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  1. #1
    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    barbell question

    so i've got smaller hands, and i'm using whatever economy bar came with my weight set. i think it's the Troy boss-300 set but i'm not 100%. anyway it's a bar with weak knurling and 30mm diameter. i wear gloves when i exercise to help with grip (my hands get sweaty, i don't want to deal with chalk at home) but was thinking i could try out a better bar with good knurling instead. i thnk it'd only mostly matter on my dl/SLDL and calf raises where i more grip strength

    i'm planning on buying my girlfriend a woman's bar (rogue bella bar) and wondering: if i'm still a beginner using all-pro's beginner program, should i go ahead and upgrade my bar now or just use my girlfriends bar for the couple lifts where my grip is weaker?
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    If you are not competing, use whatever works best. I doubt you'll be able to hurt the bella bar. Might be a little whippy when your squats get heavier but will probably help your deadlift.
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  3. #3
    God of Slowdown Synthetickiller's Avatar
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    When you say your hands are small, that's contextual. I have a big palm & short fingers, so I'm probably in the same ballpark as you. I have to dial in my grip to ensure I don't fail on heavy deadlifts.

    That said, work on your grip. Also, ditch the gloves. Yep, I'm not going to let up on that. Gloves inhibit your grip. If you claim you have small hands, you just increased the diameter of the bar further. That's not helping you.

    There's chalk bags you can buy that give you the benefits of chalk w/o all of the mess. There's also liquid chalk. If you're careful, you can just use blocks of chalk. I haven't had an issue with making a mess. Gloves can also shift with heavy weight.

    If you have the budget, get a good bar anyways. A few that come to mind are the Texas Power Bar, Ivanko OBX-20kg, York Split sleeve (This is craigslist territory. You'd want to check the bar out in person to see if you like the knurling). I'd mention Elieko, but they are probably going to run you $1000. Great bars, but usually out of most people's budgets. I think Rogue makes some good bars too, but I'll leave that to someone else to describe. I'm not going to push Rogue/Crossfit on the forum, lol.


    With sweat, you can never escape the issue unless you use chalk. As you get stronger, gripping the bar will become more difficult, especially if you don't improve your grip strength.
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    i'm planning on buying my girlfriend a woman's bar (rogue bella bar) and wondering: if i'm still a beginner using all-pro's beginner program, should i go ahead and upgrade my bar now or just use my girlfriends bar for the couple lifts where my grip is weaker?
    Based on your statement that you want to "try out" a bar with better knurling, I'm wondering if you have ever actually seen a Rogue bar in person? If not, I'd suggest giving one a try before you buy one, as I personally find the Rogue knurl a bit "weird" (I know that description sucks, but I can't really put into words exactly what it is I don't like... Perhaps it's not sharp enough?). I have some Rogue equipment (rack, GHD, bands, etc...), and like many of their products (but not their marketing), but I just didn't care for the knurl on their bars (excluding the Westside Power Bar). I came very close to buying one of their bare Ohio bars at their yard sale (it's the only other bar I felt the knurl felt OK on), but couldn't see spending close to $300 on a bar I didn't really like.

    Likewise, has your girlfriend tried a woman's bar and a decent men's bar? If not, you may want to have her test those before you lay your money down.
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    Registered User 59phinz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 59phinz View Post
    ...
    Oh, and as SK said, ditch the gloves and get some chalk alternative (I use the Eco-Ball).... No point in buying fancy bars if your never going to put your hand on 'em.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by Synthetickiller View Post
    When you say your hands are small, that's contextual. I have a big palm & short fingers, so I'm probably in the same ballpark as you. I have to dial in my grip to ensure I don't fail on heavy deadlifts.

    If you have the budget, get a good bar anyways. A few that come to mind
    short fingers, small hands, either way i'm starting to understand why my whole weight set only cost $300. i'd really like to stay under $250 if possible, i'll go up to $300. i'm only thinking rogue because it was what was recommended to me. the others look nice, but the price tag is higher...will i notice the difference in quality?

