Barbells are one of the single most important tools in the gym. They are helpful to any and all types of lifters looking to increase strength, power, and endurance.
There are many types of barbells that can all be used in a number of different ways. Each of the different types of barbells can be used to target different areas of the body, provide unique grips and engage new muscles.
Make sure you read this article all the way to the end because you’re about to discover the 10 most important barbells (and their barbell names) you should use to build incredible muscle gains.
Table of Contents
- 1. The Standard Barbell
- 2. Trap Bar (Hex Bar)
- 3. Olympic Weightlifting Bar
- 4. Log Barbell
- 5. Powerlifting Bar
- 6. Deadlift Bar
- 7. Swiss Bar (Football Bar)
- 8. Safety Squat Bar
- 9. Cambered Bar
- 10. EZ Curl Bar
- Weightlifting Bars and Barbell Types Conclusion
Here are 10 barbell types that you may or may not have heard about (that can help build muscular hypertrophy and strength).
1. The Standard Barbell
Almost every gym out there (commercial or otherwise) will offer standard barbells for its members. These barbell types are staggeringly adaptable and can be utilized for a wide assortment of lifts.
You can use them for squats, bench press, and deadlifts as well as hip thrusts, overhead press, curls, and more.
Just don’t be the guy curling in the squat rack.
In terms of size, they’re almost always about 1 inch in diameter as well as 7.2 feet long. This makes them easy to grip for a variety of lifts and allows users to pile up the weight on either side.
While some “standard” barbells do fluctuate in weight, you can trust that 99% of the time, the answer to “how much does the barbell weigh” is 45 lbs.
One of the top advantages of the standard barbell is the knurling which helps you to get a better grip on the bar as explained by CrossFit Frederick. This is especially helpful when deadlifting or benching when your grip really matters. You’ll quickly notice that more expensive bars will have better knurling and cheaper bars will have smoother knurling.
Out of all the other different types of barbells, they are also incredibly versatile. While many bars listed here are used for specific lifts like squats or bench press, the standard barbell can be used for literally hundreds of exercises which is why they are such an essential piece of equipment in every gym.
Standard bars really give you what you pay for though. If you’re a powerlifter or weightlifter, you may want to stick to bars specifically made for your sport. Otherwise, you’ll notice the rotation or whip may be difficult to work with on a standard barbell.
The higher quality bar, the more expensive they run. While you can find bars for around $30, they won’t last long and won’t be great quality. Instead, most great standard barbells begin pricing at around $120 and only go up from there depending on the quality.
My advice? Invest in a good bar that suits your needs and will last you a long time, so you don’t have to buy a new one each year or so.
- Versatile, can be used for many lifts
- Knurling helps with grip
- Can be found for cheap
- Cheap bars wear out quickly
- Not ideal for specific sports
2. Trap Bar (Hex Bar)
If you are looking for a great, easy to use deadlift bar, then you might want to look into picking out a Hex Bar (sometimes called a trap bar, T-bar, or square bar).
It’s a four-sided bar that you can literally stand inside and grip the handles on each side.
The T-bar is ideal for training conventional deadlifts and forces you to lower your butt instead of bend forward during your lift. It switches up the mechanics of a deadlift a little bit by also placing your hands on either side of your body instead of right in front of you.
It’s a great accessory for regular lifters or powerlifters trying to perfect their deadlift form.
Compared to other types of barbells for deadlifting, many lifters find they are able to lift more weight with a hex bar, but it really depends on the lifter. The hex bar is designed to take pressure off of the lower back by forcing the arms to your side instead of in front of you like you would performing a conventional deadlift.
The main con to these bars is they can be quite pricey, and again, you get what you pay for. Most bars start at around $100 but the best ones are over $200. So, they are a bit of an investment.
- Can help improve deadlift strength
- Takes pressure off lower back
- Enables new muscles to engage during deadlifts
- Pretty expensive
- Can’t be used for powerlifting competitions
- Can’t help those who pull sumo deadlifts
3. Olympic Weightlifting Bar
If you are an Olympic weightlifter, you are probably already aware of the importance of a good weightlifting barbell. If you don’t know much about the sport, it’s important to research the equipment you need to avoid injury.
