T Nation

Standards for Equipment (Bars & Plates)?

What are the “standards” as far as barbells from contests. I have read what equipment is legal, but what are people actually using at comps?

Also… I see people on the interwebs uses 25 to 27mm deadlift bars with a high flex to lift more weight. USAPL specifies 28-29mm is legal. Are comp organizers using the same bar or switching for each lift.

Thanks in advance.

USAPL uses a stiff bar AKA a power bar that is 29mm for all three lifts. Few different comp spec bars but they share the 29mm.

Other feds like USPA usually use other types of bars as well. A thick squat bar and a thinner deadlift bar. Bench is usually with a power bar.

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In review, I worded the question pretty poorly for the answer I am wanting.

I am in the very early stages of launching a barbell club. I have great equipment for Olympic lifting but I don’t have any true powerlifting plates and bars. Plates… I have figured out. Will buy rogue calibrated plated.

But what brand and model bar is most often used? There are a number of 29mm bars on rogues site. Are other brands more popular???

Texas Power Bar gets pretty high marks. It’s hard to come by currently due to the pandemic. I noticed they’ve used it in several powerlifting world championships but its diameter is 28.5mm. Any way may be worth checking out. EliteFTS makes good stuff. Their power bars are probably easier to get currently.

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No one is shipping bars quickly unless they are substandard products. The industry is dry when it comes to quality bars currently.

EFS will get a shipment of bars in and sell out within a week. I do like their new power bars though.

I actually ordered a new Texas Power Bar last night. 8 week lead time according to the site, but they are accepting orders.

Rogue did not have any similar bars available when I checked. I didn’t look at any other vendors since I was only considering a few bars. Texas Power Bar is still my favorite all-around bar for 5/3/1 style lifting. I’ve never competed in powerlifting but the powerlifting gym I lifted at had Texas bars everywhere. Squat, bench, deadlift and power bars. They’re all great.


I do not think they are approved with USAPL? Am I incorrect in that understanding?

Is USAPL the dominant (in member count) federation?

I couldn’t tell you for sure on either question. There’s a lot of powerlifting federations out there.

You could always start one of your own and use whatever powerlifting bar you want.

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It’s really not that critical to have spec stuff for training in PL. Close counts. The spec stuff comes out at meets, but most guys do not train on it. The exception is DL bar - if they compete in a fed that uses a specialized DL bar because the form is different from stiff bar to flexy. Texas Power bar is a great bar to train with, Rogue stuff often has Cerakote as an option though which is nice.

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My local gym has plates where the centers are too big and plates flop all over the plates. I have bumper plates but the bar is full at about 600#

The reason for my ask really revolves around deadlift. If competition allows a 27mm texas bar with a big flex, I want to train with that. But if it will be a 29mm bar at comp, I want to train with that.

I appreciate the comments though.

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A few thoughts on what you’re doing here…

There’s a really big difference in both diameter and bar whip between a power bar and deadlift bar of the same company. If it were my club, I’d like to have both.

The heavier you go on DL the bigger difference the bar whip makes. You’d get even more bend with wide bumpers that will distribute the load further from the center. If you’re trying to replicate competition power lifts at a particular fed, the plates will matter just as much as the bar selection if you’re talking about a whippy bar like a DL specialty bar.

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Yep, plates matter too. It sounds like he is getting Rogue calibrated plates, so he should be good there.

As far as bars go, I have used a few in competition. I haven’t competed in USAPL, but they use a power bar for all the lifts, most power bars will work. Deadlifting with a Texas Power bar (28.5 mm) is easier than with a 29 mm bar though. So that is something to look out for.

For squat bars, I don’t think it matters much. A Texas squat bar is fine IMO. I have used the Kabuki squat bar and really like it because the entire shaft has heavy knurling. Their power bars I have used are $600 pieces of garbage though (avoid their coated bars as they are slippery).

For the deadlift, every competition I have ever done has used a Texas deadlift bar. It has the most whip out of any of the deadlift bars I have used, and the knurl is nice too. All the popular deadlift bars have a 27 mm shaft, but the Texas deadlift bar has really wide collars that place the weight farther out. This is what causes it to have more whip.


You can see the Texas deadlift bar on the bottom. Because of the wider collar it is effectively like having an extra plate that weighs 0 lbs as a spacer.

You can replicate the feel of a Texas deadlift bar by using one bumper plate on a different deadlift bar (it will not be exact, but I doubt you can tell a difference).

Anyways this is my bars 101 rant.

I am patiently waiting for @T3hPwnisher to tell us how silly this sport is.


I spend whole training cycles pulling with a texas deadlift bar so I can go deadlift with an axle in strongman. I figure strong is strong.

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I think that strategy works fine in the order you have it. I have a friend that thought that it was a good idea to pull only on the “harder” power bar for training, then compete with the Texas DL bar. He though that he would be surprised at how easy it was. His theory did not work out for him. He got really shaky when the bar got to about his knees and couldn’t handle the whip.

I’ve also pulled exclusively on an axle to set records on a deadlift bar, haha.

The “trick” is to not be a skill lifter.


Iunderstand the approach, it’s very O-lifting. The reality is, a .5 mm or 1 mm diameter difference means very little to the actual lift unless you are so specialized that it matters. The bar flex (Or “Whip”) makes a substantial difference. You have similar “Whip” in an O-lifting bar caompared to a Deadlifting bar. It’s about leveraging the load so that the bar is further from the floor when you take the full weight versus with a stiffer bar. Personally, I used to DL with a 2 3/8" thick bar in training quite often. Everything else was very easy to grip after that. If you do pulls with an O-bar, you will not be bothered at all by the difference when going from a stiff bar to a whippy one.

Ironmind S-cubed bar by chance? I want one.

Actually a Mastiff prototype bar I bought second hand from Karl Gillingham. We broke it. I cut the ends off, stuck the main section between the collars of a standard power bar I also got used, and welded it to the collars at each end. Result was a 65lb thick bar with standard Olympic ends. It’s sitting at a buddies right now, he powdre coated it for me a little while ago. You would love it, based on what I read in your log. Positively brutal, but everything else feels easier in comparison.


My info requests in this thread are regarding power bars of course, but I did think its worth sharing that I do have a 28mm eleiko weightlifting bar and a 28.5 rogue Ohio bar. There is a huge difference in how these bars flex. Catching a heavy clean on the rogue is like being hit by a piano.

It’s not just the diameter, the metal composition differs, so don’t get hung up on just the diameter for bar selection. The Okie is the original deadlift bar, btw, so should maybe be considered too.