The Weight of a Standard Weightlifting Bar

Before starting a resistance training program, you need to know which tools to use. By knowing the weight of different types of barbells you can easily factor this resistance into your training regimen. The standard weightlifting bar is the Olympic barbell, a free weight held with both hands.

The Olympic barbell allows you to bench press. (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

45 Pounds Is Standard

A standard Olympic barbell is between 4 and 7 feet long and weighs 45 pounds. Olympic barbells are heavy-duty pieces of equipment that can hold weights of more than 1,000 pounds. Smaller versions of the traditional Olympic barbell are between 4 and 6 feet long and weight approximately 10 to 20 pounds. Some gyms provide a barbell rack with fixed weight barbells, ranging from 20 to 100 pounds, moving up in 5- to 10-pound increments. Fitness stores offer standard barbells that are 1 inch thick and 5 to 6 feet long. These smaller, lighter barbells are ideal for a home gym.

What to Do Next

The 45-pound Olympic barbell is used for exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and military presses. Intermediate to advanced weightlifters train with Olympic barbells to handle the heavy weights used for these compound movements. Athletes might use the 10- to 20-pound Olympic barbell for movements like bent rows, bicep curls and front lateral raises. Using a lighter weight and smaller bar helps you effectively isolate the muscle for these shaping movements. One-inch thick barbells can be used for a variety of resistance training movements, but you can't load a significant amount of weight onto these bars.

The Weight of the Plates

Barbells are loaded with iron, rubber or plastic plates. Olympic barbells are loaded with heavier Olympic plates ranging from 2.5 to 100 pounds, and the smaller, standard barbells are loaded with 1-inch thick standard barbells typically running from 1/2 to 10 pounds.

Olympic Movements

The barbell used for competitions like the Olympics is a steel bar loaded with rubber-coated discs. The weight of the discs range from 0.5 to 25 kg. The weights are fastened with two metal collars which are approximately 2.5 kg, adding 5 kg to the lift weight.

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