best barbells

Barbell: Test & Reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

With barbells, muscles can be trained in a completely different dimension. Our experts have evaluated various barbell tests exclusively for you and put together a detailed comparison.

Questions to Consider Before Buying A Resistance Band

What are barbells?

Fitness enthusiasts are increasingly practicing their sport within their own four walls. What could be more suitable than strength training with a barbell or a barbell set?

The barbell is one of the oldest and most popular sports equipment for building muscles with targeted strength training. With a dumbbell set, professionals as well as beginners can build muscle optimally. A barbell in connection with a well thought out training plan enables a balanced whole body workout.

If you compare barbells and dumbbells with each other, the barbell is the better and more effective alternative for rapid muscle building. Barbells are lifted with both arms, which in turn means that no stabilizing muscles are used. In this way the strength can be invested in lifting the weights.

This in turn means that the exercises can be performed with higher weights. If you also opt for a curved curl bar, you also protect your wrists.

Barbells are not only suitable for pure strength training. Most strength athletes, however, use the barbell for traditional biceps training.

It does not matter whether you are already at an advanced stage of muscle training or have just decided to start strength training, with the barbell you are choosing a piece of sports equipment that will intensify your training. This can lead to faster muscle building.

Some of the most popular exercises with the barbell are performed on the weight bench. These include pressing, bending, or crunches. In addition, the barbell is used in interval training, which is a determining aspect of power workouts such as bodypump.

It doesn’t matter if you do your workout at home or at the gym. What is certain is that pumping with a barbell will steel your entire body. If you combine this with, for example, endurance training, you will see more effective muscle building.

How does a barbell work?

Barbells are mostly offered in a set consisting of the barbell and the weights contained in the set. The barbell is divided into a middle and an outer part. The bar is held in the middle part during the exercises. Unlike the dumbbell, most barbell models are not padded. With heavy use, blisters or calluses can develop. The weight plates are attached to the two outer parts.

A barbell set usually includes the barbell and two weight plates. So that the weights cannot slip off the barbell, they are attached to the bar with a clip lock or a collar lock. For beginners who are not yet trained in using the barbell, rubberized star fasteners are often recommended. The rubber gives the weights additional slip resistance. However, the closures are very difficult to open.

Barbell bars are usually marked with a maximum weight. If the maximum weight exceeds the value of the weight plates supplied, additional weights can be ordered as accessories. In addition to general strength training, a barbell set can also be used in combination with a dumbbell set. Beginners in weight training are advised to use protectors to protect the shins so that no injuries can occur if the dumbbell slips.

The bending and lifting exercises form the basic framework of the barbell exercises. The greatest effect in terms of muscle growth is achieved with exercises like squats and load lifting. Hardly a balanced training plan can do without these exercises. Pushing and snapping weights already falls into the advanced strength athlete category.

These exercises trigger a strong CNS activation, which means that the central nervous system is used or stressed. Many strength athletes fail especially with these exercises because they are mentally no longer able to handle the weights correctly, although there are still strength reserves.

In addition to muscle strength, an effective barbell training also determines the optimal control of the muscles. Even with the bodybuilding and machine exercises that were often carried out in the past, this cannot be trained. In order to train effectively with the barbell, the nervous system and muscles must work together.

The most challenging form of barbell exercise is snatch, but because there is more load to move, the push is generally considered to be the heavier exercise.
The squat is the best exercise for building maximum strength for jumps or sprints. When the nervous system and muscles play together, the most optimal movement is created.

Advantages & areas of application

Barbells have been one of the most popular training devices for strength athletes for many years. There is hardly an athlete who doesn’t have them at home. The reasons are certainly the advantages of this training device.

A barbell is particularly suitable for beginners in the field of muscle building, because the coordination of the movements is secondary in the exercises. Since the barbell is very light with a dead weight of 2.5 to 10 kg and the weight plates can be varied, there is the possibility for beginners to start training with small weights. Women in particular often only start with the barbell.

If the strength increases over time due to the beginning muscle building, the barbell can gradually be equipped with more weights. The amount of weights is determined by the maximum weight of the barbell. Certain models allow a total weight of up to 60 kg.

Because the barbell is lifted with both arms, the weight can be individually adjusted for each application as the muscle build-up increases. The barbell is the ideal training device for at home. It can not only be used for effective full-body training, but also for targeting individual muscle groups.

Areas of application for the barbell

Keywords when training with the barbell are maximum strength, speed strength and coordination. These are terms that every athlete knows, for example, because these athletes also expand their fitness with targeted barbell training. For some sports, barbell training is essential. For example, national and club teams train in rugby with the barbell.

German and Scandinavian handball teams strengthen their arm muscles with specific barbell training. In Scandinavia, this type of training was adopted by ice hockey players. In the meantime, successful training with the barbell is carried out in the youth and junior departments in German handball. In general, hockey teams use barbell training to improve their athleticism by regularly working with barbells.

