If you need to add more variety to your workout routine to make more gains faster, then for sure it's a good idea. A barbell for your home gym is a great addition to your home gym equipment.
One of the main reasons is that you will be able to pack on way more weight. Most dumbbells only go up to 100 pounds, but with barbells you can pack on as much weight as you need.
Also, a barbell is a great way to switch up your workout routine. If you have plateaued and are stuck on the same weights with dumbbells, you can try doing a similar exercise with a barbell and you'll see gains for sure.
There are a couple things to consider when you're looking at picking a barbell for your home gym. It's best to think about each one of these, even a little bit, so that you have a better idea of what would work best for you. You may see a few things that you hadn't thought of before.
The first thing that you want to think about when buying a barbell is whether you want to buy it as a set or individually.
If you’re buying as a set, you want to make sure that it includes the bar, plates, and collars for keeping the weights on the bar. Those are the three components you’ll need to buy if you’re buying things individually.
Buying as a set can be nice because you don’t need to worry about tracking down each of the separate pieces. Also, you don’t need to worry about buying plates that don’t fit the bar or collars that don’t work well with the bar.
Here's a great barbell set from Gold's Gym:
A set is probably a good choice if you don’t need a ton of weight for your barbell. Maybe you’re using it for aerobics or something like Body Pump. In that case, the 50 to 60 pounds that are usually included in a set are probably enough.
However, if you’re hoping to stack a bit more weight on the bar, you’ll probably want to buy things individually.
This can also be nice because you can find some ways to save a bit of money. For example, you could pay a little bit more for a higher quality bar and a little bit less for standard quality plates.
Most people will do fine with standard quality weights, but you always want to make sure that you’re getting a high quality bar. Same goes with clips or collars. Those components can make or break your routine when you’re using a barbell, especially once you get into the heavier weights.
You always want to make sure that you are investing in a high-quality bar or plate. Don’t be fooled, there are some crappy products out there which don’t meet a high standard.
There are some bars which have more bend than they should. Also, there are some plates which tend to get dented and scratched way easier than others. You might even get a weight that isn’t very accurate in terms of its weighting.
You also should look at the material of the bar and plates. Some of the plates come coated in a more durable and rust-proof coating. Some of the plates have a glossier finish. There are a few different options to consider.
Whichever option you go for, cleaning and maintaining your bar is a must. Take a look at this how-to video about that:
If you know that you’re going to be setting up in a place like your garage, where there’s a bit more moisture, you might want to get a bar with a good coating so that it’s more rust-resistant.
If you don’t have any good padding for your home gym floor, you might want to consider getting some rubber plates rather than cast iron. That way there would be less chance of your plates chipping and scratching.
Because of these factors, it’s important that you look into the quality of the product you're getting. You want to make sure that you’re getting some equipment that is as durable as possible.
No matter when it comes to bars or plates, you always want to make sure that you have a good grip. A good grip on the bar or plate means that you can get way more out of the exercise. You’re going to see way better results because of it.
For barbells, they have something called knurling which is the rougher patch of criss-crossed metal near where you grip the bar. Some knurling is a bit smoother while some is very rough and hard on your hands.
You might know your preference already. Some people prefer the more aggressive knurling because of the grip you can get on it. Other people find that kind of grip way too hard on their hands. Make sure that you’re looking into this factor when you’re choosing your bar.
Plates will also have different kinds of grips. The best kind of grip is when the plates have a few nice, large grip holes. They should hopefully have three or more of them.
Having these large holes in the plates makes a world of difference when you're handling the plates. It makes it way easier to pick up off the ground, and way easier to put on or off of the bar. That’s because with this kind of design, you have a nice, narrow portion to grip on the edge of the plate.
When you’re thinking about what kind of bar to get, you should know that there are a couple different options in terms of the shape of the bar.
The standard bar is just a flat, straight bar that is the same one that you see in most gyms. This bar is great for most any exercise, especially bench press, deadlifts, and squats.
There’s also EZ bars which have a bit more of a curved-shape. They’re curved in the area around where you grip your hands. The idea behind them is that this kind of curving can make it much easier on your wrists and elbow.
If you have had some issues with those areas, you might want to consider an EZ bar. These bars also target the muscles in a different way, so it can be great for breaking through plateaus and lifting more.
There are also bars that are hexagonal-shaped. They’re more commonly known as hex bars. For these bars, there is enough space that you can stand in the middle and hold the bar around you.
These kinds of bars are designed so that it will be easier to do exercises like deadlifts and squats so that you will have less strain when doing them. It also helps to get a better variety in your workout and work your muscles in a different way.
