What size bar should I use for a deadlift? Well, this is greatly determined by your goals and considerations. For example, if you’re a competitor versus an everyday gym goer looking to lift heavy weights but nothing too crazy, the deadlift bars you choose will be different.
The reason for this is to accommodate the weight plates and have the appropriate tensile strength to withstand heavier weight loads.
There are many types of deadlifts, but the barbell deadlift is one of the most popular. It is used in many competitive events, such as powerlifting, to determine athleticism, power, and strength.
In this article, find out more about what size bar you should use for deadlifts, how much a barbell weighs, and what factors to consider before purchasing one!
Table of Contents
Types of Barbells & Differences in Sizes
There are multiple barbell options to consider, from the straight bar to the Olympic bar and deadlift bars to specialty bars, when choosing which is best for a deadlift. These pieces of gym equipment vary in barbell lengths and tensile strength, which can affect the quality and form of the lift. Keep reading to find out more about the different types of barbells!
Frequently used in weight training programs to lift heavy weights and improve rapid torque, the deadlift bar is more commonly used for the deadlift or front squat. It is used in powerlifting competitions, like the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA), but not all federations accept the deadlift bar for events.
More weight can be pulled with the deadlift bar thanks to its unique design of a greater bend and thinner shaft length, making it easier to maintain one’s grip strength, whether with a double overhand grip or hook grip. The bar bend is ideal for deadlifts as it lets the lifter pull the barbell up first to gain traction before lifting the weights off the ground.
Measurements of Deadlift Barbells:
- The standard length is about 90 inches,
- Tensile strength is measured at 165,000 – 190,000 Pounds of Force per Square Inch (PSI).
- Loadable sleeve length is about 15 inches.
- Weight is typically 45 lbs.
- The shaft size runs around 56 inches.
The hex bar, also called a trap bar, is a specialty barbell that is a fantastic opportunity for lifters to incorporate deadlift variations into their routine. The trap bar deadlift has been backed by studies to show its improvements in power, heavy lifting, and velocity for lifters, making it a great alternative to straight bar deadlifts.
The knurling pattern on a trap bar’s lower and upper handles makes it easier for lifters to maintain their grip. Plus, with a low or high handle grip, lifters can adapt their deadlifts to varying ranges of motion for a lighter or more challenging workout.
Measurements of Trap Bars:
- The standard length is about 56 inches.
- Tensile strength is measured at about 190,000 PSI.
- Loadable sleeve length is about 16.5 inches.
- Weight is typically 60 lbs.
Olympic weightlifting is a competitive event that tests athletes’ technique, power, and strength. The competition uses an Olympic bar, typically heavier, more durable, and thicker in diameter in the end sleeves. The event focuses on two lifts: the snatch and the clean to jerk.
Measurements of Olympic Bars:
- The standard length is about 90 inches.
- Tensile strength is measured at 135,000 – 150,000 PSI.
- Loadable sleeve length is about 16.1 inches.
- Weight is typically 44 lbs.
Power bars have many names, including the stiff bar, squat bar, and standard barbell. As the name suggests, powerlifting bars are commonly used in powerlifting competitions in events approved by federations like USA Powerlifting (USAPL) and the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). These bars are used for various barbell exercises, such as overhead presses, the bench press, and the back squat.
Squat bars are typically found on squat racks for lifters to prepare for a back squat or overhead press. The design of the stiff bar features center knurling, which is optimal for back squats to prevent the barbell from slipping off the lifter’s back during the exercise.
Measurements of Power Barbells:
- The standard length is about 86 inches.
- Tensile strength is measured at around 195,000 – 205,000 PSI.
- Loadable sleeve length is about 16-17 inches.
- Weight is typically 45 lbs.
- The shaft length is about 51 inches.
Factors to Consider When Picking A Bar For Deadlifts
There are some essential factors to consider when picking a bar for deadlifts. For example, if you’re a competitor, using a bar accepted by the federation running the event is crucial. Continue reading to learn more about what to keep an eye out for when choosing your barbell for deadlifts!
