10 Different Types Of Barbells (+ How To Lift Them)

Barbells are the first piece of equipment you'll find in a gym. They're basic, customizable, and versatile — and they form the base for a huge number of exercises. But not all barbells are made alike.

In fact, you can take three strength athletes with 3 different goals and give them each a barbell to train with — and their workouts would look completely different. Today we are looking at 10 different types of barbells that you may or may not have heard about to help you decide which barbell is right for you. 

1. Standard Barbell 

Standard barbells account for a major part of any gym. They can be used for squats, bench, and deadlifts, as well as hip thrusts, overhead press, curls, and more. They’re popular because they’re the most versatile. 

A standard barbell is a long, straight bar that has evenly spaced disks at each end for weight plates to be placed on. It’s the most common type of barbell and the one that most people use in the gym. 

Pros

  • Commonly available in gyms and for home use 
  • Versatile - can be used for many different exercises 
  • Comfortable to use 

Cons

  • It can take up a lot of space 
  • Good quality barbells can be expensive 

2. Olympic Weightlifting bar 

The barbell used in Olympic weightlifting competitions consists of two straight, smooth, solid steel bars. The barbell is about 2.2 meters long (7' 2¼"). It weighs 20 kilograms (44 lb), plus 2 kilograms (4.4 lb) for the disc at each end. 

Olympic weightlifting bars are longer and sturdier than powerlifting bars. This makes Olympic weightlifting bars better suited to performing Olympic lifts (e.g., the snatch and clean and jerk). 

Olympic bars come in different shapes and sizes. The most common is the 7-foot men’s bar, which weighs 20 kilograms, or 44 pounds. There are also women’s bars, which are 6.6 feet and weigh 15 kilograms or 33 pounds. 

Pros

  • Perfect for Olympic weightlifting
  • Increased whip (able to handle heavy loads)
  • Better knurling

Cons

  • Limited use - only suitable for Olympic weightlifters
  • Expensive

3. Deadlift Bar 

deadlift bar is a bar that is specifically designed to be used for deadlifts. It has a larger diameter than a standard barbell, which makes it easier to grip. Deadlift bars usually have knurling that is designed to keep your hands in place instead of sliding around or spinning like on a regular barbell. They also tend to spin to support a more comfortable lift. 

You’ll find deadlift bars in most commercial gyms, but they’re also popular for home use. Check out our guide to learn the differences between trap and deadlift bars

Pros

  • Supports a lot of weight 
  • Superior knurling 
  • The bar ‘spins’ for a more comfortable experience 

Cons

  • Can only really be used for deadlifts
  • Expensive for limited use case

4. Trap Bar (Hex Bar) 

A hex bar is a hexagonal shaped bar that can be used to perform hex bar deadlifts, hex bar good mornings, and hex bar squats. A hex bar is a great compliment to your squat rack and is a great way to add variety to your squat routine. 

Hex bars are also pretty common, and most commercial gyms will have these available. They’re also pretty popular for home gyms as they are compact. 

Pros

  • Can help to improve form 
  • Ideal for increasing deadlift strength 
  • More comfortable to use 

Cons

  • Expensive 
  • Can only be used for deadlifts 

5. EZ Curl Bar 

A curl bar (also known as an EZ bar) is a piece of free weight equipment used in weightlifting to train the biceps and the forearms.  

E-Z bars are a great alternative to straight barbells for performing bicep curls. They work in a different way: your hands are placed outside the bar instead of inside it (which takes the pressure off your wrists), and so you can lift heavier weights without having to worry about injuring yourself. 

EZ bars are very common in commercial gyms; you'll recognize them by their unique shape. 

Pros

  • Perfect for home or garage gyms 
  • Inexpensive to purchase 
  • Kinder on the wrists 

Cons

  • Less effective at activating the biceps than using a straight bar 

6. Safety Squat Bar 

A safety squat bar, also known as a squat cage, or squat box, is a type of barbell that is used for squatting in weight training.

The safety squat bar differs from a standard barbell in that it has a higher center of gravity, a wider grip, and uprights that are closer together. 

Pros

  • Perfect for beginners 
  • Cushioned for comfort
  • Takes weight off of the lower back

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited use

7. Log Barbell 

The log barbell is a barbell that is made to resemble a log. It is a long, cylindrical piece of equipment with two spaces carved out for the hands. 

