If strength training is a part of your regular fitness routine, then a barbell is a one piece home gym equipment that’s worth the investment. A standard barbell will help you customize your strength-training workouts by allowing you to modify the weight you’re lifting, so you can really home in on different muscle groups, says Maria Delgado, a CPT at Blink Fitness. “Barbells allow you to load the body’s normal movement patterns with heavier weights, making you stronger over time. They can help you produce greater muscle mass and strength than [resistance bands or free weights].”
You just don’t want to pick up any old bar, though. A quality barbell that fits your needs is key, says Delgado. “The barbell should match your strength needs, should be strong enough to resist bending, and have a finish that will last and won’t rust over time.” Then you should decide whether you’re looking for a standard barbell or an Olympic one. FYI: If you’re used to lifting a barbell at the gym, it’s most likely an Olympic one.)
Something else you should know is that barbells come in several different sizes and also vary when it comes to the amount of weight they can handle. You’ll find another difference in the bar’s sleeves, or the end of the bar where the plates are held, says Delgado. “Olympic barbells have two-inch, rotating sleeves; standard barbells have one-inch, non-rotating sleeves. The rotation on the sleeves create a more secure grip and reduces stress on your joints (wrists and elbows).”
So what should you keep in mind once you’ve found the perfect barbell for you? Make sure you choose an appropriate weight load, says Delgado. You don’t want to go too heavy too soon and risk injury. “Start light with good form and increase over time. If the load compromises your form, decrease the load. Remember it’s always form over load and reps.” If you need help figuring out proper form, seek help from a trainer.
But before you get started, you need to get your hands on a barbell first. So, here’s a list of the best barbells of 2020 based on user reviews.
An Amazon’s Choice best seller, this seven-foot Olympic barbell has almost 1,400 positive reviews from people who love that the bar can handle heavy weight. It’s designed with 15 inches of loadable sleeve length in case you were really interested in piling on the weight plates, though you’ll have to purchase them separately.
This weight set is actually a pair of adjustable dumbbells you can convert into a barbell. How cool is that?! Once you’ve used the connector to build your barbell, you can pile on any of the 12 weight plates included in this set. The connecting rod on the bar is covered in foam for extra cushion, and its handles are rubber coated to provide a firm grip.
A good choice for people just building their home gym, this barbell’s versatile enough to help you target all major muscles groups since it can handle all kinds of lifting exercises from squats to bench presses. But the best part: It’s more compact than a normal Olympic barbell, making it ideal for apartments or smaller workout spaces.
Using the connecting bar included, you can transform these dumbbells into a barbell in just seconds. The barbell can be adjusted from 1.1 pounds (no weights plates) to 55 pounds and is made with anti-slip material that makes it easier to get a tight grip while you’re lifting. Normally, a barbell weighs about 45 lbs. without weight plates, so this setup is ideal for people who are new to lifting. The loads are lighter so you can focus on your form.
Invest in this barbell weight set set to complete your home gym. The seven-foot barbell and 14 weight plates that range from from 2.5 pounds to 45 pounds make this particular piece of equipment well worth the splurge. The barbell is made of solid cast-iron that makes it extremely durable.