Most barbells are either 1 or 2-inches in diameter. The ones that are 2-inches in diameter are usually called Olympic bars. For them, you need to use barbell plates that have center hole that is 2-inches in diameter. For bars that are 1-inch, you need plates with a 1-inch center hole.
It’s very important that you realize which size you are buying, both when you are buying the bar and buying the plates. Think about which plates are the easier for you to buy. Will it be easy enough for you to buy a few more plates if you need to?
The 1-inch bars are generally designed to withstand a little bit less weight than the 2-inch bars. 2-inch bars can hold weights of 1200-lbs, as a rule.
However, 1-inch bars can be nice because you can do exercises which are very light in weight. This is great for people who are using barbells for aerobic programs or for people who are just getting into a workout routine who don’t need too much weight at first.
If you’re starting off putting your home gym together, getting a barbell set could be a great addition. It’s nice to be able to buy everything in one go. With this set you get everything you need for your barbell.
This set includes a 55” inch 4-lb bar that’s one inch in diameter. It’s important to know that it’s a 1-inch bar. That’s because if you want to buy some more plates for it, you’re going to want to make sure they are 1-inch as well. If they are a different size they won’t fit on this bar.
You’ll need to assemble this bar yourself. It comes in two pieces which you need to put together. However, although it comes in two pieces, it’s a sturdy bar once you get it together.
You probably won’t be piling on tons of weight though. These kinds of 1-inch bars are are probably less suited for heavy lifting or powerlifting. But they’re great for when you need a bit lighter of a barbell for something like Les Mills Body Pump or other similar programs.
The plates which come with the set are fairly thick. They’re coated in vinyl so you likely don’t need to worry about scratching stuff with them. However, that means they can be a little bit slippery at times because of the smooth vinyl coating. Thankfully you won’t be exercising by just gripping the plates so it shouldn't be that big of a deal for you.
The weights that come in the set are generally quite accurate. You won’t have to worry about having two 10-lb plates which have different weights.
In this set you also get some spring clips which are nice for keeping the plates on the bar. They can be little bit tricky at first if you haven’t used spring clips much before. You’ll need to press them together fairly hard to get them on the bar, especially at first. Luckily they’ll become easier to put on the bar after you use them for a while.
This barbell set comes in one box which is a bonus. You can save the box so that you have something to move them in if you ever need to.
This is a solid bar put out by CAP. If you’re looking for a good entry-level powerlifting bar that will handle the weight you need it to, here it is.
It’s got a 1200 pound weight capacity which is more than enough for most people working out at their home gym. The nice thing about that is that even when you’re deadlifting 300 or 400 lbs, there isn’t likely to be much bend at all to the bar.
It’s got a good length at 7 feet which is pretty much standard for powerlifting bars. Also, it weight 44.2 pounds, which is also standard for powerlifting bars.
It’s important to know that his bar comes in 5 different colors - black, green, red, purple, and pink. You could call the black bar the standard bar, while the bars with colors have some upgrades.
With the bars with colors CAP has gotten Accu-Coat to put a coating of Accu-Armour on some parts of the bars. It’s a proprietary coating which is corrosion and rust-resistant and it’s put on the sleeves and knurled areas of the bar.
The coating will add an extra level of durability to the bar, to be sure. It also makes the bar look a lot cooler. However, expect to pay a bit more compared to just the black standard bar.
The knurling on the bar is good, not too aggressive or rough which is nice. It’s important to note that there’s no knurling in a small section of the middle of the bar.
When it comes to the spin time on the sleeves, it’s generally pretty good. There is enough of a spin to help limit the tension on your wrists during workouts.
It’s a 2-inch bar so you’re going to want to buy barbell plates with a 2-inch hole. Those should be pretty easy to find since it’s a standard size.
Here’s a bar that is also an Olympic bar designed for people who are just kind of getting into powerlifting or lifting heavy weights at the gym.
The size and weight of the bar are standard which is nice. It’s seven feet long and about 44 pounds wide, which are great for powerlifters. However, the diameter at the grip is around 30 mm which is just a tad larger than the typical regulation of 28 mm. So it’s important to note that it’s slightly thicker than some of the other bars.
The bar itself can handle about 600 pounds of weight, so it’s less than the CAP bar. However, 600 pounds is still a great amount of weight and more than most people will need.
It’s a well-made bar which can withstand a lot of weight. You probably won’t get any bending of the bar even when you stack it to 400 pounds for a set of deadlifts.
When you first get it you might want to give it a quick rubdown with a bit of soap and water just to clean off any of the anti-rusting chemicals which are still on the bar.
The knurling on the bar is pretty aggressive overall in that you’ll probably want to wear some gloves if you don’t have some serious calluses on your hands. Otherwise it could be rough on your hands.