    Originally Posted by 59phinz View Post
    Based on your statement that you want to "try out" a bar with better knurling, I'm wondering if you have ever actually seen a Rogue bar in person? If not, I'd suggest giving one a try before you buy one, as I personally find the Rogue knurl a bit "weird" (I know that description sucks, but I can't really put into words exactly what it is I don't like... Perhaps it's not sharp enough?). I have some Rogue equipment (rack, GHD, bands, etc...), and like many of their products (but not their marketing), but I just didn't care for the knurl on their bars (excluding the Westside Power Bar). I came very close to buying one of their bare Ohio bars at their yard sale (it's the only other bar I felt the knurl felt OK on), but couldn't see spending close to $300 on a bar I didn't really like.

    Likewise, has your girlfriend tried a woman's bar and a decent men's bar? If not, you may want to have her test those before you lay your money down.
    not sure what's a good way to try out higher end bars. think i should call a crossfit and see if they stock rogue bars that i can get my hands on? seems a bit weird.

    my girlfriend has only tried my bar, and she doesn't feel comfortable with it. she says it feels heavy and awkward, which is due to her unfamiliarity with lifting mostly.

    still, you've got a point: maybe i should buy myself a nicer bar and if she's interested then i can pick one up for her...

    Originally Posted by 59phinz View Post
    Oh, and as SK said, ditch the gloves and get some chalk alternative
    i agree with this. i didn't type it but i do want to get away from gloves.
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  7. #7
    Dork of York Northernmoris's Avatar
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    Why start yet another barbell thread?

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  8. #8
    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Northernmoris View Post
    Why start yet another barbell thread?

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=161830973
    sorry, figured it'd be easier for people to not need to sort through the whole thread to answer a question that was more related to me than my girlfriend's lighter bar.
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  9. #9
    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    after seeing this link: http://www.walmart.com/ip/CAP-Barbel...roduct+Reviews

    for the CAP ob-86B for $127.66, is there any reason why i shouldn't have this shipped to a store near me for pickup? price is low, good reviews from members of this forum from web searches, 28.5mm grip...
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  10. #10
    God of Slowdown Synthetickiller's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    not sure what's a good way to try out higher end bars. think i should call a crossfit and see if they stock rogue bars that i can get my hands on? seems a bit weird.

    my girlfriend has only tried my bar, and she doesn't feel comfortable with it. she says it feels heavy and awkward, which is due to her unfamiliarity with lifting mostly.

    still, you've got a point: maybe i should buy myself a nicer bar and if she's interested then i can pick one up for her...
    I'm not advocating going anywhere near a crossfit scam center. They'd want to milk you for cash & ruin your L5 in the process.

    If you look up reviews of bars, you can get a good idea of knurling & bar thickness.

    I like my Ivanko obx, but I haven't tried a split sleeve York or TPB. I think the ivanko would be a middle man on knurling. Not as aggressive as a Texas Power Bar, but more than a York. My Iron Wolfe bar has such aggressive knurling, I can only squat with it. My hands hurt/burn if I use that bar to bench with. I don't want to even imagine deadlifting. I'm just saying there's a variety of knurlings on bars & you'll have to find what meets your needs. I don't know the type of lifting you do, so it's hard to say. I'm strictly a powerlifter, so keep that in mind. There's a few guys with far more experience in terms of the numbers of bars tried. Hopefully, they'll chime in.

    Btw, the Ivanko is $450+, so that's out. $250 is going to get you a decent bar. If you luck out on craigslist, maybe you can find a lovingly used bar?

    There's also a few bar threads if you search the forum & google.

