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What is the best barbell for a home gym?

What is the best barbell for a home gym?

Building a home gym is a great way to eliminate excuses and make sure you always have an excellent environment for training. No more waiting for the squat rack. 

Whether you’re at the planning stage or adding to an existing set-up, a quality barbell is crucial to getting the most out of your training.

But in your search for the perfect barbell, you might have felt confused by the long spec lists and different terminology found in product descriptions. 

This article will guide you through everything you need to know about buying a barbell for your home gym and give you some suggestions on what to purchase. 

In this article: 

Ready to look at some barbells? Check out our extensive range

Barbell types: Powerlifting vs Olympic Weightlifting vs Hybrid

A shortcut to finding the right barbell for your home gym is to buy one designed for your training style. Are you a powerlifter, focusing on low-rep heavy squats? If so, you probably don’t want a bar designed for an Olympic Weightlifter. 

Here’s the difference: 

Powerlifting barbells: These barbells are designed for heavy squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. They are typically stiffer to reduce the whip (or bend) under heavy loads and have a more aggressive knurling for a secure grip. These usually come with a bushing.

Olympic weightlifting barbells: These are made for dynamic lifts like the snatch, and clean and jerk. They feature more bar flex and whip and smoother spin with bearings in the sleeves for better rotation.

Hybrid barbells: Ideal for home gyms and general strength training, these barbells strike a balance between stiffness and flexibility. They have a moderate level of knurling and are suitable for most barbell exercises. These are good for the novice to intermediate lifter but might be limiting to an advanced powerlifter or Olympic weightlifter.

Strong(wo)man: This guide focuses on standard barbells, but we also stock a large range of specialty bars: including Hex/Trap bars, Spider Bars, Bow Bars, Safety Squat Bars, and more. You can see our full range of barbells here

What you need to know before you buy a barbell 

Once you’re clear on your training style, knowing how each specific barbell model differs is important.  Reading a barbell spec list can be confusing, and it’s hard to make sense of all those measurements.

Here’s a quick guide on what you’ll find on a spec list and the impact it’ll have on your lifting: 

Length

Longer bars like the Bastard Squat Bar (2.33m) are better for exercises like squats and deadlifts, where you need more space for a wide grip and extra weight plates. Shorter bars, such as the Garage Strength Bar (1.835m), are better for those with a smaller home gym who aren’t lifting particularly heavy loads. 

Distance between rings

Ring spacing on lifting bars is key for strength athletes, helping them find the right grip for different lifts. It allows you to adjust your hand placement for better form and comfort, which is essential for both safety and performance. 

Knurling type

The type of knurling on a barbell helps with grip. Bars with coarse knurling, like the Texas Power Bar, are great for heavy lifting where you need a strong grip. Bars with medium knurling, such as the Riot Weightlifting Bar offer less grip but are more comfortable for dynamic lifts (like snatch and power clean). 

Centre knurling

Centre knurling, found on bars like the Original 2029 Bar, gives extra grip for your neck and back during squats. 

Sleeve type

The type of sleeve on a barbell affects how it rotates. Needle bearings make the bar rotate smoothly, which is great for dynamic Olympic lifts. Brass bushings are better for heavy powerlifting because they're more durable.

Loadable sleeve length

Longer sleeves mean you can put more weight plates on the bar. Of course, this depends on how much space you have in your home gym. 

Max load (Static/Dynamic)

Knowing how much weight your barbell can handle is important for safe lifting. Bars like the Texas Deadlift Bar, with no max load for powerlifts, are great for advanced lifters.

Each barbell will have a different warranty. The barbells we sell at Strength Shop range in warranty from 6 months to 10 years. 

IPF approved barbells 

If you’re looking for a competitive barbell, it’s important to make sure the bar is legal in your organisation. For powerlifters, Strength Shop offers IPF-approved barbells, including our Calibrated Bastard Power Bar.

What is the best barbell for my home gym? 

Now you know about a barbell’s different features, here’s an overview of some popular Strength Shop models, their features, and who they’re good for. 


Barbell Model

Length

Distance Between Rings

Loadable Sleeve Length

Knurling Type

Sleeve Type

Max Load (Static/Dynamic)

Warranty

Ideal For

Original 2028 Bar (20kg)

2.2m

810mm

40.5cm

Coarse, centre knurling

Steel Bushings, Needle Bearings

250kg

2 years (EU)
6 months (UK)

Powerlifting. Not suitable for Olympic Weightlifting. 

