If you’re like most people, your squat numbers are higher than most of your other lifts, to even include some of your “bigger” lifts (like the bench press…except for those of you skip leg day on the reg!)
As much weight as you’re moving though, you probably want to move even more.
Enter the world of “specialty” squat bars.
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How Much Does a Squat Bar Weigh: Decoding the Crucial Factor for Effective Workouts
Knowing the exact weight of various barbells will help you to better plan and track your leg day training sessions while incorporating a Safety squat bar or a cambered bar into your routine might help take your squat numbers to the next level.
We’re going to take a quick look at these items; by the time we finish, you’ll never feel so ashamed for skipping leg day!
What Is the “Standard” Squat Bar Weight?
A “standard” squat bar (not to be confused with those old school, broom stick-like, plastic barbells), often colloquially referred to as an Olympic barbell, is designed for performing squats and other common lifting exercises. Its grooved section, called knurling, provides grip and helps with proper hand placement during lifts.
A standard squat bar is usually around 2.2 meters (7 feet) long and has a diameter of 1 inch (25mm) to 28mm. With these dimensions, It differs from certain other types of bars, such as Safety squat bars and specialty barbells, in terms of length, diameter, and the number of plates it can accommodate.
When it comes to weight, the standard squat bar typically weighs 45 lbs (20kg) for men and 35 lbs (15kg) for women. This weight does not include the added weight plates (go figure!) or collars/clips. It’s important to know exactly how much your bar weighs since, unlike each weight plate, “45” or “35” isn’t (normally) clearly engraved on every barbell.
Keep in mind that, while these are common weight standards, there are also lighter bars, like the 33-pound (15kg) training barbell, and heavier bars, such as the squat-specific bars that we’ll cover later in this piece.
Most gyms, including commercial and private ones, stock standard squat bars for both men and women. Some popular brands that manufacture these bars include Rogue Fitness, Eleiko, and York Barbell. Unfortunately, your typical bro gym/globo gym is likely to “cheap out” and will not have the (oftentimes expensive) Rogue or York barbells or the (oftentimes very expensive) Eleiko barbells on the floor.
(guess you just gotta start your own, home or garage gym if you want to get your hands on these bad boys!)
Are There Specialized Bars for Squatting Exercises?
Specialized bars, as the name suggests, are designed for specific exercises or training goals. Unlike most Olympic barbells, which can be used for a variety of exercises, specialty squat bars cater to particular needs or squatting-related exercises. These bars can differ in terms of their shape, grip, weight distribution, and overall design.
Specialized bars serve various purposes that cater to different training goals. Some bars, like powerlifting (or “power”) bars, are specifically designed for performing heavy squats in powerlifting competitions. On the other hand, the Safety squat bar’s specially-designed handles reduce strain on the wrists, shoulders, and lower back, making it easier to maintain proper form during your squats.
The weight, design, and use cases of specialized squat bars can vary greatly. To give you an idea:
- Weight: Specialty bars can range in weight, with some bars being relatively lighter or heavier than the “standard” Olympic barbell.
- Design: Specialty bars can offer features like cambered shapes, adjustable grips, or padded yokes.
- Use Cases: Specialty bars cater to a wide range of training goals – from rehabilitating injuries to targeting specific muscle groups or addressing individual physical limitations.
Here are a few examples of popular specialized squat bars and their weights:
Safety Squat Bar: This bar typically weighs between 45-65 pounds (20-30 kg) and has a padded yoke, along with handles at the front. This design creates a secure and comfortable grip for squats. Safety squat bars allow you to perform squats with better stability, improving your form, and lowering injury risk.
Pros: Reduced strain on upper body, ergonomic design, suitable for those with shoulder or mobility issues
Cons: Bulky size, may alter squat mechanics (really not good!)
Cambered Squat Bar: This bar has a slight bend in the middle section, which changes the weight distribution and bar path during squats. Cambered squat bars can weigh around 45-85 pounds (20-38 kg) and are often used for variations in squat depth and technique. Cambered bars (also commonly known as “football bars”) are also popular as specialty bench press barbells.
Pros: Engages different muscle groups, increased range of motion
Cons: Requires proper technique, may feel unstable at first
Powerlifting Bar: Powerlifting (or “power”) bars are designed specifically for heavy lifting in the “Big 3” (squats, bench presses, and deadlifts). These also work well for “powerlifting-adjacent” movements like overhead presses. Typically weighing 45 pounds they have a denser knurling (to include the iconic center knurl) to provide a better grip during high-intensity lifts. Powerlifting bars are also slightly stiffer than bars designed for the Olympic lifts, which reduces the whip effect during heavy squats.
Pros: Versatile, sturdy, suitable for heavy weights
Cons: May cause shoulder discomfort for some people
NOTE: While we could discuss “speciality” bars like the trap bar, the Smith Machine bar, deadlift bars (which technically can be used for squats), these bars are typically not classified as “specialty” squat bars.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s not often that we get so much interest in squatting movements! As such, let’s take a few more questions.
This is definitely something you need to be careful with. While some "non-standard" barbells are pretty easy to recognize (ex. Safety squat bar; cambered bar) others (women's standard barbell, power bar) aren't as easy to recognize on first glance.
Unfortunately, you have to do a bit of work before you start grippin' and rippin'...if you don't want to end up with an unusually light barbell or one that is trying hard to spin right off your back!
In most cases, the Safety squat bar weighs significantly (5-25 pounds) more than other Olympic barbells. At these higher weights, an empty Safety squat bar definitely feels heavier than other common barbells.
Weight clips certainly add to the overall weight of the combination of weight plates and barbell. However, most weigh so little that they are not often included in the overall total weight of a lift in competition.
Get Squattin’…or Else…
I get it; squatting can be tough.
The bar is heavy. Your legs get sore. The load can feel scary!
…so try a Safety squat bar. Or a cambered bar.
Hell, if it comes to it, I encourage you to squat in the Smith Machine!
At this point, at least you’ll know how much these bars weigh (you have made it through this entire article, after all!) You may as well give ’em a try!