9 Best Functional Fitness Barbells in 2024

Author: Ihor Shymechko (26 years of Oly Lifting & Training experience)

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (Olympian with 21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

Functional fitness consists of dynamic, functional movements that are performed mainly as a HIIT type of workout. It utilizes your full body and takes you through multiple panes of motion and training styles.

Whether you’re training or competing, picking the best functional fitness barbell is important. With the huge increase in popularity, multiple brands are offering functional fitness equipment featuring different designs, materials, dimensions, and unique features.

I've provided one of the most comprehensive functional fitness barbell reviews by breaking down my top 9 choices in detail so you’re able to make the right choice for your home gym setup.

 In a hurry? 

In a hurry?

In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Elite Rogue 45lb Ohio Power Bar.


At the top of my list for the best fitness barbell is the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. It's similar to the Rogue 2.0 barbell with some added features that make it an excellent barbell choice for functional fitness.

9 Best Functional Fitness Barbells

Top 9 Best Functional Fitness Barbells Reviewed

ProductTotalSteel QualityTensile StrengthKnurlingVersatilityValue for Money
Rogue Power49109.59.51010
Rogue IWF48.510109.59.59.5
Titan Fitness47999.59.510
Eleiko46.5109.59.598.5
Rogue Pyrros469.599.599
Rogue Bella Bar469.599.599
REP Fitness Technique45.5999.599
REP Fitness Gladiator45.5999.599
Valor Fitness4498.598.59

I’ve ranked the best barbells for functional fitness according to the most important factors when considering biomechanics and performance. Take a look at the summary table below: 

Rogue 45lb Ohio Power Bar

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 45 lbs
  • Length: 86.52"
  • Diameter: 29 mm
  • Shaft Length: 51.1"
  • Knurling: Deep + Aggressive
  • Knurl Marks: IPF Markings
  • Weight Limit: 205,000 PSI
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25" - 16.875"
  • Finish Type: Stainless Steel; Bare Steel; Black Zinc

Founded in 2006, Rogue Fitness is one of the world's leading manufacturers of strength and conditioning equipment including barbells, racks, weights, and accessories.

They supply equipment to the functional fitness games, Arnold Strongman Competition, and USA weightlifting, priding themselves on serving the needs of athletes at every level.

 Preforming Rogue 45lb Ohio Power Bar

photo by @ben.troxell

At the top of my list for the best functional fitness barbell is the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. It's similar to the Rogue 2.0 barbell with some added features that make it an excellent barbell choice for functional fitness.

Made in Columbus, Ohio, the Ohio barbell is constructed using a steel shaft, snap ring design, and high-quality bronze bushings for the sleeves to give you a smooth but solid bar feel. With a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI for the bare steel finish, the bar delivers superb rigidity with hardly any whip. This makes it well-suited for powerlifting-type fitness movements that require a stiff bar throughout the lift.

The 29 mm diameter steel shaft features a fairly aggressive knurling pattern, with single powerlifting marks and center knurling for maximum grip. The deep, coarse pattern helps you to maintain contact with the bar without being too sharp or abrasive on the skin.

If you want to customize the feel and finish of the Ohio Power Bar, Rogue has you covered. The zinc option has a black shaft with bright sleeves and provides great resistance to corrosion. The bare steel finish gives you a classic feel and look whilst the stainless steel variation is a good combination of the two.

The Ohio Power Bar weighs 45 lbs and has a 16.25" loadable sleeve length at either side. The shaft measures 51.5" long which takes the overall bar length to 86.52".

Overall the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is a solid functional fitness barbell choice if you're focusing more on powerlifting-type movements. It’s constructed to take a beating, has different finish options, and contains quality bronze bushings to provide a smooth bar movement.

49Expert Score

The 29 mm diameter steel shaft features a fairly aggressive knurling pattern, with single powerlifting marks and center knurling for maximum grip. The deep, coarse pattern helps you to maintain contact with the bar without being too sharp or abrasive on the skin.

