Evaluating a Lifting Bar

Type of bar

Olympic Bar: Olympic bars will be a bit whippy, and will have Olympic knurling/ring marks spaced for the Oly lifts. These bars will be more expensive than powerlifting bars, as they have to have a high PSI rating to cope with the dropping/have a whippy+strong metal characteristic making the metal processing more difficult.

Powerlifting/General Bar: These bars will most likely not be whippy, as you do not want it to whip on your back while doing rep work on squats and bench. Most people will want to use this bar, as most gym bars have powerlifting knurling marks. There are also bars with both powerlifting and olympic knurling marks. These typically fit the Sports Performance market best. They are durable (many facilities are doing lifts directly off of the floor) and since you are training Athletes not Olympic Lifters the whip effect (most Division 1 athletes cannot taken advantage of this feature) is less important than durability

PSI rating...not capacity (lb ratings)

Look for PSI ratings when buying a barbell, and not lb ratings (which are extrapolated from PSI ratings.) These PSI ratings are yield strength/tensile strength ratings. These are the readings where the bar will start to PERMANENTLY deform. Bars…especially whippy Olympic bars will deform before this rating, but will hopefully bend back to their original spec.

The lb rating (example 1500 lb bar) only represents what weight a bar will bend at in a supported position (example on one of our racks), but that is not how bars are used and thus the PSI rating gives a clearer definition of the quality of a bar. Remember not all 1500 lb test bars are the same,,,,


Olympic and range from 5-7 feet in width. However, one would need to get one that is 6 to 7 feet if you want the bar to fit in a cage/Olympic bench. As for knurling dimensions, ideally you would want to look for a bar that has both PL/OLY knurlings.

Another important criteria is how thick it is. Normally, lower quality bars are 1.5” thick because they need the thickness to make up for their lack of material/processing quality. All our bars are between 1 1/16” and 1 ¼” in thickness due to higher quality material and manufacturing.


The sleeve of a bar is the 2” diameter area when the plates rest. These are connected in multiple ways, snap pins or bolts. Bolts are the least expensive way and thus typically represent a lower quality bar.

WE DO NOT SELL BARS THAT ARE BOLTED, they don’t fit the sports performance market.

The following are specs for our bars:

Bar Name and Mfg.
Troy Barbell by Troy
Power Squat Bar by Solid Bar
Midwest Power Bar by Solid Bar
Super Pro Elite Bar by Solid Bar
Texas Power Bar by Troy
Power Bar by Troy
Regular Ivanko Bar (IPF approved)
**Stainless Steel Ivanko
or Eleiko IPF
LB Rating
1200lb Rating
1500lb Rating
1800lb Rating
1500lb Rating
PSI Rating
130K PSI
140K PSI
165K PSI
185K PSI
185K PSI
200K PSI
210-200K PSI
$149 FOB
$240 FOB
$275 FOB
$350 FOB
$450 FOB
$240 FOB
$650 FOB

**For reference, this bar bent when loaded with 900lb and dropped 3ft.