Can You Bench Press With a 5ft Olympic Bar?

woman benching with short barbell

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The bench press is a cornerstone of strength training, and the equipment you use can dramatically impact your performance.

A common question that arises among home and garage gym owners is, “Can you bench press with a 5ft Olympic barbell?”

The straightforward answer is yes, you can.

However, it comes with its unique set of challenges and considerations.

Throughout this article, we’ll delve into the nuances of using a 5ft barbell for benching, ensuring you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

How Do You Bench Press with a Short Bar?

Bench pressing with a short bar isn’t vastly different from using a standard bar, but there are a few steps to ensure safety and effectiveness:

  1. Setup – Most power racks are not narrow enough to rack a 5ft barbell safely, so you’ll have to clean the weight and lean back onto a bench, or have spotters hand it off to you. Both aren’t great options but you work with what you’ve got.
  2. Grip – Your grip might be slightly narrower due to the bar’s length. Find a comfortable grip that allows for a full range of motion.
  3. Lifting – Keep your feet firmly on the ground, slightly arch your back into the bench, lower under control, and move the weight explosively but smoothly into the lockout position.
  4. Spotter – Given the potential instability of shorter bars, having a spotter is advisable, especially when attempting heavier lifts without safeties or a narrow enough rack to rack it properly.

How Much Weight Can a 5ft Barbell Hold?

A 5ft barbell, though shorter than the standard Olympic barbell, is still designed to withstand significant weight.

Typically, a 5ft Olympic barbell can hold anywhere from 300 to 600 pounds, depending on its construction and material.

However, always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines on weight limits to ensure safety during your strength training sessions.

Can You Bench Press with a 4ft Bar?

Absolutely, bench pressing with a 4ft bar is possible. However, there are essential factors to be aware of.

A 4ft bar is notably shorter than the conventional Olympic barbells seen in mainstream gyms.

This means it might not provide as much stability when loaded with weight plates, particularly for those aiming to lift heavy.

The bigger issue is that the barbell isn’t going to be wide enough to rack which will greatly limit the weight you can use twofold.

For home or garage gym owners seeking a light workout or those just starting a 4ft bar could suffice.

Yet, for the more seasoned lifters pushing their limits, a longer bar is highly recommended.

How Heavy is a 4ft Barbell?

A standard 4ft barbell usually weighs between 10 to 15 pounds, a stark contrast to the 45-pound weight of the 7ft Olympic barbells.

This lighter weight can be advantageous, especially for novices, making the bar easier to maneuver.

However, when tallying your total lift, always account for the barbell’s weight.

Are Shorter Bars Harder to Bench?

When it comes to benching, shorter bars, like the 5ft barbell, can pose a more significant challenge than their longer counterparts.

The primary reason hinges on stability. Longer bars have a more evenly distributed weight, offering better balance when loaded with weight plates.

In contrast, shorter bars can seem unstable if not balanced correctly. Such instability can be concerning for those looking to go heavy.

However, for those emphasizing form or using moderate weights, a shorter bar can still serve its purpose.

Can You Deadlift with a 5ft Bar?

Yes, you can deadlift with a 5ft bar, but I don’t recommend you do so.

First off, the shorter length means there’s less space to load weight plates and if you Deadlift Sumo, you’ll have a narrower stance which might not work for your specific structure.

However, for home or garage gym owners with space constraints, a 5ft bar can be a valuable addition to their strength training routine overall, just maybe not for Deadlifting.

Can You Bench Press with a 7ft Bar?

Certainly! The 7ft bar is the standard Olympic barbell used in many commercial gyms.

Its length provides excellent stability, especially when lifting heavy weights. You can rack the barbell safely and use safeties to lift as safely as possible.

This makes it the most popular choice which is why it’s the standard afterall.

What is the Best Length for a Bench Press Bar?

The “best” length is subjective and depends on individual preferences, goals, and the setting.

Many prefer the 7ft Olympic barbell for benching, given its stability and widespread use in gyms.

However, for those with space restrictions in the home or garage gyms, a 5ft or 6ft barbell might be more appropriate.

It’s crucial to consider your own comfort, the space available, and your benching goals when choosing a barbell length.

Can You Bench with a 6 Foot Bar?

Yes, you can. A 6ft bar strikes a balance between the compactness of a 5ft bar and the stability of a 7ft bar.

It’s suitable for home or garage gym owners who have a bit more space and are looking for a more stable benching experience compared to shorter bars.

Can You Squat with a 5 Foot Bar?

I highly recommend you don’t try to squat with anything shorter than a 6 ft barbell.

The main reason is to get any kind of benefit out of heavy squats, you need to be able to add weight and lift safely.

If the barbell is too short to rack, it’s going to be a pain to get the barbell on your back.


Choosing the right barbell for benching is paramount for effective and safe strength training.

While a 5ft barbell is certainly usable for bench presses and other exercises, it’s essential to be aware of its unique challenges and benefits.

Whether you’re a home gym owner or a newcomer to strength training, understanding your equipment can make all the difference in your workouts.

Until next time,


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