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Whether you want to snatch, deadlift, press, or squat, there is a great Olympic barbell on the market for you. Typically, we don’t categorize fitness equipment based on gender (a dumbbell that works for men also works just fine for women), but barbells are an exception due to anatomical and competitive reasons. 

A 15-kilogram barbell is often called a “women’s barbell,” though anyone can use it. Thanks to its narrower shaft diameter, it’s a great fit for people with smaller hands. And the lighter weight at 15 kilos is what the International Weightlifting Federation has made standard for women competitors. 

So what’s the best barbell for women? It truly depends on how you plan to use it. 

We Constantly Raise the Bar on Barbell Reviews

Our team at Garage Gym Reviews has tested more Olympic barbells than perhaps any other type of fitness equipment, easily putting more than 100 bars to the test. GGR is home to staff members who are also certified personal trainers, Olympic weightlifting athletes, CrossFitters, and fitness enthusiasts who love to get their hands on a barbell.

On top of that, we only recommend bars we actually use ourselves. I have been competing in weightlifting for the better part of a decade and have personally used almost every bar on this list. If I haven’t used it, I’ve consulted with other women athletes who have to get a complete picture of how these bars perform. 

The 8 Best Barbells for Women of All Fitness Levels

Best Overall Barbell for Women: Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0

Good for: Those looking for an incredibly high-quality 15-kilogram multipurpose barbell 

Best Overall Barbell for Women

Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • High-performing multipurpose 15KG barbell
  • Versatile; can be used in weightlifting, for CrossFit, and for powerlifts
  • 190K PSI tensile strength
  • 25-mm shaft diameter

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Endless options for the finish
  • 190K PSI tensile strength
  • 25mm shaft
  • Dual knurl markings
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Knurling is pretty passive
  • Black zinc coating will fade over time
  • No center knurling

Bottom Line

The Rogue Bella Bar is a top-of-the-line 15-kilogram bar ideal for people who need a multi-purpose barbell.

I’ve personally lifted on more than two dozen 15-kilo barbells, and the Rogue Bella Bar is my favorite for doing general purpose training. You can deadlift it, bench press it, snatch it, landmine it, and drop it, and it performs exceptionally on every rep. The Bella is a staple in CrossFit gyms thanks to its durability (and the fact that you can get it in some pretty cool colors). 

As a 15-kilogram bar, the Bella has all the stats you could want: a strong 190K PSI tensile strength (200K if you upgrade to stainless steel), 25-millimeter shaft, dual knurl markings, and bronze bushings ideal for just enough spin for Olympic lifts but not so much that it’s wonky on squats and deads. The knurling is medium, almost passive. This is great if you want to knock out rep after rep without destroying your hands, and the bar holds chalk well. However, if you want a bar with better grip, this knurling likely isn’t aggressive enough for you.

There are two Bella bars in my definitely-not-climate-controlled garage gym, where they get put through hundreds of reps a week not only with me, but also at the hands of other people on my weightlifting team and at the hands of the personal training clients I have. The bars I have are black zinc, but you can get a Bella bar in cerakote, E-coat, and stainless steel as well. 

The black zinc is a great finish and the most affordable, but it will fade a little over time. The cerakote finishes are varied in color, with signature barbells for CrossFit elites like Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr. One important note: Cerakote finishes tend to make knurling more passive, and that rings true on the Bella. I once used a pink Bella at an old CrossFit gym, and I felt the grip was okay, but I never picked up that pink bar for a WOD again.

Price-wise, you pay for quality. The black zinc version of the Bella is a little under $250, and the stainless steel is $410. Another hangup I have with the Bella is that Rogue’s warranty on it is construction only—much unlike the lifetime warranties you’ll find on nearly all the brand’s 20-kilogram bars. This could be due to the fact that 15-kilo bars have a more narrow shaft and are prone to bending.

I will say, I’ve loaded the Bella Bar 2.0 with more than 300 pounds and dropped it without any issue, so my contention with the construction warranty may be moot.

