If you are the type of person that always uses the same bar when going to the gym, or if you want to build a home gym in your garage, this post is for you. In it, we will go through different types of weight bars, explaining you their purposes so you can better understand which one is going to work for your needs.
These are straight bars you see all the time, and ones that you use the most. There are some variations to them, as they have slightly different knurling, thickness, and more or less bend:
● Standard bar - the most common type, used for the bench, deadlift, squat, and similar hard-core gym exercises. It usually weighs 45 LBS. There are some differences in the amount of knurling (the squat bar has knurling in the middle, so it doesn't slip down your clothes), the amount of "whip" (deadlift bar will bend the most), but in general standard bars are rigid, built to withstand huge amounts of weight (600-1200 lbs).
● Olympic weightlifting bar - Olympic lifts require a different kind of bar. These bars have no knurling in the center, so they don't scratch your neck. Also, because you snatch them violently, they are built for momentum. Knurling is not as sharp, they spin better, and have more bend. All of them weigh 45 lbs.
● Short bar - this is a standard straight bar, but with a shorter length, and thus lighter. It is used for back, shoulder and arms training. It's not an essential piece of equipment for a home gym, but at commercial gyms, it is quite handy, as it is rarely used which means always free, and does the job reasonably well.
EZ - bar
EZ, curled, or wave bar is a specialty bar primarily used for training arms. Because of the curled shape, this bar lets you catch it more comfortably, either when performing curls (on a preacher station), or while performing lying triceps extensions or similar exercises. This bar is shorter than a standard barbell, and lighter too, usually weighing around 15 pounds.
Similar to the EZ bar is the Swiss bar, as you also use it mostly for working out your arms. The difference is that the Swiss bar design allows you only to hold it with a neutral grip, which is much less demanding on joints.
Specialty squat bars
These bars are alternatives to a straight barbell. They allow you to perform squats even if you have mobility issues, due to injuries. "Yoke" bars let you hold the handle in front of you while the bar rests on your upper back, cushioned with pads. That offers better stability without straining your shoulders and wrists.
Another specialty bar is a "cambered' bar. But, contrary to the "yoke" bar, the cambered bar is not designed to reduce the demand, but rather increase it. It forces your body to work even harder in order to stabilize the weight and puts your posterior chain into overdrive
Hex or "trap" bar is mostly used forsquatting and deadlifting, but you can also use it for lunges, rows and other exercises. The unique shape of this bar allows you to step into it (like in a trap, hence the name), and hold the weight with your arms on your sides, with a neutral grip. This puts the weight as closest as possible to your center of gravity, making weight bar exercises much safer. Also, this bar position allows you to produce more power, allowing you to lift more. So a win-win situation - the movement is safer, and you use more weight!
Those were some of the more or less common bar types. If you are just starting out - get a straight, Olympic barbell. You can purchase the more exotic weight bar sets later. You can find the best weight bar prices online, and if you are looking for weight bars for sale or Olympic weights for sale, StrengthAndFitness is your best bet.