One thing a lot of newcomers to training with free weights get wrong is correctly counting the weight of the squat bars they use.
As a personal trainer, it's part of my introduction routine with clients, as wrongly counting the weight of different types of barbells leads to training mistakes and even potential injury.
The worst thing you can do is just count the weight plates and ignore the bar's weight.
So, to help you accurately get an idea of how much different Olympic bars and typical squat bars weigh, I did some research at a few gyms.
I checked the weight range for different types and collected that information to share with you.
- There are many different types of barbells, but there are mainly seven used as squat bars in most gyms.
- From safety squat bar to Olympic bar, the average weight is typically about 45 lbs.
- What you also may need to account for are other safety devices that are attached to the bars.
How Much Do Different Types Of Squat Bar Weigh?
Here are the weight ranges for the most commonly used squat bars.
Standard Squat Bar
The traditional squat bar weighs 45 lbs, and these are the typical 7-foot-long ones you see in most squat racks. They do come in slight variations of center knurling and even thickness.
You should also see the weight etched into the bar to confirm this for sure.
This squat rack bar is also commonly used for bench press, overhead presses, and deadlifts.
Olympic Squat Bar
An Olympic barbell will also generally have a standard weight of 45 lbs. This is a typical straight bar that is also 7 feet in length .
So how is this any different?
It all comes down to the design of the ends of the bars. An Olympic barbell will have rotating sleeves at the end. As a result, the bar will easily rotate as you go through different powerlifting moves.
And let's just say that you don't want to use a standard bar for Olympic-style lifting.
The standard weight for women's Olympic barbells is 35 lbs, which is dictated by the Olympic standards committee .
These bars are generally shorter at 6.5 feet and also a bit slimmer as well.
Some male beginners should possibly consider using these bars due to the lower weight. I know this might require some men to overcome their ego, but good form always trumps more weight.
They also have a rotating sleeve for powerlifting, just like the standard male one.
A hex or trap bar is very different from your typical straight barbell. It's one of the most specialty bars available, and it provides flexibility, especially for certain types of deadlifts.
Based on my research in several different gyms and on about ten different bar types, I found that the hex bar weight ranges from 35 lbs to 65 lbs. That means it's even more important to check the weight rating on these bars before you load them up.
Smith Machine Bar
Many of my clients that don't feel comfortable with completely free-standing squats usually head to a smith machine .
These have a barbell guided by rails, which means that it's less likely that you lose balance forwards or backward.
With Smith machine bars, I also found a lot of weight ranges depending on the brand and size of the machine.
I saw everything from 30 to 55 lbs, with the lighter ones typically on, the smaller Smith machine frames that attach to a wall.
Safety Squat Bar
Safety squat bars have a slightly different shape to the standard ones, and they are designed to bring the weight plates closer to the ground.
The result is that it's easier to maintain your balance with a safety squat bar.
They also have padding on the center to reduce the pressure on the shoulders.
All this design change adds more weight, and I found that they typically weigh about 60 lbs.
Multi-grip bars are typically shorter than a standard safety bar, and they offer athletes more grip flexibility when lifting weights.
Even though they usually work best for different types of bench presses, they can work well for squats.
Even though they are significantly shorter, the ladder design of the grip section makes up for some weight loss. These typically weigh about 40 lbs, but I've also found some that weigh up to 55 lbs.
Related Article: Best Squat Variations
Are There Other Things To Consider?
So, once you have checked the specification of the barbell, it's time to add weight plates to get to your required weight for the squat exercises you're doing. What some people who work with lighter loads need to account for is the possible weight of the safety devices like clips and locks.
The most convenient type I like using is the spring clips. They work great for all different kinds of weight plates, and they tend to be easier and faster to release in between sets.
Most of these only weigh a few ounces, but you can get some heavier ones designed for Olympic lifts with hundreds of pounds. If you use those large clips on a lighter load, then they could add another pound, and you'd want to be aware of that.
Locks tend to be more common with Olympic weight plates, and they function like a clasp. Most gyms these days use plastic locks, and they can work perfectly fine. The weight of these is low, and you won't need to account for it.
But if you lift low weights and the locks are made of metal, then they could end up adding a pound.
Related Articles: 10 Best Barbells For Your Home Gym
Should You Buy a Heavier Squat Bar?
No, you shouldn't always choose a heavier squat bar. While this might make sense for bodybuilders and performance athletes, most people could be better off with a lighter bar to have more flexibility with lower weight ranges .
Should Men and Women Use Different Weight Squat Bars?
Yes, men and women should use different weight squat bars. Most women will be working with lighter total weight ranges, and the lighter bar will give them a lot more flexibility.
Do You Know What Weight Your Squat Bar Has?
No matter how high your strength and fitness levels are, it's important that you fully understand what the total weight is on a bar before you start a squat.
From the safety squat bar to the hex bar, you'll find quite a wide range of weights.
Always check the weight if you're using a new bar. I've seen it too many times that people mess up their workouts, and in some cases, even risk injuries.