Check out our full Rogue Bella Bar review.

Price Range$235 (black zinc) to $410 (stainless steel)
FinishBlack zinc, cerakote, stainless steel, E-coat
Tensile Strength190K PSI, 200K for the stainless steel version
KnurlingMedium to passive, no center knurl, dual markings
WarrantyConstruction only

Best Barbell for CrossFit: Iron Bull Women’s Competition Barbell 

Good for: Hitting WODs, doing high-rep workouts, or lifting heavy out of the rack

Best for CrossFit

Iron Bull Competition Women Bar

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Women's competition barbell
  • 15 kg (33 lbs)
  • 25 mm diameter
  • 190 PSI tensile strength
  • Black zinc finish

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Stiff barbell
  • 25 mm diameter
  • Affordable

Cons

  • 1-year warrnty
  • No center knurl for bench

Bottom Line

Iron Bull offers an affordable barbell specifically designed for women's CrossFit competitions weighing 15 kg (33 lbs) and a 25mm diameter.

If you do CrossFit, you’re probably used to dropping barbells from overhead, slamming them into J-cups, covering them in chalk, and loading them to the gills with the best bumper plates. Therefore, you need a bar that can take a beating. 

The Iron Bull Women’s Competition Barbell can put up with a lot. First, it has a durable black zinc finish that will help protect the barbell against corrosion from both moisture and normal wear and tear.

Second, it offers a 190K PSI tensile strength, which is a reflection of how many pounds per square inch a bar can take before it suffers permanent bending damage. While we’ve seen higher, at this price range we think 190K PSI is super solid for loading a barbell up with weight or dropping from overhead. Last, this 15-kilogram bar has a lifetime warranty for additional peace of mind.

You’ll also find a medium knurling without knurling in the center and eight needle bearings to give the bar a good spin. And if you keep it oiled, it will spin for days. 

Price Range$250
FinishBlack zinc
Tensile Strength190K PSI
KnurlingMedium; dual marks; no center knurling
WarrantyLifetime warranty 

Best Multipurpose Bar for Women: REP Fitness Colorado Bar

Good for: Those seeking a versatile multi-use bar for the home gym

Best Multipurpose Bar for Women

REP Fitness Colorado Bar, 15 Kg

Product Highlights

  • 15-kg Olympic barbell for mixed use
  • Hard chrome or cerakote coating
  • 25 mm shaft diameter
  • Dual knurl markings for IPF and IWF
  • 190 KSI tensile strength
  • Composite bushing

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable composite bushings reduce noise when dropping
  • Medium volcano knurling
  • Dual knurl markings for IPF and IWF
  • Designed for versatile use
  • Free shipping
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not as many color options as the 20-kg bar
  • Not many customer reviews yet

Bottom Line

The 15-kilogram Colorado Bar from REP Fitness is a durable, versatile Olympic barbell made for heavy powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and cycling weights in CrossFit workouts. With dual knurl markings for powerlifting and weightlifting, the bar is available with a hard chrome finish or different-colored cerakote finishes with Duracoat on the sleeves. The barbell’s composite bushings provide decent spin and durability that helps dampen noise when dropping weights, and the bar is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Our favorite multipurpose barbell for women is REP Fitness’ signature bar, the 15-kilogram Colorado Bar. This bar is an updated—and in many ways upgraded—version of the REP Fitness Sabre Bar, our previous pick for best multipurpose barbell for women. Having used the Sabre Bar at my gym since 2021, I enjoyed its versatility, and the Colorado is built the same way. 

You can use the bar for any kind of strength training you want. Composite bushings are used to provide good spin on the bar, making it great for Olympic lifting, powerlifting, or accessories. Plus, those bushings provide a tighter fit between the shaft and sleeves, which means less wiggle and noise when the bar is dropped from overhead. With a strong 190K PSI tensile strength, it’ll last many drops, too.