Steel Quality
10
Tensile Strength
9.5
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
10
Value for money
10

Positives:

  • High-quality bronze bushings give you a solid, smooth bar feel

  • Rogue has included three bar finish options, allowing you to customize according to your grip preference

  • The deep, coarse knurling pattern is designed to keep a strong bar grip without being too abrasive on the skin

Could be better:

  • The more aggressive knurling pattern isn't as well suited to more dynamic Olympic lifting movements where the bar needs to travel through your hands

2. Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bar - Best Olympic Weightlifting Bar

Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bar

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Length: 86.6"
  • Diameter: 28 mm
  • Shaft Length: 54.1"
  • Knurling: Non-aggressive Pattern
  • Knurl Marks: Olympic Markings
  • Weight Limit: 215,000 PSI
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25"
  • Finish Type: Bright Zinc

The Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bar is my runner-up functional fitness barbell choice, combining durability and performance to give you a fantastic competition-certified barbell.

Like my top pick barbell, the Olympic weightlifting bar is manufactured in Columbus, Ohio. It’s constructed using high-quality stainless steel and boasts a tensile strength of 215,000 PSI meaning it should be able to handle 1000+ lbs with ease.

performing Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bar

Rogue has used a similar process used in aviation and automobile manufacturing, friction welding the 28 mm sleeves to create a superior-quality bond. Compared with other joining techniques, friction welding helps to maintain sleeve integrity by allowing a more precise join. Each sleeve contains five needle bearings, providing a smooth spin and allowing you to get under the bar easier when lifting. Alongside this, they help to reduce the amount of wrist and elbow stress commonly experienced when turning the bar.

During manufacturing each barbell is ground, polished, and rigorously tested to ensure a smooth finish and create the correct amount of whip needed for Olympic lifting. Once completed, the bright zinc finish offers great oxidation resistance.

With Olympic knurl marks and a non-aggressive knurling pattern, the Rogue Olympic Weightlifting bar is great for dynamic fitness movements where the bar needs to move through your hands at speed.

Whilst not all functional fitness Olympic barbells feature a center knurl, the inclusion of one here helps keep a balanced hand placement when lifting.

Being an IWF-approved barbell, the weight and dimensions are exactly as you would find in a competition. It weighs 44 lbs, has a 16.25" loadable sleeve length, and measures 86.6" long.

Overall, The Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Bar would make a brilliant addition to your home gym setup, being purposely designed for Olympic-style functional fitness movements. It’s well suited to dynamic, fast lifting patterns and is IWF-approved meaning it's great for competition lifters.

48.5Expert Score

Like my top pick barbell, the Olympic weightlifting bar is manufactured in Columbus, Ohio. It’s constructed using high-quality stainless steel and boasts a tensile strength of 215,000 PSI meaning it should be able to handle 1000+ lbs with ease.

Steel Quality
10
Tensile Strength
10
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
9.5
Value for money
9.5

Positives:

  • The friction welded sleeves create a durable, great-quality bond that doesn't wear down as easily compared to other joining methods

  • The Olympic-style, non-abrasive center knurl mark helps you to keep the bar balanced during dynamic fitness movements
  • IFW competition approved makes it a great home gym addition for competition lifters

Could be better:

  • More bar finish options would be great and allow you to customize the bar feel according to personal preference

Titan Fitness Economy Olympic Barbell

  • Material: Cold-rolled Steel
  • Weight: 45 lbs
  • Length: 86.75"
  • Diameter: 30 mm
  • Shaft Length: 51.75"
  • Knurling: Medium Texture
  • Knurl Marks: Dual Multipurpose
  • Weight Limit: 700 lbs
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25"
  • Finish Type: Chrome

Titan Fitness manufactures and sells a wide range of high-quality health and fitness products including strength equipment, strongman gear, endurance accessories, and apparel.

The brand aims to be involved in every step of the production sale process and make sure every customer is 100% satisfied with their experience and end product.

If you’re on a budget and want to buy a barbell that doesn't break the bank, Titan Fitness has you covered. It’s my top-budget functional fitness barbell choice, coming at a fraction of the cost of some of the other barbell choices on my list.

Titan Fitness is well known for producing excellent budget fitness equipment that doesn't sacrifice quality. Whilst their equipment may not have all the added features, it still does a great job for most gym goers.

Their Economy barbell is made from cold-rolled steel making it harder compared to hot-rolled steel. This gives it up to 700 lbs of weight capacity, plenty for most normal and elite-level functional fitness lifters. It has a chrome finish meaning you'll be able to see some imperfections but this is just cosmetic, not something to worry about where lifting is concerned.

