Olympic Barbell vs Standard Barbell: What Should you use for Home Gym!

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Written By Samarjit Sinha

Working out for 10 years | Has a home gym | CPD (UK) Certificate holder in Fitness

Olympic Barbell vs Standard Barbell – the Key Differences that You Should Know!

FeatureOlympic BarbellStandard Barbell
Weight Range20-25 kg15-20 kg
Bar Diameter28 mm25.4 mm
Sleeve Diameter50 mm28 mm
Shaft Length7.2 ft (2.2 m)6.6 ft (2.0 m)
Load Capacity750-1500 kg250-500 kg
Knurling PatternAggressiveModerate
Recommended UseWeightliftingGeneral Fitness
Compatibility with PlatesOlympic plates onlyStandard

The main difference between an Olympic barbell and a standard barbell is that an Olympic bar is designed for Olympic lifting. It has standardized dimensions of 7 feet and 20 kg and 50mm sleeve.

It is made from higher-quality materials and has rotatable sleeves that make it suitable for heavy weightlifting and certain compound movements.

If you want to be a professional then save money and get an Olympic barbell and weight plates instead of the regular barbell.

Olympic Barbell Vs Standard Barbell

On the other hand, a standard barbell is a lower-cost alternative that is suitable for exercises involving lighter weight loads.

And the standard 6 feet barbell is easily affordable to suit a home gym’s needs.

When it comes to length, weight, circumference, and whip, a standard barbell is usually shorter, lighter, and has a smaller circumference of 28 mm, smaller than an Olympic barbell.

The Olympic barbell is designed to hold a lot more weight than a standard barbell, making it ideal for Olympic lifts such as the snatch and the clean and jerk. Standard barbells, on the other hand, are better suited for exercises such as low-weight squats and bench presses.

PS: By low weight, I mean over 100 kgs. For someone working out in a home gym to stay fit 100 kg of squats is a good number.

However Olympic barbells are better quality than standard barbells and are designed for a longer lifespan.

This means that if you’re serious about Olympic lifting and progress to Lift heavier weights, it’s worth investing in an Olympic barbell.

But if you’re just starting out with barbell exercises and want a lower cost option, a standard barbell may do just fine for you.

Olympic Barbell vs Standard Barbell: What Should you use for Home Gym! 1


An Olympic barbell is typically 7.2 feet long, while a standard barbell is usually 4 to 6 feet long.

Kid’s Olympic bar is around 6 feet and weighs 10 kgs.

Olympic barbells usually have a diameter of 1.1 inches (or 28 mm) for the shaft, and 1.9 inches (50 mm) for the sleeves.


The weight difference between an Olympic barbell and a standard barbell is substantial.

Olympic barbells typically weigh 20 kgs, while standard barbells usually weigh around 6-7 kgs only.

While you need to add plates to reach 20 kgs with a standard barbell, the Olympic barbell would do without any weight.


The Olympic barbell is thicker at 28 millimeters compared to the standard barbell’s 25.4 millimeters.

This does not really affect any weightlifting capability though. If you want a strong grip then you should use fat grips on those bars!


An Olympic barbell typically costs more than a standard barbell. An Olympic bar will cost you around 7k to 20k+ INR. Depending on the quality and brand of the Olympic barbell the cost can even get higher.

Can you use Olympic Barbell at the home gym?

Yes, the Olympic barbell is suitable for use at home. It is a good investment for a budding home gym and obviously the better choice for serious lifters.

With Olympic barbells, you can lift heavier weights as you progress, meaning you can make more gains in your fitness journey. I would suggest you get a decent power rack

What are the benefits of using an Olympic Barbell?

They are more versatile and can be used for a wider range of exercises.

The advantages of using an Olympic barbell include:

  1. It provides a standardized size and weight capacity across the board, which is beneficial for competitive powerlifting.
  2. The sleeves are wider and can fit more weight.
  3. Its rotating sleeves reduce the amount of force felt during more explosive movements, like power cleans.
  4. Its longer length allows for larger weight stacks.
  5. Oly bars are more suitable for advanced lifters who want to lift heavier weights.

They are sturdier and more durable than standard barbells

The Olympic barbell is made of heavier-duty steel, is longer and wider, and has thicker sleeves.

This allows them to hold more weight, and the precision straightening and case hardening processes give the bar greater strength and longevity.

Also, the rotating sleeves are a main feature that contributes to the price as well.

Barbell Rows

They are more accurate and easier to control when lifting.

Someone might choose to use an Olympic barbell because they are more accurate and easier to control than standard barbells.

Olympic barbells have rotating sleeves, which helps reduce the amount of force felt during more explosive movements.

The sleeves also allow for a smoother and more consistent lift throughout the exercise.

This characteristic reduces the amount of torque made by the plates and prevents typical lifting injuries at the wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

Olympic barbells can hold higher maximum weights due to their balance, which is particularly helpful when performing movements such as the Clean and Jerk.

All of these features provide users with a safer and more accurate form of weightlifting.

I have done clean and jerk with regular barbells and it felt weird.

They are Made for weightlifting competitions

Olympic barbells are better suited for weightlifting competitions because they are specifically designed for Olympic weightlifting exercises such as the snatch and clean & jerk.

So if you want to be a pro then you should get Oly bars for home gym.

Then you will be training in a standardized way for the competition from your home gym already.

Some Olympic bars like squat bars have center knurling

The center knurling of an Olympic barbell is a benefit for weightlifters because it provides a secure grip and helps to prevent the bar from slipping down their back during powerlifting moves such as squats.