Duracoat sleeve of the REP Fitness Colorado Bar

There are dual knurl markings to support grip placement on snatches and bench. The knurling itself is medium, which we found to be grippy without eating your hands after multiple reps. Lead reviewer and the face of Garage Gym Reviews Everything, Lindsay Scheele says the bar has volcano knurling, “allowing more surface area without being sharper. It feels good on your hands and somewhat aggressive.”

Price-wise, the Colorado Bar comes in at $269 or $279, depending on which finish you go with, hard chrome or cerakote with Duracoat sleeves. This isn’t the cheapest bar on the list, but the quality behind it and free shipping keep it competitively priced. Check out our full thoughts in our REP Fitness Colorado Bar review.

Price Range$269 (hard chrome) or $279 (cerakote with Duracoat sleeves)
FinishHard chrome or cerakote with Duracoat sleeves
Tensile Strength190K PSI
KnurlingMedium, no center knurl, dual markings
WarrantyLifetime

Best Olympic Weightlifting Bar for Women: Bells of Steel Women’s Barbell 2.0

Good for: Those looking for a 15-kilogram barbell for the Olympic lifts

Best Olympic Weightlifting Bar for Women

Bells of Steel Women's Barbell 2.0

Product Highlights

  • 15-kg bar with a 25-mm shaft
  • 240K PSI tensile strength
  • Priced very affordably
  • Hard chrome coating

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 240K PSI tensile strength
  • 15 kg weight
  • Dual knurl marks
  • 25-mm shaft
  • 4 needle bearings and a steel bushing in each collar
  • Hard chrome coating
  • Priced affordably
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • May spin too much for strict powerlifters
  • Medium knurling may feel passive
  • No center knurl

Bottom Line

The Bells of Steel Women's Barbell 2.0 is a great option for those looking for a 15-kilogram multipurpose bar. Its high tensile strength and hard chrome coating sure ensure this bar lasts.

It’s not easy to find a high-quality barbell under $200, but Bells of Steel Women’s Barbell 2.0 proves it exists.

This is a great option for weightlifters, as in those who train the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. Why? Let’s start with the fact that this bar was made with International Weightlifting Federation specs in mind, such as a 15-kilogram weight, 25-millimeter shaft, and 16.2-inch loadable sleeves.

The BoS 2.0 also features four needle bearings and a steel bushing on either side of the shaft, which equates to great spin for explosive lifts. I will say, it’s possible this bar spins a little too much for those who aren’t used to that kind of movement. So powerlifters may want to look elsewhere.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of this bar is its 240K PSI tensile strength. I’m not sure I know of any other 15-kilogram bar that reports to have that kind of steel strength. At this high, it’s possible that the bar is almost too stiff; we haven’t gotten to drop test this or the 20-kilogram Bells of Steel Olympic Weightlifting Bar 2.0, but we will be sure to do so and report back.

The finish on the sleeves and shaft of the Women’s Barbell 2.0 is hard chrome. That’s a pretty solid coating. It may not offer as much protection as stainless steel or cerakote, but it is still durable enough to withstand the elements, provided you don’t leave this bar outside in the rain.

There are dual markings for both weightlifting and powerlifting, but no center knurl.

Price Range$199
FinishHard Chrome
Tensile Strength240K PSI
KnurlingMedium, no center knurl, dual markings
WarrantyLimited lifetime

Best Budget Barbell for Women: Major Fitness Women’s 15kg Cerakote

Good for: Those looking for a budget-friendly bar that still offers some quality 

Best Budget Barbell for Women

Major Fitness Women Cerakote Barbell

GGR Score: 4.0 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Women's competition barbell
  • 15 kg (33 lbs)
  • Cerakote finish
  • Comes in red or pink
  • 25 mm diameter

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Durable Cerakote finish
  • Free shipping

Cons

  • 1-year warranty
  • Not super stiff

Bottom Line

This Major Fitness women's competition barbell provides a durable Cerakote finish and comes in two colors: red or pink.

