What is an Olympic Barbell?

A. Leverkuhn

An Olympic barbell is a special kind of weight lifting bar design intended for professional use at Olympic games and other competitive events. Some home trainers who are working out in an informal area my not need an Olympic barbell. In some kinds of lifting, like bench presses, an Olympic barbell could be an inconvenience. For deadlifts and similar activities, this kind of barbell can make picking up weight easier.

The design of an Olympic barbell allows for the rotation of plate loaded weights.
The design of an Olympic barbell allows for the rotation of plate loaded weights.

In an Olympic barbell, the design allows for the rotation of plate loaded weights. What happens in common Olympic bar designs is that the sleeves of the bar rotate. This makes it easier for the user to practice more “explosive” lifting.

Lots of Olympic barbell designs use needle bearings to accommodate the free rotation of the disc weights. Needle bearings are different than conventional ball bearings. Needle bearings have long, thin bearing elements that have more surface area than a sphere.

Olympic barbells often have other advanced feature like easy locking ends for keeping heavy weights in place. Trainers may also outfit them with rubber “bumper” plates that provide a smoother feel when the barbell hits the ground. Other barbells will use standard heavy metal plates.

Manufacturers of Olympic barbells make them to the specifications of the professional weightlifting community. Most of these bars are a standard seven feet in length. Men’s and women’s Olympic barbells are made a bit differently. The women’s bar is shorter and lighter than the standard men’s bar.

Some public weight lifting events and institutions may use Olympic barbells exclusively. Most fitness participants don’t need these kinds of tools for home gym training. Other kinds of standard barbells are adequate for many trainers who are lifting weight on a recreational basis.

In dealing with any kind of barbell, including Olympic barbell designs, it’s important not to overload the bar with weight. Trainers should also work with a “spotter” who can help manage the weight if the person who is working out starts to lose control of the bar. Having appropriate safety measures in place will help prevent injury and damage to property if the bar falls or shifts suddenly. By learning about the right methods for this free weight tool, users can make an Olympic barbell a useful and valuable part of a home training weight set.

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