Working out at home has its perks. Even though life slowly returns to normal, many people favour the comfort and convenience of exercising at home. Exercising at home means you can exercise at any part of the day or night that suits you, you don’t waste time travelling to the gym, and you don’t have to wait around to use equipment when the gym is busy.
If you’re looking to build one of the top rated home gyms for yourself, a very important piece of equipment to invest in is the Barbell.
This simple piece of equipment is used for weightlifting, bodybuilding, and powerlifting and can be used to do so many different exercises that it should be one of the first pieces of gym equipment you buy for your home gym.
Here's why you need a barbell:
1) Working out with a barbell saves you time
Fitness experts have identified the ‘big four’ barbell exercises. These exercises include squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and bench presses, and doing each exercise works multiple muscles at once.
This means you will save time because instead of doing lots of different exercises to work isolated muscles, you can do these using a barbell to get a full body workout.
2) Use a barbell for strength training and cardio
To get into shape, you need to mix cardio and weight training, and the humble barbell can be used for both. It helps to use a barbell in your cardio training when you’re looking to improve your endurance.
For example, you can use it when doing a HIIT workout. Typically, barbells used for cardio are lighter so that you can perform the same exercise many times.
3) Barbells are cost-effective
Many people might be reluctant to build a home gym because of the cost of gym equipment, and while some larger machines may be expensive, a barbell is not.
Also, since you can use a barbell to work multiple muscle groups and do many different exercises, you don’t need to buy many different pieces of equipment for specific activities.
4) Working out with a barbell improves your athletic performance
When you first begin working out with a barbell, your focus will be on learning how to use all your muscles together to lift it while keeping your form correct.
As your form and technique improve, your neuromuscular connection will become stronger. Unlike working out using a machine, barbells force you to pay attention to your coordination and balance to get a better result.
Best Barbells for Your Home Gym
Since you will be using your barbell for many exercises, getting one of good quality that suits your needs is crucial. Despite appearances, not all barbells are the same.
When shopping for a barbell, you must consider its length, weight, durability, grip, and how much weight it can hold before it either becomes deformed or snaps. The amount of weight a barbell can carry is measured in PSI.
Another consideration is whether to go for a standard or Olympic barbell. If you’re a newbie, a standard barbell is the better option as it is versatile and can carry a fair amount of weight.
For a more experienced weightlifter, an Olympic barbell allows you to lift heavier weights and is also multi-purpose. Also, Olympic barbells tend to be longer, and the knurling is usually more aggressive as you need a more substantial grip the heavier you lift.
Below are some of the best barbells on the market:
Force USA Ranger Barbell
The Force USA Ranger barbell makes an excellent addition to a home gym whether you’re new to lifting or have years of experience.
This barbell has a tensile strength of PSI 170 000. It has a black oxide finish, the sleeves are zinc coated to prevent corrosion, and the bar shaft has a black zinc coating. This feature helps to improve the grip and will reduce the risk of it becoming rusted.
It also offers excellent quality and is perfect for people not planning to lift over one hundred pounds.
Gungnir Allrounder Barbell
Made in Norway, the Gungnir has a tensile strength of PSI 216 000 which means you can lift very heavy. It is an Olympic barbell with built-in titanium barbell collars, also called sidelocks.
The barbell’s shaft is coated in hard chrome and has a light knurl in the centre with a more pronounced knurl on the outer edges, which helps to improve grip. Switching plates on this barbell is quick and easy, making it ideal for a home gym.
Rogue Ohio Power Bar
While the Rogue Ohio Power bar is a little more expensive, it is of superior quality and has a tensile strength of PSI 205 000. Since its strength doesn’t offer a lot of whips, it is perfect for the ‘big four’ exercises, which are considered static movements.
The knurling on each side, as well as the centre of the bar, make it easier to grip. However, since the knurling is quite rough, it is best to use this barbell with gloves to prevent injuring the skin on your hands.
The sleeves have bronze brushings to make them easier to rotate, and several different finishings on the shaft prevent rust and corrosion, including black zinc, stainless steel, bare steel, and a specialised coating that is electrically applied.
Zaoba Bull Powerlifting Barbell
Made by a Japanese company called Bull Powerlifting, a defining feature of this barbell is knurling. The knurling is fine but sharp, making it easy to grip. The tensile strength is PSI 216 200, so it can carry heavy weights without a problem.
The bar is over 2 meters long, so it is on the longer side and will require more space to store. The shaft is available in ceramic, plated, or hard chrome coating.
Titan Fitness Multi-Grip Barbell
This barbell is more suitable for people with a bit of weightlifting experience. Also called a ‘Swiss Grip bar’ or a ‘Football bar,’ the Titan Fitness Multi-Grip Bar comprises a boxed frame. In the frame are three sets of grips. Three sets of grips allow you to use one piece of equipment to train narrow, neutral and wide.
The grips are knurled so that they don’t slip and are wider than the average. Training at different positions means targeting muscles at different angles for a more varied workout. This barbell also offers high tensile strength.
Fringe Sport Hybrid Bar
The Fringe Sport Hybrid bar is a multi-purpose barbell designed to do different exercises like Crossfit, powerlifting, and weightlifting. It has a tensile strength of PSI 216 000 and features knurling for a secure grip.
The knurling is thick, so it is best to use it with gloves or chalk. Another feature is that the knurling in the centre is designed to prevent your shins from getting scraped.
Get RxD Stealth Bar
If you’re looking for a barbell for women, the Get RxD Stealth Bar is a winner. Barbells specifically for women are usually lighter, narrower, and shorter.
This barbell has a tensile strength of PSI 216 000, but since it is smaller than those designed for men, it is easier for women who usually have a more petite build to control. It has a hard chrome coating that prevents it from rusting and also features knurling, making it easy to grip.