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, you can find a standard barbell for under $100. No, we don’t recommend going that cheap, and there are countless reasons why.

So, when we talk about the best budget barbell for women, we are talking about the best Olympic-sized barbell that fits Olympic bumper plates that is the cheapest we recommend without majorly sacrificing quality.

And that’s where the Major Fitness Women’s Barbell comes in. For $240 you can be lifting a new 15-kilogram with an ultra-durable Cerakote ceramic coating. Plus Major Fitness offers free shipping and a 35-day money back guarantee. 

With a 170K PSI tensile strength, you will notice some whip but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Stiff bars are typically used for bench press, overhead press, and squats but a little whip won’t hurt those movements either. Just keep in mind this barbell has 750-pound weight capacity. 

Price Range$239
FinishCerakote 
Tensile Strength170K PSI
KnurlingMedium
Warranty1 year

Best Barbell for Beginners: Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Bar V2

Good for: Those new to lifting who want a barbell that can grow with them

Best Barbell for Beginners

Fringe Sport Women's Wonder Bar V2 15KG Barbell

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 160K PSI tensile strength
  • Needle bearings
  • Dual knurl markings
  • Black zinc finish

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 25-mm shaft
  • 15-kg weight
  • Needle bearings
  • Cool black color
  • Priced under $250
  • Dual knurl marks
  • Medium knurling

Cons

  • Zinc finish will wear over time
  • 160K PSI isn't the strongest bar
  • Some may think the knurl is too passive

Bottom Line

The Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2 is a great option for those who want a 15-kilogram bar that offers versatility at an affordable price.

Some people might tell you that, as a beginner to the barbell, you should just buy a cheap bar on Amazon. 

I’m not some people. I think you invest in good equipment, and that equipment is good to you. That’s why the Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Bar V2 is the top pick for beginners. 

This is a bar that can grow with you as you get stronger and learn new movements. First of all, it’s a barbell priced under $250 and creeps close to $200 when the brand puts it on sale. Therefore, you don’t have to break your budget when you’re just getting started. 

Also, this is a bar that will last you for years: It has a respectable tensile strength at 160K PSI and a durable black zinc coating. Fringe Sport offers a lifetime warranty on the Wonder Bar, so if it does happen to bend, you’ll get a new bar as a replacement.

Another thing I like is that you can choose either a bushing or a bearing bar at checkout. If you’re a beginner and you don’t know which to pick, go with bushing. It will still spin enough if you want to do the Olympic lifts, but it’s geared more toward the slower and more basic lifts like squats, presses, and deadlifts. If you know you’re going to snatch and clean, pay a little more and go with the bearings bar.

Like any other barbell, there are a few callouts. First, 160K tensile strength is perfectly fine for beginners who won’t be dropping super heavy weight from overhead. However, is it the strongest bar on the market? No. 

Also, a black zinc finish will protect the bar against the elements, but that black zinc is going to fade, especially if you store the Wonder Bar in a garage or home gym that isn’t climate-controlled. 

Price RangeUnder $250
FinishBlack zinc
Tensile Strength160K PSI
Knurling“Neither a cheese grater nor too soft” – from the Fringe Sport website; dual knurl marks, no center knurl
WarrantyLifetime 

Best Powerlifting Bar for Women: Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar

Good for: Women who want to hit the Big Three with arguably the best power bar on the market

Best Powerlifting Bar

Rogue Ohio Power Bar

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Volcano knurl provides a great grip
  • IPF-approved
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Four coating options: bare steel, black zinc, Cerakote, and stainless steel
  • 205K PSI tensile strength

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great value
  • Volcano knurl
  • Fantastic grip
  • IPF-approved
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Four coating options: bare steel, black zinc, Cerakote, and stainless steel
  • Made in the USA
  • 205K PSI tensile strength
  • F-8R rating
  • Self-oiling bronze bushings

Cons

  • 205K PSI tensile strength is not the strongest on the market
  • Some may feel the knurling is too passive
  • Bare steel Version rusts quickly

Bottom Line

The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is the power bar we recommend most often. You cannot spend less and get a better bar. You can spend more, and depending on your preferences get something maybe better, but even then, it's debatable.

The Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar, AKA the OPB, is one of the most popular if not the best powerlifting barbell on the market. 

I consulted with Dr. Brandes Dey, a competitive powerlifter and a doctor of physical therapy, who instantly claimed the OPB as her go-to.

“I love that the knurling is sharp enough to grip but isn’t too sharp to hold onto,” Brandes explains. “Plus, it holds up so well to wear-and-tear!”

The OPB features Rogue’s signature aggressive knurling as well as a center knurl, making it ideal for getting a firm grip during squats, deadlifts, and bench press. Unlike most other bars on this list, it comes in bare steel, which is ideal for those who want a strong connection to the barbell. (Other more corrosion-resistant coatings are also available).

Woman powerlifting on Rogue OPB

Typically, the best barbells for women are 15 kilograms (or about 33 pounds) and have a 25-millimeter shaft. That’s not the case with the OPB, which comes in either a 20-kilogram option or a 45-pound option. Both versions have a 28-millimeter shaft, which is noticeably thicker than the women’s bars on this list. 

In competition, all powerlifters, both men and women, use the heavier, thicker barbell. So if you plan to compete in the sport, choose a bar similar to what you might see on the platform. 

The most noticeable downside to the OPB is price, as the bare steel version starts close to $300 with shipping an extra cost. Rogue does offer a lifetime warranty on most of its high-quality bars, including this one. 

For more, check out our full Rogue Ohio Power Bar review.

Price Range$290 (bare steel) to $445 (20-kilo stainless steel)
FinishBare steel, black zinc, cerakote, E-coat, stainless steel
Tensile Strength200K to 205K PSI
KnurlingAggressive, single IPF marks, center knurl
WarrantyLifetime

Best High-End Bar for Women: Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar

Good for: Athletes who want an elite bar for snatches and clean-and-jerks

Best High-End Bar

Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar, NxG 15KG Women

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • All needle bearings for smooth
  • Proprietary Swedish steel
  • Signature knurling

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Needle bearings
  • Swedish steel
  • IWF-certified
  • 15-kg weight
  • Weightlifting knurl markings
  • 25 mm shaft
  • Great spin
  • Medium-depth knurl

Cons

  • Cost is over $1,000
  • 12-year warranty
  • Shipping costs extra

Bottom Line

The Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar offers extremely high quality for those who compete or enjoy the sport of weightlifting. The quality does come with a high price tag.

While it’s possible to compile a best barbells list without an Eleiko bar, it would be foolish to. After all, the Swedish word “eleiko” translates to “beautiful barbell.” 

OK, that isn’t even a little true. But it may as well be, because anyone who competes in weightlifting will tell you that an Eleiko sets the bar (pun intended) for where we wish all other bars could be. 

The International Weightlifting Federation has certified the Eleiko Training Bar, which means it meets all standards like weighing 15 kilograms, bearing the single markings in the knurling, featuring a 320-millimeter loadable sleeve length, and having a 25-millimeter shaft. 

Woman snatching Eleiko weightlifting bar

Eleiko doesn’t actually publish the tensile strength of the bar. We do know that it is made with “proprietary Swedish steel” that is claimed to have a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. However, most estimates place the Training Bar at around 215K PSI, which is more than enough for just about anyone who lifts weights. 

As far as lifting with an Eleiko weightlifting barbell? Well, you always remember your first time. Mine was in fellow Olympic weightlifter Olga Pisarsky’s garage. I clearly recall hitting a lovely 64-kilogram snatch, and I felt what Eleiko itself calls the “perfected rotation,” compliments of the precision needle bearings. 

Olga purchased her Eleiko bar in 2019, and it is still performing as beautifully as the day she bought it.

