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Different Types of Barbells – 9 Different Bars and the Benefits Each Have

Jul 25, 2017

Different Types of BarbellsHave you ever wondered what kind of different types of barbells there are?

You’ve probably gone to the gym or watched some videos and seen some guys using some different types of barbells and wondered what the difference is.

You might be wondering if the different types of barbells create different results?

Well in this article we’re going to be going over the 9 most common different types of barbells and explain what each is used for and the benefits they can have.

Also if you’re in the market for an olympic barbell then check out our article here for:

The best olympic weightlifting bar for home gyms

If you’re looking to find a high quality barbell for your home gym then the article above will have all the information you need to make your buying decision easier.

Aside from that enjoy the rest of the article

Do You Need To Use Different Types of Barbells to Get Results:

First order of business that I would like to get out of the way is stating this:

Yes, you can and will see results from using any old barbell you already own, find in the gym, or buy randomly without doing any research on barbells to begin with.

It is not like you go against your muscular progress by using a barbell that is not specifically suited for the exercise or type of weightlifting you are doing.

Barbells specifically designed for deadlifts or bench press or even styles of lifting like CrossFit or Powerlifting are more of a luxury than a necessity.

Do you honestly think weightlifters 50-75 years ago, or people in poor countries, or even those who are exercising in places where there are not many options to choose from, like prison, are whining and complaining because the barbell they have available doesn’t produce enough spin on the sleeves?

Highly doubt it.

You DO NOT need to have a specific type of barbell to get results. However there are benefits to using different types of barbells if you have them available

Benefits of Using Different Types of Barbells

the different types of olympic barbellsThe great thing about the sport of weightlifting is that it has advanced throughout the years and things have become more accessible and specified within the different subsets and separate schools of training.

If you are starting from a clean slate, and have the options available to you, why wouldn’t you seek out the most logical tools for the work you will be doing?

T-Nation actually created a pretty good article detailing some of the benefits of how using different bars can help improve strength and size that you can find here:

6 Specialty Bars for Strength and Size

Having different types of barbells is just a natural progression of the evolving sport.

Back in the day, basketball players would play in Converse All Stars.

Then the sport evolved, as did sports footwear, and now you have basketball shoes designed for speed, ankle support, jumping, cushioning – you name it.

The same thing happened with weightlifting equipment.

We now have EZ curl bars, trap (hex) bars, thick barbells, Swiss barbells and even things like log barbells.

All of these are specified to do certain things and stray in one way or another from the standard straight barbell.

To sum it up simply:

Just because you don’t have a specific type of barbell doesn’t mean you won’t still achieve great results. However, having a specific barbell designed for specific results can benefit in achieving different results.

Before we get into the benefits of these different barbells and why you should experience them all in your lifetime, I just want to preface the rest of this article by saying that being able to use any specified equipment, whether purchased or used in the gym, is a privilege.

If you cannot afford several different pieces of equipment or do not have access to them, please do not think you need to spend your money to see results or reach your full potential.

A standard barbell can get you great results – I’ve seen it done – and anything else is a bonus.

Use what you have, use it safely, make sure it feels right for you and you will be off to a great start. Now, if you are still interested in at least learning about the various barbells on the market, read on…

Classic Variations of The Different Types of Barbells:

Now, within the barbell world, you have your common styles that will show up in most home gyms and gyms and are considered the standard for weightlifting.

The classic straight, 45-pound, 7-foot barbell is practically the holy grail of the sport.

With this style of barbell you can do the big three (bench, squat, deadlift) with ease and other lifts like overhead press, bicep curls, rows, etc.

If you are unsure about purchasing specialized barbells, you cannot go wrong with buying a standard Olympic barbell the world has come to love and trust.

Then you have other straight bars that are geared towards things like powerlifting, Olympic lifting, CrossFit and home gyms.

These bars are basically modeled after the classic straight barbell, and can be used as such, but have little features here and there that make them suitable for different disciplines within the weightlifting world.


  • DEADLIFT BAR:olympic barbell weight

The Bars above are from Rogue and display perfectly the differences of a deadlift bar

These bars have a generally longer shaft that will result in more flex, especially under heavy amounts of weight.

The knurling is extremely aggressive to help promote a stronger grip, because grip slippage during deadlifting is very common. Most lifters, and companies that make deadlift bars, prefer coated bars with zinc or bare steel.

This helps to facilitate the grip, as chrome will cause a much more slippery shaft and make the lifter conducive to sweaty palms.

If you’re wanting to understand more about what knurling is and why you might want different types of knurling on olympic bars check out our article here

These bars will also have more whip at the bottom of the lift, allowing for a faster pull and less strain in the beginning of your repetition.

Two of the more popular deadlift bars are the Texas Deadlift bar and the Rogue Ohio Deadlift bar.


best powerlifting barA powerlifting bar obviously needs to be able to accommodate a lot of weight – and I mean a lot of weight – so it is made in a way that allows for such stress.

These bars will normally be the same dimensions as any straight barbell, but with the exception of the occasional added length and width for structural strength.

A powerlifting bar has little to no bend, as you want the weight to be completely stable during lifts.

Since powerlifters can end up pushing and pulling over a thousand pounds, there is a desire for this rigidity and lack of spinning sleeves (not needed for powerlifting movements).

  • OLYMPIC BAR:Olympic lifting is a lot more of a dynamic sport that requires the equipment to follow suit.

These barbells will resemble a powerlifting bar very closely, except that they allow for things like spin using high quality bearings in the sleeves.

The reason for this spin is so that the bar can have a clean whip when the lifter does a snatch or clean and jerk.

Due to these movements, the Olympic bars also use less knurling because the bar will often end up resting on the lifter’s upper chest, which they do not want getting cut up from deep knurling.

