Despite what your high school gym led you to believe, there’s more than one type of barbell.
These days, the better gyms feature a range of options—some specific to certain lifts, others more versatile. It’s enough to make your head spin. But with a little knowledge and some quality time handling the bars, you can take your workouts to the next level.
Here, we’ll run through a baker’s dozen of barbells, from tried-and-true bars you’ll find in your standard big-box gyms to some seriously innovative newer options. We’ve also enlisted Brandon Smitley, a competitive powerlifter and co-owner of Thirst gym in Terre Haute, IN, to provide his expert tips on mastering each type of barbell.
A deadlift bar has more whip—or flex—than a conventional bar. It’s usually a few inches longer and a tad thinner for better grip. It has no knurling in the middle.
USE IT FOR: Deadlifts.
EXPERT TIP: “Be considerate and never rack pull with these bars,” stresses Smitley. “You’ll also never want to squat or benchpress with them. They are specifically for deadlifts only.”
Squat bars are thicker and have less whip than traditional bars.
Use it for: Squats.
Expert tip: “Bench pressing with a squat bar can take some pain away from your elbows and wrists due to the increased surface area in your hand,” Smitley says.
The Olympic barbell is a weight room staple. It clocks in at seven feet long, weighs 45 pounds, and features two-inch rotating sleeves.
Use it for: Snatches, cleans, bench presses, squats, deadlifts.
Expert tip: “Be sure to check your bar, especially the endcap,” Smitley says. “This will tell you the bar’s make and model.”
Also called a hex bar, this barbell is shaped like a hexagon and allows you to stand inside it while gripping handles positioned to your sides.
Use it for: Deadlifts, shrugs, rows, presses.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
GETTING ON THE GRID
BMW’s new flagship SUV shows that electrification comes in all shapes and sizes
I AM A CHAMPION Carrie Goforth
IFBB Pro Bikini Fitness model Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Nutrition Consultant Super Mom
SHE WILL ROCK YOU
Alice Cooper guitarist NITA STRAUSS talks fitness, sobriety, and her acclaimed first solo album, Controlled Chaos.
THE TUATARA TRUTH
Hours after the SSC Tuatara’s high-speed record, the internet had a bit of a moment…
FIND THE BALANCE
Rebekah Logan @rebekahlogan01
BOX JUMP BABY STEPS
Add this plyometric move and its complementary exercises to your training regimen to reap all the benefits of a vertical leap.
All About... Your Glutes
All About... Your Glutes
Great Minds Think Alike
This month we're hanging out with the multi-talented Rachel Joy who's an inspiration to many women the world over - and it's easy to see why. She's beautiful, smart, business savvy and most of all she's totally ripped! Inside we get the low-down on where' she at in her life and career and what's she' all about! Rachel gives us her tips on a great workout routine, what to eat and she shares her advice on how to be the best person you possibly can be! Take a look.
Cansa Educates On Rights Of Women To Cancer Screening
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) supports the National Department of Health’s efforts to prioritise awareness of breast and cervical cancer and to educate women with knowledge of symptoms, screening opportunities and lowering cancer risk.
6 Ways To Make Your Period Less Painful
Don’t let that time of the month slow you down — here’s how to conquer cramps and other discomfort and feel stronger than ever
RAISE THE BAR WITH ALYSHA NEWMAN
Across a number of sports, competitions are beginning to start again. We talked with Team Canada Olympic Track & Field Pole Vaulter, Alysha Newman on her sport, prepping for next year's Summer Games and Zenni Optical X ESPN's The World's Greatest USA Track & Field sanctioned event this month.
MADE TO BE BROKEN
AND PUT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN
Questions On Meditation
The essential principle of meditation is that you become what you meditate upon.
7 Things Fitness Insiders Want You To Know
We asked seasoned coaches and trainers in the fitness industry for tips and advice that they wish all their clients and social media followers knew. From dispelling myths about training with injuries to assuming all box gyms suck, your training IQ is all but guaranteed to rise a few points after digesting these tidbits.
The Superstar Way To Boost Your Workout!
Maximize your results in the gym with this A-list approved stack.
The Voice of Pilates
Longtime teacher Darien Gold is now sharing her deep knowledge of the method with a wider audience via a radio show and podcast.
The Right Fitness Class For You - Top Considerations
When it comes to finding the right fitness class, there are a lot of things you have to consider.
Upgrade Your Hotel Room Workout With Sliding Discs!
Give the resistance band a rest—and upgrade your hotel room workout with sliding discs! Using push/pull concepts, this dynamic series will challenge your entire body, anywhere your wanderlust may land you.
21 Ways To Turn Sunshine Into Muscle
No one wants to spend the final weeks of summer in a windowless weights room. But a departure from your regular fitness plan doesn’t mean sacrificing your gains. Quite the opposite: this is your time to shine. Whether you’re home or away this month, our pointers will help you maintain mass when you’re OOG*. Now, which way’s the beach, again? *That’s “out of gym”
Is It Ok To Skip The Gym Tonight
Too busy, tired or stressed to work out? Stop feeling guilty, sometimes it’s ok to skip a session. Here’s why...