What is the best barbell for your CrossFit gym in 2021? Do you need to purchase a different bar if you do CrossFit? And are you a CrossFit Athlete looking to own your own equipment at home?
As a gym owner, whether that’s a CrossFit box or a one person garage gym or basement gym, your barbell investment is one of the biggest and important one that you’ll make.
Here are out top picks:
The Rogue Bar 2.0
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The OHIO Power Bar
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Rogue Olypmic Stainless Steel Weightlifting Bar
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Rep Fitness Gladiator WL Olympic Bar
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Titan Fitness 84" Economy Bar
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Rogue Bella Bar 2.0
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Rogue Fitness OSO Mini Bar
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Best CrossFit Barbell
In a hurry? Here are the best barbells:
- THE ROGUE BAR 2.0 (Best CrossFit Barbell)
- THE OHIO Power BAR (Best Powerlifting Barbell)
- ROGUE OLYMPIC Weight Lifting BAR – STAINLESS (Best Olympic Barbell)
- Rep Gladiator Olympic Bar
- Titan 84” Economy Olympic Bar (Most Affordable Barbell)
Best Women’s Bar
- Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0 (Best Women's Barbell)
Best Youth Bar
- Rogue Fitness OSO Mini Bar (Best Barbell for Youth)
They aren’t cheap, they are used frequently, and at least in a box setting, aren’t always taken care of the same way.
The worst thing you could do is by a bar that isn’t durable enough for CrossFit. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best CrossFit barbells available in 2018.
Read Also: Top 8 Best Squat & Power Racks For Your Gym
What Is An Olympic Barbell?
While other types of barbells exist, an Olympic barbell has a specific set of measurements, and only can fit a certain style of bumper plates.
A men’s Olympic bar is 2.2 metres (7.2 ft) and weighs 20kg (~45lbs). The outer ends (where the plates go on) are 2 inches in diameter, while the grip of the bar is 1.1 inches in diameter.
An Olympic bar is 1.31 metres or 4.3 ft in length.
Types Of Bars
There are several types of barbells available. When considering one that will be used for various exercises in CrossFit, it’s important to know the difference.
Olympic Weightlifting Bar
The Olympic bar is specifically weighted and measured. It is always the same weight so that there is a standardized barbell for Olympic weightlifting competitions.
The bar is designed with more whip, so it turns quickly in your hands during a snatch or clean.
Nearly every CrossFit gym uses Olympic weightlifting sized bars for their classes. You may also find some gyms with nicer Olympic bars from companies like Eleiko for more dedicated Olympic weightlifters.
Read Also: Best Weight Bench For Your Gym
Most deadlift bars are the same weight and size as an Olympic bar, but they are designed with less whip and stronger knurling.
The application makes sense, as a deadlift requires a rock solid grip but no turning of the barbell in your hand.
A Powerlifting barbell should have grip marks that are closer together, mostly so athletes can perform the sumo deadlift.
In some cases, the bar may actually be larger, too. Seeing that some powerlifters can deadlift in excess of 1,000lbs, a traditional barbell won’t cut it.
There is not enough room on the bar, nor are more Olympic bars able to hold that kind of weight. However, these are usually used for high level strength athletes.
Read Also: Best CrossFit Bumper Plates For Your Gym
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CrossFit bars like the Rogue 2.0 typically blend the best of a powerlifting and Olympic bar. They need to turn over quickly in the hands for Oly lifts, but also have enough grip and durability to be bounced off the floor during a heavy deadlift. They are usually Olympic sized.
Women’s barbells weigh slightly less, are shorter, and and have a smaller diameter. The measurements are 6.6ft, 15kg (about 35lbs) and .98 inches in diameter.
Especially during an on-ramp class in CrossFit, it can be valuable to have lighter barbells than 45lbs for new athletes.
Therefore, you may find 15 lb training bars available for learning the basic lifts or doing a warm-up.
Similar to a training bar, only it’s diameter will be smaller to account for smaller grips of young athletes. A youth barbell typically weighs anywhere from 5-25lbs.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing a Barbell
Here are some things to consider before you purchase a barbell for your CrossFit gym:
If you do CrossFit, this answer is likely ‘varied’. Some days, you’ll do deadlifts, others you’ll do Olympic lifts. Therefore, you’ll want something that can hold up in different situations.
Tensile Strength of Steel
Tensile strength means the ultimate strength, or how much weight can go on the bar without it bending. This is a real safety hazard for strong athletes, so check it out before buying.
Generally, anything above 180,000 PSI is a good barbell. The Rogue 2.0, for example, rates at 190,000 PSI.
Check to see how the company makes their barbells is made if it’s up to the standard of similarly priced equipment.
This video on how a barbell is made at Rogue will give you some insight.
Spinning (bushing vs bearings)
As a general rule, the more bearings a barbell has, the easier it will turn over in your hands. Alternatively, more bushings increase the durability for slow and heavy lifts like a deadlift.
Anyone that’s picked up a barbell with bad knurling knows how terrible it is.
Also keep in mind that knurling on powerlifting bars will be different than Olympic bars, both in placement and thickness.
Sleeve (snap ring vs end cap)
The end of your bar, or the sleeve, is something to take into account for safety and aesthetic reasons.
Both the snap ring and end cap are proven to hold up, but you may have a preference for your gym.
Related Read: Best Barbell Collars To Secure Your Weights
Your bar will likely come with 1 of 4 different finishes: black oxide, bright zinc, black zinc, or hardened chrome.
This won’t change anything about the performance of the barbell, but it will contribute to the look of your gym.
1.1 inches in diameter is standard for an Olympic barbell.