Aggressive knurling may scratch your back though.

They are more likely to produce muscle growth

The heavier capacity of the Olympic Barbell allows for heavier lifting and the spinning sleeves help reduce the amount of force felt during explosive movements like power cleans.

Due to their heavy weight and high load capacity, it opens the door for you to lift more.

More weight lifting means more strength and muscle.

Olympic Barbell vs Standard Barbell: What Should you use for Home Gym! 2

What are the benefits of using a Regular Barbell?

  1. Versatility: Standard barbells are versatile tools that can be used for a wide range of strength-training exercises, including squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and more.
  2. Muscle Development: Using a standard barbell allows for compound movements, which target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, facilitating effective muscle development.
  3. Cost-Efficiency: Standard barbells are generally more affordable than their Olympic counterparts, making them accessible to individuals on a budget.
  4. Home Gym-Friendly: Due to their compact size and affordability, standard barbells are suitable for home gyms where space and budget constraints may apply.
  5. Beginner-Friendly: Standard barbells are often recommended for beginners due to their simplicity and ease of use, making them an excellent choice for those new to strength training.

How to Pick a Barbell?

First, decide if you want to go for a regular barbell or an Olympic barbell then you should decide as per the following: Barbell Finish, Knurling, your experience and goals, and budget.

Types of Barbell Finish

Evolv Barbell 6 feet

There are four main barbell finishes: bare steel, chrome, black oxide, and zinc.

Bare steel bars have the most aggressive knurling and offer the best grip, but they also rust more quickly.

Chrome bars are less prone to slipping due to their less aggressive knurling, but they offer less protection from rust. Zinc and black oxide last the longest and provide the best protection from rust, but they are also the most expensive.

Cerakote and stainless steel are the most damage-resistant finishes and offer excellent levels of protection, however, they may be more costly than the other finishes.

I fancy a red Cerakote finish barbell- sigh out of my budget 🙁


Knurling on an Olympic barbell

Knurling is a textured, crosshatch pattern on the bar shaft of barbells that provides a secure grip and allows lifters to maintain a firm hold on the bar.

Different bars have different knurling depths and patterns, from light and smooth to deep and sharp.

Some are known as volcanoes, diamond patterns etc.

Light knurling is suitable for lighter exercises, while deeper and sharper knurling is better suited for powerlifting and Olympic lifting.

Having a center knurl on the barbell is beneficial for exercises like squats, as it helps prevent the bar from slipping from your back.

On the other hand, it can be uncomfortable or irritating to the skin when doing multiple reps.

It is important to choose a barbell with the appropriate knurling that meets your needs and preferences, as it is a key factor in the lifter’s ability to safely and effectively exercise.

Experience Level and Fitness Goals!

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter, there are a variety of sports and fitness activities to consider.

If your goal is to just stay fit then a regular barbell is enough.

But if you want to train in a standard way or go for lifting competitions then you should opt for Olympic barbells for your home gym.

What is Your Budget?

A regular 6 feet barbell hardly costs 1000 rupees where as an Olympic barbell will cost around 6k at least. Oly barbell will need 50mm weight plates as well.

Why Olympic Weights are the Best

Barbell vs Dumbbell for Home Gym

Olympic weights have a standardized inner diameter, meaning they always fit an Olympic barbell.

Olympic barbells are heavier and can handle more weight, making them ideal for heavier lifts.

Furthermore, Olympic barbells are longer, allowing for more weight to be stacked on them. Finally, Olympic barbells are mandated by the International Weightlifting Federation for all Olympic weightlifting competitions.

This ensures all competitors are using the same standardized barbells during competition. All these features make Olympic weights the best barbell to use.

Which type of barbell should you choose?

When it comes to cost, standard bars are generally more affordable, while Olympic barbells are more expensive. Standard bars are also more portable due to their smaller size, while Olympic barbells are longer and heavier, making them harder to transport.

In terms of performance, Olympic barbells provide more control and stability, making them the better option for Olympic lifts.

They also have a higher weight rating, meaning they can handle heavier loads. However, standard bars are still suitable for most people who are just starting to lift weights or who are lifting moderate to heavy loads.

In conclusion, when deciding between an Olympic barbell and a standard barbell, you should consider your budget, experience level, and lifting goals.

Olympic barbells are more expensive and designed for advanced powerlifters and weightlifters, while standard bars are more versatile and suitable for beginners and intermediate lifters.

About The Skinny Author

Author HomeGymindia.in

Working Out for 10 years | Owns a home gym |Certificate course done on Improving Aerobic Fitness, Diet | CPD (UK) Accredited Certification on Fitness

Yo Friends, this is Samarjit! A skinny guy who is building his tiny home gym.

I have successfully gained 10 kgs in 10 months going to commercial gyms. And I have been working out on and off for about 10+ years now.

I have gone swimming, done martial arts, Olympic lifts and body-building-type workouts!

I canceled the gym subscription as I was more into making my home gym for workouts. And getting ready, then getting my cycle and ride to the commercial gym seemed a drag after 10 hours in the office.

Thus, I needed a home that I could access at any moment!
And I started building my home gym!

I had to research a lot to build my home gym and decided to share effective, budget-friendly home gym machines, and nutrition to buy as per your goals here in homegymindia.in

If you have question then contact me here

Ps: The author is highly experienced with making small workout routines, understanding and guiding people to get gym equipment, and setting up the home gym as per their Fitness goals.

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