The only major downside of purchasing an Eleiko bar is shelling out the $1K or more for it. This is a bar that will last you a lifetime (despite the oddly short 12-year warranty). Also, the brand throws in a pretty amazing magnetic bar brush with your purchase. 

Price RangeAround $1,000
FinishChrome
Tensile Strength215K PSI
KnurlingMedium, single IWF markings, no center knurl
Warranty12 years

Other Barbells We Tried and Researched 

American Barbell Training Bar: This is a fantastic barbell for weightlifters: It has the IWF markings in the knurling, composite bushings, and a 190K PSI tensile strength. The price tag is just north of $350. You can certainly use this bar for just about any style of lifting, but it’s really geared more toward Olympic weightlifters. 

CAP Barbell “The Beast”: We used to love the Beast barbell from CAP because it used to be under $200 and served as a great beater bar. It has since undergone an apparent makeover, with its price now in the mid-200s. Without getting our hands on this new version of this general purpose bar, we can’t say whether or not it’s worth the price of some of the other tried-and-true bars on this list.

Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bar: At just under $600, the IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bar from Rogue is a lot like the Pyrros bar in specs: 215K PSI, weightlifting markings, made in the USA. However, this bar comes in either cerakote or bright zinc. I’m not a fan of a cerakote bar for weightlifting movements, but if you don’t mind it, you might like this bar.

Woman lifting on Rogue Pyrros Bar

Rogue Pyrros Bar: This is a beautiful barbell, and it gives the Eleiko training bar a true run for its money in terms of being an outstanding bar for weightlifting. I lifted on a Pyrros at The Arnold Sports Festival in Columns, Ohio, and can attest to its great knurling and precision spin. The price is high at around $600, and rightfully so: It is stainless steel with chrome sleeves, has a 200K PSI, and features the single Olympic weightlifting markings in the knurling. 

Synergee Essential Bar: This extremely basic bar has a weight capacity of 400 pounds. Priced well under $200, it could be a good fit for beginners or those who want a simple, not-so-durable bar. 

Synergee Games Bar: The Games Bar from Synergee is priced around $200 and comes in a variety colors like blue, pink, and black, thanks to a cerakote covering. Its specs are good with a 190K PSI and it comes with a lifetime warranty. I’d recommend spending just a little more to get a bar from a more trusted name in barbells like Rogue, but I wouldn’t call the Games bar a bad choice.

How We Picked and Tested the Best Barbells for Women

Barbells might just be what we know best at Garage Gym Reviews. Our team includes Olympic weightlifters, CrossFitters, people who do Squatober and Deadcember every year, and functional fitness enthusiasts. In other words, someone on our team has a barbell in their hands or on their back every day. 

When looking specifically at how to test the best barbells for women, we narrowed our search by focusing on some key factors:

  • Weight and Measurements: Most barbells for women weigh 15 kilograms (or 33 pounds) and have a 25-millimeter shaft.
  • Specs: We like bars with tensile strengths of 150K or above that fit Olympic bumper plates (AKA have a 2-inch sleeve).
  • Functionality: We took into account bars that work well for people who need versatility as well as those who want specialization.
  • Finish: The finish of a barbell directly affects its durability, so we looked for bars that offered our garage gym owners protection against rust and other corrosion.
Woman with barbell on back rack in a gym

Why You Should Have a 15-Kilogram Barbell in Your Home Gym

I’m not a fan of calling them “women’s bars” and “men’s bars” because anyone can use any bar and it would be fine.

The concept of a “women’s” bar is a fairly new one that arose in weightlifting competitions because women *tend* to have smaller hands than men. Therefore, a bar with a narrower shaft is a better fit for women. 

All that said: It is beneficial to have a 15-kilogram “women’s” barbell in your home gym, and here’s why:

Better Fit

Slightly lighter weight, slightly narrower shaft: A 15-kilogram Olympic bar tends to fit women (and people with smaller hands like youth athletes) better. Women can still use 20-kilogram or “men’s” bars, but they may feel more comfortable gripping the women’s bars.

