The barbell is to the home gymer what the hammer is to the builder; it is the primary tool that he uses. Getting a high quality home barbell, then, is probably the most important consideration when it comes to kitting out your home gym. In this article, we identify the best home barbells on the UK market. We’ll cover the EZ bar, hex bar, and Olympic barbell as well as a range of home barbell accessories. We’ll also provide you with a home barbell buyer’s guide so you know what to look for when shopping for your own home standard or Olympic barbell set.
Home Barbell Buyer’s Guide
There’s more to a home barbell than you might realize. Knowing the different facets will allow you to make a more informed buying decision when buying an Olympic barbell set. Here are the six key things you need to know:
- Bar Type – In addition to the standard straight barbell, there are a number of different designs for specific uses. The standard 7ft Olympic bar that you find in commercial gyms has been reduced by may manufacturers to a 6 ft Olympic bar for home use. You can also get the standard 5 ft bar which takes a 25 mm (one inch) diameter plate hole. Hex bars (also known as shrug bars) allow you to stand inside the bar framing so that the weight is positioned alongside rather than in front of your body. This allows you to deadlift without the bar whacking against your shins.
- Yield & Tensile Strength – The yield strength is the amount of weight that a bar can handle without it permanently bending. More applicable to home users is the tensile strength, which is a measure of the dynamic force applied to the bar. Tensile strength is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Look for a bar with a PSI of at least 180,000.
- Knurling – The knurling on the bar provides an inbuilt level of hand grip. You need a bar that has a balance of not too much and not too little knurling so that it provides the grip ability you need without ripping your palms. If you are planning to use the bar for squats, look for a decent amount of centre knurling.
- Sleeve – the sleeve refers to the end part of an olympic bar where the spin takes place. Bushings and bearings are contained in a sleeve. The higher the quality of these parts, the better the spin will be.
Our Favourite Bars
BodyRip Olympic 2″ Weight Lifting Barbell Bar with Collars
The BodyRip Olympic 2″ Weight Lifting Barbell Bar is a full length 7 ft Olympic bar. BodyRip also offer bars for sale at 4, 5 and 6 foot lengths. The bar features knurled anti-slip hand grips and heavy duty threaded bar ends. The bar is finished in chrome to provide full corrosion resistance while also giving this bar a great finish.
The BodyRip Olympic 2″ Weight Lifting Barbell Bar weighs in at 15 kg. It is compatible with all 2 inch Olympic weight plates. The bar ends feature high quality bushes and bearings to provide good spin. Your purchase of this bar comes with a pair of high quality spring loaded collars. The bar ends are 15.5 cm in length.
This is an excellent Olympic bar for home gym use available at a pretty competitive price point. We’re happy to recommend it.
- Chrome finish
- 7 foot length
- 15 kg bar weight
- Quality bushes and bearings
- Comes with 2X spring collars
DTX Fitness 6ft Olympic Barbell
The DTX Fitness 6ft Olympic Barbell is a 14.5 kg bar which features a good level of knurling to keep your grip secure when you’re lifting. The maximum bar rating with this bar is 300 kg, with the main section of the bar being 111 cm in length. The ends are each 32.6 cm which provides plenty of room to fit the weights.
Your purchase of the DTX bar comes with a pair of spring-lock collars to provide an easy change and a secure hold on the weight plates. The bearings and bushes on this bar ensure that the bar spins freely. This bar is a little pricey for a 6 foot home gym olympic bar, but quality wise it is a top notch offering.
- Max weight: 300 kg
- Bar weight: 14.5 kg
- Comes with 2X soring-lock collars
- Quality bearings and bushes
- Generous amount of knurling
Hardcastle Olympic EZ Curl Weight Bar
The Hardcastle Olympic EZ Curl Weight Bar is a solid, heavy duty multi purpose bar. The EZ curl angled grip design reduces wrist strain while also putting you in the ideal ergonomic positioning for a number of bicep and triceps exercises. This home use EZ curl bar has Olympic bar ends to take Olympic plates, just like the ones in your commercial gym. We really like the knurling on this bar, which features a convex design to provide max grip without ripping the skin on your palms.
The Hardcastle Olympic EZ Curl Weight Bar weighs in at 8 kg. The length of the bar is 119 cm. Your purchase comes with a pair of spring lock collars to provide a secure hold for your weights. This bar handles well and feels great in your hands. Overall, we think this is a great bar for a home gym, especially if you’re a fan of the EZ bar.
- Bar weight: 8 kg
- Generous knurling
- EZ Curl design
- 2X Spring lock collars
- Bar length: 119 cm
Mirafit Standard 1″ Shrug Bar with Quick Release Collars
The Mirafit Standard 1″ Shrug Bar is a solid steel 16 kg bar with a chrome finish. The design of this bar is ideal for doing shrugs and squats without having to carry the weight on your back. Multi grip knurled handles provide a secure hold on the bar. This bar is compatible with 25 mm (one inch) hole diameter plates rather than Olympic plates.
The Mirafit shrug bar is ideal for deadlifting as the design prevents your thighs from making contact with the bar. The maximum weight on the bar is 300 kg. The total bar length is 148 cm, with a sleeve length of 29 cm. This provides plenty of room to stack plates onto the bar.
