Most Common Barbell Sizes (Never Guess At The Gym Again!)

Not every barbell is going to be the same size.

Some are longer and thinner, while others are shorter and thicker.

So in this guide, I’ll cover the basic specs of the most common barbells so you never have to guess what kind of barbell you’re working with.

Related: Best Barbells For Your Home Gym

Let’s get started!

What is a barbell?

man unracking an olympic barbell to do squats

First up, what even is a barbell?

Barbells are straight steel rods made to lift heavy weights.

They have a knurled shaft to grip onto, collars to add weight plates to, and allow you to perform a variety of compound lifts.

The most common are powerlifting movements (Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift); as well as the Olympic lifts (Snatch, Clean, and Jerks).

There are different types of barbells that allow for better performance with powerlifting or Olympic lifting movements, and even hybrid barbells that excel at both!

Common Types Of Barbells

three barbells in a rack, two weightlifting bars and a power bar

Most of you probably know what a standard and Olympic barbell are.

While the term Olympic bar is commonly used to describe any barbell with rotating 2″ sleeves, there are actually some differences you need to be aware of!

Here are the most common barbells.

  • Standard Barbell
  • Olympic Bars
    • Men’s Barbell
    • Women’s Barbell
  • Multipurpose Bars
    • Men’s Barbell
    • Women’s Barbell
  • Powerlifting Bars
    • Squat Barbell
    • Deadlift Barbell
  • EZ Curl Bar

I’ll cover what each one of them is for; as well as the different sizes, how much they weigh, and more!

Standard Barbell

girl doing lunges in squat rack with 1" standard barbell

A standard barbell is much different than an Olympic barbell.

The biggest difference is the 1″ diameter across the entire bar, as well as lacking rotating sleeves.

The main problem with this is that you can’t just throw any Olympic weight plates onto it.

This 1″ diameter across the sleeves means you have to use standard weight plates which have a 1″ hole instead of 2″.

Standard weight plates are going to be cheaper because they aren’t as durable.

So while a standard barbell and plates may be fine for lighter exercises, I don’t recommend you use them for heavy compound exercises.

Standard Barbell Specs

  • Weight – 15-25 lbs
  • Length – 4′-6′
  • Shaft Diameter – 1″ (25mm)
  • Knurling
    • More passive knurling than Olympic bars
    • With or without center knurling
  • Whip – Very little whip
  • Knurl Marks – Single knurl marks
  • Sleeve Rotation System – Standard barbells don’t have rotating sleeves at all.

Olympic Bars

female olympic weightlifter performing a clean with an olympic weightlifting barbell

Not to be confused with the blanket term “Olympic barbell”, Olympic Weightlifting bars are exactly what they sound like.

A barbell designed specifically to excel at the Olympic lifts.

This type of Olympic bar has a thinner shaft which allows the barbell to flex much more to assist in the Snatch as well as the Clean and Jerk.

amir hoseini performing the snatch in the 18th Asian games

Men’s and women’s versions of this type of barbell exist as well.

An Olympic bar for men is heavier, thicker, and longer; while an Olympic bar for women is lighter, thinner, and shorter.

Olympic Weightlifting Barbell Specs

  • Weight
    • Men’s – 20kg (44lbs)
    • Women’s – 15kg (33lbs)
  • Length
    • Men’s – 7’3″ (86.6″)
    • Women’s – 6’7″ (79″)
  • Shaft Diameter
    • Men’s – 28mm
    • Women’s – 25mm
  • Knurling
    • Training barbells – moderate, competition barbells – aggressive
    • Men’s – center knurling, Women’s – no center knurling
  • Knurl Marks – IWF
  • Whip – Tons of whip for the Olympic lifts
  • Sleeve Rotation System – Needle Bearings

Multipurpose Bars

man in the starting position for the overhead press using a multipurpose bar

Multipurpose bars, also known as CrossFit, hybrid, or all-purpose bars; are made to handle all types of lifts.

They’re basically a mix between an Olympic weightlifting barbell and a powerlifting barbell.

Multipurpose barbells also have men’s and women’s versions just like Olympic bars.

Men’s bars are going to be built a little heavier, longer, and have a thicker shaft.

Women’s bars are going to be the opposite to allow female lifters to grip the barbell easier and have more whip at lighter loads.

Multipurpose Barbell Specs

  • Weight
    • Men’s – 20kg (44lbs)
    • Women’s – 15kg (33lbs)
  • Length
    • Men’s – 7’3″ (86.75″)
    • Women’s – 6’7″ (79.1″)
  • Shaft Diameter
    • Men’s – 28.5mm
    • Women’s – 25mm
  • Knurling –
    • Moderate knurling
    • No center knurling
  • Knurl Marks – Dual Knurl Marks
  • Whip – Moderate whip
  • Sleeve Rotation System – Hybrid Bearing

Powerlifting Bars

man performing the bench press in a powerlifting meet while using a power bar

Powerlifting bars are designed to perform the Powerlifts (Squat, Bench, & Deadlift).

These types of barbells are going to have the same length and shaft diameter across the board.

There are no men’s or women’s power bars so they’re all going to be 45 lbs, have a shaft diameter of 29mm so the barbell is stiff and doesn’t flex, and have a length of around 7’3″.

