T Nation

Do You Have to Use a 7 Foot Bar?


#1

I am building a shed gym for my girlfriend and myself to use. both of us want to start working out at home.

We want to do lifting programs (with an interest in getting into powerlifting) that require us to bench, squat, deadlift and press. The problem is with this is we are going to have the rack in the middle of the shed or take our chances having it face the middle at the side which is just over 7 foot which means a 7 foot barbell will have half a foot either side of the bar before it touches the wall.

Could someone use a 6 or 5 foot bar to do the main lifts or is 7 much better? And has anyone trained in very small spaces? Is half a foot either side of the bar enough safe to squat in?

If not I am going to have to have it in the middle which is slightly lower height wise because of a beam.

Any advice?


#2

If you only have 6" on either side, it will be difficult to load and unload the bar. We train in our basement and have to load around a support post that is further away than that and it’s still a pain.

I would stick with a 7’ bar and put the rack in the middle. What’s the height restriction with having it under a beam? I have an old school rack and never upgraded due to clearance issues because of pipes and beams.


#3

[quote]ouroboro_s wrote:
If you only have 6" on either side, it will be difficult to load and unload the bar. We train in our basement and have to load around a support post that is further away than that and it’s still a pain.

I would stick with a 7’ bar and put the rack in the middle. What’s the height restriction with having it under a beam? I have an old school rack and never upgraded due to clearance issues because of pipes and beams.[/quote]

I have jut over 7 foot that way close to 8, which means half a foot space either side. Is that too little?

Otherwise yeah gonna have to go in the middle. The bean seems superficial, might just cut it down, its just a lightweight plank nailed to the roof. Doubt it is doing much supporting.


#4

Are there any disadvantages of a 6 foot bar? Does it affect training?


#5

I have a rack in my apartment’s dining room and use a 7’ bar with 3" clearance on either side. It works well enough. I don’t have the luxury of side loading plates, but there’s no real hinderance to squats/deads/bench.


#6

Competition bars are 7, 7.5 and 8 ft long.

I wouldn’t go less than that if you want to compete. You will want the space. You don’t want to feel crowded if you start getting up to some heavy weight. You’ll be too concerned w/ hitting something rather than good execution of the lift.


#7

[quote]ZombieRain wrote:
I have a rack in my apartment’s dining room and use a 7’ bar with 3" clearance on either side. It works well enough. I don’t have the luxury of side loading plates, but there’s no real hinderance to squats/deads/bench. [/quote]

How do you load if not from the side?


#8

[quote]DBADNB1 wrote:
Are there any disadvantages of a 6 foot bar? Does it affect training?[/quote]

In terms of equipment, the only disadvantage I can think of is that some 6 ft bars that are cheap might not be able to handle much weight. The best one I could find is the 6 ft International Bar by York Barbell. Someone commented on Amazon that it can be loaded to (5) 45 lb plates per side so you can eventually work up to 480 lbs.

Besides that, a shorter bar should be easier to control and keep from spinning. I’m not sure how noticeable that is but don’t be surprised if a competition bar feels different. But no matter what if you get stronger using the same equipment, you’re still getting stronger.


#9

[quote]ouroboro_s wrote:

[quote]ZombieRain wrote:
I have a rack in my apartment’s dining room and use a 7’ bar with 3" clearance on either side. It works well enough. I don’t have the luxury of side loading plates, but there’s no real hinderance to squats/deads/bench. [/quote]

How do you load if not from the side?[/quote]

I really hope this is explained. I’m trying to figure out what this could possibly mean, and I really don’t have any clue…

As to the original question though… I have to assume you’re essentially a beginner at lifting. I think for awhile a shorter bar will not be a real issue. Anything is certainly better than nothing. People have gotten by with worse.

As you progress, I’m sure you will want to find a better situation, and if it’s important enough to you, you will succeed. The first setup I ever had was like a 5 or 6’ bar, and the diameter was much smaller than a standard bar (it didn’t fit standard plates). It was an old Weider bench I believe. I found it in my dad’s garage. And the bar only weighed about 10 lbs. I got stronger using it.


#10

I’m in the exact same situation, 8’ wide room with a 7’ bar, can’t put the rack anywhere else because of a radiator and pipes. 6" clearance is not problem unless you are using 100lb. plates or can barely lift 45. As long as you can fit yourself between the rack and the wall it should be fine, plates are much less than 6". It was annoying at first but now it’s not a problem at all, I would take that over a commercial gym any day.

By the way, I would be cautious about cutting any beams, they are probably there for a reason. Better struggle to load the bar than have the whole shed crash down on your head.


#11

This thread impresses me with its dedication and ingenuity. Most people complain about not enough channels available on their treadmill. Well done T-Nat folk, you have once again made me proud to be one of you.


#12

Buy Rogue’s short bar. It has proper sleeves which spin and isn’t a thin bar. It will be almost the same experience (until you can squat over 480).

BTW, you’re going to have to post a picture of this thing.


#13

[quote]ouroboro_s wrote:
How do you load if not from the side?[/quote]

I guess that made more sense in my head. I can’t stand outside the bar, little to no maneuverability as apposed to my time at Gold’s Gym being able to swing and turn.


#14

[quote]ZombieRain wrote:

[quote]ouroboro_s wrote:
How do you load if not from the side?[/quote]

I guess that made more sense in my head. I can’t stand outside the bar, little to no maneuverability as apposed to my time at Gold’s Gym being able to swing and turn. [/quote]

That makes sense now.