You may have just decided to have some fitness equipment at home to work out with or you may be adding more equipment to your existing home gym. Whatever the case, you will probably want to have an Olympic bar. Choosing an Olympic bar can be overwhelming – bars typically range from $100 all the way up to $1,000, depending on what you are wanting.


Where to begin?


First, decide what kind of workout you are going to be doing and where. A standard Olympic bar is 7 feet, so you will need to make sure you have width in your existing space. There are options for 5-foot bars for smaller spaces.


What kind of lifts do you want to do? Will you be doing powerlifting (bench press, deadlifts, and squats) or are will you be doing more Olympic lifting (cleans and snatches)? Most 7-foot bars start at the standard 20kgs or 45lbs (approx.).


Powerlifting bars are typically more ridged and slightly larger in diameter with a more aggressive knurl (grip) and a center knurl for squatting. You can get a bushing bearing bar or even a hex bolt style bar. If you are just starting, you can get a basic bar for powerlifting for around $100.


Weightlifting (Olympic lifting) bars will have more whip (flex) to them; the collars should spin easily so there is no drag with the movements. These bars are also available for women, but they are slightly smaller in diameter, are 6.5 feet long, and weigh 15kg or 35lbs (approx.). They come in bushing or needle bearing. Note the needle bearing should be stored horizontally. Starting price for a bar with these specs is around $220.


What to look for:


  • What is the max weight that can be loaded on the bar?
  • How much spin does the bar have?
  • What is the finish like?
  • Is the grip or "knurl" rough or smooth? Do you need a center knurl?
  • What is the "whip" of the bar?
  • Do you want a 45lb bar or women’s or training bar?




Try before you buy


Purchasing a bar is a big investment. You want to make sure you like the feel of the bar. You can’t take it home with you, but you should be able to put some weight on the bar to see if you like it.


How much should I really spend?


Depending on where you are on your fitness journey you may want to spend more to get a bar you will be comfortable using. If you love the $300 bar at the gym and are planning on buying a $100 bar to use at home, what are the chances you will use it? On the other hand, if you are new to lifting, or buying for a teenager and not sure if it will get used, you may not want to make a big investment. Start with a basic bar and trade up as you advance.


Protecting your investment


You want to make sure your bar lasts no matter what you spend on it. Be sure to review the warranty information for your bar (usually found on the manufacturer’s website). Keep your bar dry and clean. Wipe down your bar after every use to prevent sweat and dirt buildup, which can cause rust over time. Store your bar in a proper storage rack. Do not leave it lying on the floor; even an $800 bar will bend if it is accidently stepped on. Never leave a bar on the rack with weights on it. Dropping a barbell from above the waist can damage any bar and is not recommended by the manufacturer.


Where to Buy


Show Me Weights specializes in commercial-quality new and used fitness equipment. We have staff to help you pick a bar that is right for you and your budget. You can try our bars in our showroom and even trade up from an old bar. Our bars and collars can be found on our website.


There you have it! Now that you know how, choose an Olympic bar that’s right for you or your gym. Now you just need to decide if you want plates or bumpers. Show Me Weights has everything you need to get started including Olympic bars. Visit us at to learn more!