What is the best barbell for your CrossFit gym in 2018? Do you need to purchase a different bar if you do CrossFit?

As a gym owner, whether that’s a CrossFit box or a one person garage gym, your barbell investment is one of the biggest that you’ll make.

Best CrossFit Barbell

In a hurry? Here are the best barbells:

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.

What Is An Olympic Barbell?

Olympic Barbell

An Olympic barbell is a heavier and longer barbell used in CrossFit for exercises like the deadlift, back squat, press, snatch, and clean and jerk.

While other types of barbells exist, an Olympic barbell has a specific set of measurements, and only can fit a certain style of weighted 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

olympic barbel

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.

Deadlift Bar

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.

Powerlifting Bar

Powerlifting bars 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.

CrossFit Bar

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 Bar

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.

Training Bar

youth bar

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.

Youth Bar

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:

Intended Use

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.

Construction

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.

Knurling

Anyone that’s picked up a barbell with bad knurling knows how terrible it is.

You want something designed with a good grip, but not something that will tear your hands apart.

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)

barbel sleeve

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.

Bar Finish

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.

Bar Diameter

1.1 inches in diameter is pretty standard for an Olympic bar.

They sell fat bars for things like strongman, but you really want something that feels good in your hand for most lifts.

It’s best to put your hands on the bar before purchasing to see how it feels.

Weight Rating

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.

Best CrossFit Barbells Guide- Reviews

Here are the best barbells for your CrossFit gym in 2018, reviewed:

Best Women’s Bar

THE BELLA 2.0

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.

Get the Bella Bar on Rogue

Best Youth Bar

OSO MINI BAR

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.

Get the OSO MINI BAR on Rogue

Best Barbell Reviews

THE ROGUE BAR 2.0 (best Crossfit bar)

The Rogue 2.0 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 designed to work equally well for powerlifts and Olympic lifts.

Get THE ROGUE BAR 2.0 here


THE OHIO Power BAR (best powerlifting bar)

If you’re going for brute strength, the OHIO power bar is built for heavy deadlifts and back squats.

It comes with a thicker knurling designed for maximum grip without tear or discomfort on the bar.

Some reviewers say they used it for Olympic lifts too, but a few mentioned it didn’t feel as good in their hands as other barbells do.

Get THE OHIO Power BAR here

ROGUE OLYMPIC Weight Lifting BAR – STAINLESS (Best Olympic Barbell)

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.

With 200,000 PSI tensile strength and 10 sets of needle bearings, you can go heavy, go fast, and this bar will hold up.

Get The ROGUE OLYMPIC Weight Lifting BAR Here

Rep Gladiator Olympic Bar

Rep Gladiator Olympic Bar - 1500 lb Rated - 20 kg

Outside of the Rogue family tree, the Rep Gladiator bar rates similarly and costs about the same.

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.

Get The Rep Gladiator Olympic Bar on Amazon.com


Titan 86” Economy Olympic Bar (best barbell for the money)

Titan 86” Economy Olympic Bar 700 lb Capacity Weight Bar Bench Press Chrome

For you fitness enthusiasts on a budget, you can get a Titan barbell for about ⅓ the cost of the barbells listed above.

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.

Get The Titan 86” Economy Olympic Bar on Amazon.com

Conclusion

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.