In rowing, barbell exercises such as squats, repositioning, snatching and lifting weights dominate. The targeted muscle building has resulted in competitive successes in recent years that speak for themselves. Hardly any sport today can do without barbell training if it wants to have a say in the fight for the top places. Teams that do not do this training are often more prone to injury and perform poorly.

The training with the barbell can be done at home as well as in the gym. In combination with a dumbbell set, you can also build muscle effectively within your own four walls. A well-established training plan, with which all desired muscle groups are addressed and the necessary discipline, will quickly lead even a beginner to his desired figure.

What types of barbells are available?

No strength athlete forego training with the barbell. There are good reasons for this, because the various exercises can be used to perform targeted full-body training. It is also possible to train certain muscle groups such as the biceps.

Barbell sets are divided into two categories. On the one hand there is the straight, classic barbell, on the other hand the barbell with what athletes call it, the SZ bar. Some dealers offer complete dumbbell sets, which include the straight and SZ bars, dumbbells and the corresponding weights.

But what is the difference between the barbell and the SZ bar?

The straight barbell
The straight barbell is also called the classic one. It has been used since the invention of the barbell. Some special, particularly effective ones have been created for training with the barbell. The most popular exercises with the barbell are the classic bench press that every strength athlete does regularly. The barbell is also suitable for rowing, bending and lifting. All of these exercises are also called powerlifts.

When training with the straight barbell, a high load is placed on the upper arms. As a result, the results become visible more quickly. When doing exercises with the straight barbell, however, the wrists are very stressed.

The SZ pole
The SZ bar is also called the SZ bar or curl bar. In contrast to the straight barbell bar, the bar on the SZ barbell is zigzag-shaped. As with the straight barbell, the weights of the curl bar are interchangeable. Training with the SZ dumbbell puts significantly less strain on the wrists than with the straight dumbbell.

This is due to the fact that the thumbs are in a vertical or horizontal direction on the barbell during the exercises. This will minimize stress on the wrist tendons and forearm muscles. If you buy the curl bar in the dumbbell set, you should note that the weights are included in the delivery.

What do I have to look out for when buying a barbell?

Barbells are an essential training device not only in the gym, but also for training in your own four walls. The strength athlete has countless exercises to choose from with a barbell, as these devices can be upgraded with a very high weight. If you are looking for a new barbell, there are a few points you should keep in mind so that you can enjoy your barbell for a long time.

Straight barbell or SZ bar?

When choosing the barbell, you can opt for the straight, classic barbell bar or the SZ bar. The SZ bar has a serrated shape. Due to the SZ shape, there are other grip options, which on the one hand relieves the wrists and on the other increases the variety of exercise options.

According to the recommendation of the training scientists, you are doing everything right if you decide on a barbell set consisting of a straight and SZ bar and, at best, two dumbbells. That would be the right equipment for an effective training.

In order to be able to use an SZ bar in all its variety, you should also decide to buy a weight bench with a shelf. Your upper arms are fixed on the shelf during training, which guarantees, for example, effective biceps training.

Purchase criteria of the barbell

Barbell bars are offered with a diameter of 30 mm as the standard model or 50 mm as the Olympic model. On the one hand, this must be observed if you already have a dumbbell set, because if both bars have the same diameter, the weight plates can be used for both devices. On the other hand, the decision depends on the size of your hands. The bar has to be good and firm in your hand so that it cannot slip away from you.

In addition, the length of the barbell is not without importance. You can purchase dumbbell bars in different lengths. If the exercise room in your apartment does not offer you much space, you will certainly tend towards a shorter barbell. Nevertheless, in order to keep the range of exercises broad, you should opt for a longer barbell.

One of the most popular barbell exercises is dumbbell rolling. This trains shoulders and torso. To properly train your trapezius, you need a wide grip that you can only get with a longer barbell.

In addition, your height is decisive for the length of your barbell. The taller you are, the wider your arms will be. An adult who is between 1.70 meters and 1.85 meters tall should make sure that the inside dimension of their barbell is at least 1.20 to 1.30 meters.

You should also pay attention to the length of the barbell. The area of ​​the barbell in which the weights are attached is called the recording length. If the recording length is at least 30 cm, you have enough options to equip the barbell with weights.

Where is the best place to buy my barbell?

There are countless ways to acquire a barbell. You can of course buy a barbell in a specialty store or you can buy it online.

Purchase in specialist shops
A purchase in a specialist retailer is associated with a considerable expenditure of time and means a lot of “running around”. You have to go to the various specialist shops and have all the barbells shown and explained to you. Then you should compare the barbells with one another and possibly go back to the first store to buy the barbell.

However, it is not only the effort that is problematic, but also the price of the dumbbell, because the seller in the specialist trade can usually not make you a cheap offer, as he only buys a limited number of dumbbells and therefore has to sell them at high cost. You also lack the choice in specialist shops, because you will not find all barbells here. Specialist dealers have mostly specialized in a few manufacturing companies and their offerings are limited to these companies.

It therefore remains questionable whether you will find the right barbell for you here. Finally, you must also transport the purchased barbell with the associated weights home. So very complex.

