5 Best Barbell Pads for Hip Thrusts & Squats in 2023

A racked barbell loaded with plates, with a black bar pad positioned in the middle

Hey, fitness fanatics! As I’m sure you’re well aware, having the right equipment is crucial for making the most out of your workout routine. But, let’s face it; some essential pieces of equipment tend to be overlooked, despite their importance for weightlifting exercises like squats and hip thrusts. Enter the barbell pad, a piece of foam that wraps around a barbell to soften the load for hip thrusts and squats.

As a certified personal trainer and an avid weightlifter, I’ve been lucky enough to put numerous barbell pads through their paces over the years. However, with the abundance of options available in 2023, deciding which one to invest in can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, as I’m here to give you the lowdown on the best barbell pads that are worth your consideration.

Whether you’re after added comfort during your workout or looking to avoid injuries, these barbell pads will undoubtedly provide the support you need. Trust me — I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to business and explore the fantastic world of barbell pads.

What Are the Best Barbell Pads?  

Iron Bull Strength Advanced Squat Pad – Best Overall

Best Barbell Pad - Iron Bull Strength Advanced Squat Pad


Incorporating innovative design for both comfort and quality, the Iron Bull Strength Barbell Pad showcases a distinct contoured shape, providing a custom fit on any standard or Olympic-size barbell. The top-of-the-line, thick foam material delivers an elevated level of cushioning and support, drastically decreasing the possibility of injury and enabling you to unleash your full potential. 


  • Less pain, more gains: Utilizing cutting-edge engineering, the Iron Bull barbell pad is specially crafted to alleviate neck and vertebrae pressure, allowing you to focus solely on your exercise routine without encountering any discomfort.
  • Durable: Built with endurance in mind, the Iron Bull barbell pad is expertly constructed using foam rubber that boasts multiple open and closed cell foam layers, ensuring shock absorption, supreme comfort, and a lower chance of injury.
  • Easy to use: The pad’s “quick-slip” design facilitates a straightforward, lightning-fast installation process, eliminating the need for straps. The Iron Bull pad remains firmly attached to the barbell throughout your routine, providing you with the reassurance to concentrate on your form.
  • Anti-slip design: The pad’s anti-slip matte finish minimizes slippage and enhances shoulder grip, delivering unmatched traction to give you complete control over your movements during each set.
  • Ergonomic: With an ergonomic design that distributes the barbell’s weight evenly across your shoulders, the Iron Bull barbell pad offers unparalleled relief from neck pressure while performing squats. Additionally, the advanced squat pad helps maintain proper form, eliminating any discomfort that may detract from your overall performance.



Bottom Line

The Iron Bull Strength Barbell Pad is the best barbell pad for anyone looking to maximize their workout potential while minimizing discomfort.

ProFitness Barbell Pad Squat Pad – Best Runner-Up

ProFitness Barbell Pad Squat Pad


Are you tired of performing squats or hip thrusts and feeling like a human pretzel? The ProFitness Hip Thrust Pad is a multipurpose, dependable, and necessary piece of equipment that will provide you with the support you need to dominate your lower-body workouts.


  • Less pain: You can put an end to the pain caused by issues with weight distribution by using these pads. These are made to uniformly distribute weight and fit most barbells, allowing you to comfortably do even the hardest squats and hip thrusts.
  • High-density foam: Avoid using inexpensive, fragile workout pads that provide little back or shoulder protection. For your comfort and safety, these pads are made of thick foam that is guaranteed not to flatten under big weights.
  • Easy slide-on design: The days of having trouble installing or removing your bar pad are over. This bar pad is one of the most practical on the market due to its easy-slide design, enabling you to spend more time crushing your workout.
  • Multi-exercise: The pad is ideal for several exercises, including squats, lunges, and thrusts because of its high-grip surface, which gives users additional control over the barbell and reduces impact.
  • Portable: Want to work out while you’re on the go? No issue! This bar pad may be easily transported in your gym bag because it is small, light, and portable and won’t add any more weight or bulk. Read more about what you should bring to the gym to make sure you’re prepared! 



