Whether you’re completely new to weight training, or have been doing it for a while at a class or gym, you’ll agree that the variety of equipment out there is vast! So if you’ve decided it’s time to train at home (a great choice), what do you choose?
What’s the difference between Standard, Olympic and Studio barbells?
Place a Standard and Olympic bar side by side, and you’ll see that Olympic bars have thicker ends. A standard bar is 1” in diameter on the ends and middle shaft, while Olympic bars are just under 2”. Therefore, you must purchase Standard weight plates for Standard bars, and Olympic weight plates for Olympic bars.
Generally, Standard weights and barbells are ideal for most people. Robust but lightweight, they usually have a maximum load capacity, which can be anything from approximately 50kg to 150kg (with weight plates ranging from 0.5-25kg). So, when we said they’re ideal for most people, we meant it! Olympic barbells offer a higher weight capacity – from around 300kg to a whopping 750kg – and are necessary for those who have progressed beyond the capabilities of standard weights. Often, Olympic weights are used by those who are training competitively.
Then there’s Studio barbells…
Studio barbells are very popular in gyms and in group classes. They’re lightweight, easy to use and often come with a soft, foam grip for comfort (though you can also buy steel grip). For anyone new to resistance training, studio barbells and weights perhaps look less daunting. They often come with brightly coloured weight plates, or you can buy fixed weight barbells such as the Jordan Fit Bars which require no plates as the weight is already evenly distributed in the bar. These usually feature brightly coloured ends which indicate the weight and they’re available from about 3-7kg. These are a great option if you’re new to weight training, but it’s worth noting that, as you progress, you will then have to purchase heavier ones. This is where other Studio barbells, such as the 5 star rated Body Power Classic Rubber Studio Barbell Set, or Standard barbells, are perhaps a more cost-effective option as you can add and take away weight as required.
So, let’s concentrate on Standard barbells…
The weight plates – These come in all shapes, sizes, materials and designs, but this needn’t be a minefield. There are cast iron weight plates, or you can opt for vinyl weight plates or rubber encased plates, which are less noisy and will not scratch floors. This may be a good option for the home environment! It’s worth noting that tri-grip plates are great as they allow for easier handling when transferring the weights on and off the bars. However, it all comes down to personal preference. As long as you have a Standard bar, any Standard weights will fit.
When it comes to securing the weights to the bars, there are two options – some barbells come with spring collars and others have spinlock. Spring collars are easer as you simply squeeze the two small handles and attach to the bar once you’ve loaded the plates. Spinlock collars need to be turned onto the bar, which is a little more time consuming but good for heavier weight training.
Standard barbells – our recommendations
- Body Power Solid Spinlock 7ft Standard Bar– our number one choice, and a good price. It offers a 150kg weight capacity and more flexibility due to its extended length and incredible durability. Team with Body Power Rubber Encased Tri Grip weight plates which offer easier handling and protective rubber to save the floors and your ears!
- Body Power Solid Spinlock 6ft Standard Bar – slightly less expensive but just as solid. 6ft in length, it takes up less space and still delivers the quality you need. We recommend the Body Power Cast Iron Standard Weight Plates. These are our best sellers, and we put this down to their robustness and cost-effectiveness.
- Body Power 7ft Hollow Standard Bar – complete with easy to use spring collars, this bar is perfect if you want quick weight changes.
If you’re still not sure, remember that you can visit us in-store, or speak to one of our advisors via Live Chat on our website.
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