The Titan Fitness Economy Olympic bar has 8" center and 16" side knurling, with a diamond pattern that offers a good grip without feeling too aggressive. Unlike cheaper bar choices that sometimes weigh and measure less, it’s 44 lbs, has 16" loadable sleeves, a 52" shaft, and a total length of 86".

Overall, Titan Fitness has designed a fantastic budget functional fitness barbell choice that has a decent weight capacity, enough knurling to maintain a strong grip and comes at a fraction of the price as many comparable barbells.

47Expert Score

If you’re on a budget and want to buy a barbell that doesn't break the bank, Titan Fitness has you covered. It’s my top-budget fitness barbell choice, coming at a fraction of the cost of some of the other barbell choices on my list.

Steel Quality
9
Tensile Strength
9
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
9.5
Value for money
10

Positives:

  • Constructed using cold-rolled steel which increases bar durability compared to other inexpensive production methods

  • It’s built to Olympic standards which allows you to get a feel for Olympic lifting without spending too much money

  • The 700 lb weight capacity is much bigger than more comparable cheaper barbell choices

Could be better:

  • The 30 mm bar diameter may make the bar uncomfortable for those with smaller hands

Eleiko Performance Weightlifting Bar

  • Material: Swedish Steel
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Length: 86.61"
  • Diameter: 28 mm
  • Shaft Length: 54"
  • Knurling: Medium
  • Knurl Marks: Weightlifting
  • Weight Limit: 3307 lbs
  • Sleeve Length: 16.3"
  • Finish Type: Chrome

Founded in 1957, Eleiko creates precision-crafted equipment which includes barbells, weights, and accessories. They have the brand purpose to help make people stronger for better performance in sports and life.

Their equipment is designed to perform and built to last, with a promise of quality and gear that's built to last a lifetime.

performing Eleiko Barbell

The Eleiko Performance weightlifting bar was designed by Eleiko as a premium, cheaper alternative option to their IWF training and competition weightlifting bar.

Compared to its more expensive counterparts, the performance bar offers the same functionality. It's constructed from Swedish steel using a proprietary blend and in-house finishing process resulting in an extremely durable barbell with a huge tensile strength of 215,000 PSI.

Eleiko tends to use three different knurling patterns on their bars, with the performance bar using the lower medium knurling depth. Being an Eleiko product, it's still fairly aggressive giving you a firm grip without tearing into your skin like a cheaper barbell knurling might.

Each sleeve has four precision needle bearings which have been cleverly designed by Eleiko so they stay lubricated for longer. This helps to increase the bar’s durability by reducing the frequency of maintenance required. Another clever sleeve feature is the addition of dust seals, helping to keep dust out and lubricant in.

Overall, if you’ve got a bigger budget, the Eleiko Performance Bar is worth the extra cost. It's extremely durable, rigorously tested, and comes with some premium design features.

46.5Expert Score

It's constructed from Swedish steel using a proprietary blend and in-house finishing process resulting in an extremely durable barbell with a huge tensile strength of 215,000 PSI.

Steel Quality
10
Tensile Strength
9.5
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
9
Value for money
8.5

Positives:

  • The knurling pattern used by Eleiko offers excellent grip whilst not being too abrasive on the skin

  • The performance bar has many of the same specs as its more expensive IWF counterpart

  • The sleeve dust caps are a clever addition and help to increase the barbell’s durability

Could be better:

  • It’s the most expensive barbell choice amongst my picks which might be too much for some athletes

5. Rogue Stainless Steel Pyrros Bar - Best Technical Bar Design

Rogue Stainless Steel Pyrros Bar

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Length: 86.6"
  • Diameter: 28 mm
  • Shaft Length: 54"
  • Knurling: Aggressive
  • Knurl Marks: Olympic
  • Weight Limit: 200,000 PSI
  • Sleeve Length: 16.3"
  • Finish Type: Chrome; Stainless Steel

Taking the spot for the best technically designed bar is the Rogue Pyrros bar. It was made during a collaboration with Pyrros Dimas, a former Olympic champion and technical director for USA weightlifting. With multiple gold medals and over 40 years of weightlifting experience, Pyrros knows what a high-quality competition weightlifting bar needs to look like.

