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As a competitive weightlifter, there are few things as satisfying to me as moving some heavy weight around, whether it be a heavy clean and jerk, pulling a heavy deadlift, or coming out of a heavy squat. For said heavy lifts, you need to be mindful of the Olympic barbell you may be using, as it can make or break your max out.
For example, a good squat bar provides rigidity on maximal lifts, helping you stay supported throughout the entire movement. REP Fitness recently released their Helios Squat Bar at a competitive price and similar specs as other top barbells. With free shipping, this very well could be the best value for a squat bar on the market right now.
Still, is this bar right for you and your heavy squats? We had a chance to look at this bar and test it through some heavy squats of our own. In our REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar review, we’ll look at the ins and outs of this barbell to see if this squat bar is right for you and your home gym.
Testing Specialty Bars, Olympic Barbells, and More
Bars are one of the largest categories of garage gym equipment we’ve tested: Olympic barbells, trap bars, curl bars, safety squat bars, deadlift bars, squat bars, and more. With every bar, we’ve looked at different aspects of the bar’s construction, as well as its durability, versatility, and performance while in use.
When we’re not testing home gym equipment, our team of lifelong athletes, certified personal trainers, and weightlifting coaches also live and breathe the fitness industry. We know what to expect and what to look for when testing fitness products and equipment.
Our lead reviewer for Garage Gym Reviews Everything, Lindsay Scheele, tested out the REP Fitness Helios Bar, and took it through lots of repetitions of squats, testing out its knurling, tensile strength, and whip throughout the movements.
REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar
- 55-lb squat bar
- Thick diameter
- Powerlifting knurling pattern
- Aggressive knurling
- Black cerakote coating
Pros & Cons
- Free shipping
- Affordable price range
- 1% weight tolerance
- Rigid bar, no whip
- 1,500-lb weight tolerance
- Not for beginners or casual lifters
- Knurling may be too aggressive for some
- Not designed for deadlifts or benching
A Quick Look at the REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar
For a long time, REP Fitness has been known as a budget-friendly brand and company, like Titan Fitness. They provided solid items with competitive prices. However, in recent years, REP Fitness has really been pushing the envelope to innovate and create premium products, from some of the best weight benches like the REP Blackwing adjustable bench, to quality cable system attachments, like the REP Ares cable attachment.
This innovation and creation of premium products has led them to become more of a competitor with top brands in the market, like Rogue Fitness. REP Fitness’ latest line of premium barbells continues to compete with top companies, with standout barbells like the REP Fitness Colorado Bar and Double Black Diamond Power Bar.
Their latest squat bar is the Helios Squat Bar, named after the Greek god of the sun. With a high tensile strength and thick diameter, this 55-pound barbell is stiffer than most power bars, allowing for more control and less bar whip during heavy squats. An aggressive mountain knurling across the entire bar allows for a strong grip both in your hands and on your back. The sleeve diameter is 2 inches, which will accept Olympic weight plates.
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The barbell also comes with high-end touches, like laser-etchings of the barbell name and weight on the inside of the sleeves as well as unique metal endcaps.
Before You Buy
- This bar is great for squatting, but won’t have the versatility of other mixed-use barbells. With a 32-millimeter diameter and an aggressive knurling throughout the entire bar, it won’t be ideal for deadlifts, bench press, Olympic lifts, or high-repetition workouts. If you want something more versatile, a power bar or mixed use bar is probably the better choice.
- In our testing, the knurling was very aggressive. Lindsay says of her experience, “Some people might like the knurling, but I found it to be pretty aggressive, and I don’t think I’d like training with this bar all the time—probably only when I’m going for a one-rep max and need a solid grip.”
- This bar is heavier, thicker, and longer than most Olympic barbells people are used to. No worries, though; it’ll still fit on most power racks and squat stands.
Is the REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar Worth It?
This high-end barbell from REP Fitness is designed for one purpose—heavy squats—and it does it exceedingly well. If you’re looking for a solid squat barbell, the Helios Squat Bar is one of the best value squat bars on the market today at under $400 and with free shipping.
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Still, this barbell won’t have the versatility of other barbells. Lindsay explains, “This bar is great for those looking for powerlifting movements, but because of the very aggressive knurling and the heavier weight at 55 pounds, I wouldn’t recommend this bar for all lifts. It wouldn’t be a great multipurpose training bar either.”
If you’re looking for a specialized bar for squatting, this is a great bar with fantastic value. However, if you’re looking for a bar that can do it all, it’s not going to be your best option.
