The Olympic Barbell is the primary tool of strength training – and Olympic lifting.
With the 2″ sleeve diameter these bars accommodate the 18″ diameter Olympic plates.
Olympic barbells are made for serious weight – and they are heavy – weighing 20 kilos or 45 lbs – usually.
Shown above is the Sabre Bar from Rep Fitness.
This is an example of a high-quality, but affordable Olympic weightlifting barbell.
In this article, we’re going to review the barbells available from Rep Fitness:
Basic Barbell from Rep Fitness
The Basic Barbell from Rep Fitness is just what it claims to be.
This is a no-frills Olympic-sized barbell. And it’s probably the cheapest bar you are going to find.
But there are some important caveats to this.
First of all, it is Olympic sized – but it’s not made for Olympic lifts (clean, snatch, etc.)
The shaft diameter on this bar is 30mm. That’s a lot.
That should mean it is nice and stiff – with minimal “whip”.
But it also means it will be a challenge to your grip when deadlifting.
(Although having said that, most “power bars” have a 29mm diameter.
Here’s some of the vital specs.
The maximum weight capacity of this bar is 700 lbs.
This bar weighs 20 kilos (44 lbs.), which is what you’d expect from this type of barbell.
It has a rust-resistant zinc coating.
But this isn’t a very durable finish for a barbell.
It’s certainly going to show oxidation over time – and maybe quite a lot.
Sabre Bar from Rep Fitness
The Sabre Bar is an example of a general purpose barbell.
The Men’s version of this bar is 28mm shaft diameter and weighs 20 kilograms (44 lbs.)
It’s rated for 1,000 lbs and has 16.5″ of loadable sleeve length (where the weight plates go.)
Here’s the vital specs.
A Women’s version is available that is only 25mm in diameter – and is therefore easier to grip for those with smaller hands.
(The Women’s version is also shorter – so you can’t load as much weight on the sleeves – there is just not as much room.)
The Sabre Bar is available with or without center knurl. We recommend center knurl if you are going to back squat a lot with the bar. If you mostly front squat, or lift Olympic style it can be a hindrance though.
The Sabre Bar has a zinc coating and 1 year warranty.
This would be a good barbell for CrossFit use – which often requires power lifting (squat, deadlift) and some amount of Olympic lifting.
Please note that this is a bushing bar.
The rotating sleeves use bronze bushings.
It will spin – but not as much as a “bearing” bar (we’ll look at those soon.)
Spin is important for Olympic lifting – but not as much for powerlifting. A bushing bar is plenty fine for power lifts.
How does the Sabre Bar compare to the Basic Barbell? The Sabre Bar is a BIG step up in versatility for not that much more money.
It’s also available in a black zinc version – for slightly more money.
Let’s look at a bar that is specialized for the Olympic lifts.
Gladiator WL Bearing Bar
The Gladiator WL Bearing Bar is specialized for Olympic lifting.
How so? It’s a bearing bar. That means that needles bearings are used (along with bushings) to ensure a super-smooth spin of the sleeves.
And that helps a lot with Olympic lifting.
Secondly, this bar has the amount of “whip” you want in Olympic lifting.
Stiffer bars that are specialized for powerlifting don’t have this – as you don’t want whip when you are squatting and benching.
The Gladiator bar is 20 kilogram (44lbs) and has a 28 mm shaft diameter.
The knurl is “medium” – so you can get a grip and keep it – but it won’t shred your hands.
The Gladiator is also available in a Women’s version – 15 kg, 25 mm diameter, etc.
The Gladiator bar has a hard chrome coating all over – and this will be significantly more rust-resistant as compared to the zinc coating used in the other bars.
Hard chrome is great too because it’s highly resistant to scratches and wear and tear.
Like to Olympic lift? If so, this bar is definitely your choice.
Of course you can use it for heavy powerlifting too – just remember it has whip that might be detrimental.
But, unless you are lifting very heavy weights – it probably won’t matter.
If you want less whip – there’s also a 28.5 mm shaft diameter version. That little bit of added diameter will cut down the whip considerably.
I will say I personally find Olympic lifting much, much more enjoyable on a good bearing bar (as compared to a bushing bar.)
Stainless Steel Gladiator WL Bar
Want the ultimate weightlifting bar from Rep?
The Gladiator bar is available in an all stainless steel version.
This offers great bare metal feel (there’s no coating) – but still offers awesome oxidation and rust resistance.
Of course, it’s more expensive – because of the materials used.
Besides being made from Stainless Steel, it has all the same features as the regular Gladiator bar.
28 mm diameter, needle bearings and bushings, 16″ loadable sleeve length, 20 Kg weight, etc.
The weight limit on this bar is 1,500 lbs. Not that you need that …
What do I recommend?
I’m in Florida – in a garage gym with no A/C.
I always get stainless steel whenever I can.
It’ll be worth it when the bar is looking great years from now…
Let’s look at one more specialized bar before we wrap up.
Rep Stainless Steel Power Bar V2
The Stainless Steel Power Bar v2 is meant for serious powerlifting.
In powerlifting, you don’t want any whip.
So this bar uses stiff stainless steel with a 29mm shaft diameter.
It also has a center knurl – to keep the bar firmly in place on your back.
This is especially helpful for the style of squat often used in powerlifting – the “low bar” squat.
It uses bushings – because there is no benefit to having bearing bar levels of spin for the power lifts.
Barbells from Rep Fitness – In Summary
Barbells are the primary tool of the weightlifter.
A good Olympic sized barbell can be used for a variety of exercises with lots of heavy weight.
And that is the most effective tool for building strength or muscle.
Some bars are specialized for heavy powerlifting (“power bars”) while others are specialized for the quick lifts of Olympic weightlifting – the clean and jerk and snatch.
But, there are bars that offer a compromise – and these sort of general-purpose bars might be the best choice for your home gym or garage gym.
Photo & Image Credits
All Rep Fitness product imagery is property of Rep Fitness, and provided by Rep Fitness.
Tim is the founder of FitAtMidlife.com – an avid gym rat for 30+ years, he’s a reviewer of many, many shoes – and founder of the Speed Bag Gathering – the world’s only gathering of speed bag punching enthusiasts. See more gym reviews at Tim’s YouTube channel.