You’re a beginner, and it’s your first time in a gym. As you make your way to the squat rack, you pick up what you think is the basic squat bar to use. Wrong! You picked up the curl bar.
Unbeknownst to you, you continue to make your way to the squat bar, add on your desired weight, get ready to squat, and then someone stops you. They begin to tell you that you are using the wrong bar for this specific exercise.
How embarrassing! In fear of complete and total embarrassment, you pick up all of your things, cover up your face, and walk out. Who would have known that there are so many different weight lifting bars to use for different exercises?
Let us get out of this imaginative situation and learn about different types of bars, along with their uses.
How Much Does the Bar Weigh at the Gym?
Knowing the weight of the barbell is something that comes with experience. Eventually, you will memorize just which bar weighs what. But first, you have to learn. Below I have listed out different types of bars and how much each bar weighs.
Types of Weight Lifting Barbells and Their Weights
To start off, many more weight lifting bars extend past this list of seven that are listed below. These seven are the most common weight lifting bars used in the gym and can be used by everyone from first-timers to veterans.
1. Standard Bar – Weighs 45lbs
When walking into a gym, the most common bar one will see is the standard bar. It is made out of steel, allowing for a slight “whip” motion or flexing of the bar.
With a minimum length being around 7 feet long, these bars typically weigh 45lbs and hold around 600lbs of weight.
The most commonly practiced moves with this bar include squats, bench press, deadlifts, and power lifts. With grips placed to the left and the right sides of the bar, it makes for an easier grasp when lifting, pressing, or pushing heavyweights.
2. Olympic Weight Lifting Bar – Weighs 45lbs
Although there are similarities between the Standard Bar and the Olympic Weight Lifting Bar, a few things set these two apart. The main difference is that these bars have different sleeves at the ends. Olympic bars have 2-inch rotating sleeves while Standard Barbells have 1-inch non-rotating sleeves.
Another difference lies in the fact that this bar allows for more of the “whip” motion. It’s a bit more flexible. This bar is often used for actions such as the clean and jerk or other types of Olympic Lifts that require the “catching” type motions.
Don’t get me wrong; this bar can still be used for classic movements such as those listed for the Standard Bar.
Another similarity is that this bar weighs 45lbs, but due to the weight this bar must hold from the Olympic Lifts, it has a higher weight-bearing capacity, which makes this bar more studier compared to the Standard Bar.
Another upside to the Olympic Bar is the spinning action that occurs at the ends of the bars. The purpose of this is to help reduce injuries in the wrists and arms.
3. Trap Bar – Conventional weighs 30lbs, and XL weighs 55lbs
With the nature of this bar’s shape, the Trap Bar is also commonly named the Hex Bar as it forms the shape of a hexagon. Due to the unique shape, it allows for one to be in the bar’s center while allowing for good body position and better grip on the handlebars.
Most often used for deadlifts, the Trap Bar gives less stress on the joints when compared to doing deadlifts with a Standard Bar. Also, the technique is often improved by the simple fact of being centered in the rack and the hand positioning of the handles.
Just like the two bars above, the Trap Bar comes in at many different weights. A standard trap bar weighs in at 30lbs while an XL trap bar weighs in at 55lbs.
4. Safety Squat Bar – Weighs in around 60-65lbs
Known for the many benefits this bar offers and the unique design, the Safety Squat Bar gives functionality and comfortability to what used to be a very uncomfortable squat.
Centered in the bar are two padded arm-like handles that stick out from the front of the bar. Low mobility of the shoulders or upper back may prevent you from squatting any weight with the Standard Bar.
These handles’ functionality allows the squatter to rest the pads easily on top of their shoulders, without any amount of mobility used by the shoulders.
Alongside reduced mobility, the added handles allow for greater activation of the glutes, hamstrings, and back.
Weighing about 60-65lbs, this will vary slightly depending on the leg press bar’s starting weight if you are doing them starting with the assisted leg press.
Ensure that you are not overloading the bar if you are used to squatting with the Standard Bar due to the weight difference.
5. Cambered Bar – Weighs in at 65lbs
Not as commonly seen in a classic gym setting, the Cambered Bar is a much more challenging approach one could take with squatting. Typically squats being performed with this bar should be geared for more advanced squatters looking for a new challenge.
More swinging motion occurs with the advanced shape, forcing the body to get a tighter squat and added stability. Even though it’s aimed at targeting the posterior muscles, this 45lb bar works the entire body through stabilization.
6. Swiss Bar – Weighs in at 35lbs
Most commonly known for the ladder-looking, the Swiss Bar is slightly lighter, weighing about 35lbs, and the neutral grip of the wrists protects the shoulders more throughout the lift.
The Swiss Bar is often used for curling, pressing, rowing, and triceps but can be used during many other actions performed to utilize a neutral grip.
7. Curl Bar – Weighs Between 10-15lbs
Shorter in length and lighter in weight, the Curl Bar is a popular choice that many gym-goers use daily. The wide range of exercises this bar provides allows for great use at the gym without the stress of switching from equipment to equipment. It is also great for building up those skinny arms.
The inward angles towards the center on both the left and the right sides give easy-grip forcing the wrists to be in a pronated — slightly facing inwards — position. The pronation of the wrists also helps reduce the risk of injury and is easier on the shoulders.
With the ability to work back and forth between biceps and triceps, this 15lb bar is an easy addition to anyone’s workout. Whether advanced or beginning, this bar’s versatility is very popular in the gym, so grab it quick!
Depending on the exercise you want to perform or your skill advancement, there is a bar that can best fit you. Don’t be afraid to try out the different types of bars when you see one. Just like the old saying goes, you never know unless you try it.
If you are a first-timer in the gym, stick with the Standard Bar and slowly make your way through the list as you feel comfortable.
For the more advanced lifters here, try something new. Instead of continuously adding weight, try switching it up with the bar. New muscles will be worked, and your basic level squat can become more advanced with something like the Cambered Bar.
Always continue to push yourself when lifting, and don’t get stuck in a rut of performing the same exercise with the same bar. Variance is key to keeping your muscles on their toes!
Now you know about all of the different types of barbells and all of their weights. If you are interested in reading more, check out our other related posts below!