The Five Different Types of Barbells

Whether you’re new to the weights section of the gym, or a seasoned veteran, at one point or another, you have probably experienced confusion when trying to pick between all of the different types of barbells. Barbells come in many different shapes and sizes and are intended to serve vastly different functions. Typically, when we describe barbells, there are three key terms that are commonly used.

  • Knurling - we talk about knurling on a scale; ie some barbells have more of it than others. Knurling refers to the amount of grip you have on the bar. Some people prefer bars that have lower knurling, as the bar grip can result in unsightly calluses and irregularities on the hands. Other people prefer high knurling bars, since it makes the weight easier to hold onto.
  • Whip - whip refers to the way the bar changes as it moves. Like any material, when the bar is loaded with weights and a force drives it upwards, the particles in the bar actually oscillate. Some modern bar designs lean into this and create high whip bars. These types of bars are almost elastic. Many weightlifters prefer high whip bars as it creates a more natural and more fluid motion. On the other hand, low whip bars are very rigid and resistant to movement. If you are lifting at the edge of your weight tolerance, a low whip bar might be a better fit for you. 
  • Sleeves - bar sleeves refer to the end of the bar and how weights are held. Some barbells have longer sleeves, which are typically designed for people who lift heavy with lots of plates. Shorter sleeves make the bar easier to handle and maneuver.

  • In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the barbells we carry here at BalanceFrom and describe how you can get the most out of them. 


    1. The Weighted Workout Bar

    This freeweight is not a barbell, despite looking like one. We purposely designed this freeweight to have the same shape as a barbell. This is a great product to start with if you have never used a barbell in your life, as it will get you familiar with the touch and feel of working with a bar. 

    2. The Standard Weight Set

    This freeweight is our introductory barbell. After you’ve mastered the weighted workout bar, you’re ready to move on to this product. The bar breaks down into two detachable components, which makes it ideal for someone working with a small space. On the flip side, because it is modular in nature, we do not recommend lifting more than 100 pounds.

    3. The Hex Bar

    Often referred to as a trap bar in the weightlifting community, this piece of equipment is ideal for deadlifting. Its unique shape lets you stand inside the bar and hold the weight on the outside of your body. We’ve also created high knurling handle grips for those who are eager to lift extra heavy. The sleeves on this bar are long enough to fit a few weight plates on either side. 

    While the Hex Bar is the go-to bar for deadlifting, it unfortunately is not very versatile, meaning it’s difficult to use for non-deadlift exercises. 

    4. The Standard Olympic Barbell

    This bar is the one you want to use if you are interested in performing any olympic power lifts. With a high whip, this bar moves with you and gives you the range you need to perform those complex overhead Olympic movements. The plus side here, is that even though this bar has been specially designed for Olympic lifts, you can use it for just about any exercise. It is extremely versatile and performs very well in a number of different exercise categories. 

    We’ve designed the body of the bar to have two knurled sections for those who look for extra grip. If you dislike knurled sections of the bar, we’ve also created a sheer section in the middle.

    The bar can hold up to 700 pounds, which is more than enough capacity for even the most expert weight lifters. It comes in two colors (silver and matte black) and a few different length options (5’, 6’, and 7’), making it compatible for people of all shapes and sizes. 

    5. The Olympic Super Curl Barbell

    As the name suggests, the super curl barbell is, well, curly. With its unique, squiggly shape, this barbell is highly specialized for the upper body. Although it was primarily designed for bicep curls, it can be used for tricep extensions and close grip curls as well. Each undulation of the bar creates a nook for your grip, allowing you to get a better hold on the bar and exert a lever force to curl it up.

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