The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is one of the best power bars you can get in its price range. Rogue has been building and providing all the equipment to the CrossFit Games since 2010. This IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) approved barbell came out in 2014 and with the rise of CrossFit and Rogue gained popularity.
An In-depth Rogue Ohio Power Bar Review
Why You Need a Power Bar
Every garage gym needs a quality power bar. If you’re serious about powerlifting or increasing your numbers in the big 3 exercises you need to be training with a power bar. The big 3 exercises are the deadlift, squat, and bench press. Buying a generic barbell that you’ll see at most box gyms isn't going to cut it if you want to increase your 1 rep max.
The biggest differences between a power bar and a generic barbell are the knurling, whip, and tensile strength.
The most aggressive knurling on a barbell at most box gyms would be medium because their members aren’t trying to deadlift 400+ lbs. They don’t want to put those calluses on their hands. And if you want to be deadlifting 400+ lbs you need to have a good grip on that bar.
Power bars also have less whip than most barbells in the big gyms. You generally don’t want momentum from the bar in your lifts when powerlifting.
And if you’re going to be lifting heavy weights in your powerlifting workouts you need a bar with high tensile strength. I’m not saying your bar is going to break if you buy a regular barbell. But they do start to bend the more you lift. So tensile strength is important.
The Ohio Power Bar is considered to be the gold standard when it comes to power bars because of its quality and affordability.
The bar comes with 5 different finishes from bare steel on the bottom end to full stainless steel on the high end. This is great because it makes it affordable for everyone. If you want quality and your barbell is for a garage gym it’s best to go for the stainless steel. Rust on barbells is a major issue in garage gyms and having a bar with oxidation resistance will eliminate this issue.
The knurl of the bar is usually the deciding factor among powerlifters in choosing which power bar to choose. If you’re not familiar with the types of knurling it’s hill, volcano, and mountain.
The knurling on the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is more like a volcano knurling.
So this is a medium aggressive knurling. You get a good enough grip without killing your hands. The knurl marks themselves are standard for powerlifting and the center knurl does have the same pattern.
Some deadlifters or anyone who consistently works on their 1 rep max believe they need to have a super aggressive grip. A bar with such an aggressive grip it feels like their gripping knives. This simply isn’t necessary.
These people want a mountain knurl. If you’re not familiar with how a mountain knurling feels like, get the bar with the most grip at your local gym. Try a heavy deadlift and you’ll notice a difference. For most people new to power bars they can’t take it as their hands will hurt too much.
The weakest of the knurl types is the hill knurling. And this wouldn’t be recommended especially if you want to be lifting any serious weight. It’s too hard to get a solid grip with a hill knurling.
This bar’s mountain knurling gives it the perfect combination of good grip without making your hands bleed. When you’re doing a 1 rep max you want to feel like you’re 1 with the bar. You want to feel the bar is sticking to your body and will never release.
When you’re doing a 1 rep max every single ounce of advantage you can use to hit your 1 rep max counts and the knurling of your bar can count as a few ounces.
If you’re used to powerlifting bars you might not feel the knurling is as aggressive as advertised. But if you’re used to regular bars at the gym or haven’t used a power bar before the knurling will be an upgrade to what you’re used to regarding the knurling.
The bar is pretty stiff and doesn’t have too much whip to it. The more whip to the bar the more momentum you can use to lift heavier weight. Having whip is good for Olympic lifters but not for powerlifting. Some serious deadlifters might want to have more whip but in general the stiffer the bar the better for powerlifting.
The shaft itself has the following measurements
- Shaft diameter of the bar 29 mm.
- Bar Length: 86.5″
- Distance Between Collar Faces: 51.5″ -
- Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
Some people like these longer sleeve lengths compared to other bars because you can load more plates. But there are 2 drawbacks to this. 1) It’s harder to load and unload the plates for deadlifts, especially if you use bumper plates. 2) When you’re squatting or benching in your power rack you might miss your spot when you re-rack the weight. Missing your spot to fit in your power rack could get bad for your back as you have to realign yourself to fit.
Best Bumper Plates for Your Home Gym
The sleeves come in hard chrome and they’re grooved. Having the sleeves grooved has its pros and cons.
The biggest con having grooved sleeves is the sound when you load and unload your plates. It can have a high pitch sound you might find irritable. It’s not as bad as scratching a blackboard but for people with sensitive ears they might find it annoying.
The pro is the grooves help keep the plates in place. But if you use collars it doesn’t matter.
Best Barbell Collars For CrossFitters
The bar itself is the traditional 45 lb barbell. It has a tensile strength of 200,000 PSI. Tensile strength measures how much force is required to bend or break something.
Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar
The Ohio Power Bar vs Alternative Barbells
The Texas Power Bar has been around since 1980 and has broken more powerlifting records than any other barbell. But other than that The Ohio Bar beats it in 3 key categories. Tensile strength, warranty, and various finish options.
The tensile strength for the Texas Power Bar is 186K. While the tensile strength for the Ohio Power Bar is 200K.
The warranty for the Texas Power Bar is 10 years while the warranty with the Ohio Power Bar is a lifetime warranty. This shows the confidence they have behind their product and you should also if they offer a lifetime guarantee.
And with the various finish options, you can select based on what fits your budget and how good of a bar you want. It comes from bare steel to stainless steel.
As mentioned earlier if you’re already familiar with power bars and looking for more aggressive knurling you might want to look into a mountain knurling. The Westside Power Bar has a mountain knurling and would be a good comparable to the Ohio Power Bar for someone looking for a more aggressive grip. The Ohio Power Bar beats The Westside Power Bar in every key category. The only difference is the Westside Power Bar has the more aggressive mountain knurling.
The Ohio Power Bar in Action
The Ohio Power Bar is a great power bar for the Big 3 exercises in powerlifting deadlift, squat, and bench press. For a heavy deadlift, the most important thing a good barbell must have is a good grip and this bar has it with its volcano knurling. If you’re looking for a more aggressive grip and your hands can take the pain, a bar with a mountain knurling might be a better power bar for you.
With its wide center knurl the bar feels great for those squats especially with low bar squats. You’ll have the bar gripping with you throughout your set.
The Ohio Power Bar is designed for powerlifting but you can do other exercises with it such as rows, presses, lunges, etc. But it’s not an Olympic bar for Olympic lifts hence the name Ohio “Power” Bar. So for Crossfitters who do CrossFit WOD’s involving both Olympic and powerlifting that would be something to consider.
If you have the budget, getting the right barbell for its specified use is beneficial. The other recommended barbells are Olympic barbells, and deadlift barbells.
Best CrossFit Barbell To PR Your WOD
If you want to be increasing your 1 rep max you need a power bar. After this Rogue Ohio Power Bar review, it’s easy to see why so many people consider this to be the best power bar in the market. Good value, good grip, and a good warranty.