Like the Rogue IWF bar in my runner-up position, the Pyrros bar is certified by the IWF meaning it is constructed to the exact standards specified by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). It’s 44 lbs, has 28 mm diameter sleeves, and measures 86.6 long. The Pyrros bar has a tensile strength of 200,000 PSI which is in the good range for competition barbels.

 performing Rogue Stainless Steel Pyrros Bar

The barbell is constructed from stainless steel with an F2 rating, meaning it's designed to take a good beating. Rogue has given you two finish options which are chrome and stainless steel. Whilst the stainless steel comes at an extra cost, it will give you more rust and corrosion protection.

One of the best features of the Pyrros bar is the customization process used when designing the knurling. Several test patterns were used during the design process before Pyrros and two members of the USA weightlifting team chose a fairly aggressive knurling finish. A center knurl was included on request to help with the overall bar balance when lifting.

Overall the Pyrros bar is a rigorously designed, IWF-certified barbell that would be great for Powerlifting-style fitness movements. The technical oversight used in the design process can be felt when using the bar in training or competition.

46Expert Score

The barbell is constructed from stainless steel, meaning it's designed to take a good beating. Rogue has given you two finish options which are chrome and stainless steel. Whilst the stainless steel comes at an extra cost, it will give you more corrosion protection.

Steel Quality
9.5
Tensile Strength
9
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
9
Value for money
9

Positives:

  • An in-depth design process has been used at every step of manufacturing with Pyrros and multiple USA weightlifting members heavily involved

  • The five sets of precision needle bearings made in Germany offer excellent bar spin

  • F2 steel rating gives the bar excellent durability

Could be better:

  • The stainless steel finish comes at an extra cost on top of the higher price point

Rogue ‘The Bella Bar 2.0’ Barbell

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Length: 79.13"
  • Diameter: 25 mm
  • Shaft Length: 53.13"
  • Knurling: Passive Knurling
  • Knurl Marks: Multipurpose
  • Weight Limit: 200,000 PSI
  • Sleeve Length: 13"
  • Finish Type:Chrome; Matte Black; Stainless Steel

Rogue’s ‘Bella Bar 2.0’ is easily one of the most popular 33 lb women’s barbell choices, seen in multiple functional fitness locations and home gyms around the world. It’s specially designed for women with smaller hands with a 25 mm shaft grip and lower bar weight.

The Bella Bar 2.0 was named after the Rogue founder's dog, Bella. Her likeness has been nicely printed at the end of the barbell sleeves.

What makes the Bella Bar 2.0 stand out is its overall versatility. It’s great for functional fitness, general training, and powerlifting-type movements making it a great choice for different gym goers and athletes. The Bella Bar is constructed from stainless steel giving it a true, natural grip feel and excellent oxidation resistance. It has a good tensile strength of 200.000 PSI and can be purchased in five different finishes - Stainless Steel, Black Stainless Steel, Black Zinc, Cerakote, and E-coat. With an F6-R rating, the Bella Bar 2.0 is designed for heavy commercial fitness use meaning it will easily stand up to home gym use for multiple people.

Performing Rogue ‘The Bella Bar 2.0’ Barbell

photo by @jdaviscota


If you want to customize it functional fitness style - Rogue offers Tia Clair-Toomey and Katrin Davidsdottir bars with graphics designed by the champions themselves.

Each bar is machined in Columbus, Ohio, USA, with bronze composite bushings and the standard Bella Bar end caps. This gives the bar a good amount of spin for both Olympic lifts and Powerlifting movements like deadlifts and squats.

In terms of knurling, the Bella Bar features a passive pattern that allows you to still feel the texturing without being overall aggressive. There is no center knurl on the bar which makes it even more popular with functional fitness athletes. It has dual knurling marks - one for International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and one for International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standards.

The bar length is 79.13" which is typical for smaller women’s bars. This still leaves 13" of loadable sleeve length which is enough space for plenty of plates.

Overall, the Bella Bar 2.0 is a brilliant womens functional fitness barbell choice for women, with multiple customizable options and great bar dimensions and weight for smaller lifters.

46Expert Score

The bar length is 79.13" which is typical for smaller women’s bars. This still leaves 13" of loadable sleeve length which is enough space for plenty of plates.

