5 Best Olympic Barbells

Updated: Jun 13

Introduction | Olympic Barbell Buyer's Guide | The 5 Best Olympic Barbells

The ultimate piece of exercise kit! The Olympic bar is item of choice for the person who wants to build strength and size. This image shows a group of exercise enthusiasts performing different lifts on Olympic barbells.

There’s no escaping the fact, an Olympic barbell is a brilliant piece of exercise equipment and an absolute must for the aspiring CrossFit athlete – or, of course, Olympic lifting enthusiast.


Also, Olympic bars open up access to a whole host of strength and power building exercises that can’t be done without one; single arm dumbbell snatches or kettlebell clean and jerks are great exercises, but they’re only imposters to the real thing.


And let’s not forget that with an Olympic barbell you can perform all those classic strength exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bent-over rows and standing military press. These exercises have formed the training foundation of body builders, strongmen, power lifters and anyone who aspires to build strength and size since some genius popped two weights either side of a pole.


If these exercises have formed the staple of your training diet then you might be feeling somewhat malnourished at the moment, what with the perpetual gym closures; which, amongst other negatives, has decimated the routine of most exercisers. Buying an Olympic barbell for the home gym and a set of bumper plates is a sound investment in these uncertain times.


For not only will an Olympic bar enable you to keep up the multi-joint compound exercises, it will add a whole new dimension to your home gym. After all, barbells are one of your best options, perhaps the best option, for developing strength and size. And short of acquiring a strongman set-up, there’s few other ways of going super heavy.


Okay, so we’re in agreement then – viz. Olympic barbell training is an integral part of any strength and size developing routine and an Olympic bar would make a super-awesome addition to your home gym. Now before you purchase the first cylindrical length of steel that you clap eyes on, make sure you know what you’re looking for first. The last thing you want arriving at your doorstep is an inferior, rust-prone piece of pig iron good for donating to the Rag ‘n Bone man.


The Hungry4Fitness Olympic barbell Buyer’s Guide will walk you through the key features that only true Olympic bars possess.



Olympic Barbell Buyer’s Guide

An image showing a rack of Olympic barbells and bumper plates.
Size

The standard Olympic bar length is about 7 feet (or 2.2 metres). It is this length bar that can be found in most commercial gyms, and if it’s in a commercial gym where you’ve trained with an Olympic bar, then chances are it was a 7-footer. If you’ve felt comfortable using this length (lengths do range from 5 to 7 feet) bar, then it would make sense to stick with it. All the bars that feature in this review are 7-feet.


Weight

An Olympic bar that weighs less than 20 kilograms (44 pounds) is nothing short of a fraud. The weight of an Olympic bar is like a Universal axiom, it holds true wherever you go. Pick up an Olympic bar in Puerto Rico and it’ll weigh 20kgs. Pick up an Olympic bar in Uzbekistan and, guess what, it’ll weigh 20kgs.


Shape

The shape of an Olympic bar is one of its defining features. Unlike those substandard imposters that can be found in ‘fitness suits’ or your mate’s bedroom, the Olympic bar sports two hench rotating sleeves at either end on which weighted plates are loaded. For it to be an Olympic bar, and not a knock-off, those sleeves must boast a diameter of 2-inches.


As with the other key Olympic bar qualities outlined in this Buyer’s Guide, the 5 best bars that feature below tick all the right boxes.



The 5 Best Olympic Barbells



1: Strongway 20KG 7FT Olympic Bar (£128.00)

Barbell Features (click image for availability)

  • Heavy duty construction with high carbon steel

  • Fits 2" Olympic weight plates

  • Dual knurled surface

  • 360° Rotation and spin of end sleeves

  • Free 2x Spring Collars



Strongway’s 7-foot Olympic barbell is favourite amongst strength trainers. With nearly 40 reviews it has received 100% 5-star feedback. The 15" 306° rotating sleeves are designed to accommodate any 2-inch Olympic plates. The bar is built to 110,000 PSI tensile strength and constructed from high grade carbon steel; meaning that it can be loaded with some serious weight before it breaks a sweat. For the price and features this would make a perfect bar for any home gym.


