T Nation

Barbell Weight Limits

Hi everyone, I hope this question doesn’t sound too stupid-but since barbells generally don’t come with a weight limit guide, what are the signs of a barbell that has been overloaded and on the verge of breaking?

I ask this because at times, I have come across barbells that seem a little thinner than normal and wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how much weight they could hold.

and example of this would be the bollinger ez bar I bought. It’s slightly thinner than the standard barbell and also locks in at the middle(since it seperates in two).

My question is this- are there any general guidelines as to how much a “standard” bar-if that is possible, can hold?

And when the bar approaches its limits, what are the signs of this?
I doubt it would strait out snap, and would assume it would slowly start to bend?
i’d really have no idea so any facts/comments would be well appreciated.

thanks for reading,
Jason

Well a standard olympic 45lb 84 inch bar can hold plates pretty much out to the end…Since they use it in…the olympics… :stuck_out_tongue: As for EZ Curl bars I’ve never seen anybody put enough weight on one to make it really bend a lot. Not even 45s on each side really does much because of their shape. However, the one you describe in general sounds pretty sketchy. I don’t think I’d enjoy having the bar snap half way through the rep and have my arms twist outwards with some weight pulling them. Just get a regular non retarded ez curl bar.

Good question. I have a cheap ez curl bar from walmart that screws together in the middle, and I’ve only loaded it up to 230 or 250 lbs, before I had my olympic bar, and it didn’t bend at all.

Like the post above said, I don’t think you can put enough 45lb plates on them to break it, just because of how short they are.

I would imagine that they can hold a whole lot though, and I would hope it’s designed to bend a lot before it snaps, though I have heard of oly bars snapping on rare occasions.

[quote]SWR wrote:
Good question. I have a cheap ez curl bar from walmart that screws together in the middle, and I’ve only loaded it up to 230 or 250 lbs, before I had my olympic bar, and it didn’t bend at all.

Like the post above said, I don’t think you can put enough 45lb plates on them to break it, just because of how short they are.

I would imagine that they can hold a whole lot though, and I would hope it’s designed to bend a lot before it snaps, though I have heard of oly bars snapping on rare occasions. [/quote]

what were you doing with 250 pounds on an ez-curl bar?

[quote]Ramo wrote:
what were you doing with 250 pounds on an ez-curl bar?
[/quote]

Curling of course!!! Kidding.

It was before I had an oly bar, and I was using that for deadlifts. It was all I had at the time.

IT’s not that the bar itself will break, but sometimes the bolt holding the end will snap. Or the bar will actually bend, happened with me and my training partner.

There are different types of bars out there and your typical commercial gym, like mine, will get the least expensive ones and they will start bending with 315 or 405 on them. there are stronger ones out there so they don’t bend as much

if you are into powerlifting and squat and pull big numbers then buy the better bars. They even make just for deadlifting.

www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?cid=211

Thanks for the answers ppl…

So if a bar bends, i’m assuming that it would be wise to turf it…

but why do the bars always bend when a professional does a clean and jerk?
Is it a different sort of bar?

I’ve had a look on the net, and found nothing…even on wikipedia :frowning:

There are Olympic weightlifting bars and powerlifting bars as well.

true olympic bars are made to “whip” a little, which helps the lifter add momentum to the jerk portion of the Clean and jerk.

Power bars are stiffer and transfer the lifter’s force more directly to the bar so less energy is spent deforming the bar and more to actually moving the weight.

Of the two the oly bar (a real one) is usually much more expensive, since it’s requirements are more stringent. It has to last, it has to whip, but not permanently deform and it has to turn easily at the collars so the lifter can get under it with the least waste of rotational energy. And it must keep it’s shape after being repeatedly dropped over the years. The bar does not have a center knurling.

Power bars have to be very strong since they are likely to be required to hold twice to three times the weight of an olybar. They should have a center knurling.

In both cases good bars do NOT have bolted ends, but instead have an enclosed fastening mechanism and bearing which allow the sleeves to turn easily.

Most retail “olympic” weight sets come with a 500-700 lbs test bar with bolted on collars. These bars will not stand up to repeated use and will deform if dropped and as noted earlier the sleeve bolts can break.

Worth the price to buy a good bar if you’re planning on lifting an appreciable amount of weight or do lifts where the bar is dropped.

not all bars are created equal. a skinnier bar can actually be stronger than a thicker bar. a bar that’s rolled steel will be weaker than a a solid bar. check out these articles from ivanko. they give a pretty good explanation of how bars are made and how they test their strength.
http://www.ivanko.com/article5.pdf
http://www.ivanko.com/products/html_stuff/bar_strength.html
http://www.ivanko.com/article6.pdf

[quote]robo1 wrote:
not all bars are created equal. a skinnier bar can actually be stronger than a thicker bar. a bar that’s rolled steel will be weaker than a a solid bar. check out these articles from ivanko. they give a pretty good explanation of how bars are made and how they test their strength.
http://www.ivanko.com/article5.pdf
http://www.ivanko.com/products/html_stuff/bar_strength.html
http://www.ivanko.com/article6.pdf
[/quote]

Excellent point.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
SWR wrote:
Good question. I have a cheap ez curl bar from walmart that screws together in the middle, and I’ve only loaded it up to 230 or 250 lbs, before I had my olympic bar, and it didn’t bend at all.

Like the post above said, I don’t think you can put enough 45lb plates on them to break it, just because of how short they are.

I would imagine that they can hold a whole lot though, and I would hope it’s designed to bend a lot before it snaps, though I have heard of oly bars snapping on rare occasions.

what were you doing with 250 pounds on an ez-curl bar?
[/quote]

Don’t you remember? He’s a member of the T-Nation short dudes club. He could probably deadlift with a dumbbell handle =]

[quote]robo1 wrote:
not all bars are created equal. a skinnier bar can actually be stronger than a thicker bar. a bar that’s rolled steel will be weaker than a a solid bar. check out these articles from ivanko. they give a pretty good explanation of how bars are made and how they test their strength.
http://www.ivanko.com/article5.pdf
http://www.ivanko.com/products/html_stuff/bar_strength.html
http://www.ivanko.com/article6.pdf
[/quote]

Those articles are fascinating. I used some info from there to figure out what kind of bar to get to replace the main bar in my POS smith machine that was bending practically in half while working calves.