Versatile

Having a 15-kilogram bar in your gym adds versatility to your barbell lineup. You might prefer a classic center-knurled 20-kilogram bar for back squats, but a 15-kilogram bar is a great option if you want to do front squats, cleans, and presses.

Competition-Friendly

If you ever plan on competing in weightlifting, the International Weightlifting Federation requires that women lift on 15-kilogram competition bars. Ideally, you train like you would compete, so having an IWF-certified barbell (or a bar that matches those specs) is advisable.

Woman wearing weightlifting shoes setting up for a barbell deadlift in a CrossFit gym.

How to Choose the Best Women’s Olympic Barbell

There are a few important considerations when buying a barbell. While this may not be the most expensive piece of equipment in your gym, it is one that is still a significant investment. Make your money count by taking into account the following:

Use

How do you plan to use your bar? This will dictate the type of barbell you need:

  • Powerlifting bar: Ideal for squats, bench, and deadlift
  • Olympic weightlifting bar: Ideal for snatches and clean-and-jerks
  • Multipurpose bar: Great for just about any exercise
  • Specialty bars: Geared specifically for certain exercises like trap bar deadlifts and safety squat bar exercises

Yes, you can snatch a powerlifting bar and you can put a weightlifting bar in a squat rack. However, sport-specific equipment exists for a reason. Get the gear that best suits your fitness goals.

Loadable Sleeve Size

There are barbells that exist outside the realm of the Olympic bar. However, we like Olympic bars because they come standard with a 2-inch-diameter sleeve that universally fits Olympic weight plates. If you get a different type of barbell, pay close attention to the size plates you need. 

Weight

Barbells come in kilos or pounds, and there are various weight ranges in there. The worldwide standard for Olympic barbells is either 20 kilograms or 15 kilograms. You can also find barbells at 45 pounds or 35 pounds, which comes close to those standards. 

Beyond that, there are lighter barbells ideal for beginners or those who aren’t lifting much weight or planning on dropping the bar. Speciality bars, like safety squat bars, often weigh more than the standard as well.

Finish

The finish on a bar typically refers to the coating placed on the bar shaft. There are also coatings on the bar sleeves, which is sometimes different from what is on the shaft.

The most durable bar finish is stainless steel, which best resists corrosion and rust. 

Next comes finishes like cerakote, which can look unique if you pick a fun color, and it adds quite a bit of protection to the bar. Cerakote will take a toll on the bar’s knurling, making it a little more passive. 

A hard chrome finish (which is not to be confused with plain old decorative chrome) offers similar corrosion-resistance to cerakote without taking quite the toll on the knurling. Finishes like black zinc, black oxide, and bright zinc offer some level of protection to your bar. 

A bare steel bar means there is no finish on the bar whatsoever. You have to take good care of these bars to keep them looking good. However, some people claim the work is worth it, because bare steel gives you excellent connection to the bar in terms of grip.

RELATED: Barbell Anatomy 101

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is a measurement of the bar’s durability. It is a way to quantify how much strain a barbell can take before it suffers permanent damage. All bars should have some flex to them to accommodate heavy loads. That’s why you’ll see a heavily-weighted bar bending in a squat rack. However, quality bars should be able to flex like that without having a permanent bend.

The way tensile strength is measured is in pounds per square inch. So a 215K tensile strength means the bar can withstand 215,000 pounds per square inch before bending. 

We like to see bars with at least 150K or higher for people who lift often. You can definitely get a bar with a rating under that, but note that if you drop the bar or load it too heavy, it could suffer damage.

The highest-quality barbells will have tensile strengths of 190K PSI or higher.

Knurling and Knurl Marks

Let’s talk knurling. A barbell’s knurling pattern refers to the etchings in the shaft. This provides a better grip on the bar than if you had to grasp smooth metal. There are many different types of knurling, like a volcano-style or diamond knurl. The knurl can be sharp, which means it is so aggressive that it almost cuts your hands, or passive, which means you barely notice it.