Buying on the Internet
Nowadays a purchase on the Internet is easier, faster and mostly cheaper. Here you have a wide selection of barbells from various manufacturers. If you know exactly which barbell you want, then with just a few clicks you can find the desired product with a suitable dealer in your area or online. If you do not yet know which barbell is individually suitable for your needs, then you can find out about all the dumbbells on the market on the Internet.


Independent test portals offer a detailed explanation with all advantages and disadvantages. Customer reviews can also be viewed online with just a few clicks. A clear advantage over buying from specialist retailers. In any case, you will find the right barbell for you on the Internet and you can compare and weigh up comfortably from your armchair. Here, online, you also have the advantage that you are shown the cheapest offer. Bargain hunters get their money’s worth here.

Even discontinued models are available online, a shortcoming of many specialist dealers, who mostly only stock the latest models. If you decide to buy in the online shop, you have another advantage. The dumbbell will be delivered to the address of your choice, often free of charge. Services and manufacturer warranties are identical to those offered by specialist retailers when buying online. So for understandable reasons, the trend is towards online purchases, so you hardly have to think about it.

Barbell vs. Dumbbell

For a long time, athletes and coaches have asked themselves whether a barbell is better or more useful than a dumbbell for muscle building or strength training. The advocates of the barbell as well as the dumbbell can refer to the respective successes and strengths here.

However, this is mostly just a personal experience. Both types of dumbbells have advantages and disadvantages because they can be used for a variety of strength-enhancing exercises. The usefulness of both types of models for increasing forces is therefore beyond question.

The aspects of barbells and dumbbells at a glance

Both types of dumbbells should be considered when exercising. If they are used during training, the trainee quickly notices when the respective use is effective and useful. The individual types of training units for building muscle are crucial here, as is the athlete’s experience. Both types of dumbbells have their right to exist.

The trainee decides for himself individually, according to his feelings, what he gets along better personally. Everyone has to answer this question for themselves, because both types can be used individually when building muscle.

The pros and cons of the dumbbell


  • Since each arm is addressed separately, it is easier to keep the repetitions
  • coordination skills are trained
  • the sequence of movements resembles the natural arm movements
  • it is possible to counteract muscular imbalances (imbalances)
  • Dumbbells allow a wide range of exercises
  • smaller dumbbell sets are often offered very cheaply.



  • Since many beginners put too heavy weights on, they get problems with the compensatory muscles
  • better suitability for advanced users, as there is already a basic feeling for stability and technology
  • Egokiller, as many beginners cannot handle the excessively high weights.

The pros and cons of the barbell


  • Barbells are less demanding in the area of ​​coordination, this is easy to implement for beginners
  • You can do more repetitions with a barbell because you can access it with both hands
  • fewer stabilizing muscles are targeted, so more weight can be lifted
  • Overall, more weights fit on the bar of the barbell
  • it is ideally suited for countless exercises
  • In general, a barbell is more suitable than the dumbbell, especially for beginners.


  • In the case of an unclean, unreflected exercise, the heavy weight that fits on the barbell can lead to considerable back problems
  • if the weight cannot be lifted out of the muscle, some people swing their backs – the goal and purpose of a barbell are no longer fulfilled
  • the learning goal before using the barbell should always be a technically perfect lift – this is especially true for beginners in strength training
  • Coordinative skills are less encouraged with barbells than with dumbbells.

Useful accessories

Athletes who buy a complete weight bench set are not faced with the question of which accessories they still need. But it looks very different when buying a barbell.

Optional accessory for a barbell
Dumbbells are ideal for training at home. If you only choose a certain set of barbells, you will usually only receive the barbell with weights and fasteners.

But then only free barbell exercises can be performed. Special exercises such as B. the bench press require additional equipment. For bench presses, you can find various types of weight benches as accessories.

Especially when training at home, a storage mat should be available to protect the floor when putting down the heavy weights (often made of iron or cast iron). It is also worth purchasing special storage devices for storing the dumbbell and weights.

For the “bench press” exercise, it is recommended to mount an appropriate dumbbell rest so that the barbell can be safely put down for the breaks between the rounds. So the list can be expanded infinitely. The accessories trade offers everything to do with weight training.

Frequently Asked Questions: Barbells

Why buy a barbell at all?

A barbell bar is an essential part of any gym. With such a barbell you can train numerous different muscle groups and perform exercises. A home gym is not really flexible without a barbell bar. A barbell is essential for the classic bench press. Exercises such as the deadlift, barbell rowing or the popular military press can only be performed with such a barbell.

Who is a suitable for a barbell?

The barbell is ideal for all athletes who want to build strength and muscles. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner, an advanced or a professional.

What must be considered when buying a barbell?

When buying a barbell, you should definitely pay attention to the quality and dimensions of a barbell. An important factor is the weight of the bar itself. Barbell bars usually weigh between 15 and 20 kilos. Alternatively, they can weigh around 10 kilos. The weight is very important for the stability and thus also for the safety of the barbell. A high quality barbell bar is made from one piece of steel. The product descriptions can be very important here.