- Heavy squats in your home gym
- People looking for an affordable squat bar with high value
- Lifters wanting a rigid barbell with minimal whip on squats
Not recommended for:
- Lifters wanting a mixed-use barbell for various lifts and exercises
- Those who don’t want an aggressive knurling on their barbell
- Beginning lifters who aren’t looking to go very heavy
REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar Specs
|Weight||25 kg (55 lbs)|
|Loadable sleeve length||17”|
|Shaft diameter||32 mm|
|Sleeve style||Smooth, Duracoat finish|
|Knurling||Deep mountain, very aggressive|
|Markings||Powerlifting marks with center ring|
|Tensile strength||200 Ksi|
Using the REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar
While not the most versatile barbell available, the REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar is made for one thing—back squats—and it does it well. With its thick shaft diameter, long length, and high tensile strength, the Helios Squat Bar provides a stiff bar with little to no whip during a heavy squat. For a squat, you don’t want excessive spin or rotation of the sleeves, so the bronze bushings keep the rotation to a minimum.
After testing out the Helios, Lindsay says, “This is a big bar! The knurling is very aggressive and won’t move if you are loading some serious weight. This would be a great bar for those serious about squatting, and squatting heavy.”
With a shaft length of 56.3 inches, the Helios Squat Bar will fit on most any squat rack. At heavy squats, the rigidity of the barbell helps keep the bar from oscillating, which would affect your drive out of a back squat. For what it’s made for, the Helios performs well. However, as with other specialty bars, it won’t perform well for other purposes or exercises.
Construction & Durability
This steel barbell is built differently from Olympic barbells that most are used to. Most 20-kilogram barbells have a shaft diameter between 28 and 29 millimeters, which makes it an ideal grip for a wide range of exercises—bench, deadlifts, Olympic lifts, overhead movements. The 25-kilogram (55 pounds) Helios, however, has a staggering 32-millimeter diameter, giving the barbell a rigid feel when in use. The tensile strength of 200K also will keep the barbell rigid while moving.
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The rotation system consists of bronze bushings, which won’t provide a lot of spin on the barbell. However, squats don’t require a lot of spin either, so this is an ideal rotation. Lindsay gave the rotation a 4 out of 5, saying, “The bronze bushing system is great for the smooth, slow movement of a back squat.”
The Helios is finished with a black cerakote on the shaft, and black Duracoat on the smooth sleeves of the barbell, giving it a sharp, blacked-out look. Duracoat is a chemical process that hardens the outside of the steel sleeves, creating a sleeve that is more resistant to wear and corrosion than other finishes. For this, Lindsay gave the bar a durability score of 4.5 out of 5.
Unlike most Olympic barbells, the Helios Squat Bar has complete knurling across the entire barbell, with powerlifting knurl markings, as well as a center ring to aid in proper positioning. The knurling is a deep mountain knurling, one of the most aggressive knurls used for barbells. This aggressive knurling ensures that the barbell won’t slide off your back during heavy reps.
RELATED: What Is Barbell Knurling?
Lindsay found the knurling a bit too aggressive for her tastes, although she also recognizes some may appreciate the aggressive knurling, especially on a heavy max. “I couldn’t see myself training with this bar all the time, just because of how aggressive the knurling is,” she says. “I’d see the benefit for a one-rep max, but this wouldn’t be an everyday barbell for me.” She gave the knurling a 4 out of 5.
Lindsay gave the versatility of the Helios Squat Bar a 3 out of 5. Although it’s a well-made barbell for squatting, it won’t provide the versatility that other Olympic barbells can usually provide. If you’re looking for a multi-purpose barbell that can be used for a broad range of workouts and exercises, then this won’t be the best barbell to use.
Comparison to Rogue 32MM Squat Bar
Rogue 32MM Squat Bar
Made in USA
Pros & Cons
- Thick and stiff bar for squatting
- 32mm shaft diameter
- 200K PSI tensile strength
- Stainless steel shaft
- Aggressive knurl runs along entire bar
- Bronze bushings
- Made in the USA
- Full, lifetime warranty
- Extremely specialized bar
- End caps scratch easily
While the Helios Squat Bar may not have the 250K tensile strength of the Kabuki Strength Squat Bar, the specs are comparable to other top squat bars, like the Rogue 32MM Squat Bar, for example. Each bar has a tensile strength of 200K, which with the thick 32-millimeter shaft diameter, is a stiff bar for squatting. Both barbells use bronze bushings for minimal rotation, and center knurling, too. While neither bar has the versatility of a mixed-use bar, they’re still great powerlifting barbells for squatting.