Deadlift Bars Length for Women
All bars are gender-neutral and used in powerlifting competitions and gyms. The only situation where a women’s bar is used is for Olympic weightlifting events, where snatches and the clean and jerk are the competing exercises between athletes. CrossFit also incorporates women’s and men’s bars solely because they incorporate Olympic lifts in their competitions.
Women’s Olympic barbell length is 79 inches. It weighs about 33 pounds and is 25mm in diameter. The collars are the same size as a men’s bar and can fit into a standard-sized squat rack.
Barbell Length for a Power Rack or Squat Rack
\When picking out a barbell, it’s important to consider the sport or lifts you are training for.
A standard barbell, or stiff bar, is about 7-8 feet and fits inside a squat or power rack. The standard barbell can be used for Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, and powerlifting. Completing exercises like deadlifts, squats, and bench presses are accessible with this barbell.
We recommend this barbell if you want versatile gym equipment that fits inside a power or squat rack. On the other hand, if you’re going to be competing in specific competitions that utilize a particular barbell, whether it be an Olympic bar or deadlift bar, then we advise picking that one instead.
Flexibility of the Bar
For deadlifts, it is recommended to use a bar that bends. This is because when the bar bends, it makes it easier for the lifter to get the weight off the floor.
The bar bends so the lifter can pull the slack out of the bar to create tension in preparation for the upcoming lift. First, the barbell bends, allowing the lifter to pull the bar up before lifting the heavy weights off the floor.
Not all bars have this bendability. One example would be the stiff bar. As the name suggests, this bar is not designed to bend, which creates more tension at the bottom portion of the lift. For some lifters, this is ideal as it can help the lifter strengthen the lower portion of the deadlift movement.
Exercises That Utilize the Barbell
Which exercises you will be using the barbell for is another important component to consider when picking your barbell.
For example, the Olympic barbell is best for snatches and the clean and jerk because of its rotation bar sleeves. This design feature, which allows the weight plates to spin fluidly, assists in limiting the force the bar exerts on the lifter to prevent injury.
The deadlift bar is primarily used for deadlifts because of its knurling pattern for grip and whip, which refers to the bar’s bend. Now, some lifters will use a stiff bar to train the lower portion of the deadlift movement. Foundations accept different bars for competitions, typically the stiff or deadlift bars for powerlifting events.
Accessory Work & Short Bars
If the barbells are not available, the short bar can come in handy for accessory work for deadlifts. These short barbells are also perfect if you have a home gym with limited space but you still want to get in the work at home!
There are different sizes of short Olympic bars, such as 4 ft, 5 ft, and 6 ft. The six-foot option is ideal because of its versatility and compact size that fits on a squat rack, while the four-foot bar is less versatile. The short barbell has a smaller sleeve length, meaning fewer weight plates loaded onto the bar; the shorter the bar, the less likely it will fit on a squat rack.
Sleeve Length & Tensile Strength
The sleeve length and tensile strength are other vital factors when picking out a barbell for deadlifts. To lift heavier loads and increase strength, picking a bar that accommodates that desire with a quality design is crucial.
In order of highest tensile strength to lowest: stiff bar, trap bar, deadlift bar, and Olympic bar. The same goes for sleeve length.
The lower tensile strength on the deadlift bar does not equate to being weak, as a bend in the bar is ideal for deadlifts. A competitive deadlifter who lifts weights up to 800 pounds or more will need a barbell high in tensile strength above 180,000 PSI. A lifter who does not compete or lift these incredulous weight loads will not require such a high PSI in tensile strength for their deadlift bar.
Why the Deadlift Bar Comes Out On Top
Deadlifts are one of the top full-body exercises to build muscle mass and hit the posterior chain. The barbell deadlift is one of the main variations of this exercise that incorporates the deadlift barbell for its specially-made design.