Wrap Up

The ProFitness Barbell Pad is a must-have piece of equipment and is the perfect barbell pad to assist you to advance your lower body exercises whether you’re a seasoned gym goer or just getting started.

Dark Iron Fitness Barbell Pad – Best Value

Dark Iron Fitness Barbell Pad


This barbell pad’s extra thick, high-density foam offers your neck and shoulders the most support and cushioning during heavy lifting activities, lowering the possibility of discomfort, injury, or pressure spots. The pad’s length of 17 inches makes sure that it provides enough protection and support for a variety of movements.


  • Comfortable: This barbell pad is made to provide comfort when performing squats, lunges, and hip thrusts on your neck, shoulders, and thighs.
  • High-quality: The design includes premium, ¾-inch-thick foam to provide you with the most support and comfort possible while working out. It offers long-lasting resilience since it holds its form and won’t flatten quickly.
  • Several designs: There are many different designs with inspirational phrases available, which makes them unique from the other pads on this list.
  • Durable: Long-lasting synthetic leather keeps moisture on the surface for simple wiping because it won’t absorb sweat. The barbell pad is a sanitary option because it won’t develop smells over time.
  • Great customer service: Dark Iron gives high customer satisfaction and stands by the caliber of their barbell pads. They will send you a brand-new one for free if your pad ever breaks.



Bottom Line

Anybody looking to add comfort and support to their weight lifting, CrossFit, powerlifting, or other fitness routines at a reasonable price should check out the Dark Iron Fitness Barbell Pad.

ABMAT Hip Thrust Pad – Best For Hip Thrusts  

A man with a blue t-short and green shorts performing a hip thrust with a ABMAT Hip Thrust Pad


The ABMAT Hip Thrust Pad is a cutting-edge 6-layer foam construction that strikes the ideal mix between comfort and strength. When the barbell meets your body, the foam layers are strategically positioned to provide maximum comfort. 


  • Specifically made for hip thrusts: For optimal support and comfort during barbell hip thrusts and glute bridges, the unique design features six layers of foam that are carefully positioned. You can put an end to barbells gnawing at your hip bones thanks to this barbell hip thrust pad.
  • Versatile: The ABMAT Hip Thrust Pad is adaptable and not just for hip thrusts; it can also be used for knee protection when kneeling, lunging, box squatting, sit-ups, yoga, and other exercises. Its military-grade toughness is made to endure strenuous exercises and safeguard the cushioning on both sides, guaranteeing that it always looks brand new.
  • Made in the USA: ABMAT products are created in the United States using only the best components.



Bottom Line

For anyone who wants to get the most out of their glute exercise program, the ABMAT Hip Thrust Pad is essential. While performing barbell hip thrusts, this pad is made to be as strong and comfortable as possible. If you’re looking for the best hip thrust pad, this is a great choice. 

Manakulear Barbell Pad – Best Thick Barbell Pad

M. Manakulear Barbell Pad


With a thickness of 3.5 inches, this barbell pad is much thicker than other barbell pads on the market. Its extra thickness provides the greatest cushioning and support for exercises like bench presses, hip thrusts, and squats.


  • Extra thick foam: You can exercise comfortably thanks to the dense foam in this barbell pad, which measures 3.5 inches and has the capacity to both absorb and relieve pressure.
  • Range of motion: Because of its thickness, you can utilize it to decrease the range of motion in your bench press, which might be beneficial if you’re heaving and feeling pain at the bottom of the movement.
  • Simple to use: Just wrap this pad around the bar to use it right away. It’s a method that works well and is quick and simple. 
  • Secure: The push-pull design of this barbell pad has built-in velcro straps to hold the bar firmly and protect you. The barbell pad has thoughtfully constructed carrying straps that make it easy to carry or attach to a gym bag or backpack.



