What Is A Deadlift Bar?

When it comes to lifting more weight and building raw strength, few exercises can match the power of the deadlift.

And when it comes to deadlifting, your choice of deadlift bar can make all the difference.

Enter the deadlift bar – a specialized piece of equipment designed to maximize your performance and unlock new levels of strength.

Today I’ll cover everything you need to know about what makes a deadlift bar different than other barbells and common questions that you may have.

Let’s get started!

What Is A Deadlift Bar? – The Powerlifting Secret Weapon

A deadlift bar is a type of powerlifting barbell that is specifically designed for deadlifting and other heavy-pulling exercises.

It is slightly longer and thinner than standard Olympic bars to allow the bar to whip more – or have greater flexibility than stiff bars. This allows you to pull the slack out of the bar for the greatest starting position.

This, paired with more aggressive knurling provides the best grip possible so you can lift more weight.

Deadlift bars, not to be confused with other types of bars – such as Olympic bars, traditional power bars, or even multipurpose bars.

deadlift bar with thicker collar

Another key thing to look for is shorter loadable sleeves to extend how far away the load is from the lifter, and the collars themselves are thicker as well.

While you can technically use any barbell to deadlift with, it won’t be as optimal for heavy loads.

Deadlift Bars vs. Stiff Bars/Power Bars

One of the key differences between a deadlift bar and a stiff bar is the amount of whip or flexibility it has.

A deadlift bar is whippier, which means the bar bends more when more weight plates are added, allowing the lifter to get more speed and momentum off the floor.

You’ll also have a much easier time holding onto a deadlift bar vs power bars as the thinner grip is easier than a thicker one.

texas deadlift bars don't have center knurls

A lot of generic power bars will also have a center knurl which isn’t necessary and actually detrimental to the deadlift.

That’s why the best deadlift bars don’t have a center knurl as the knurling will scrape up your shins and thighs.

Another big difference between the two is the overall length of the bars.

ohio power bar vs ohio deadlift bar overall lengths

Power bars are shorter as you want the bar to be as stiff as possible for a more stable squat and bench press.

Deadlift bars are longer as you want the opposite. Less rigidity and more flex with heavy loads are definitely preferable for deadlifting massive weights.

Deadlift Bar Vs Olympic Bars

Olympic Weightlifting bars are built for the maximal amount of whip and the sleeves spin much longer and smoother than other bars.

The knurl marks are positioned further out than deadlift bars and the knurling itself is less aggressive overall if it’s a training bar.

However, if you’re using a competition Olympic bar they tend to have a more aggressive knurl for heavier weights.

Another difference is the center knurling. Deadlift bars do not have center knurling at all as it will scrape your legs up while lifting.

A lot of Olympic bars tend to a center knurl with lighter knurling so add grip when doing cleans without tearing up your collarbone.

All in all, deadlift bars and weightlifting bars have a couple of similarities but overall, they’re built for different purposes.

Deadlift Bar Vs Trap Bars

A trap bar, or hex bar as it is also commonly known, is a specialty barbell that doesn’t have a lot in common with basic barbells or deadlift bars in general.

Instead of a straight bar that you hold onto, a trap bar has a hexagonal frame that you step inside of.

They also have two neutral grip handles to hold onto that is much more comfortable than gripping a straight bar.

Trap bars are commonly used for deadlift variations, but can also be used for shrugs, farmer walks, and even more if you get an open bar design.

While a trap bar is definitely good for deadlifts, they’re much different in overall function compared to deadlift bars and other straight bars in general.

Just know that trap bars are not used in powerlifting competitions but if you’re just lifting to get stronger, they’re a much better value than deadlift bars as they have far more versatility.

Benefits of Using Deadlift Bars

Using a deadlift bar can offer a number of benefits for powerlifters and strength athletes, including:

  • Better Grip – The aggressive knurling and thinner shaft of a deadlift bar provide a better grip, which is especially important for heavy deadlifts.
  • More Whip – The flexibility of a deadlift bar allows the lifter to generate more speed and momentum off the floor, making it easier to lift the most weight possible.
  • Heavier lifts – The thinner and grippier design of a deadlift bar will improve your deadlift and help set new personal records.

Negatives Of Using Deadlift Bars

  • Can Only Be Used For Deadlifts – While deadlift bars are great for getting stronger at the deadlift, they really can only be used for that purpose. Compared to an Olympic bar they’re much less versatile overall.
  • Not Usable In All Competitive Settings – While deadlift bars are super helpful in training, not all federations use them. The USPA does though so if that’s the one you’re planning on lifting in, you’re set.
  • Lowers The Range Of Motion – Because of the increased flex and whip of deadlift bars, you actually have a higher starting position which makes the beginning of the lift much easier. However, that also means you’ll be weaker in that position if you use a stiffer bar in competition. So you’ll still have to train with a stiff bar if you plan on lifting in another federation.

How to Choose the Right Deadlift Bar

When shopping for a deadlift bar, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Tensile strength – Look for a deadlift bar with a high tensile strength of around 190,000 which will ensure that it can handle more weight without bending or warping.
  • Whip – Consider the amount of whip that you want in a bar. While a deadlift bar should be more flexible than standard bars, too much whip can make it harder to control the weight.
  • Knurling – Look for a deadlift bar with aggressive knurling that provides a good grip without tearing up your hands.
  • Length – A deadlift bar should be slightly longer at around 90″ compared to shorter Olympic bars.
  • Shaft Thickness – The shaft of a deadlift bar should be 27mm which allows for more whip and better grip strength.

Using the Deadlift Bar in Your Training

The deadlift bar is primarily designed for deadlifting and you shouldn’t consider using it for the bench press, squat, or Olympic lifts.

When using a deadlift bar for deadlifts, it is important to start with good form and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the bar.

The most important thing you need to do when deadlifting is to get your technique right.

man about to perform a conventional deadlift with a deadlift bar

If you’re doing conventional deadlifts – take your stance, grip the bar just outside of your legs, pull the slack out of your deadlift bar while pulling yourself down into position, and then drive through your feet.

man performing a sumo deadlift in uspa powerlifting competition

If you’re doing sumo deadlifts, you’ll do the same thing but your stance is going to be much wider with your toes pointed out at an angle. Your grip will be inside of your legs but you still want to think about pulling the slack out of the bar to get into the starting position.

For squats and bench presses, a standard power bar is usually the best choice over deadlift bars, as a stiff bar is more stable and safer on your back or over your face.

If you’re doing Olympic lifting, invest in a multipurpose or Olympic bar as they’re much more suitable for those lifts than a deadlift bar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Deadlift Bar Is Best for Beginners?

When it comes to choosing the right deadlift bar for beginners, a thorough right deadlift bar comparison is crucial. Beginners should focus on bars that offer a suitable grip, flexibility, and comfort. This will help them develop proper form and prevent injuries as they gradually increase their lifting capacity. With the right deadlift bar, beginners can lay a solid foundation for their strength training journey.


Now I turn it over to you!

Did this guide help you learn more about a deadlift bar?

If you have any follow-up questions I didn’t cover?

Regardless, let me know in the comments section below, right now!

Until next time,


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