You might think that one weight bar is much the same as any other, but this is far from the case. Aside from the small difference in weights between manufacturers, there are many different types of barbell, all designed for different purposes and weighing different amounts.
Olympic bars are 7 feet in length and weigh 20 kilograms, or 44 pounds. Manufacturers often make their bars to weigh 45 pounds however, to keep the numbers easier. These bars are flexible to reduce strain on your joints, while the Olympic bars used in powerlifting have less spring as they need to handle more weight, notes strength coach Charles Poliquin.
The women's version of an Olympic bar is still 7 feet long, but only weighs 15 kilograms, or 33 pounds. Also known as training bars, they're useful for anyone starting out in weightlifting. Unfortunately, most gyms don't have these though, notes trainer and Olympic weightlifter Sally Moss, so you may just have to plump for a normal Olympic bar.
Setting the Standard
Thinner, shorter bars are known as standard barbells and aren't built to handle as much weight. Their weight can vary, but generally they come in between 10 and 20 pounds, though the slightly longer and thicker EZ-bars, built with a curve in the middle can weigh up to 30 pounds.