Steel Quality
9.5
Tensile Strength
9
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
9
Value for money
9

Positives:

  • Multiple customizable bar finishes and athlete branding options

  • Barbell dimensions designed specifically for women with smaller hands and lighter barbell needs
  • The passive knurling with no center knurl is ideal for dynamic Olympic fitness lifting

Could be better:

  • The black zinc coating is prone to wear over time, revealing the gray steel beneath it

7. REP Fitness Technique Barbell - Best Short Bar (Technique Bar)

REP Fitness Technique Barbell

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 15 lbs
  • Length: 72"
  • Diameter: 28 mm
  • Shaft Length: 54"
  • Knurling: Light/ Medium
  • Knurl Marks: IWF and IPF
  • Weight Limit: 200 lbs
  • Sleeve Length: 9"
  • Finish Type: Black Zinc

Founded in 2012, REP Fitness started with two brothers who had a passion for health and fitness. They aimed to make quality fitness equipment at affordable price points for all levels of gym goers.

After growing their company over the last 10 years, they now manufacture racks, weights, barbells, strength gear, storage equipment, and accessories.

If you’re looking for a learning barbell to practice technique before moving on to the big boys, the REP Fitness Technique bar is a perfect choice. It’s intended to practice the different lifting elements being made from aluminum with a maximum weight capacity of 200 lbs.

The bar weighs 15 lbs and measures 72" long, with 54" of shaft length in between. It features light/ medium knurling with dual IWF and IPF marks helping you to practice even hand placement alongside other techniques. The knurl is just right for lighter load training without worrying about it hurting your hands with higher volume work.

The REP Fitness Technique Bar has sleeve bushings giving you a decent amount of spin without being too fast, making it well-suited for training. REP Fitness offers a chrome bar finish, with bright zinc on the shaft and black zinc on the sleeves.

Overall, the REP Fitness Technique Bar is fantastic for Olympic Lift functional fitness training, with dual knurling marks, a lighter bar weight, and the correct amount of sleeve spin.

45.5Expert Score

The bar weighs 15 lbs and measures 72" long, with 54" of shaft length in between. It features light/ medium knurling with dual IWF and IPF marks helping you to practice even hand placement alongside other techniques.

Steel Quality
9
Tensile Strength
9
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
9
Value for money
9

Positives:

  • The dual knurling marks are well-suited to learning the correct hand placement when training

  • The lighter aluminum bar weight is great for fitness beginners who are learning the basics and need a progressive training approach

  • The barbell is compatible with standard squat racks despite being much lighter than conventional barbells

Could be better:

  • The addition of more customizable options such as sleeve finish would be a good idea

8. Rep Fitness Alpine Weightlifting Bar - Best Stainless Steel Bar

The Alpine bar is extremely durable and has an impressive 1500 lbs weight limit. If you want an exceptional stainless steel bar for functional fitness training, this is the one for you.

Rep Fitness Alpine Weightlifting Bar

  • Material: Steel or Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 44.1 lbs
  • Length: 86.6’’
  • Diameter: 28 mm
  • Shaft Length: -
  • Knurling: Medium-depth
  • Knurl Marks: IWF Standard
  • Weight Limit: 1500 lbs
  • Sleeve Length: 16.3’’
  • Finish Type: Hard chrome, stainless steel, black chrome shaft with hard chrome sleeves

The hybrid needle-bearing sleeve construction is exceptional. REP incorporated standard needle bearings with special inner-ones, which resulted in an extremely smooth, consistent rotation. You can always count on a flawless performance with this bar.  

Knurling is medium-depth and volcano-style. It’s a great blend of comfort and functionality, because you can get a solid grip without the knurling being too aggressive to your hands. 

There are several finishes to choose from - hard chrome, stainless steel and black chrome. REP also added some premium touches, like the laser etchings of the bar’s name and weight on the inside of the sleeves and metal end caps with unique designs. It’s obvious that a lot of attention to detail went into designing this bar. 

You won’t have much to complain about, unless you’re not easily annoyed by noises during your workouts. The grooved sleeves of the Alpine Bar produce a somewhat loud noise during use, so that may be a little distracting.

Other than that, this is a fantastic piece of equipment. 

45.5Expert Score

Whilst appearance wise it looks fairly simple, it's designed to perform rather than just look good. It combines a stainless steel construction with needle-bearing sleeves that have a ribbed design to keep the plates in place when lifting.