The type of knurl you want largely depends on the type of lifting you do as well as personal preference. Some people love an aggressive knurl on a deadlift because they can hold the bar better. Some prefer a passive knurl so they don’t tear up their hands when holding on to a bar while repping out hang power cleans.

Knurl marks refer to rings that break up the knurling. There are powerlifting marks, which denote where your hands go during bench, and weightlifting marks, which give you a benchmark for hand placement during a snatch. The International Powerlifting Federation and the International Weightlifting Federation have standards for where these marks should be.

These marks are suggestions, not rules, and bars that don’t abide by the IPF or IWF may have these markings in places that stray from the standard. However, the marks are great for people who perform specific lifts.

Warranty

A bar’s warranty typically reflects how the brand feels about the barbell—typically. For example, Rogue Fitness barbells usually have lifetime warranties, and Eleiko bars have 12-year warranties. That’s because those brands know those bars are built to last.

Bars with one-year warranties exist, and there are bars with one-year warranties that we really like. You might see shorter warranties on 15-kilo bars, for example, because the steel shaft is narrower than a heavier bar, and therefore, could be more likely to bend as a result. 

Also, sometimes cheap bars have crappy warranties. The specs of the bar, like tensile strength and coating, are often a better testament to the bar’s durability than the warranty.

FAQs: Best Barbell for Women

What barbell is best for women?

The best barbell for any woman is one that she will use. To get more specific, here are our favorites:

– Best Overall Barbell for Women: Rogue Bella Bar 2.0
– Best Multipurpose Bar for Women: REP Fitness Colorado Bar
– Best Budget Barbell for Women: Synergee Regional Barbell
– Best Barbell for Beginners: Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Bar V2
– Best Barbell for CrossFit: Get Rx’D Stealth Bar
– Best Powerlifting Bar for Women: Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar
– Best Olympic Weightlifting Bar for Women: Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar

What bar do female powerlifters use?

In competition, women powerlifters use a 20-kilogram barbell. They may train on any kind of bar they like.

What weight is a women’s barbell?

Barbells that are often called “women’s” barbells are 15 kilograms, which is about 33 pounds. There are some true 35-pound barbells that are also referred to as “women’s”

Further reading

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DIY J-Hook Liners: Protect Your J-Cups

Is the knurling on your barbell getting worn down from your j-cups? Learn how to make DIY j-hook liners that can better protect your home gym equipment. Read more

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Best Protein Bar for Bodybuilding (2024): Expert Tested and RD Reviewed

Looking for the best protein bar for bodybuilding? Our roundup will help you find the best one for you! Read more

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Does Cardio Build Muscle? Yes, And No

“Does cardio build muscle?” is a question that fitness pros hear often. A personal trainer explains how cardio can help and hinder muscle growth. Read more

Fringe Sport MilSpec Bumper Plates Review: Durable and Military Approved (2024) Cover Image
Fringe Sport MilSpec Bumper Plates Review: Durable and Military Approved (2024)

If you like throwing your weight down like any good meathead should, you’re probably pretty familiar with bumper plates. I’ve been testing all kinds of bumper plates over the years, such as the Rogue Fitness US MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates, American Barbell Urethane Bumper Plates, and REP Fitness Sport Bumper Plates.I’ve been impressed with the Fringe Sport Bumper Plates in the past so I was eager to deliver a Fringe Sport MilSpec Bumper Plates review. There are a lot of particulars I look for when reviewing a bumper plate—it’s about more than just bounce or aesthetics. I also look at the warranty, price, material, and scale on the Shore Durometer.Why You Should Trust UsI’ve tested over 70 different bumper plates and have even written an article about thebest bumper plates. (I also wrote one on thebest weight plates overall if you’re more of an iron-slinging dude.) You can trust that I dropped these suckers from various heights, did a bunch of lifts, and maybe even licked one or two of ‘em. Just kidding, I only sniffed them. They smell like rubber in case you were wondering. Clearly I was. Read more