T Nation

Bumper Plates and Bars Question


Hey guys, I found some guy on craigslist who is selling some bumper plates (260 lb and bars and I was thinking of buying them for cheap (poor college student). Im a recreational lifter and prob only going to use it for hang or power cleans with light weight (under 225)and I have a bar I can use for squats bench and deads. I was wondering if there are any basic things i should know about the plates and bars before I bought them.

I was going to ask if i could go by his place to check them out but not sure what i would be looking for. any info on equipment stuff like that would be appreciated like brand quality and all. i was going to use them in my backyard where i bought a horse mat and i have old carpet squares i was planning on putting them on top for some extra cushioning for the plates/concrete
i read some posts that said that the bar is prob the most important thing, and was wondering how can i test the bars??
thanks guys and sorry if this seems like a stupid question


not much to tell really....

A good bar spins well and is in the 20mm range, not the thick cheapo ones that regular gyms have (30mm).

Good brands for Oly Bars that I know off are Eleiko, Werksan, and Pendlay. But your best bet is to check out what the guy has and play with it.

....and cross your fingers.


Olympic mens barbells are 28mm grip, most normal bars are 30-32mm. The gym I go to away from the club have the 30mm bars and I find them fine to lift with (although the smaller is obviously preferable). If you have small hands it might be an issue though. As Neo said the most important thing I think you should look for is a decent spin as it makes a big difference.


I 'heard' from somewhere that the defintiion of an olympic bar is that the 'sleeves' are a certain thickness for weights...

But yes of course a real Olympic bar would spin will, have decent knurling, sleeves correctly and the bar thickness to be correct.



Yes you are correct. The term olympic does define the sleeve length. I should have used a different name, I just meant it as the competition olympic weightlifting barbell thickness!


Yeah I know what you meant :slight_smile:



Ignorant powerlifter question warning:

What's the deal with the flexibility of olympic bars?

Is it designed that way? does it decrease injury or make it easier to lift?

I've never messed with one myself, but I've always been curious to know why they seem to have so much more give than something like a texas power bar.


Skilled lifters can take advantage of the spring in the bar when jerking by timing their drive/jerk after the dip such that the weight on the bar are moving upwards at the same time that they are driving to get themselves under the bar and get the bar overhead. After dipping, a very slight pause is in order to allow the ends of the bar to spring upward at the same time the lifter initiates his jerk.


Theres no pause, it's the change of direction that whips the bar along with it's built in flexibility.

It flexs around 135kg if your fast, definitely does around 165kg! Looks bad ass.

I would be concerned in a flexing if it wasn't a real oly bar.

I know that the Eleiko ones you can bend the middle of it 6inches from the middle and it'll bend back itself straight. I'm pretty f0cking sure on a cheaper no name non oly bar it'll just stay that bent if you did that to it!



That might be part of why they're flexy too. The more elastic the metal is the more it can bend and still return to it's original undeformed shape, whereas a less elastic or more brittle metal would become permanently deformed (bent) under such forces. Seeing as how olympic bars are designed to be dropped from overhead with nearly 600 pounds on the bar with no issues on a regular basis, a more elastic bar which will bend only to return to it's original (straight) state is preferable over a stiffer (more brittle) bar which will undergo permanent deformation every time the barbell is dropped with any appreciable weight, until such point as the bar is unusable.



It's probably cheaper to build a brittle bar without any flex in it...



Yes, right, of course there should be no pause! Pausing is a nice way to bury your attempt. What I should have said is that lifters who time the dip and drive properly can maximize the whip effect to their advantage, while the whip will work to the detriment of those who rush the jerk.

And as noted above, flexibility is important for the longevity of the barbell. Later, weightlifters began to take advantage of it. Eleiko bars in particular are known for their springiness. The York bars of old were stiffer. I don't know how the other major bars today -- Uesaka, Zhangkong, Werksan, etc. -- compare to Eleikos.

I am curious as to whether anyone knows or has an opinion. Are the major bars today more or less indistinguishable? Or are their tangible differences.


I'm sure it depends. Sometimes you have to add processes to make material harder, sometimes you have to add processes to make it more ductile. It may only be a difference in the tempering temperature or have fast it's quenched. Oh course production volumes make a big difference And I'd think the O-bars would be lower volumes.