Steel Quality
9
Tensile Strength
9
Knurling
9.5
Versatility
9
Value for money
9

Positives:

  • Smooth rotation

  • 3 finishes available
  • Comfortable knurling

Could be better:

  • Grooved sleeves produce a loud noise during lifts

Valor Fitness OB-DL Deadlift Bar

  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Weight: 45 lbs
  • Length: 90.5"
  • Diameter: 27 mm
  • Shaft Length: 56"
  • Knurling: Aggressive
  • Knurl Marks: Powerlifting
  • Weight Limit: 1200 lbs
  • Sleeve Length: 7.5"
  • Finish Type: Powder Coated

Founded in 2006, Valor Fitness is committed to serving the needs of beginner to elite fitness professionals who are looking for quality equipment that performs. They manufacture strength and conditioning equipment that includes racks, sleds, barbells, weights, and accessories.

The Valor Fitness OB-DL Deadlift Bar is an extra long 90.5" barbell with a 56" shaft length and a thinner 27 mm diameter. These factors combine to give you a barbell with better flex and whip that's easier to grip, ideal for lifting a heavier weight off the floor.

Constructed of high-quality steel, the bar has a tensile strength of 165,000 PSI and a weight limit of 1200 lbs, plenty for beginner to high-level functional fitness lifters. The aggressive knurling pattern on the barbell shaft is great for more powerlifting-type functional fitness training where you need the bar to stick firmly to your hands throughout the whole movement rather than moving through your hands.

Valor Fitness has included knurl marks 7.5" from the shaft center which doesn't feature knurling. Each barbell collar measures 2.5", with etched sleeves to help keep the barbell plates in place and quality bushings.

Overall, the Valor Fitness OB-DL Deadlift bar is the best longer barbell choice for functional fitness deadlift training. It features a longer, thinner shaft design with aggressive knurling and a 1200 lb weight capacity.

44Expert Score

The Valor Fitness OB-DL Deadlift Bar is an extra long 90.5" barbell with a 56" shaft length and a thinner 27 mm diameter. These factors combine to give you a barbell with better flex and whip that's easier to grip, ideal for lifting a heavier weight off the floor.

Steel Quality
9
Tensile Strength
8.5
Knurling
9
Versatility
8.5
Value for money
9

Positives:

  • The increased barbell length gives better whip and flex for deadlift fitness training

  • Strategically placed knurl marks for deadlifting with no center knur
  • The thinner shaft diameter helps to increase grip strength when lifting

Could be better:

  • Not suited for more dynamic lifts - mainly a specialist barbell type for deadlifts

What is a Functional Fitness Barbell?

Barbells used for functional fitness are usually very similar to Olympic barbells, meaning they have similar characteristics and offer similar benefits when using them. However, they do have some added characteristics that make them better suited for the types of movements most commonly performed.

Functional fitness consists of high-intensity, functional lifting patterns where you lift in a dynamic motion using your full body. Movements are often performed consecutively and use high repetition sets or circuits-like training. Functional fitness lifts include snatches, cleans, front squats, back squats, overhead squats, and pressing movements such as the bench press, push press, and overhead press.

Compared to other barbell types, here are some of the most common features seen on fitness Olympic barbells:

Man Prepearing Before functional fitness With Barbell

Weight and Dimensions

Functional fitness barbells typically weigh 44-45 lbs (20 kg) for men’s bars and 33-34 lbs (15 kg) for women’s bars. The barbell may state lbs or kg depending on where and how the bar was made.

In terms of dimensions, men’s fitness barbells tend to measure 2.2 m (7.2 ft) long, with the bar grip diameter measuring 28 mm (1.1" ). Women’s fitness bars are shorter, measuring 2.01 m (6.6 ft) long, with a smaller 25 mm (0.98" ) grip diameter. This is to help women grip the bar due to their smaller hand size commonly seen.

Both men’s and women’s functional fitness bars have outer sleeve ends that are 2" in diameter, designed to fit Olympic but also standard weight plates.

Knurling

Knurling refers to the cuts on the barbell shift, with different patterns and amounts of knurling depending on the barbell function. Different barbell types will have different areas of knurling depending on how the lifter needs to set up their hands i.e for powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or functional fitness.

Due to the large variety of movements involved, fitness barbells tend to have knurling throughout the whole range from light - super aggressive. Light knurling is great for dynamic movement where the bar needs to move through your hands when lifting whilst the more aggressive knurling is designed for the barbell to stick to your hands throughout the movement.

Most functional fitness bars don't have a center knurl to avoid the knurl tearing up your throat when performing cleans or over similar functional fitness movements.

