Table of Contents
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar and Rogue Ohio Bar are two of the most popular barbells Rogue Fitness sells and also likely two of the most popular in the world. We get asked often what the differences are between the two and who should pick which. In this comparison review, we answer that question…
No two bars are made alike, and even the most similar of bars have their differences. There are a lot of considerations to make when purchasing bars, especially in a market saturated by similarities in strength, versatility, and constitution. This conundrum is found starkly in the comparison between the Rogue Ohio Bar and Rogue Ohio Power Bar.
Although the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is designed for the squat, bench press, and deadlift, those aren’t the only lifts it can perform well for. The Rogue Ohio Bar on the other hand is designed for nothing...and everything. More on that in a bit.
If you find yourself picking your brain, trying to figure out just which one is suited for you, look no further than this review. I will lay bare for you the important contrasts these two bars cast upon each other, and hopefully provide a better idea of which bar fits your lifting profile.
If you’re looking for in-depth reviews on each:
Let's take a look at the brass tacks of each bar. These are the qualities that help us to make conclusions on the performance and reliability each product can serve. The pros and cons between the two are revealed by the choices a company makes in the construction of their product, and we can easily make our own purchasing decisions based on these differences.
Variations in the knurling, tensile strength, and even coating can play a huge role in a bar's lift specialty. Questions the consumer may want to ask themselves is whether they are interested in a CrossFit style work-out regimen, or a strictly heavy-weight, stamina based work-out. Loose or tight grip? Is the high oxidation resistance that comes with stainless steel worth the extra money? Though these two bars may appear the same, there is a lot that can be left up to personal preference. Read on to get an idea of how each bar fits your unique specifications.
Ohio Power Bar
The Ohio Power Bar is a tried and true 20 kg powerlifting bar. Even if you are lifting upwards of 600+lb. regularly, the OPB as its affectionately called will stand up to the task. Introduced in 2014, this bar quickly became one of the best value power bars on the market, albeit with some competition (it’s currently our Top Pick for the Best Powerlifting Bar.) This is the sort of bar that will do the job for 99.9% of home gym owners who are trying to get a heavy lift in without the leering concern of permanently bending, or even breaking the bar.
The standout feature on this bar is the satisfying knurling. While aggressive enough to provide a durable grip, this bar's knurling will not shred your hands like other deep cut knurls a bar like the Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar provides. Just like the standard Rogue Ohio Bar, this product comes with a lifetime warranty... something you can’t find with a boneyard bar.
Shaft Tensile Strength
Coming in at 205k psi, the tensile strength this bar provides was unmatched at the time of its release. Now standard in bars of the same kind, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar was certainly a trendsetter. The tensile strength of a bar has a holistic effect on performance in different scenarios, and I'll go deeper into that in the performance section.
The OPB also comes in a stainless steel variety, which knocks the tensile strength a notch down to 200l psi, and brings the price up about $100. There are a lot of aspects of a stainless steel bar which makes this price point worth it, and we'll also go into that in the performance review of this bar.
The OPB features a 29mm diameter steel shaft, a now universal standard for power bars (although the Texas Power Bar is 28.5MM.) Like it's namesake, this bar is meant for the big 3 power lifts which make up most home gym owner's routine: the squat, bench, and deadlift. Those who are used to a 28.5mm diameter will notice that this bar feels better on both squat and bench workouts, although a thinner bar is almost always preferred for deadlifts.
Shaft Coating Options:
Other varieties of this bar also provide different coating options, such as the more expensive Cerakote finish (at the price of $325) which provides four separate colors to choose from, and the E-coat finish ($285) which provides reliable coverage, adhesion, and corrosion resistance.
Sporting a red, green, blue, or black shaft coating, the Cerakote finish is a ceramic-based coating commonly used in firearm manufacturing. This coating provides a healthy amount of abrasion, wear, and corrosion resistance, although we don’t like it on the bar’s sleeves as they scar too easily.
These coats certainly won't make or break the versatility of the bar, but they provide a little room for customization when it comes to the preferences of intermediate and advanced equipment connoisseurs (or people that just like to match their bar to the rest of their equipment.) Also, for those interested in the lowest price point available, the Bare Steel variety fits the ticket at only $265, but expect patina to build over time.
The OPB features bronze bushings in most variants, just like those used on many of Rogues other flagship bars (although the stainless steel version uses composite bushings.) These bushings provide reliable spin, without overdoing it. Unlike the seemingly limitless glide provided by bearings, bushings won't go so far as to affect the primary uses this bar is designed for, i.e. shaking on the bench press.
Now for the standout feature on this bar. Likely achieved by taking two more passes over the knurling, which cuts off the top diamond knurling and increases the surface area and points of contact, the knurl on this bar has 4 diamond points as opposed to one. You can read all about what barbell knurling is and why it matters here.
Also featuring a center knurl that matches the outer knurl, the OPB is good in regards to the reliability of the bar staying on your back squats. Center knurling provides an extra catch to the barbell which is useful for a tight hold on your back and something we recommend for most people squatting decent weight.
Rogue Ohio Bar
The Rogue Ohio Bar is a 20kg hybrid bar with the same impressive lineage as it's powerlifting counterpart. As a trusty gym companion, this bar will serve whatever purpose you throw at it with little fuss as its original purpose was to be used at the CrossFit Games. Although not meant for the uber-heavy squats and lifts the Ohio Power Bar is meant for, those who are interested in doing anything and everything—think, the “unknown and unknowable mantra”.
Priced similarly to the OPB, anyone interested in one or the other should become familiar with the key differences which may serve their personal lifting preferences...let’s take a look.