Well rated: 5 stars with nearly 40 reviews


2: BodyRip Olympic Lifting Barbell

Barbell Features (click image for availability)

  • Heavy duty construction with high carbon steel

  • Fits 2" Olympic weight plates

  • Dual knurled surface

  • 360° Rotation and spin of end sleeves

  • Free 2x Spring Collars




BodyRip are a renowned exercise equipment manufacturer and have received numerous commendations for developing superior quality kit without the hefty price tags. They’re 7-foot Olympic barbell is no exception. Forged from high-tensile folded carbon steel, they promise to last for decades. Each bar has been coated with chrome to reduce rust susceptibility. In addition, the bar features knurled anti-slip grooves to improve grip stability. BodyRip’s Olympic is the whole package which accounts for why it retains 4.5 stars with over 400 reviews.


Super well rated: 4.5 stars with over 400 reviews!


3: Bonnlo Fitness 7 feet Olympic Barbell (£128.99)

Barbell Features (click image for availability)

  • Heavy duty construction with high carbon steel

  • Fits 2" Olympic weight plates

  • Dual knurled surface

  • 360° Rotation and spin of end sleeves

  • Free 2x Spring Collars





As we would expect, Bonnlo’s 7-foot Olympic bar is endowed with all the essential key features: 20kg weight; 306° rotating sleeves; 2” sleeve diameter to accommodate Olympic plates. But they also boast a couple of unique qualities of their own. In addition to being constructed from premium quality high-tensile carbon steel, they come with upgraded brass bearings in the rotating sleeves.


These bearing allow for a super smooth spin – or ‘rotation’ – of the discs. This is important because, when performing, say, sets of clean and jerks, or hang cleans, excessive friction in the sleeves induces fatigue earlier as you have to use muscle strength to stop the bar cheese-grating the palms of your hands. Also, the outer surface of the sleeves are screw threaded to prevent the clip from slipping.


Solid ratings: 4.5 stars with over 60 reviews


4: Big Jim 7ft Olympic Barbell (£149.00)

Barbell Features (click image for availability)

  • Heavy duty construction with high carbon steel

  • Fits 2" Olympic weight plates

  • Dual knurled surface

  • 360° Rotation and spin of end sleeves

  • 369kg max load capacity.



Big Jim says that his 7-foot Olympic barbell ‘is designed to perform to the highest level’ and they are perfect to perform ‘all of the standard lifts’ on. Well, the fact that they boast a max load capacity of 360kg implies that Jim’s Olympic bars are forged from only the finest quality steel. And each bar is built to a 145,000 PSI tensile strength – meaning they’re worthy of any commercial gym. The diamond knurled anti-slip engravings along the bar length will improve grip stability even after a 20-minute-long clean and jerk EMOM.


Perfect rating: 5 stars with nearly 70 reviews. Impressive!


5: Dripex 7-foot Olympic Barbell (£119.99)

Barbell Features (click image for availability)

  • Heavy duty construction with high carbon steel

  • Fits 2" Olympic weight plates

  • Dual knurled surface

  • 360° Rotation and spin of end sleeves

  • Free 2x Spring Collars




Dripex’s Olympic bar ticks all the right boxes. However, this bad boy boasts a load capacity of a whopping 453kg (or 1000lbs)! Which is over 100kg more than many of its competitors. In addition to being a super heavyweight, this barbell has been constructed to IWF professional standards and is designed for the serious athlete. The superior balance and anti-rust polished chrome surface smack of a professional finish seldom seen nowadays. Dripex’s Olympic bar is, as one elated customer called it, the 'real deal' and right down to the diamond knurling meticulous care has been taken with every element of the design.



(As we are very interested in user experience here at Hungry4Fitness, we would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)



Blog Author

Adam Priest, former Royal Marines Commando, is a personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.