A power bar is great overall for the Squat and Bench Press, but you’re better off investing in a longer and thinner Deadlift bar.

Powerlifting Barbell Specs

  • Weight – 20kg (44lbs) or 45lbs
  • Length – 7’3″ (86.5″)
  • Shaft Diameter – 29mm
  • Knurling
    • Moderate/Aggressive Knurling
    • Center Knurling
  • Knurl Marks – IPF
  • Whip – Low Whip & Flex
  • Sleeve Rotation System – Bushings

Deadlift Bar

man deadlifting with a deadlift bar

A Deadlift bar is built specifically to improve performance while Deadlifting.

The shaft is going to be thinner to allow for a better grip and more whip while doing your Deadlifts.

It’s also much longer than any other basic Olympic barbell. Allowing you to Deadlift from a higher starting position while the barbell flexes.

Just like all power bars, deadlift barbells are only built to a single specification.

They’re usually 45 lbs, and have a massive length of around 90.5″.

All in all, if you want to get better at Deadlifts, Deadlift barbells are a great investment.

Deadlift Barbell Specs

  • Weight – 20kg (44lbs) or 45lbs
  • Length – 7’7″ (90.5″)
  • Shaft Diameter – 27mm
  • Knurling
    • Aggressive Knurling
    • No Center knurl
  • Knurl Marks – IPF
  • Whip – Even more whip than a weightlifting bar to start the pull from a higher point.
  • Sleeve Rotation System – Bushings

Squat Bars

rogue squat bar showing off 32mm fully knurled shaft

Squat bars are designed to be much stiffer than any other Olympic barbells.

You want the barbell to be as stable as possible on your back while performing the Squat. So a barbell that doesn’t flex much at heavy loads isn’t going to be much safer than a whippy Olympic bar.

They also have a lot more aggressive knurling across the shaft to grip onto your upper back much better.

Rogue Fitness even sells squat bars that have no smooth portions on the shaft at all.

It’s completely knurled so the barbell can grip even easier on your back.

Squat Bar Specs

  • Weight – 25kg (55lbs)
  • Length – 7’10” (94.49″)
  • Shaft Diameter – 32mm
  • Knurling
    • Aggressive knurl
    • Less smooth sections on the bar than a typical Olympic barbell
  • Knurl Marks – IPF
  • Whip – Virtually zero whip, super stiff bar
  • Sleeve Rotation System – Bushings

EZ Curl Barbell

man with sunglasses curling ez curl barbell

EZ Curl bars are made for bicep curls and can even be used for tricep extensions as well.

This barbell has bends in the shaft that reduce torque on your wrists and elbows while curling.

There really isn’t a standard construction for EZ Curl bars but you can usually find them between 15-30 lbs with a length between 47″-55″.

There are also rackable EZ curl bars which are obviously going to be even longer to rack into a power rack.

EZ Curl Barbell Specs

  • Weight – 6.8kg-13.6kg on average (15-30lbs)
  • Length – 3’11”-4’7″ on average (47″-55″)
    • Rackable curl bars are obviously longer than this usually
  • Shaft Diameter – 28-30mm
  • Knurling
    • Moderate/Aggressive knurl
    • No center knurl
  • Knurl Marks – No knurl marks
  • Whip – No whip usually
  • Sleeve Rotation System – Bushings

Barbell Specs Comparison Chart

Now that we have all of the specs laid out for the much more common types of Olympic bars, here is a chart that will make it easy for you to compare them.

WeightLengthShaft DiameterKnurlingCenter KnurlKnurl MarksWhipSleeve Rotation System
Standard Barbell15-25 lbs4′-6′1″ (25mm)Passive/ModerateDependsSingle KnurlVery LowNone
Olympic Weightlifting BarsMen’s – 20kg (44lbs)Men’s – 7’3″ (86.6″)Men’s – 28mmModerate/AggressiveYesIWFHighNeedle Bearings
Women’s – 15kg (33lbs)Women’s – 6’7″ (79″)Women’s – 25mmModerate/AggressiveNoIWFHighNeedle Bearings
Multipurpose BarsMen’s – 20kg (44lbs)Men’s – 7’3″ (86.75″)Men’s – 28.5mmModerateNoDual KnurlModerateHybird Bearing
Women’s – 15kg (33lbs)Women’s – 6’7″ (79.1″)Women’s – 25mmModerateNoDual KnurlModerateHybrid Bearing
Powerlifting Barbell20kg (44lbs) or 45lbs7’3″ (86.5″)29mmModerate/AggressiveYesIPFLowHybrid Bearing
Deadlift Bar20kg (44lbs) or 45lbs7’7″ (90.5″)27mmAggressiveNoIPFVery HighBushings
Squat Bars25kg (55lbs)7’10” (94.49″)32mmAggressiveYes – Covers most of the shaftIPFVery LowBushings
EZ Curl Bar6.8kg-13.6kg (15-30lbs)3’11”-4’7″ (47″-55″)28-30mmModerate/AggressiveNoNoneLowBushings

Frequently Asked Questions

Conclusion

Did this guide help you out?

If so, let me know in the comment section below, right now!

Until next time,

-Dante

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