Using Barbell

Bar Sleeves

Bar sleeves refer to the ends of the barbell where the weight plates are loaded or unloaded. They are attached to the shaft via bushings or bearings, which change the suitable lifting use.

Bearings use multiple balls or rods that spin independently allowing the shaft and bar end to move smoothly. They allow for a fast bar spin but may require additional maintenance as they aren't a single-piece construction.

Bushings are made with a single piece of brass or bronze which increases the durability meaning they are typically the ones used in functional fitness barbells. The increased durability allows the bar to be dropped or used repeatedly for high-intensity functional fitness workouts without breaking.

Bar Finish

Bars are coated with different finishes to prevent rusting, change the grip feel, and alter the appearance. Typical finishes include chrome or zinc plating.

Stainless steel/ chrome provides the maximum amount of rust protection and is easy to maintain but reduces the knurl feeling when gripping the bar. Bare steel is great for knurling but increases the chance of the bar rusting.

Zinc finishes offer good rust resistance but reduce the natural steel feeling. Common finishes include black or bright zinc.

Women Performing functional fitnessBar

Barbell Types

Whilst there are several different barbell types available to purchase, I've summarized the main three so you’re able to see the differences when you're looking to purchase one for functional fitness.

These are standard barbells, power bars, and weightlifting/ Olympic barbells:

Standard Barbells

  • Multipurpose
  • Normal/ recreational lifting
  • Standard knurling amount and pattern
  • Some lifting rotation
  • Medium bar whip

Weightlifting Barbells

  • Designed for weightlifting and Olympic lifts
  • Mainly used for functional fitness such as fitness
  • Knurling varies depending on the movement you’re performing
  • Fast sleeve rotation
  • Offers great bar whip

Power Barbells

  • Mainly designed for powerlifting/ heavy lifts for competitive or serious lifters
  • Aggressive knurling amount and pattern to maintain a strong grip
  • No bar whip to reduce the difficulty when lifting the bar off the floor

What are the Benefits of Using Functional Fitness Barbells?

Barbell exercises should make up the backbone of your training program whether you’re a functional fitness athlete, recreational lifter, sports performance athlete, or professional lifter. Barbells provide multiple benefits and can be used for a host of exercises including the big three lifts - the squat, deadlift, and bench press.

Tips From the Champ

More specifically when looking at functional fitness barbells, the main benefits are the durability and versatility of the bar. Functional fitness workouts include a combination of high-intensity functional movements performed with little rest which include snatches, cleans, jerks, presses, and pulls. When performing these movements, the barbell needs to take the repeated impact over a short period meaning it has to be durable.

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Durability

Functional fitness barbells are made from high-quality steel, meaning they take a beating. With this comes a high tensile strength meaning they often have weight capacities far beyond what most of the athlete population can lift.

Alongside this, they are finished with protective rust-proof coatings including zinc, stainless steel, and sometimes Cerakote.

Barbell Waighting For Using

Versatility

With a wide variety of functional fitness exercise choices, functional fitness barbells offer an excellent range of design features allowing you to use the correct choice specifically designed for that exercise.

Functional fitness barbells using light knurling are best for exercises where the bar needs to move through your hands during the movement. More aggressive knurling is best for more power-type exercises such as the deadlift.

The bronze bushings typically used on functional fitness bars reduce joint stress, make the sleeve easier to load, and increase the barbell's durability compared with using bearings.

What to Look for in Functional Fitness Barbells

When deciding what to purchase out of the best functional fitness bars available online, here are some things to look out for:

Steel Quality

Due to the high-impact nature of functional fitness, steel quality is one of the most important things to check when choosing a barbell to purchase. Most brands will list the type and quality of steel used in the bar construction.

Stainless Steel is the most durable steel type, requires little maintenance, and is resistant to corrosion. Swedish and Alloy Steel are also good choices if the barbell has a decent finish such as Zinc or Cerakote.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength refers to how much the barbell can handle under tension without breaking. The higher the tensile strength, the more tension the bar is capable of handling.

When purchasing a suitable barbell, look for one with a tensile strength of over 170,000 PSI. This is high enough to handle enough weight for elite-level powerlifters meaning it's great for functional fitness training where lower weights are used.

