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How to Maintain Olympic Bars

Why is Barbell Maintenance Important?

There are two things in a weight room that are always being beat up and are treated roughly—Barbells and Dumbbells.   From chalk build-up to rust, barbells need your attention on a regular basis.

How often this occurs depends on the climate it is kept in and how regularly the barbells are used. For example, sports performance facility in a hot climate may have to carry out preventative maintenance more frequently. This will also depend on the quantity of barbells. It may not be realistic to clean all the bars in one go, so cycling them may be a good idea.

Rust is the bad guy in this story that we want to combat. People sweat and steel rusts; combine the two and you end up with a rusty bar. Most manufacturers will attempt to overcome this by coating the bar with different coatings (black oxide, chrome or zinc as an example).  You’ll still need to maintain these bars if you want to get the most out of your investment.

Following these steps will allow you to maintain your barbells in the condition you received them in, or as close to this as possible! This includes an efficient spin, decent knurling and the shine!

What You’ll Need

What you will need to preform maintenance: stiff nylon bristle brush, WD-40, 3-in-One Oil, cleaning rags.

Top 3 Tips to Keep Your Olympic Barbell Rust Free

1. If you use Chalk—clean it up!!!

Ideally cleaning the chalk out of the knurling would be done daily or after every use. To do this use a stiff nylon bristle brush to go along the knurling of the bar until the chalk is gone.

The reason it is important is that you use chalk for absorbing the moisture on your hands. Therefore, when left on the bar, the chalk is absorbing any humidity and holding it on the steel, which means: rust.

2. Wipe Down Your Weight Lifting Bar

Wiping down your barbell is a simple way to maintain bar. How often you need to do this will vary depending on the volume you run through your facility.  At minimum once a week for most facilities should work.  

This part of the procedure should be performed after the brushing of the bar: Use a light coat of WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil. WD-40 works because it is a water displacer and dries pretty quick. Spray it onto a rag, wipe down the whole bar and leave overnight, then wipe it down again.

3. Check the Sleeve of the Barbell

Most bars have oil impregnated bearings or bushings, therefore you do not need to oil them. Some bars now have small oil holes in the sleeves, allowing you to drop oil (NOT WD-40) into them, this allows the sleeves to spin freely. Doing this once or twice a month, is ideal. Make sure to wipe away any excess that may have leaked from the sleeve.

Barbell Storage

How you store your barbells is also an important factor to consider in maintaining your barbell.

Don’t be a lunkhead, strip your bars!!  Bars are built tough, but they aren’t designed to hold weight at all times.  Give them a break, take off those plates.

Barbells can be stored horizontally on the rack (unloaded of course), on a wall frame in a horizontal position, or in a bar stand.

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