There are only really two lifts that make up Olympic lifting. These are the “clean and jerk” as well as the “snatch.” They seem very similar to standard barbells, but don’t be fulled. The grip size is much wider at 2 inches in diameter, and the Olympic Barbell rolls much easier to allow the lifter to maintain grip properly throughout the entirety of the lift.
They also have more whip which is essential for Olympic lifters and their safety. The knurling is also a tad softer since the bar moves in the hands of a weightlifter more and rough knurling can destroy their hands. They are also designed to handle Olympic plates rather than regular.
These bars are manufactured with the highest quality steel, driving up their prices insanely. While you can grab a crappy one for $150, you’ll regret doing so. A good Olympic weightlifting bar is going to set you back right around $500.
- Ideal for Olympic weightlifting
- Improved rotation
- Optimal knurling
- Increased whip
- Super expensive
- Pretty much useless for anyone except Olympic lifters
4. Log Barbell
This is a weird one, but it is actually one of my favorite specialty bars on the market. The Log Barbell looks exactly like it sounds, like a log. Its cylinder shape has two holes cut out that hold the handles you’ll grab to lift it. It has a spoke coming out of each end where you will load your weight just like any other barbell.
This barbell is one of the heaviest as well clocking in at just over 110 lbs or 50 kg.
This bar is essential for those competing in strongman competitions, but would just look weird if you were to use this on a bench press.
It can handle EXTREME amounts of weight making it easier for the super strong to get even stronger. However, they are typically quite pricey.
- A necessity for strongman training
- Can hold great amount of weight
- A great tool for many types of lifters
- Super heavy starting weight makes it difficult for many to even lift
- They’re pretty pricey for such a specialized bar
- You won’t find them in many commercialized gyms
5. Powerlifting Bar
If you’re a powerlifter, you know and appreciate your Powerlifting Bars. However, many lifters have a hard time spotting the differences. They can also be difficult to find in commercial gyms which doesn’t bode well for powerlifters without access to a powerlifting focused gym.
The main difference between a standard barbell and a power bar is its rigidity.
They’re roughly the same size as a standard barbell, but powerlifting bars are designed to hold much more weight which means they are made of much stronger, much less flexible steel. This prevents the bar from bouncing when loaded with a lot of weight.
This stronger steel makes them pricey as well. However, if you don’t plan on putting more than 1500 lbs on the bar, you can find one for a pretty good price.
They also don’t rotate helping powerlifters to maintain their grip through the entirety of their lift. Lastly, you’ll notice the knurling is often incredibly rough. It will tear up your hands and build crazy calluses. This helps lifters to maintain their grip, but it comes at the price of painful hands.
- High-quality steel
- Less flexibility means less chance of bar bouncing which can cause injury
- Can hold a lot of weight.
- Not worth the money for regular lifters
- Knurling is often rigid and tough on hands
6. Deadlift Bar
The Deadlift Bar is quite similar to the standard barbell, but one of its differences is it allows for more whip which makes it easier to pull off of the floor quickly and effectively. It is also 45 lbs and 1 inch in diameter, but also has more rigid knurling like the power bar for increased grip control.
Deadlift bars are pricey but worth it for those looking to break new personal records in the deadlift. These will typically cost around $300 for a quality product. You can definitely end up paying more for an even better bar, but it’s entirely up to you and your needs.
- Increased whip maximizes speed from floor
- Deep knurling allows for better grip
- Can hold a ton of weight
- Can be pretty pricey
- Not really useful for any lifts other than deadlifts
7. Swiss Bar (Football Bar)
The Swiss Bar is one of the specialty types of barbells that can be used by a variety of lifters. It can be used for many different exercises making it versatile and functional for a number of gym settings.
The bar is shaped like a rectangle with multiple grip widths connecting the long sides of the rectangle.
These handles allow users to play with different grip widths while maintaining a comfortable, neutral grip during their exercise. Many who experience wrist, elbow, or shoulder pain during pressing movements can use a Swiss bar to ease that pain significantly.
There are multiple collar sizes and weight to choose from within the Swiss bar category, so you can choose the bar best suited for your lifting style and needs. This bar will typically cost you upwards of $250 depending on the quality of bar you decide to order.