The main difference between the two barbells is the level of knurling and the finish. The Helios Squat Bar has Duracoat sleeves and a black cerakote finish, whereas the Rogue Squat Bar is stainless with a chrome finish on the barbell sleeves. The stainless steel will allow for a bit more grip, which is nice, since the Rogue barbell also has a slightly less aggressive volcano knurling.
Another major difference is the price. At just under $400, the REP Helios Squat Bar comes in $50 cheaper than the Rogue 32MM Squat Bar, without even accounting for shipping costs. REP also offers free shipping, which makes this the greater value squat barbell out of these two options.
|REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar||Rogue 32MM Squat Bar|
|Weight||25 kg (55 lbs)||25 kg (55 lbs)|
|Loadable sleeve length||17”||16.795”|
|Shaft diameter||32 mm||32 mm|
|Bushing/bearing||Bronze bushings||Bronze bushings|
|Sleeve style||Smooth, Duracoat finish||Chrome finish|
|Knurling||Deep mountain, very aggressive||Volcano, aggressive|
|Markings||Fully knurled bar with powerlifting marks and center ring||Fully knurled bar with powerlifting marks and center ring|
|Shaft coating||Cerakote||Stainless steel|
|Tensile strength||200 Ksi||200 Ksi|
Lindsay gave REP’s Helios Bar a 4 out of 5 in its warranty and returns, as they are fairly solid policies. The Helios Squat Bar has a lifetime warranty on the barbell, but it only covers defects in material or workmanship. Along with this, REP allows returns on products up to 30 days after receipt. Just make sure to save the original packaging, otherwise there’ll be a 15% restocking fee taken from your refund.
REP Fitness can be contacted in a multitude of ways, all listed on their website: phone, email, and a live chat, too. In our experience, REP Fitness has responded quickly and has been very helpful, leading us to rate their customer service a 4.5 out of 5.
Ordering the REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar
We had no issue in ordering and receiving the Helios Squat Bar from REP Fitness, and Lindsey gave the delivery process a 5 out of 5 for its ease. The bar can be purchased directly from REP’s website, and it came packaged well and with no damage from the shipping or delivery.
REP Fitness does offer financing through a couple different methods, as well. PayPal users can use their Pay-In-Four option, where four payments are made bi-weekly. REP also offers financing through Affirm, although it’s only for orders over $650. So you’d have to buy the Helios bar with some bumper plates or other gym equipment to take advantage of this financing option.
RELATED: Best Bumper Plates Guide
Because of how new REP’s latest line of premium barbells is, there aren’t many reviews out on REP’s website. However, the few reviews out are extremely positive. As of this writing, five reviews on REP’s website all give 5-star reviews for the Helios Squat Bar.
All five reviews talk about the great specs of the barbell, from the thick and stiff feel of the barbell to the aggressive knurling and grippiness on your back while squatting. One customer reported some shipping damage from a packaging issue, but this seems to be uncommon in REP’s shipping and delivery.
Final Verdict of Our REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar Review
REP’s latest line of premium barbells continues to shine with the Helios Squat Bar. Compared to other squat barbells on the market, the Helios bar is priced competitively and has similar specs to other top brands, giving it high value.
Due to its longer length, heavier weight, and thicker shaft diameter, this bar won’t be very versatile outside of heavy squats. But if you’re looking for a stiff, strong bar for heavy squats, the Helios Squat Bar is one of the best choices out there right now.
REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar Rating
REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar
If you're in the market for a bar that's made for heavy lifting, check out our REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar review to see if this bar’s right for your gym.
Product Brand: REP Fitness
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 399.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar: FAQs
How much does the REP Helios Squat Bar weigh?
Like many other barbells specific to squatting, the REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar weighs 55 pounds.
What are the benefits of using a squat bar?
For people looking to squat heavy weights, a dedicated squat bar can be extremely helpful. With a thicker shaft diameter and higher tensile strength, the barbell will be very stiff and not have much whip or oscillation while in use, making the bar’s movement during a squat more controlled and steady.
Are squat bars worth it?
If you are looking for a dedicated squat barbell that will stay rigid during maximal loads, a squat bar can definitely be worth the cost. However, it’s important to note that a squat bar will not have the versatility of a multi-purpose bar or a power bar, which can be used for multiple lifts and even sustains drops from overhead with many repetitions.
If you’re looking for a barbell that can be used for more than just squats, there are better Olympic barbells available than a squat bar to suit your needs.
How much does the REP Helios Squat Bar cost?
The 55-pound Helios Squat Bar costs just under $400 with a black cerakote shaft finish and Duracoat sleeves, making it one of the best value squat barbells available.
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