Original 2029 Bar (20kg)

2.2m

810mm

40cm

Sharp, centre knurling

Bronze bushings

260kg

2 years (EU)
6 months (UK)

Powerlifting, hybrid training

Bastard Power Bar (20kg)

2.2m

810mm

40.5cm

Coarse, centre knurling

Bronze Bushings

340kg

3 years

Powerlifting

Calibrated Bastard Power Bar (20kg)

2.2m

810mm

40.5cm

Coarse, fully knurled

Bronze bushings, needle bearing

450kg

3 years

Competitve powerlifters. Calibrated to +/-50gram of given weight.

Bastard Squat Bar (25kg)

2.33m

810mm

43cm

Coarse, fully knurled

Bronze Bushings

450kg

3 years

Squat training

Bastard Deadlift Bar (20kg)

2.33m

810mm

43cm

Sharp, no centre knurling

Bronze Bushings

400kg

3 years

Deadlifting

Texas Power Bar (20kg)

2.14m

810mm

37cm

Coarse, centre knurling

Brass Bushings, chrome coated sleeves

No max for powerlifts

10 years

Powerlifting, advanced lifters 

Texas Deadlift Bar (20kg)

2.3m

810mm

40cm

Coarse, no centre knurling

Brass Bushings and chrome coated sleeves

No max for powerlifts

10 years

Advanced deadlifters

Original 1525 Women's Bar (15kg)

2.01m

873mm

50cm

Coarse, no centre knurling

Steel Bushings

180kg

6 months

Strength training, women

Garage Strength Bar (15kg)

1.835m

800mm

25cm

Coarse, centre knurling

Steel Bushings, Needle Bearings

200kg

6 months

Home gym strength training



Why should you choose Strength Shop Barbells?

Strength Shop has been a renowned name in strength sports for over a decade. We have been providing top-quality barbells to elite athletes, including record-holders in various strength disciplines. 

We’ve also recognised that not every lifter is looking to compete. That’s why we offer a barbell for every type of lifter: from the elite powerlifter, to the garage hobbyist. 

Our selection includes speciality bars for powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and multipurpose training bars, catering to various lifting techniques. 

Our 4.8 rating on Trustpilot reflects our customers' trust in our products to enhance their training and help them achieve their best.

Here’s what our customers say about our barbells: 

“What a difference. I’ve had and used a fair few barbells in my time. I wasn't expecting anything too special based on the price, but I was so wrong! A lovely bar! Im a fan of strength shop kit!”

A review of our Original 2028 Bar on Strength Shop UK

“Worth every penny. I debated a long time before purchasing this bar, comparing with others and weighing up the differences. I can honestly say this bar is impressive and well made, you can feel the quality. I just know this will remain a quality bar even after years of hard use. If you want a bar that can cover the three main lifts as I did, then this is the one. Also strength shop service and delivery is always spot on.”

A review of our Bastard Power Bar on Strength Shop UK

“Really good. After spending long time to choose a bar, I bought two Texas power bar, the web site give me advice to make my choice, and I'm really happy with it. Really good for bench and squat and military press, grip is aggressive, good stability. After using cheap bar, this one give me really great workout, you can't go wrong with it.”

A review of the Original Texas Power Bar on Strength Shop EU. 

“Excellent barbell. Best value for money barbell, the size is good for home use and the e-coat Shaft looks nice. The order from strength shop was on time, i would buy again for sure.”

A review of the Garage Strength Bar on Strength Shop EU.

FAQ

Can I use the same barbell for different types of lifting in my home gym?

Yes, you can use a multipurpose barbell for various types of lifting. However, specialised barbells like Olympic or powerlifting bars are tailored for specific styles, and are worth investing in as you become more advanced.

How important is the knurling on a barbell?

Knurling affects your grip on the bar. A coarse knurling is great for heavy lifts, providing a secure grip, while a medium knurling is more versatile, suitable for various exercises without being too harsh on the hands.

Do I need to consider the weight capacity of a barbell for home use?

It’s important to consider the max load capacity of a barbell to ensure safety and durability, especially if you plan on progressing to heavier lifts.

How does the length of the barbell affect my training?

The length of the barbell can influence the types of exercises you can perform. Longer barbells are better for exercises requiring a wider grip, such as squats and deadlifts, while shorter barbells are better suited for smaller spaces and exercises like bench presses.

Is it necessary to have a barbell with centre knurling?

It depends on your training preference. Centre knurling provides extra grip for exercises like squats, but may not be necessary for general fitness or Olympic lifting where the bar might contact the neck and chest.

How do I maintain my barbell at home?

Regular cleaning and maintenance are important. Wipe down the barbell after each use to prevent rust and degradation, and periodically check for any loosening of the sleeves or wear in the knurling.

Choose Strength Shop Barbells 

We offer a wide range of barbells for powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, strong(wo)men, and general strength athletes.

Whether you’re a novice looking to get into lifting or a seasoned vet, we’ll have a barbell that suits you and your home gym. 

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