The log barbell is popular in strongman events, but few gyms carry this niche piece of equipment. At the same time, the log barbell is becoming increasingly popular among many Crossfitters who use it to improve their performance in events like the deadlift, shrug, and clean. 

Pros

  • Good for strongman training
  • Supports a lot of weight

Cons

  • Limited use case
  • Harder to find

8. Power lifting Bar 

Compared to an Olympic barbell, a powerlifting bar has a higher tensile strength and, therefore, can withstand heavier loads. It features a larger, knurled hand grip designed to help keep your hands in place during heavy lifts. 

For the most part, powerlifting bars tend to be more affordable than Olympic barbells. 

Pros

  • Typically uses higher quality materials to support increased weight
  • Supports heavier lifts

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can be tough on hands 

9. Swiss Barbell 

The Swiss Bar is also known as the Multi-Grip Bar, Neutral Grip Bar, or Football Bar. However, all three names are interchangeable and reference the same barbell. 

It’s a rather odd-looking barbell consisting of a rectangular midsection featuring a variety of vertical supports to allow for multiple grip positions. This unique feature supports a neutral grip which is more comfortable for those who experience shoulder pain. 

Pros

  • Supports a neutral grip
  • Can alleviate wrist or shoulder pain

Cons

  • More expensive than typical barbells
  • Doesn’t support a lot of weight

10. Cambered (Arched) bar 

The Cambered Barbell is a variation of the standard straight barbell. It has an arch in the middle of the barbell, which makes it easier to grip than the straight bar.

The Cambered Barbell is a great choice for Olympic lifts like snatches, cleans, and jerks. 

Pros

  • Great for improving form
  • Ideal for those suffering from hip and knee pain
  • Perfect for training to beat PRs

Cons

  • Limited use
  • Only suitable for squats 
Different Types Of Barbells

Choosing The Right Type Of Weight Bar For Home Use 

So which barbell is right for you? Ultimately it will depend on your individual circumstances, such as how much space you have, your fitness goals, and the budget you are working with. 

Some things to keep in mind are: 

  • Yield  
    How much weight your bar can take before bending past the point of no return. This will depend on your fitness level and goals. 
  • Tensile  
    Measured in PSI (or sometimes KPI), this refers to how much weight your bar can take before breaking. Don’t settle for anything less than 165KPI. 
  • Whip  
    The amount your barbell flexes during lifts. As a rule of thumb, barbells used for bench presses should have a lower whip than, say, a powerlifting barbell. 
  • Spin  
    To support deadlifts, the barbell will often rotate (or spin) to prevent it from carving up your hands. Whether this is important to you is an entirely personal choice, but we think it’s good to have. 
  • Knurling  
    The grip carvings on the bar. Heavy knurling can lead to sore and calloused hands but allows for superior grip. 
  • Space  
    If you’re short on space, opting for a multi-use, versatile barbell such as the standard barbell is probably the best choice.
  • Price  
    When it comes to buying barbells, quality is everything. We don’t believe in cutting corners on the most important weightlifting equipment. Make sure that you invest in a quality barbell that will stand the test of time.
Choosing The Right Type Of Weight Bar

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How many types of barbells are there? 

There is a huge range of barbells on the market, and it can be overwhelming to know which one to start with. We’ve just covered the ten most common/popular variations above. 

If you’re looking for a versatile piece of equipment, we suggest investing in a high-quality standard or deadlift barbell. 

What is A curved barbell called? 

A curved bar is also known as an EZ bar (or yoke bar). 

An EZ bar is so good because it's more comfortable to hold than a straight bar. It's also easier to use for different kinds of curls, and you can get a better range of motion with it. 

What are the small barbells called? 

An EZ curl bar is a lightweight and smaller version of the normal barbell. It is designed specifically to target your arms, and its design allows for easy bicep curls that can isolate your arm muscles and make them grow in no time. 

Can I do barbell complexes every day? 

Of course you can, but you probably shouldn't. It would be best if you gave your body time to recover from intense training sessions like barbell complexes. If you do them every day, your body will never truly recover, and you'll never be able to fully engage in your workouts.  


Conclusion

We've shown you the top ten barbells out there on the market, and we're sure that you'll be able to find something appropriate for your workout needs. Whether you're brand new to lifting or want to freshen up your exercise equipment, any of these barbells are sure to do the trick.