves are designed to swivel easily which should alleviate any pressure on your wrists.

The main section of the bar is covered with black oxide finish that is highly durable and corrosion resistant. Its polished steel sleeves serve their purpose yet also round off the aesthetics nicely.

To acknowledge their 30th year in business CAP has also created special custom coated funky colors for this bar, therefore if you fancy a change from the norm there are six to choose from.

Those that wanted an Olympic barbell for home gym use were pleased with its results. It holds up well for everything from squats to bench and it has a good amount of whip for cleans.

However, others were not so satisfied. When loading weights, the friction reportedly causes the grooved sleeves to shred off like tiny needle shards which get into fingers and palms with nearly every use.

Also a number of people have experienced the bar bending with weight loads ranging well within the maximum weight load.

Pros
Pro 1200lbs maximum weight capacity
Pro 44lbs bar weight
Pro 86-inch bar length
Pro Accu-coat finish
Pro Bar material - steel
Pro 3 year warranty
Pro Snap clip sleeve
Pro Medium depth diamond knurl
Pro 6 anniversary colored options available
Cons
Con Grooved sleeves shredded when loading weights
Con Some users experienced the bar bending under the maximum load
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

XMark Fitness

Lumberjack Olympic Bar

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The Lumberjack Olympic bar from Xmark Fitness is designed to be middle of the road between flexible and stiff so that it caters for a wide range of lifts.

A quick run through of the vitals – the bar weighs 19.5kg and can take a total of 700lbs in one hit. As for shaft length, it’s a standard 7-foot with sleeves of 16.5 inches a piece and a diameter of 28mm.

The finish is coated with black manganese phosphate which not only provides an improved rust resistance it also leaves a slightly tacky surface that enhances grip.

And in terms of grip, the medium depth knurling is dual spec and complete with IWF and IPF markers. When combined with the coating it should allow for a strong hold without the need for chalking up.

The bar is constructed with high quality alloy steel and a dual snap ring system. The chrome sleeves contain self lubricating brass alloy bushings that allow easy rotation, which in turn should help you smash those snatches and cleans.

A number of people felt the Xmark Lumberjack met their criteria.

The general impression is that this is a solid bar that is very well made and great for everyday training. The smooth polished sleeves make loading weights a breeze and the knurling provides excellent grip.

On the other side of the coin, one let down noted with this bar is that it doesn’t appear to have much free collar spin. One user noted it does turn if you hold the grip bar down and twist the collar, but as for free spin, even with weight loaded it doesn’t seem to move.

Pros
Pro 700lb maximum lift capacity
Pro Bar material: heated alloy steel shaft
Pro chrome sleeves
Pro Bar weight: 19.5kg
Pro Bar length: 7 feet
Pro Dual knurling marks
Pro Medium depth knurling
Pro Black manganese phosphate coating
Pro Brass alloy bushings
Cons
Con Lacking in free collar spin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Titan Fitness

Titan Barbell

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Titan Fitness’s Olympic barbell for home gym is geared to be compact and convenient for those tight on space.

The total bar length is 60 inches long, with a sleeve length of 10 ¾ inches and a grip diameter of 1.1 inches. Checking out the specification it’s clear this bar has a shorter and lighter profile weighing 25lbs, yet it is still compatible with 2-inch Olympic plates.

It’s made from heavy duty steel, with clean chrome finish that’s built to hold up to a total of 500lb. The main shaft has diamond knurling handles allowing extra grip to help prevent slipping and should get you maxing out on benches, deadlifts and more.

Those hunting for an affordable Olympic “shorty” were not disappointed. Many felt the collars provided good spin and overall the bar has a good solid feel. It has qualities which make it perfect for use as a beginner’s bar or for those with limited space in their home gym.

It’s worth bearing in mind as it’s a 60-inch bar, if you have a super wide grip it may not be the most suitable choice for certain lifts. Having said that, many were able to find a comfortable width for moves like rows and deadlifts with plenty of room left between hands and collars.

Another minor niggle was down to the chrome finish. Some noted it does seem to peel off at the bar ends too easily for their liking.

Pros
Pro 500lb maximum lift capacity
Pro Bar weight: 25lb
Pro Bar length: 60 inches
Pro Bar material: steel
Pro Chrome finish
Pro Diamond knurled surface
Cons
Con Some users felt it wasn’t great for lifts needing a wider stance
Con Chrome finish appears to peel off at the bar ends
 
 
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Yaheetech

Olympic Weight Bar

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Yaheetech offers an Olympic weight bar for the budget conscious who want to improve their upper body strength at home.

Starting off with the bare essentials, it comes in at a standard Olympic length of 86 inches and a main shaft diameter of 1.18 inches. The sleeve diameter is 1.19 inches which can take the 2-inch Olympic plates nicely.

The weight of the bar comes in at 38.5lbs and it can lift a max load of 330 lbs. To me this suggests it would be more suited towards beginners or those that are looking for a back up.

It’s built with high grade iron construction and coated with anti-rust silver coating to protect and reinforce durability. The smooth swivelling sleeves aim to reduce excessive pressure on the wrists which is important when you are trying to improve your “snatch” or “jerk” skills.

It also has medium depth knurling which gives a secure grip yet shouldn’t make the palms feel like they are going to turn into callus ridden gator hands!

In general Yaheetech’s Olympic bar can be summed up as a great barbell considering the price tag. It has a nice finish and good balance with grips in just the right place.

However it does fall down where the spring clips are concerned. Some people reported clips that were warped and rendered unusable. Others felt they just didn’t make the cut and had to purchase different ones.

Another minor gripe, although not a deal breaker related to the weight of the bar – as it’s slightly lower than standard it means you end up recording bizarre weights, something worth bearing in mind.

Pros
Pro 330lb maximum load capacity
Pro Bar material: iron
Pro Bar length: 86 inches
Pro Bar weight: 38.5lbs
Pro Medium depth knurl
Pro Good price
Pro Sturdy spring collars
Cons
Con Spring clips not great quality
Con Bar weight give you non standard weight records
 
 
 
 
 

Our Choice for the Best Olympic Barbell for Home Gym

I’m going to give the gold medal to Rep Fitness – Sabre Olympic Bar as for me it’s a clear winner.

It has a generous lifting capacity of 1000lbs which provides enough scope for progression as well as enough range to pump some serious iron. This makes it appealing to both beginners and veterans alike.

It stands out as a solid option that’s going stand up to the abuse of heavy Olympic lifts and not to leave out the iron maiden wannabes there is a women’s version available.

Therefore, whether you are looking to update to your equipment or are thinking of taking up lifting, I believe this is the best Olympic barbell for home gym use.

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