Shaft Tensile Strength:
Built with 190k PSI steel, the Ohio Bar used, basically, the strongest steel used in any sub-$500 barbell when it came to market. Now the standard for many bars, the OB is outmatched in this category by other bars at even lower price points. High PSI doesn't make or break a bar, however, and there are reasons some may prefer the slight flex of lower strength steel. These reasons include flexibility and whip. Although this bar may not be designed to whip like a higher-end counterpart (that is 28MM in diameter,) it will likely do the job better than any you could find at your local gym chain.
The Ohio Bar's 28.5mm diameter eschews rather skinnier than it's powerlifting counterpart. Useful for getting a tighter grip in high movement workouts, it will also still get the job done for standard bench or squat workouts without feeling too thin.
Bars designed specifically for Olympic Weightlifting use 28MM shafts. The Ohio Bar, being an all-rounder type barbell is in-between the IPF and IWF standards, which makes sense as it’s designed to perform well in both domains.
Shaft Coating Options:
While sporting the same coating options as the Ohio Power Bar (with the same price variances), the OB comes in Black Oxide as opposed to the Bare Steel model purchasable in the OPB. Black Oxide is only a bit more oxidation resistant than bare steel and comes at a higher price point than the Bare Steel counterpart in the OPB. If you are looking for oxidation resistance, with a sleek look like is provided by the Black Oxide variant, my suggestion is the Stainless Steel finish which comes a bit extra. Along with being resistant to rust, the knurling will be more as intended by the designer of the bar due to no coating being between the hands and bar.
The bronze bushings featured in the OB are identical to that of the OPB. Providing enough glide to allow for twisting and turning the bar, the bushings will not spin ad aeternum like that found in bearing rotation systems, however, they should prove to be very reliable. Honestly, for the slower movements, bearings are excessive and can be annoying when unracking.
The knurling on this bar is one of the main contrasts when set against the Ohio Power Bar. As a hybrid bar, it should be expected that the knurl is a little more on the passive side as opposed to the deep cut, almost sharp knurling featured in the OPB. Those interested in powerlifting may find it a tad bit passive for heavy deadlifts. This knurling provides the perfect medium stick that someone interested in CrossFit may enjoy, i.e. good for high repetition, low-to-medium weight exercises.
The knurling also extends to the collar, as opposed to the OPB, so those with a long reach (or who prefer a wider grip) will find their needs suited.
There are a few key differences between the performance of these two barbells, which I will highlight here:
Rogue Ohio Power Bar
With such high tensile strength and a thick diameter, this bar exhibits very little whip. This is a bonus for those interested in powerlifting, as it ensures a stiff bar during heavy squats that cause instability. As we'll discuss later, this bar is not meant for Olympic lifts, and the stiffness it provides is a definite culprit.
Digging into this bar is certainly no difficult task. As the standout feature of the OPB, it doesn't take much to get a solid grip and hold that will serve as a reliable aspect in any standard lift. As stated in the construction section of this review, the knurling on the Ohio Power Bar has 4 diamond points as opposed to one, which increases the surface area and points of contact.
Fortunately, while aggressive enough to dig into, the knurling on this bar will not shred your hands like many other bars meant for powerlifting. This aspect brings the OPB into the master class of affordable power bars.
Feeling on Back:
With a center knurl featuring the same knurling feel as mentioned prior, this bar will cling onto your shirt for an assuredly confident lift. The grip provided is helpful, and will not dig too deep into your back as to cause unwanted abrasions.
Feeling During Olympic Lifts:
Due to the highly mobile nature of Olympic lifts (such as the snatch, or clean and jerk), the sharp knurling and stiffness of this bar are not quite suitable. Aside from the occasional power cleans, the thick diameter this bar features is meant rather for standard powerlifting workouts, and so does not quite fit the ticket for Olympic lifting.
Rogue Ohio Bar
The Ohio Bar may feature more whip than the Ohio Power Bar, however, it is not tremendously more "whippy". Though not quite as stiff as the OPB, the 28.5mm shaft and 190k tensile strength intrinsic to the steel construction provide for a pleasant middle ground of flexibility and reliability in various lifts.
In staying true to its versatile nature, the knurl on this bar is perfect for high-rep workouts while still providing a reliable grip. Not quite so sharp as the OPB, but not too passive, this bar will serve the multi-purpose use most gym enthusiasts would purchase this bar for.
If you are interested in this bar for its versatility but want a more aggressive knurl, maybe consider purchasing the stainless steel version, which lacks coating and thus features a deeper cut.
Feeling on Back:
As opposed to the OPB, the Ohio Bar lacks a center knurl. This leaves for the possibility of slipping during training, which may be a dealbreaker for beginning trainees. I can get by without a center knurl gripping my back during a squat, but some need the feeling of that extra catch.
Feeling During Olympic Lifts:
As a hybrid bar, the Ohio Bare is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Though not as efficient as a dedicated Olympic Bar, the Ohio Bar will do the job in the same way it does the job on most other lifts. You won't get the same knurling feel, and the skinnier shaft an Olympic Bar provides, but for those looking for versatility, that should be alright.
The use of bushings rather than bearings also takes from the important aspects of an Olympic Bar. Between the two bars we are comparing, however, the OB's slight whippiness and thinner shaft are preferred for Olympic lifting.
If you've read through this entire review, then the answer to this question should be quite simple. Personal preference is king in the buyer’s choice, and these two bars can cater to many. Are you interested in versatility, a catch-all bar that will weather just about whatever you throw at it? Then you will be more interested in the Ohio Bar. Not interested in doing many Olympic Lifts, and mostly train on the big 3 power lifts? Then the Ohio Power Bar will likely be your choice. That being said, both of these bars have been proven through years on the market, and my personal use. Regardless of your decision, the purchase of either of these Rogue products will likely satisfy for years to come.
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