Before starting a strength-training training program, you need to know what tools to use and how they factor into your plan. Dumbbells and kettlebells are pretty easy to gauge, since the weight they're labeled with is the weight you'll be lifting.
Weight lifting with a barbell, on the other hand, is one step more complex, since you have to factor in the weight of the bar, not just the plate you're loading on it. By knowing the weight of different types of barbells, you can easily factor this resistance into your training regimen.
The standard weight-lifting bar is the Olympic barbell, a free weight held with both hands that weighs about 45 pounds. The women's Olympic bar weighs about 33 pounds.
How Much Does a Barbell Weigh?
You have two main options when it comes to standard weight-lifting bars. The standard Olympic barbell weighs about 45 pounds and is between four and seven feet in length. The other option is the women's Olympic bar, which weighs about 33 pounds and is between four and six feet long. Both are heavy-duty pieces of equipment that can hold more than 1,000 pounds.
You may also find that some gyms provide a barbell rack with fixed-weight barbells, ranging from 20 to 100 pounds, moving up in five to 10 pound increments. Fitness stores also offer standard barbells that are one inch thick and five to six feet long. These smaller, lighter barbells are ideal for a home gym.
The Weight of the Plates and Collars
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 one-inch thick plates that weigh between 0.5 to 10 pounds each.
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 kilograms. The weights are fastened with two metal collars which are approximately 2.5 kilograms, adding five kilograms to the lift weight.
What to Do With the Barbell
The 45-pound Olympic barbell is best for intermediate to advanced weight lifters who train with heavier weights and compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and military presses.
Other athletes might use the 10- to 20-pound Olympic barbell for movements like bent rows, biceps curls and front raises. Using a lighter weight and smaller bar helps you effectively isolate the muscle for these movements.
The one-inch thick barbells can also be used for a variety of resistance training movements, but you can't load a significant amount of weight onto these bars.