Benefits of Deadlift Bars:
- More aggressive knurling to maintain grip
- Designed for deadlifts
- Able to lift more weight
- Used in competitive events
- More whip to lift heavier loads
Top Deadlift Bar Recommendations
The deadlift bar is the ideal choice for deadlifts, uniquely designed for the specific exercise and for withstanding heavier loads. If you’re scouring the market for a top deadlift bar, check out these high-quality selections from brands favored in the gym equipment and fitness space!
Rogue Fitness Ohio Deadlift Bar – Top Brand
One of the most well-known brands in the gym and fitness space, Rogue Fitness’s equipment is used by CrossFit in their gyms and competitions. The Rogue Fitness Ohio Deadlift Bar is an excellent example of the high-quality material and design the brand is known for.
The deadlift bar has aggressive knurling marks for maintaining one’s grip. There are no center knurls in the design. It features a thinner diameter for grip and a more significant amount of flex specially designed for deadlifts.
- Has knurl marks for grip but no center knurl
- Generates a higher amount of flex for deadlifts
- 190,000 PSI shaft
- Thin diameter of 27mm for easy grip
- Length of 90.50” that fits within most powerlifting federation standards
- Uniquely designed for increased whip for deadlifts
- Includes sleeves with a quality snap ring construction
|Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar
|Black Zinc, E-Coat, & Bare Steel
|$345 – $375
The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar is a must-buy. There are three special design options to choose from to pair with its quality design. This deadlift bar is the perfect addition to your home gym for workouts or a commercial gym for everyone to enjoy using!
One of the top brands in gym equipment, Texas Power Bars, ensures only the highest quality finished product with made-to-order purchases.
The Texas deadlift bar is the official deadlift bar of multiple federations across 54 countries. It offers the ideal whip and knurling marks for grip for the deadlift, so you can bet you’ll hit new PRs with this bar!
- Made to order to ensure the highest quality final product
- The official deadlift bar of:
- American Powerlifting Committee
- The International Federations
- 54 countries with the Global Powerlifting Alliance for Raw Powerlifting
- The International Powerlifting organization for equipped powerlifting
- 92.5” length
- 27mm diameter (1 1/16)
- 20 kilos (44lbs)
- 18” sleeves
- 56” inside collars
- 32” hand space rings
- 190k tensile strength
- Aggressive knurl for grip
- No center knurl
|Texas Deadlift Bar
|Black Zinc Shaft, Chrome Shaft, & Bare Steel
Chrome Sleeve & Bare Steel Sleeve
|$345 – $395
The Texas Deadlift Bar is widely approved by federations worldwide for its spectacular design using high-quality materials. Whether for competitions, home gyms, or commercial gyms, this deadlift barbell is a purchase you won’t regret making!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Replace the Deadlift Bar With a Stiff Bar?
The deadlift bar can be replaced with a stiff bar. Some competitions incorporate the stiff bar over the deadlift bar. The stiff bar has almost no bend or whip. This means lifting the bar off the ground will be more challenging, and deadlifting heavier loads will be much more difficult.
Can You Use a Deadlift Bar in Competition?
Each competition has its own regulations to follow based on the federation running the event. For example, CrossFit incorporates Olympic barbells. Powerlifting competitions vary on whether the power bar or the deadlift bar is accepted for the contest.
It’s best to check the rulebook for the competition you’ll be entering to determine which will be used first, and then choose that barbell to train with to prepare for the event.
Should I Use a Thick or Thin Bar for Deadlifts?
A thin bar is best for deadlifts to maintain one’s grip during the lift. A thicker diameter bar is more difficult to keep hold of the bar. This can interfere with heavier lifts and cause the lifter to lose grip and fail a possible PR.
Should I Use a Long Bar or a Short Bar For Deadlifts?
Generally, a deadlift bar is around 7.5 feet. This is necessary to distribute the weight better so the lifter can pull the weight off the ground.
The weight plates should be further from the center of the bar so that the bar can establish a more significant bend or whip. This makes it easier for the lifter to pull the bar and then the weight plates off the floor to hit new PRs.