- Relieves lifters of wrist, elbow, and/or shoulder pain
- Forces neutral grip allowing lifters to better work specific muscles
- Can be used for many different exercises
- They can be pricey
- They don’t hold a ton of weight
- Aren’t used in any type of strength competition
8. Safety Squat Bar
While originally crafted for beginners and light lifters, the Safety Squat Bar has become a staple in all types of lifters’ routines. This bar features a padded area that sits on your neck and provides easy to hold handles which can reduce shoulder pain during your squat.
Of all the other types of barbells used for squatting, it forces the bar higher on your neck, which then forces more of the weight on your quads while taking stress off of your lower back. Many lifters use the Safety Squat Bar in conjunction with regular low-bar squats in order to activate different muscles and improve their lifts.
The Safety Squat Bar is heavier than standard barbells clocking in at 60 lbs. They’ll also cost you around $300 to $400.
- Cushioned bar provides more comfort during squats
- Forces weight on quads and off lower back
- Great for beginners as well as seasoned veterans
- Pricey for such a limited use specialty bar
- Not versatile
- Heavier bar weight makes plate math more difficult and the bar harder for newbies to lift
9. Cambered Bar
Compared to other types of barbells, the cambered bar is reserved for next-level lifters who have years of experience perfecting their squat form and are ready to load some serious weight on the bar.
Of all the barbell names, most guys haven’t heard of this one either.
This bar allows for lifter to hold onto two handles on either side of their body to further stabilize the lift. It makes your squat more challenging while also allowing you to add more weight.
This is a great bar for lifters who suffer from shoulder pain. The bar is thicker which can make it more painful while sitting on your traps, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most heavy lifters. The weights have the ability to swing in this lift making it very difficult to stay steady while completing your squat.
The Cambered bar also puts more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings for the entirety of the squat, forcing you to perfect your squat form. It’s a great way for lifters to improve their form and maximize their squat.
Most Cambered bars cost between $250 and $400, so it will cost you. However, if you suffer from knee or hip pain, it may help with those aches and pains making it worth the pretty penny.
- Can hold a lot of weight
- Great for those who suffer from knee, hip, or shoulder pain
- Can help lifters improve their form
- Assists in building overall core strength and improving squat PRs
- Pricey for a limited use bar
- Cannot be used for exercises other than squats
- Can be very dangerous for inexperienced lifters
- Weights swinging can cause imbalance
10. EZ Curl Bar
If you were trying to come up the name for that one curved barbell, it’s probably the EZ Curl Bar.
Typically, this barbell comes in a “miniature” size allowing easy grip optimal for bicep and triceps curls and extension exercises. The EZ Curl Bar is a great way to minimize wrist, elbow, or shoulder pain during different arm exercises while also targeting different areas of the arms.
Why is it called an EZ bar?
EZ Curl Bars are pretty inexpensive and easy to use, hence the name EZ Curl Bar. They typically only weight about 10 lbs allowing you to really customize the weight no matter your strength. You can typically find these for less than $100, and you don’t need to splurge on the nicest one since it’s pretty hard to ruin one of these.
- Eases pain in wrists, elbows, and shoulders
- Makes it easy to target certain arm muscles
- Can prevent you from engaging the outer parts of the biceps during curls
What’s the difference between a squat bar and a bench bar?
A squat bar is thicker in diameter and has less whip to it so the bar isn’t as sensitive to momentum when performing a squat. It also has rough center knurling to help grip the shirt on your upper back. Bench bars have rougher knurling for increased grip. They also have a thicker diameter and minimal whip so the bar sits firmly in your hands with each rep.
What’s the difference between a deadlift bar and a bench bar?
The deadlift bar has less whip so it’s easier to pull out the “slack” before lifting the weight off the floor. Additionally, they’re narrowing with more rigid knurling to improve your grip. Bench bars has less whip for a smoother bar path during the movement. They’re also a little thicker.
Weightlifting Bars and Barbell Types Conclusion
Now that you know the differences between these types of barbells and they’re names, it’s time to actually build some muscle. You may want to check out the kinobody greek god program if you’re interested in a popular program for gaining muscle mass.