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23,Aug reviewed by Robert Johnson
As a powerlifter, I often get asked how much an Olympic barbell bar weighs by itself. It's an important question when calculating total lift weight and making sure your plates are loaded evenly. In this post, I'll cover the standard barbell bar weight and the factors that influence it. Whether you're new to strength training or a seasoned lifter, keep reading to find out the key barbell bar weight basics.
Standard Bar Weight
The standard Olympic barbell bar found in most gyms weighs 45 lbs or 20 kg. This is the typical bar used for heavy lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and overhead presses. So when you load say, two 45 lb plates onto it, you're actually lifting 135 lbs total. The bar weight always has to be accounted for. Make sure you don't forget to include it when tracking your big lifts.
Male vs Female Bar Weight
There are lighter 30 lb bars made specifically for women. Many gyms will have these slimmer, shorter bars available which are easier for smaller hands to grip. However, most women can start off using the standard 45 lb bar without issues, especially for lower body movements like squats where less grip strength is needed. Don't be afraid to use the standard barbell if you can handle the weight.
Specialty Bar Variations
In addition to the standard 45 lb bar, there are a number of specialty bars that weight either more or less:
- EZ Curl bars weigh around 20-25 lbs since they are thinner and designed for smaller lift motions like bicep curls.
- Safety squat bars weigh around 55 lbs to account for the thick padded yoke.
- Cambered specialty bars can weigh 65 lbs or even more due to their extreme thickness.
- Technique bars for Olympic lifts are often 35-15 lbs since they have extra whip for quick lifts.
Always check the sleeve or end cap of a specialty bar to confirm the weight if you are unsure. Don't make assumptions.
Why Bar Weight Matters
Knowing the actual bar weight is crucial for several reasons:
- You need to add it to the total plates loaded for each side to calculate your full lift weight accurately.
- You can load plates evenly and avoid muscle imbalances if you account for the bar.
- If you ever switch bar types mid-workout you'll know how to adjust your plates.
- You can measure your true 1 rep max lifts properly when you include the standard 45 lb bar weight.
So there you have it - the standard Olympic barbell bar weighs 45 lbs or 20 kg. But you may use a 30 lb women's bar or encounter specialty bars ranging from 15-65 lbs in weight. Always determine the specific bar weight before lifting and include it in your total weight calculations for maximum safety and training benefits. Knowing barbell bar weight basics is key!