One thing that you should check for is that there is no rusting on the bar. You should check the bar as soon as you get it and then contact the manufacturer if you notice anything like that on the bar.
This bar is a true entry-level bar for folks who are looking to get into weight lifting at home. It has just enough features for most people at that stage.
The bar can hold up to 250 pounds, which is enough for most people starting off and probably enough for most people who are looking to do more lighter weight, higher rep workouts.
It’s also great for lighter workouts because the bar itself only weighs 12 pounds. So if you do exercises using just the bar, it’s only 12 pounds which is great for beginners or people doing some physiotherapy.
It’s a pretty solidly-made bar, so you shouldn’t have any bend if you’re lifting within the weight allowance. The nice thing about this bar is that it’s one solid piece, not two pieces. A lot of people will appreciate that and the sturdiness that it brings.
As for diameter, the bar is one-inch so you want to make sure that any plates that you buy for it are also designed for a one-inch bar. Those big, typical Olympic weights are not going to fit on this because they’re two inches.
Another nice thing about this bar is that it comes with two threaded collars that you can use to keep the plates locked onto the bar. However, a downside to them is that you should probably check the tightness of the collars between each set. These kinds of collars are not known to be the best at keeping tightness so the plates may get a bit loose after a set or two.
One thing to make sure of is that this bar fits with your setup in terms of width. The maximum grip width of the bar is about 37 inches. So you want to make sure that if you already have a rack, that this bar will accommodate it and won’t be too narrow.
Something to consider is that this bar won’t have any spin on the sleeves at the end because it’s just not that kind of bar. That’s a feature that is common for bars that are more designed for powerlifters lifting over 250 pounds.
Another good option for barbells is an EZ curl bar. These are bars which have more of a groove shape which is designed to take some strain off of your wrists and elbows.
CAP has a great EZ curl bar which can be loaded up with 200 pounds. This is a decent amount of weight, especially considering a lot of people like to use EZ curl bars for things like bicep curl which don’t require as much weight.
It’s important to know that this bar is a 1-inch bar so all of the plates that you get need to be 1-inch in diameter. If you buy plates with a 2-inch or 1.25-inch diameter, they aren’t going to fit right on this bar.
The bar itself weighs about 11.66 pounds which is quite a bit less than a typical Olympic bar. Again, the idea behind these bars isn’t to pile on as much as possible, so it makes sense that it’s lighter.
One of the nice things about this bar is that it includes some collars which can screw onto the ends of the bars to keep the plates in place. The collars are screw-on star collars which aren’t always the greatest, but considering the max weight of this bar, the screw-on star collars should be fine. Thankfully the collars are pretty easy to put on.
The design of the bar is good in that there is a decent amount of groove in the places that there should be. Also, there’s not much bend at all with the bar even if you’re putting a bit more weight on it.
The amount of knurling on the bar is pretty decent. You’re able to get a pretty good grip on it without tearing up your hands as you would with some other bars with more aggressive knurling.
This is an interesting bar which is another option for you when looking at bars for your barbell. This CAP bar is shaped like a hexagon in the middle.
That means that there is enough space in the middle of the bar, between the plates, for you to stand in. This is great for if you’re doing exercises like deadlifts, squats, or shrugs.
You can help to put a lot less strain on your back by using one of these bars. This is an important thing to consider, especially if you’re coming off some kind of injury.
This is a pretty heavy-duty bar and it can take up to 750 pounds. That’s a ton of weight to pile on. But, depending on which plates you are using, you might only be able to fit 5 or 6 barbell plates on either side. Obviously, if you are using thinner barbells, you’ll be able to stack more weight on no problem. Also, the bar itself weighs 50 pounds so you no it’s no lightweight.
The bar itself is put together pretty steadily. The welds look nice and square which should help the bar be more durable.
There are also a few different colors available with this bar. As with the other bar, for this one the bars with colors are covered with a coating of Accu-Armour by Accu-Coast. That’s nice if you know that there will be a lot of wear and tear on the bar or if it’s being stored in a place that make sit more susceptible to corrosion
The bar itself is made to handle 2-inch barbell plates, so make sure that you buy those kinds of plates when you’re putting together your barbell set. The last thing you want to do is by 1-inch plates and have them not fit your bar.
These are some solid plates for your barbell if you have a 2-inch bar. 2 inches is pretty standard for most powerlifting bars, which is what these plates are geared towards.
It’s great that you can get all of the main six weight categories for these bars. Most people will only need these six different increments when they’re lifting. Having the 5 pound plate is nice because it means you can add some weight in small increments.