They sell fat bars for things like strongman, but you really want something that feels good in your hand for most lifts.
If you're looking for a good barbell for your regular workouts, there is no need to get fancy and get strange non standard diameter bars. I prefer not to be distracted by the bar width during my workouts.
Most standard barbells are sold with a weight rating of about 500lbs. This, of course, is a guideline.
Check each specific bar’s weight rating so you know how much weight it can safely handle.
Lastly, don’t forget about safety. Having a barbell collar and protective gym rubber flooring will keep you and your floor safer and in better condition.
Best CrossFit Barbells - Reviews
Here are the best barbells for your CrossFit gym in 2021, reviewed:
The Rogue Bar 2.0 (Best CrossFit Bar)
- Most durable bar for repeated usage
- Built for Powerlifting and Olympic lifting
- Sleek Black Zinc Design
This Rogue bar is by the far the most frequent barbell you will see at CrossFit boxes, and for good reason.
It’s sleek black zinc design looks nice, but more importantly, it can withstand the rigors of hundreds of members using it in various ways each week during their WODs.
It’s 28.5mm Olympic bar is designed to work equally well for powerlifts as well as a CrossFit WOD. Its design meets and exceeds all functional needs of a CrossFit bar, but it goes beyond to make for a beautifully crafted aesthetic design. It has a CNC-machined groove on the sleeve that allows you to change our color bands. This may not be a widely used feature, but great for garage gyms to distinguish between bars, and to personalize them.
This bar also has dual knurl marks for both Olympic lifts and Powerlifting on both sides of the center, as expected. The center is clean without knurling which is great design and you'll be thankful for it when the bar is resting against your clavicle in the front rack position.
The loadable sleeve length is 16.4", which is sufficient space for about 9 of the 45lb plates on each side, leaving some room for the barbell collar still.
All the parts and machinery and assembly is all done in the U.S.A, in their factory in Ohio. All in all this is by far the best barbell for a CrossFit workout you can own that will last forever, and due to the brand's value also retain its value in price in case you want to sell it at some time.
The Ohio Power Bar (Best Powerlifting Bar)
- Built for heavy deadlifts and back squats
- Thicker knurling for max grip
- 205K PSI tensile strength for no flex
If you’re going for brute strength, the Rogue OHIO bar is built for heavy deadlifts and back squats.
It comes with a slightly more aggressive knurling designed for maximum grip without tear or discomfort on the bar.
It is not recommended to use this bar for an Olympic lift because the greater barbell movement of this type of weight lifting in your hands can be uncomfortable after repetitions.
Rogue Stainless Steel Olympic Weightlifting Barbell (Best Olympic bar)
- Knurling pattern made for grip but not abrasive
- Highest quality stainless steel with two finishes
- 200K PSI tensile strength with hard chrome sleeves
Looking to maximize the turnover on your bar? To set your PR in the clean and jerk? Perhaps a weightlifting-specific bar is what you need. This is a true Olympic bar that was built for that fluid movement required for the snatch, the most difficult of the Olympic lifting movements.
With 200,000 PSI tensile strength and 10 sets of needle bearings, you can go heavy, go fast, and this bar will hold up.
REP Gladiator Olympic Bar
- Hard Chrome coating
- Medium knurling for repeated workouts
- Ribbed sleeves to keep from sliding weights
Outside of the Rogue family tree, the Rep Gladiator bar rates similarly and costs much less, making it a great alternative bar. It is suitable for whichever type of olympic lift you choose.
Aesthetically, it’s got a chrome finish, so if you prefer that, it may be a better option. Reviewers boast about how quickly it turns over and the “less aggressive” knurling.
Titan 84" Economy Olympic Bar (Best Barbell for the money)
- Great option for up to 700lbs
- Weight sleeves 1" shorter but sufficient for lesser weights
- Meets criteria for home gym
For you fitness enthusiasts on a budget, you can get a Titan barbell for about ⅓ the cost of the barbells listed above. You will not see this bar ever at the CrossFit games, but if you are really only doing bench press and some basic lifting in your home gym, this barbell should suffice.
It has a 700lb capacity, and reviewers all say it’s well worth the price, and they find it works just as well as some of the more expensive counterparts.
Keep in mind the durability of this bar may not be what up to par with a Rogue or Rep Gladiator bar. But it will do what you need it to in a CrossFit setting.
Bella Bar 2.0 (Best Women's Barbell)
- Knurling for CrosFit related exercises
- Coated with Black Zinc
- Affordable Olympic Bar
Rogue is the brainchild of most of CrossFit’s equipment, and their women’s barbell is no exception.
Your standard Olympic sized bar, it’s coated with black zinc and has an appropriate knurling for all CrossFit-related exercises.
Relative to most other bars, it’s also affordable, which is not always something you can say about Rogue equipment.
Rogue OSO Mini Bar (Best Bar for Youth)
- 5lb bar for up to 50lb weights
- 4 color options
- 22mm Diameter for smaller hand grips
Whether you’re starting a youth program or want to train your kids, the OSO mini bar weighs 5lbs and is great for young ones to get started on their fitness journey.
Keep in mind, this bar is built for teaching technique, so putting a lot of weight on the bar can ruin it. They recommend no more than 50lbs.
When shopping for a barbell for your CrossFit gym, there is a lot to consider. Buying a barbell is one of the most important investments you will make.
You want to buy something that can withstand the various rigors of a CrossFit workout.
Especially if you own a box, perhaps 50 different people will use that barbell throughout the week, so something long-lasting is in order.
Also keep in mind things like knurling, whip, and aesthetic qualities like the finish as you make your choice.
All of the barbells reviewed here rate excellently, so it may just come down to what you like most.