T Nation

How to Choose an Olympic Weightlifting Bar?


I have recently experienced the difference quality can make. I purchased some 2.5Kg Ivanko collars with a mechanism that allows the user to tighten the plates down and remove all rattling type motion. Immediately I could lift more. Perhaps because of better mental focus, or perhaps the stability of the weights has a bigger effect than I thought on the muscles trying to coordinate and balance the lift.

In any event, this caused me to re-evaluate the poorly made and rusty Olympic bar I have been using. There is a lot of play between the plate loading sleeve and the bar, etc. And, the sleeves don't turn very well either. So I've been on a quest for a new bar. The $1000+ models with "German needle bearings" are out of the question as I just can't afford that. I would like to spend under $150, but would go higher if I can understand what exactly I am getting for the money.

Therein lies the dilemma... There are dozens of different models and no reviews of them. I've seen the $80 cheapies in sports stores (and Sears, etc.) and they are no better than what I have. What I need to know is, is the Hampton bar with the brass bushings worth it? Is the Troy $250 1 1/4 diameter bar really that great? Or even the Troy $350 "Texas" bar... What makes it worth $350 when Troy itself says even their inexpensive non-Troy-branded bars are top notch?

Thanks in advance for any advice!


You want a bar specifically for Olympic lifting?

You are not going to get anything decent for under $300 I would say. Glenn Pendlay at Wichita Falls Weightlifting makes a decent bar for about that--it will not spin or flex as well as an Eleiko or Werksan training bar, but unless you are putting up big, big numbers I doubt you will notice the difference. Glenn is good people, and will help you out, and will lay out the differences between his product and the others on the market if you give him a call.



This is how I would look at. You could spend $6-700 on a bar you buy once or $150-300 on a bar you buy multiple times. You are not going to get anything worth a shit for $150. Secondly, bars that are meant for powerlifting may not be suitable for weightlifting. Powerlifting bars are meant to be stiff while weighlifting bars flex, PL bars are not meant to be dropped under load weightlifting bars are. The last part is important because dropping a PL bar from overhead could result in the collar breaking off the bar! (seen it happen scary shit!) The potential for serious injury is pretty high.


Check out the Quest Olympic/Crosstraining bar at westcarybarbell.com, $292 with free delivery. I have their Q-training bar and it puts the Texas power bar to shame.


Wow. I came to the right place. lol. Awesome to have so many well informed people responding!

As for my needs... I am not in competition, nor do I expect to be any time soon. I'm in this for health, personal challenge, and fun (yep... I caught the bug). The bar I am looking for is for weightlifting, not power lifting, though I don't plan to be dropping it from overhead any time soon either. (I don't have bumper plates, and I am working out indoors over a standard wooden floor with carpet. If I were to drop the thing with 325 pounds of my current iron plates, it would do significant damage to my floor.)

So far, I've read the Pendlay description and they might have a new customer soon. I'm going to look into the other suggestions first of course, but they look hard to beat.


I've heard good things of the Pendlay bar also.

I'm not entirely convinced that rattling weights as long as it's not an obscene rattle would let you lift more but a good bar that spins well would help as long as it's not stiff as f0ck. It's just nicer lifting with a sweet sweet eleiko bar that spins buttery smooth :smiley:



We have the Pendlay bar at our gym and its decent, sounds good enough for your purposes. Supposedly his new NexGen bars are better. Sure there are better more expensive options out there, but these are a great value and it doesn't sound like you necessarily need the pricier ones.


I got a Burgener and Rippetoe bar not too long ago w/ a bunch of bumper plates as a package deal. The bar alone is 295$ and I am happy w/ mine, but don't have much to compare it to. Just throwing another option out there for you to consider.