Wrap up

If you’re looking for a really thick pad for the most amount of comfort or to restrict your range of motion for certain exercises, the M. Manakulear Barbell Pad is a fantastic option.

What Are Barbell Pads?

A woman facing forward, with a barball resting on her shoulders showcasing a black, Iron Bull Strength Advanced Squat Pad

Barbell pads are padded foam or leather attachments that are wrapped around a barbell to give extra cushioning and comfort during weightlifting exercises like squats, lunges, hip thrusts, and other motions that call for the bar to rest on the lifter’s shoulders or hips. They are made to relieve pressure on the spine, neck, and other pressure points, which may be especially crucial for those who are sensitive to pain or who are healing from injuries.


Are Barbell Pads Good?

Bar pads are excellent for anyone who feels pain or discomfort when completing activities like squats, lunges, and hip thrusts. They are designed to act as a layer of padding between the bar and your body, alleviating pressure and pain. From personal experience, a bar pad can be an excellent solution if you’re experiencing discomfort while using a barbell.

Do You Need Padding for Hip Thrusts?

When performed without the correct cushioning, hip thrusts can be unpleasant and can cause quite a bit of pain. I’ve found that you can concentrate on your technique and get the most out of your workout by using barbell hip thrust pads. Although using a pad during hip thrusts is not strictly essential, it may improve your comfort level and lower the possibility of soreness or discomfort.

What Are Bar Pads Used for?

Bar pads are often used to make certain weightlifting exercises more pleasant, especially when using a barbell for complex movements like squats and hip thrusts. The pads are designed to be put on the bar, forming a cushion between the bar and your body to lessen pressure and pain.

Why Does the Bar Hurt When I Squat?

Your body is under a lot of stress when you squat, and utilizing a barbell without a pad may add to that tension, resulting in discomfort or bruises. By more uniformly distributing the weight, using a barbell pad may aid to lessen pain and discomfort.

Do Most Gyms Have Barbell Pads?

Most gyms will have a few bar pads but it’s usually a good idea to carry your own barbell pad to the gym, especially if you have a preference for a certain kind of pad or if you lift bigger weights.

Are Barbell Pads Necessary?

While bar pads are not technically required for lifting, they may be useful in minimizing pain and injury risk. When you lift big, especially for exercises like squats and hip thrusts, the bar may put a lot of strain on your shoulders, neck, and hips, which may be unpleasant or even painful. A barbell pad protects your joints and muscles and may assist in distributing the weight more evenly over your body, which can improve the comfort of your lifts and lower the chance of injury.

Is it Bad to Use a Barbell Pad?

Utilizing a barbell pad is neither bad nor detrimental to your lifting in any way. In fact, it may assist to lower the chance of injury and improve the comfort of your lifts. Some skilled lifters may choose not to use a pad because they like to feel the weight of the bar directly on their body. Overall, everything comes down to your preference and your degree of comfort and lifting technique.

Wrap Up

These barbell pads will improve your exercise regardless of your level of expertise with weightlifting and assist you in achieving your fitness objectives. Hence, if you’re looking for a new barbell pad, I strongly suggest considering one of these top 5 choices. You can become a fitter, stronger version of yourself with the correct tools and commitment.

If you have questions about barbell pads or fitness equipment in general, get in touch with our premium fitness experts at EverFlex. Book a consultation today!

Editorial Process:

Some of the links in this article could be affiliate links, which can provide us compensation at no cost to you if you decide to purchase equipment. These are products we personally stand behind. This site is not intended to provide personal health recommendations and you should connect with a certified trainer and/or doctor before doing new exercises with any new equipment.

Mike Hamlin | Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer

Mike Hamlin | Personal Trainer

Mike has been in the training industry since 2008 and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. His personal training philosophy is anchored in developing an effective mindset: Once you have a solid mental foundation to commit to fitness, you can achieve greater fitness goals. You can learn more about Mike on his training profile.

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