12 Different Types of Barbells and How to Train With Them

Most people think barbells only come in one size and shape but there are many specialty barbells you may encounter in different gyms. While the standard barbell is the most common and versatile there are dozens of different types of barbells to focus on different exercise techniques. These specialty barbells are becoming more popular in gyms and help target different muscle groups and types of exercises.

Below are 12 different types of barbells and information on how to train with them.

1. The Standard Barbell

The Standard barbell is the most common barbell you will encounter in any gym. It is excellent for power lifting movements, bench pressing, and squatting. These barbells will typically be made out of steel that has a slight “whip” to it which refers to the amount of bar flex.

The etched out patterns on the inner part of the bar is called the knurling. It helps with gripping as well as placement for the hands. In most commercial gyms the knurling will be fine as most people are not powerlifters requiring maximum grip friction.

Features

  • Typical weight is 45lbs
  • weight capacity usually 1200lbs-2000lbs
  • Less “whip” compared to the olympic barbell
  • Great for deadlifts, squats, powerlifting,
  • Women and mens size can differ
  • Price ranges from $100-$1000

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2. The Olympic barbell

olympic barbell

The olympic barbell is very similar to the standard barbell in regards to shape but will have more whip to it. This amount of whip helps with power cleans so it’s easier to grip and create momentum. The knurling will be tend to be fine on most olympic bars.

The olympic bar is great for dynamic exercises such as the power clean and the snatch and clean.

Features

  • More “Whip” compared to the standard barbell
  • Lower weight capacity ~650lbs
  • Fine Knurling
  • Come in different sizes for mens and woman, sometimes may not fit standard bench
  • $70-$1500
  • Weight ~45lbs

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3. The Trap/Hex bar

trap/hex bar

The trap bar was invented int the 1980’s by powerlifter, Al Gerard, to reduce strain in the back when doing deadlifts.

The barbell is shaped like a hexagon and allows a person to stand inside it. This placement of weight helps bring some of the weight pull towards the back of the body instead of keep it all in front of the legs.

A recent study proves the hex barbell helps reduce back strain and maintain better dead lift form.

Features

  • Better Deadlift form with less strain on the back
  • Great for deadlifts, shoulder shrugs, and farmer walks
  • Limited to limited amount of types of exercises and not very versatile
  • Price ranges from $200-$800
  • Weight ~ 65lbs

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4. SAFETY SQUAT BAR

safety squat bar

The Safety Squat Bar is consists of padding for the shoulders, handles for gripping, and can sometimes be slightly bent on the ends. These features provide stability and relieve discomfort for people who have a hard time squatting a standard barbell. The handles allow for easier stability since exerciser is not stretching their hands behind the shoulders like when squatting a standard barbell.

The padding on the squat bar helps stabilize the placement on the shoulders so that little to no force is used to keep them in place when squatting. We recommend to always hang on to the bar or bar handles when squatting for safety.

Features

  • Great for beginners to learn to squat
  • Relieves neck and shoulder pain compared to standard barbell squatting
  • Great for performing squats and other leg exercises such as lunges
  • Padding allows for more stability and comfort on shoulders

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5. Swiss Bar

black steel Swiss This bar does not make delicious chocolates or cheese but will give you an excellent arm and back workout.

The Swiss bar is great for pressing, rowing, and other arm movements. This barbell is often associated with football player training as it can mimic blocking linesman and other football movements.

The neutral grips of the Swiss bar allows for easier movements on the shoulder and wrists compared to a standard bar.

Features

  • Great for people who are have injured wrists or shoulders sensitive to regular curling bars
  • Excellent for rows and arm exercises
  • Less versatile than a standard barbell

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6. EZ Curl bar and Super Curl Bar (Super EZ curl Bar)

ez curl bar

super ez curl

Both the Ez curl bar and Super Curl Bar (also know as the super Ez curl bar) are great for focusing on arm exercises.

Both the EZ curl and super Curl bar curves provide easier movements for the wrists during arm exercises much like the Swiss bar. The curl bars are not ideal for bench pressing or squatting.

Features

  • Great for arm exercises
  • Easier on the wrists
  • Holds less weight than a standard bar
  • Variety of grips allows for different bicep and tricep exercise motions

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7. The log barbell

log barbell

The log barbell is very heavy weighing in around 90lbs and provides strength training for power lifting and power lifting competitions. The design of the log barbell helps powerlifters prepare for log lifting competitions. They are pretty limited in regards to different types of exercises to be done with them due to their weight and shape.

Features

  • For powerlifters training for competitions
  • Expensive and takes up space
  • Specialty Barbell rarely seen in commercial gyms
  • Heavy weight ~95lbs
  • large weight capacity

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8. Axle bar

axle-bar

The axle bar is very thick coming in at 2 inches in diameter and doesn’t have any knurling on it. The thickness as well as the absence of knurling increases grip and forearm strength when lifting. The bar is excellent for cross-training and people who would like to focus on improving grip strength.

Features

  • Thicker than the standard barbell
  • Slightly more expensive
  • For moderate to advanced athletes
  • No knurling
  • Very similar to standard bar with focus on developing grip and forearm strength

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9. The Dumbbell Barbell

dumbbell barbell

As redundant as it sounds the dumbbell barbell qualifies as a barbell according to Websters Dictionary.

The bar is excellent for focusing on one muscle or one side of the body at a time. The barbell lessens  inconsistencies between dominant and non-dominant muscles by focusing on one muscle group at a time. This bar saves space compared to getting a full dumbbell set.

Features

  • Focuses on one muscle or one side of the body
  • More isolated movements
  • Inexpensive
  • Helps with inconsistencies between dominant and non-dominant muscles

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10. The Tricep Bar

tricep barbell

The tricep bar is very similar to the Swiss bar but is specifically meant for arm exercises. It is lighter than the Swiss bar and has a shorter width.

Although named the tricep bar it can be used for bicep exercises and rows.

Features

  • Small weight capacity
  • Shorter width than most barbells
  • Designed for arm exercises
  • Lighter weight

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11. Farmer’s Walk Bars

The Farmer’s Walk bars are perfect for cross-training and strengthening core muscles. The Farmer’s Walk exercise consists of picking up the bars and walking in a slow controlled pace for a moderate distance.

Features

  • Specialty bar for farmer’s walk
  • Strengthens core, legs, and upper body
  • Not versatile
  • Found in cross-fit and specialty gyms

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12. 360 Grip Curl Bar

360 curl bar

The 360 curl bar consists of rotating handles to allow for more fluid motions when doing arm movements and help relieve tension on the wrists and shoulders.

Features

  • Inward and outward rotation of the wrists
  • Specialty bar for arm movements
  • For more advanced lifters

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Have you encountered any different types of barbells lately? Please let us know if you have seen any weird ones lately that could be great for training.

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