With the rotation of the sleeves and the smoothness of the barbell, the lifter can get up underneath the bar quickly and effortlessly.

  • STANDARD BAR:olympic bar vs standard bar

The last on our list of common barbells is the standard barbell.

Standard, in this case, meaning not Olympic size and fitted for standard weight plates.

These barbells are commonly used for beginner setups, weigh much less and are shorter in length.

Standard barbells are great if you need to save space or are just getting started with weight training.

Also, younger lifters will probably prefer a standard weight set and barbell because it will fit the smaller stature of their body a lot better, until they grow and need an Olympic set.

Specialize Variations of The Different Types of Barbells:

Outside of the basic straight barbell, you have more specialized barbells that are not necessarily modified for a specific sport, but more so for specific movements or styles of training with barbells.

Since a straight barbell will allow for all your compound exercises to be done with ease, these unique barbells will be particularly good to use for accessory work and targeting specific areas of the muscle – or even allowing for injured lifters to feel some relief while training.

  • EZ CURL BAR:EZ curl bar vs straight bar

One of the most common bars you will find that isn’t a straight barbell.

These are perfect for curls (hence the name) and tricep extensions as well.

The shape of the EZ bar is curved where the hands grip, to allow for a more pronated grip, allowing the lifter’s hands and wrists to be in a comfortable position for their movements.

Since these are smaller and easier to store, they are great for the home gym and you will commonly see them available at commercial gyms.

The EZ bar is great for preacher curls as well, because your hand placement will be comfortable while sitting.

  • TRAP (HEX) BAR:trap bar weight

Another superb bar to use for your exercises.

The trap bar is, as inherent in the name, great for trap exercises like shrugs.

The shape is that of a hexagon, where you stand in the center and grip raised handles.

These bars are perfect for many exercises, only done in a different way to work with the peculiar shape, such as farmer walks while standing within the center of the bar and deadlifts.

For some, a regular barbell widens your grip too much and adds more stress on your back, whereas a trap bar gives you relief and comfort on both your grip and angle of lifting to keep your back aligned properly.

Due to the nature of this bar, it is great for injured lifters and beginners because the center of gravity, especially for deadlifting, takes a lot of pressure off the joints.

  • SWISS BAR:swiss bar bench press benefits

Also known as the football bar, this bar uses a multitude of neutral grips in a line, to accommodate wide and close grip, which removes the tension on the shoulder joints.

The great thing about the Swiss Bar is that it works phenomenally for pressing and working on shoulders.

The shape is a bit odd and if you are using heavier weight, it may be difficult to get into the groove of using a stand to bench with this bar, but otherwise it works as any other barbell does.

I would recommend using the Swiss Bar to annihilate your upper body with high reps and lower weight.

  • LOG BARBELL:benefits of a log barbell

These barbells are the strongman’s secret weapon. If you are into strength training, you will love these.

They are a barbell with a huge “log” or what is basically a cylinder for the shaft, with handles conveniently placed in cutouts within the log.

I would reserve this barbell for professionals, strongmen and experienced lifters due to the heavy and bulky nature of its build, making the overhead presses and other pressing movements difficult and extremely strenuous.

If you are looking to train hard for both strength and overall endurance, the log barbell can take you to the next level. Beginners, proceed with caution!


Lastly, we have the safety squat bar. This thing is probably the weirdest type of barbell you will ever see.

Essentially, it is a regular straight bar, but then at the neck you have two arms that jet out forward for the lifter to hold onto.

Usually, these arms are padded, as is the neck, to allow for a comfortable grsafety squat bar vs regular barip and placement during squats.

The great thing about the safety squat bar is that it, without a doubt, relieves the strain and pressure put on your neck, upper back and shoulders during squats.

If you have injuries in these areas or are looking to rehabilitate, then I see no problem going this route.

However, the form used with the safety squat bar changes the dynamic of squats altogether and influences the use of hamstrings, back and glutes to adjust.

With this in mind, your squats and deadlifts will be trained, but the basic squat activates differently, meaning the safety squat bar wouldn’t be optimal for training squats regularly.

If I were a beginner, I would stay away from the safety squat bar unless there were some serious injuries preventing you from using a straight barbell.

For more detailed information about the composition and features of these different barbells, head over to our friends at Marathon-Crossfit and check out their article on barbells here.

Conclusion For The Different Types Of Barbells

In my personal opinion, all of these barbells and specialized bars are a huge benefit to the sport of weightlifting.

If you can get your hands on any or all of these, I would say to give them a try and see what you can gain from them.

Some will be readily available at your local gym, while others will only be found at hardcore gyms, but that doesn’t mean you won’t eventually encounter them.

If you are purchasing for your home gym, just remember about size restrictions, exercise limitations set by the bar and if you need the specialized benefits from the unique barbells.

Listed here are the most common of the common barbells and the most common of the unique barbells you will see, use or hear about.

There are many more variations out there on the market, such as Olympic barbells that are only 5-feet or 6-feet long, barbells with super wide shafts for grip training, cambered barbells and barbells that already come with a slight bend.

The amount of styles and variations of styles out there is almost endless. Yet, in the end, you cannot go wrong with a classic straight bar.

Remember: Barbells are the lifeblood of the weightlifting arena.

You have to live with them, because you can’t live without them.

The amazing thing about it is that you have so many options to choose from. Never limit yourself to one way of working out by only using one form of equipment that you become attached to.

Whether it is barbells, dumbbells, free weights, machines or even the style of cardio you do – always switch it up and try to remain open to the ever-expanding options available.

Now that you finished the article definitely check out out VIP list here where you can get some cool discounts on our very own weight lifting accessories.

Until next time,

Stay tuned.