Bar Weight Reference Guide

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If you frequent the gym, you know that there’s plenty of different bars to load weight on. Most people are familiar with a standard barbell, but there’s a chance you’ll encounter bars that you’ve never seen before. The purpose of this guide is to talk briefly about the different bars you’ll find at the gym and their uses. Consider this your primary reference for learning the purpose and weight of every type of bar; from barbells, to hex bars, to curl bars, we’ve got you covered!

Standard Barbell Weight

standard barbell

A standard barbell is what you’re most likely to see at your gym. It’s a long metal bar that allows you to add steel or rubber bumper plates to each end. Typically, you’ll see standard barbells affixed to squat racks or ready to use on weight lifting platforms. When using a standard barbell, it’s important to make sure the weight is evenly distributed across both sides of the bar. This means that if you put a 45-pound plate on one side, you’ll need to add a 45-pound plate on the other side. Keeping the weight balanced is a necessary practice for all the types of bars mentioned throughout this article. 


A standard barbell weighs 45 pounds or 20.41 kilograms. Although uncommon, it’s possible to encounter barbells that weigh less than 45 pounds. Bars that weigh less than the 45-pound standard are usually designed for women. 


A standard barbell is used for nearly every compound exercise, making it one of the most versatile pieces of equipment. Below is a list of exercises commonly performed with a standard barbell. 

  • Bench press 
  • Barbell squats (front or back) 
  • Deadlifts 
  • Military presses 
  • Power cleans 
  • Bent-over rows 
  • Upright rows 
  • Bicep curls

Olympic Barbell Weight

olympic barbell

An Olympic barbell is similar to a standard barbell in the sense that it has the same design. As the name suggests, Olympic barbells are used by individuals who participate in Olympic lifting. These bars are specifically designed to meet regulatory standards, so they’re often more expensive than a standard barbell. 

The International Weightlifting Federation regulates the quality of Olympic barbells for both men and women. These bars must be manufactured from chromed steel and have a knurling in the grip areas. Unlike a standard barbell, an Olympic bar must have precise dimensions and a calibrated weight. These bars are designed to handle more weight and have more “give” than a standard barbell. 


A men’s Olympic barbell that meets IWF standards is exactly 44.09 pounds or 20 kilograms. For women, the bar weight is exactly 33.07 pounds or 15 kilograms. A bar that does not meet these criteria cannot be considered a true Olympic barbell. 


Olympic barbells are used by athletes in the Olympic games, as well as amateurs who partake in Olympic lifting. Below are some common exercises performed with this bar. 

  • Clean and jerks
  • Snatch
  • Overhead squats
  • Deadlifts 
  • Bench press 
  • Barbell squats (front and back)
  • Military presses
  • Power cleans

Hex Bar Weight

hex bar weight

A hex bar or trap bar is a hexagonal bar that allows you to lift with a neutral grip. They are commonly used as an alternative to a barbell, especially by athletes who suffer from back pain. A hex bar typically puts less strain on your posterior chain because the weight is evenly distributed across your center of gravity. 

The hex bar was specifically designed to put your body in an optimal position to perform a lift off the ground. Upon using one, you’ll notice that it takes less effort to keep your spine in a neutral position. A hex bar also emphasizes leg drive, so you might notice that you’re able to lift more weight than you would using a standard or Olympic barbell. 


A hex bar is usually the same weight as a standard barbell – 45 pounds or 20.41 kilograms. After all, consistency in weight is important if you’re replicating exercises like the deadlift. 


Hex bars are used in place of a barbell to perform a variety of exercises. Although a barbell is more versatile, the design of a hex bar makes it easier to target certain muscle groups. 

  • Hex bar deadlifts
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Shrugs 
  • Pendlay rows
  • Farmer’s walks

EZ Curl Bar Weight

ez curl bar weight

An EZ curl bar is a commonly used bar for bicep exercises. Unlike a regular barbell, this bar has several bends that create ergonomic hand placements. EZ curl bars generally take stress off your wrists while also allowing you to alternate between a narrow or wide grip. These bars are often shorter in length than a barbell, and they can be plate loaded or come in pre-determined weights. 


Unlike other weight training bars, an EZ curl bar does not come in a standard weight across the board. EZ curl bars typically weigh between 15-33 pounds or 6.8-14.97 kilograms. The most common weight range for a curl bar is between 20-25 pounds or 9.07-11.34 kilograms. 


Believe it or not, EZ curl bars can be used for more than just bicep curls. Below is a list of exercises that you can perform with this bar. 

  • Bicep curl variations 
  • Reverse curls 
  • Bent-over rows (EZ curl bars offer a nice range of motion)
  • Upright rows 
  • Front raises
  • Skull crushers

Swiss Bar Weight

swiss bar weight

A swiss bar, or multi-grip bar is a unique bar that offers several grips at different widths and angles. Not all gyms will have this bar in their arsenal, but you will often find them at bodybuilding or powerlifting-oriented gyms. Swiss bars are similar to barbells because they’re plate-loaded, but the biggest difference is the neutral grip that a swiss bar offers. 


Most swiss bars will weigh the same as a standard barbell – 45 pounds or 20.41 kilograms to maintain consistency. Despite this, there is not a universal weight for swiss bars as they are available in weights of 35-60 pounds or 15.88-27.22 kilograms. 


A swiss bar is a great option if you struggle with maintaining balance or stability when performing certain exercises. It’s also great if you prefer a neutral grip as opposed to a pronated grip. Multi-grip bars are often recommended to people who are recovering from wrist injuries as the grips take off pressure. Below are some exercises to consider when using this bar. 

  • Bench press 
  • Overhead presses
  • Bent-over rows 
  • Hammer curls 
  • Front raises 
  • Single-leg deadlifts
  • Floor presses
  • Hip thrusts

Other Weight Training Bars

In an effort to cover all of our bases, we’ll briefly touch on other weight training bars you might encounter. Some of these bars are quite niche and therefore uncommon to see in a commercial gym setting. 

Tricep Bar:

A tricep bar resembles a swiss bar, although it’s a lot smaller in length and only offers one set of grips. Tricep bars are often plate-loaded and distinguishable by the neutral grips. Due to the design, these bars are perfect for skull crushers, overhead tricep extensions, and close-grip bench presses. 

Bamboo Bar:

Bamboo bars are a unique type of barbell that weigh only 6.3 pounds or 2.86 kilograms. These bars were mainly designed for rehab purposes because of the oscillating kinetic energy they produce. A bamboo bar has a weight limit of 300 pounds which is much less than what a steel barbell can handle. 

Earthquake Bar:

An earthquake bar is essentially the same thing as a bamboo bar, but a revised version. Although these two bars serve the same purpose, an earthquake bar has notches on the dowels to keep a better hold on resistance bands or weights. Earthquake bars weigh 6.15 pounds or 2.79 kilograms, and they’re perfect for rehab or stability work. 


Throughout this article, we’ve touched on a majority of the weight training bars you’re likely to encounter at the gym. We encourage you to bookmark this guide and return to it whenever you need to know the weight or purpose of a certain bar. To recap, we discussed the following bars in this article: 

  • Standard barbells 
  • Olympic barbells
  • Hex bars
  • EZ curl bars
  • Swiss bars
  • Tricep bars
  • Bamboo bars
  • Earthquake bars

The end goal, in this case, is to memorize the weight and purpose of each bar so that you don’t waste time researching these topics while at the gym. Luckily, this tends to get easier the more often you go to the gym. We wish you the best of luck with your training endeavors.