This is a solid, secure bar that will will match up to whatever you throw at it.
- Bar weight: 16 kg
- Max weight allowance: 300 kg
- Comfortable knurling
- Sleeve length: 29 cm
- Ideal design for deadlifting, shrugging and squatting.
Accessories you will need
POWER GUIDANCE Weightlifting Barbell Clamp Collar
The POWER GUIDANCE Weightlifting Barbell Clamp Collar is made from extremely tough ABS Plastic. The one-click lock system makes it a simple thing to clamp and unclamp the weights. This small convenience makes such a big difference to your workouts, as you can clamp and unclamp weights on your bar instantly with a simple click, much easier than sliding on coils. This collar features a spring powered snap-latch design that makes these clamps extremely reliable.
The collars are lightweight and attractive, being available in a range of cool colours. Rounded edges ensure that you don’t knick your skin when changing the weights. The collars will not slide when they are on the end of your barbell, providing you with added training security. The collars are sold as a pair and are generously priced.
- Made from ABS plastic
- One click lock system
- Spring powered snap-latch design
- Sold as a pair
ComFy Mat Foam Exercise Mat
If using a barbell at home, you’re going to want protection for your floor. Not only do mats prevent dents and damage to your flooring, and allow you to drop weights (within reason) they also provide grip for your feet and make your home gym a much safer place.
The ComFy Mat Foam Exercise Mat is an interlocking puzzle mat that is ideal as gym flooring. Each 60 x 60 cm tile is made from high density EVA foam. These mats are completely non-toxic as well as being odourless. They are ASTM rated for child safety. They provide a soft surface underfoot with plenty of bounce back when you are doing your bodyweight exercises. The bottom of the mats are fitted with double-sided adhesive tape to keep them securely in place.
The ComFy Mat Foam Exercise Mat will provide plenty of protection for your floors when you’re working with weights. These mats are also ideal for a children’s play area. They will not crumble or lose their shape over time. They are easy to assemble and look great!
- Interlocking puzzle design
- 60 x 60 cm
- High density EVA foam
- ASTM rated for child safety
- Soft underfoot
Body Revolution Olympic Weight Plates
Of course, the final thing we need are some weights!
The rubber tri-grip Body Revolution Olympic Weight Plates are ideal for home gym use and our top choice. They are easy to transport and look awesome. These plates consist of a cast iron metal core that is covered in heavy duty rubber. This makes them strong enough to handle whatever your workout demands of them, year after year.
The tri grips feature ergonomically enhanced finger grips. This provides you with a greater level of control when moving the weights around. The trip grip design also allows you to use these plates as stand alone pieces of exercise equipment for a range of isolation exercises. These Olympic plates feature a 50 mm (2 inch) bore hole.
The Body Revolution Olympic Weight Plates are available in a range of weights, ranging from 1.25 kg to 25 kg. These plates are well priced and make them even more attractive with free shipping throughout the UK.
- Cast iron metal core
- Tri grips
- Ergonomically enhanced finger grips
- 50mm bore hole
- Heavy duty rubber coating
Are barbells better than dumbbells?
Barbells are better than dumbbells in the same way that a hammer is better than a screwdriver; they have different applications. When it comes to lifting the heaviest weight possible, the barbell is the way to go. Clearly, you can squat a lot more weight with a barbell than you could by holding dumbbells in your hands. However, dumbbells allow you to work each side of the body unilaterally and to get a better range of motion on some exercises (such as the bench press). The ideal home gym scenario is to have both barbells and dumbbells.
What are the different types of knurlings used on Olympic bars?
There are 3 different types of knurling used. They are:
- Sharp Diamond Projections
- Flat Diamond Design
- Concave Diamond Design
The sharp diamond knurling will fit into the palm more securely to provide the best hold. However, it might also cause rips in the skin when the bar rotates in your palm. Flat diamond knurling will give you less of a firm hold but will also not be as harsh on the skin of your palms. A concave knurling provides a happy medium between the other two, which is why it is the most popular form of knurling used.
If you want to get started with barbell workouts in your home gym today, each piece of equipment listed above will serve you well and we’re happy to recommend them.
As a roundup, here’s what we’d recommend if you’re getting started:
The BodyRip Olympic 2″ Weight Lifting Barbell Bar with Collars – with knurled anti-slip hand grips and heavy duty threaded bar ends.
The Body Revolution Olympic Weights – These are great because you can order exactly which weights you’ll need, some of you might need several 20kg plates, while some of you might only need 5kg plates and below to start. These are premium quality plates coated in rubber for protection – excellent quality and perfect for home gym use.
ComFy Floor Mats – Get as many as you need to cover your lifting area at home. They’re very affordable and will make a huge difference to the safety and enjoyment of your workouts.
The POWER GUIDANCE Weightlifting Barbell Clamp Collar – makes changing weights a breeze, lets you focus on your workout, and extremely sturdy and safe. Best clamps on the market.
If you’re more advanced in your lifting, you can also start thinking about the Hardcastle Olympic EZ Curl Weight Bar (ideal for bicel curls and other arm workouts) and the Mirafit Standard 1″ Shrug Bar, which features multi grip knurled handles and is great for shrugs as well as hex bar deadlifts.
Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API