Squating With Barbell

Knurling

The correct amount of knurling depends on the exercises you’re performing and the amount of extra grip aid you want or need when lifting. If you’re performing mainly dynamic movements where the bar needs to move through your hands, opt for a more passive or medium knurling pattern. If you're focusing mainly on the powerlifting-type movements involved in functional fitness, go for a more aggressive pattern.

If you're just starting in functional fitness or performing a wide range of exercises, go for a passive to medium knurling pattern.

Spin

Different barbells offer different spin speeds and resistance depending on whether the connection to the shaft uses bearings or bushings. Whilst both offer good spin, barbell sleeves that use bushings are often smoother and more durable for functional fitness movements.

Versatility

Versatility refers to the number of functions the barbell can perform correctly. With the wide variety of functional fitness exercises using different movement patterns and lifting tempos, having a versatile barbell is important.

Factors such as knurling pattern, steel quality, tensile strength, and amount of spin are all factors to take into account when considering which barbell to purchase.

Value for Money

As with anything you purchase, you want value for money. When it comes to barbells, you can expect the most quality ones to last for your whole lifting career. The amount to spend on them depends on your budget, the functions you need them to perform, and your lifting level.

When deciding between different barbells, compare the price to any unique features offered including the construction quality and overall finish. Decide if a more expensive barbell is worth the extra cost before purchasing.

Women Lunge With a Bar

FAQ

Are Functional Fitness Barbells Different?

Compared to normal barbells, functional fitness barbells have to be designed with increased durability due to the high intensity, and dynamic lifting involved. This means the metals are usually stronger, offer increased whip, and have a smaller bar thickness compared with standard and powerlifting barbells.

How Heavy Are Functional Fitness Bars?

Functional fitness Barbells are similar to Olympic barbells, meaning they are approximately 44-45 lbs for men and 33 lbs for women. This can vary slightly according to the bar dimensions and the barbell brand.

What Barbell Do They Use in Functional Fitness?

The barbells used in functional fitness are the same or very similar to those used in Olympic weightlifting. This is due to the predominance of Olympic functional fitness lifts such as the snatch, jerk, and clean and press.

Conclusion

Whatever your preferred type of functional fitness training, the nine barbell choices I've reviewed above provide an excellent overview of the best barbells available to train and compete with at home or in the gym.

Out of my choices, the Rogue 45 lb Ohio Bar is my top pick functional fitness barbell choice. Overall, it’s a solid barbell that's designed to take a beating, features quality bushings, and offers multiple finish options.

What’s your favorite type of functional fitness training? Which of my barbell choices above have you used before? What do you think of them? Let me know!

Also read:

References:

  • Tia-Clair Toomey // Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tia-Clair_Toomey
  • Katrín Davíðsdóttir // Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katrín Davíðsdóttir
  • How Bar Knurling Differs // Eleiko: https://eleiko.com/en-us/stories/how-bar-knurling-differs?redirect=true
  • Bushing vs. Bearing Barbell: Which Should You Buy? // Garage Gym Lab: https://garagegymlab.com/bushing-vs-bearing-barbells/
  • Choosing the Right Weightlifting Bar // Origin: https://originfitness.com/knowledge-and-advice/choosing-the-right-weightlifting-bar

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All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

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Ihor Shymechko

Coach, PRO Olympic Weightlifter

Experience: 26 years

Best Results: Snatch - 208 kg,

C&J - 240 kg

My name is Ihor and I have been a professional weightlifter since 1996. With over 20 years of competition experience, my resume includes European Champion in 2009 and the silver medalist at 2011's Senior World Championships – 105kg division.

I competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

After hanging up my own competitive lifting shoes, I decided to share my huge background as a coach. I am currently coaching multiple athletes who are competing at national and international competitions.


If you have any questions/suggestions/any other inquiry, you can reach out to us via email - reviews@torokhtiy.com

Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years

Best Results: Snatch – 200 kg,

C&J - 240 kg

My name is Oleksiy Torokhtiy. I am a professional athlete with 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. I have won multiple European, and World titles and have taken part in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012).

After finishing my career, I have committed myself to coach, and as of 2022, I’ve hosted 200+ weightlifting seminars all over the globe. I’m the founder of an international sportswear and accessories brand, Warm Body Cold Mind (my motto), author, and creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.


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This article was written by our qualified author and proofread by an expert with proven experience. When writing the article we've used our expertise and data from authoritative, scientific, and evidence-based sources. The list of references is provided at the end of the article.


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