A barbell is one of the most foundational pieces of gym equipment for both home and commercial gyms alike. With just a barbell, you can do some of the most beneficial compound movements like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.
So you can accurately track your progress with these lifts, it is important to answer the question, “How much does an Olympic bar weigh?”
An Olympic bar weighs 20kg (45 lbs). In this guide, we will break down the weight of an Olympic barbell as well as the weight of many other common types of barbells that you may encounter in the gym.
- How Much Does An Olympic Barbell Weigh?
- Other Types Of Barbells And Their Weight
- Why Does Olympic Barbell Weight Matter?
- Final Thoughts
How Much Does An Olympic Barbell Weigh?
As already mentioned, an Olympic barbell will weigh 20 kg (45 lbs).
However, “Olympic Barbells” is quite a large term that is often used to describe a large number of barbells. Technically, an Olympic bar is any bar that has 2″ rotating sleeves and is designed to hold bumper or Olympic weight plates. These are the main types of Olympic bars:
All of these will have the same weight of 20kg (45 lbs).
Multipurpose is the most common type of Olympic barbell that you will encounter. Due to their design, they can be used for any style of lifting.
They fall right in the middle in terms of thickness (28mm) and have a more passive knurling that is useful for both low- and high-volume training styles.
Olympic Weightlifting Barbells
There is a large difference between a normal Olympic barbell and an Olympic weightlifting barbell.
An Olympic weightlifting barbell is a special kind of barbell that is made for explosive Olympic lifts like the clean, jerk, and snatch.
These types of barbells will be around 28mm thick and have lots of whips. The additional whip means that the barbell will move more naturally with the lifter and not create additional resistance for the lifter.
The sleeves will also spin at a faster rate due to using bearings instead of bushings in the sleeves.
A powerlifting barbell is designed for the big three power lifts: bench press, squat, and deadlift.
This bar is often thicker (29mm-30mm) to make the bar more rigid. This is ideal for linear lifts like the bench or squat where you want the bar to be as stable as possible.
The knurling will also be more aggressive to allow for a more secure grip.
Women’s Olympic Bar
For any of the barbells mentioned above, there exists a women’s variation that is usually lighter and thinner. The shaft of a women’s bars is usually 25mm, The weight of a women’s bar is typically 15kg or 33lbs.
The thinner shaft is better to accommodate female lifters with small hands.
Other Types Of Barbells And Their Weight
While Olympic barbells are the most common type of barbell by far, there exist many different types of specialty barbells that are frequently used as well.
Safety Squat Bars
Safety squat bars are typically used for squatting and are easily identifiable by their cambered design, yoke, and handles. SSBs have many great benefits and provide a squatting alternative to the traditional barbell back squat.
A standard Safety Squat Bar will weigh anywhere from 45 lbs-70lbs depending on the manufacturer.
The extra weight primarily comes from the cambered design and the presence of the yoke on the safety bar.
A trap bar, also known as a hex bar, is a unique bar known for its hexagonal design and neutral grips. Among the many trap bar benefits, the primary benefit is allowing you to be in–line with the weight which leads to less stress on your lower back.
Trap bars can weigh anywhere from 45 lbs – 75 lbs depending on the manufacturer.
Trap bars also come in either an open or closed design. The open variation allows for more exercise variation.
Swiss bars, also multi-grip bars, are a type of specialty barbell that allows you to take a neutral or angled grip when pressing. While primarily used for bench presses, you can do a number of other exercises with a multi-grip bar as well.
Like other specialty barbells, these come in a number of designs with some even being cambered. For this reason, swiss bars can weigh anywhere from 25 lbs – 60 lbs.
EZ Curl Bar
An EZ Culr bar is a type of specialty bar that has an ergonomically curved shaft to reduce stress on the wrists and other joints. These types of bars are primarily used for arm isolation exercises like the barbell curl or tricep extension.
An EZ curl bar can weigh anywhere from 10 lbs – 45lbs depending on the manufacturer.
Tricep bars are a type of barbell that has a framed design with neutral grips. Similar to the EZ curl bar, this type of bar is typically used for arm isolation but you can do a number of tricep bar exercises as well.
A tricep bar can weigh anywhere from 15lbs – 35lbs depending on the manufacturer.
A standard barbell is a type of budget barbell that is similar to an Olympic barbell but smaller in all dimensions. The sleeves are 1″ smaller and the shaft also tends to be much thinner. This means that you will not be able to use Olympic plates or bumper plates and that the overall weight capacity will be less.
The standard barbell weight is around 15 lbs- 25 lbs.
Many people view standard barbells as a cheaper alternative to an Olympic barbell, but the reality is that standard bars lack many basic features and are much weaker than a real Olympic bar.
Technique bars are very similar in design to Olympic bars but are lighter weight and intended to be used as practice tools to master proper weightlifting form.
A standard technique bar will weigh between 15 lbs – 25 lbs.
A technique barbell is typically made of aluminum and usually cannot hold more than 50 lbs. For this reason, it is best to only use this bar for warm-ups, rehab, or basic practice.
Why Does Olympic Barbell Weight Matter?
One of the most fundamental principles of weightlifting is progressive overload. For this reason, one of the surest signs that you are gaining muscle is getting stronger on your lifts as time goes on.
It is impossible to keep accurate track of your strength levels unless you know how much the bar you are lifting weights.
Hopefully, this guide cleared up any confusion on barbell weight. A standard Olympic barbell will weigh 20kg or 45 lbs.
If you start venturing into the world, of specialty barbells, weight can vary by manufacturer but you usually have a good idea of the weight if you know which type of barbell you are dealing with.
If you would like to acquire a barbell for your own home gym, check out our guide on the best barbells for a full buying guide.