The 45-pound plate will probably be the most popular for people because it’s such a staple at the gym. Most people consider bench pressing with two 45-lb plates to be a good milestone for a beginner.
One of the best parts of these plates are the oversized grip holes. These grip holes are huge so that you can easily handle the weights. This is so helpful when you’re picking them up off the ground or putting them onto the bar. Because of these holes, the part that you grip easily fits in your hand.
As for material, these are solid cast iron and very durable. They have a semi-gloss finish on them which is good quality. The black paint on them seems to be good quality overall.
A nice thing about these is that they are generally very accurate. Plates are generally considered accurate as long as they are within 2% of the listed weight, and these plates generally are.
It’s important to remember that these are sold individually. Don’t think that you’re getting a pair of them unless you put the quantity to “2”. The plates themselves are about 2 to 2.5-inches thick, so keep that in mind when you’re planning out how many plates you can stack on each side.
They should come individually wrapped, which is great. They need to do this to prevent them clanking together during the shipping process.
Another popular plate from CAP is this standard grip plate. It’s a great choice for you if you have a 1-inch barbell.
Obviously, a 1-inch barbell is meant for a little bit more of a lighter workout routine because it’s a thinner bar than the typical 2-inch bar. Because of that, these plates go up to 25 pounds. 25 pounds is probably enough for most exercises you’re going to do with a 1-inch bar.
The plate is a little bit thinner to, measuring at around 1.5 inches thick. This is a good thickness for the plate because that way you can stack a few plates on the bar.
One of the nice things about these plates is that they have a three hole grip design. This makes it easy to be able to grip the weight in whatever way is easiest for you. If the plates are on the ground, it’s easy to pick them up because of the design.
It’s also nice to have the option of going with the 2.5 pound weights. These are good if you just need to add a bit more weight to your bar to push your sets a little further. Adding smaller increments of weights like this one are great for when you're working smaller muscle groups.
The weightings on these weights is generally accurate so if it says 10 pounds, you’re probably getting 10 pounds. This is something that a lot of people take for granted, but it’s always best to double-check. Luckily, with these weights, the weightings are probably going to be accurate.
Sometimes you may get the light gray model, but some people have been known to think that the colour is a bit closer to a darker, charcoal gray. That’s just something to be aware of when purchasing.
The packaging should be able to hold up pretty well during delivery. They generally come individually-packaged, which helps ensure they aren’t getting chipped or scratched. Keep in mind though, that when weights get transported in the mail the boxes usually get pretty beaten up. Thankfully the weights are usually fine even if the box isn’t in great condition when you get it.
These are also a good quality 1-inch plate for your barbell. They are fairly similar to the Standard Grip Plate. As you might be able to guess, the only difference is that these ones have a bit less of a grip because they don’t have those three grip holes in them.
The lack of grip holes can make it a little bit tricky to pick up the plates off of the ground, but once you get used to it that shouldn’t be a big deal.
There’s a good variety of weights available since there are 8 different weight amounts that you can get. Also, there are pretty small intervals between most of them so you should be able to get the exact weight that you need by using a combination of them.
The nice thing about these plates is that they go all the way to 50 lbs. It’s great to have an option for a heavier weight, even on a 1-inch bar.
You can expect the 10-lb plate to be around ¾ of an inch in diameter while the 5-lb plate is around ½ an inch thick. Keep this in mind when you’re buying your bar and planing out how many plates you’ll want to stack on the barbell.
Keep in mind that this is, of course, a one-inch plate which means that it is designed to fit on a barbell which is around 1-inch in diameter. You won’t be able to use these plates on your 2-inch olympic bar.
What you see is generally what you get with these plates. They are pretty uniform in appearance and are just what you see on the picture.
That will give you a good idea of what to think about before you go out and buy a barbell. There are a couple of good option, choosing the right one just takes some time.
The size of your bar is going to be an important thing to think about. Standard Olympic bars are two-inches in diameter whereas many other models are one-inch.
Another important thing to think about is grips. Does the barbell that you're looking at have enough knurling in the place that you want it to? Do the plates you're buying have enough of a grip on them so that you can generally pick them up off of the ground?
You’ll also want to make sure that the barbell plates fit the dimensions which you need for your bar. You don’t want to not be able to stack the bar as high as you want. So make sure that you know roughly how thick the plates are before you buy them.
One of the other important options to consider is getting a barbell set. There are some sets that include a bar, plates and collars for you. This can help save a bit of time if you don’t want to spend time looking at which plates and bars go best together.
However, if you don’t mind spending a little bit of time on that, you will be able to customize your setup a bit more since you can choose which features you really need.
Whichever option you go with, make sure that you spend time developing a solid routine which you enjoy and stick to!
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