    This thread is worth a read: LINK

    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    after seeing this link: http://www.walmart.com/ip/CAP-Barbel...roduct+Reviews

    for the CAP ob-86B for $127.66, is there any reason why i shouldn't have this shipped to a store near me for pickup? price is low, good reviews from members of this forum from web searches, 28.5mm grip...
    I'm not sure if that's the right bar or this one: LINK

    I forgot about that bar, lol. Sorry about that. Yep, it's the best bang for the buck among the regs here. 28.5mm is fine.

    I'd have it ship to the store so you can check it for damage before taking it home. Makes returning the bar MUCH easier.
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    Registered User 59phinz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    after seeing this link: http://www.walmart.com/ip/CAP-Barbel...roduct+Reviews

    for the CAP ob-86B for $127.66, is there any reason why i shouldn't have this shipped to a store near me for pickup? price is low, good reviews from members of this forum from web searches, 28.5mm grip...
    Great choice!
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post

    my girlfriend has only tried my bar, and she doesn't feel comfortable with it. she says it feels heavy and awkward, which is due to her unfamiliarity
    I had to.
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    Originally Posted by BIgOrange865 View Post
    I had to.
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    Originally Posted by Synthetickiller View Post
    I'm not advocating going anywhere near a crossfit scam center. They'd want to milk you for cash & ruin your L5 in the process.

    If you look up reviews of bars, you can get a good idea of knurling & bar thickness.

    I like my Ivanko obx, but I haven't tried a split sleeve York or TPB. I think the ivanko would be a middle man on knurling. Not too aggressive, but more than a York. My Iron Wolfe bar has such aggressive knurling, I can only squat with it. My hands hurt/burn if I use that bar to bench with.

    There's other bars & other people can elaborate. There's also a few bar threads if you search the forum & google.

    This thread is worth a read: LINK
    thanks, i've skimmed through it once or twice. but i'll definitely give it a more thorough read soon. thanks for your advice in this thread.

    i think my problem is that i keep asking subjective questions, so here's my attempt at a more objective question:

    As a weak beginner who is not doing any Olympic lifting, I am interested in buying a good quality bar which will adequately handle the weights i'm capable of (easy, because i'm weak) that has a narrower grip and better knurling than my current bar.

    if i'm currently using a cheap chrome bar that came with the Boss-300 weight set, will there be a noticeable improvement between the CAP ob-86b and the ivanko bar which costs 4 times as much? or will it not matter until i'm strong enough to move a great deal of weight?
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    Originally Posted by BIgOrange865 View Post
    I had to.
    WHOOOOOOO!!!!!!! *fistbump* reps to you sir.
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    is there any reason why i shouldn't have this shipped to a store near me for pickup? price is low, good reviews from members of this forum from web searches, 28.5mm grip...
    Only reason is if you don't like Walmart. They are probably the cheapest place to get it right now - Wayfair would be $140 with 10% coupon.
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    Originally Posted by aclockworkoi View Post
    Only reason is if you don't like Walmart. They are probably the cheapest place to get it right now - Wayfair would be $140 with 10% coupon.
    here's the same bar at amazon for $127 shipped to your door

    http://www.amazon.com/Barbell-Olympi...&keywords=ob86
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    i like amazon, but the nice thing about walmart is if i don't like it it's easy to return...
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    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    well i just ordered the CAP bar, so i'm happy. i'm curious though how much will i need to take care of this bar? my cheapo i don't rely care about, but this one will be a good test to see if i can properly maintain something to last a while.

    do bars sleeves need greasing/oiling based on use or just time?
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    I think you'll find the knurl on a quality bar 10 times better than the cheapo bars. When I go to a commercial gym the knurling seems so light its almost non-existent. At home with a texas power bard, a rogue bar and a Westside Power Bar, the knurling is solid. The rogue has a gentler knurl.

    Regardless, I hope you are happy with the cap.
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    well i just ordered the CAP bar, so i'm happy. i'm curious though how much will i need to take care of this bar? my cheapo i don't rely care about, but this one will be a good test to see if i can properly maintain something to last a while.

    do bars sleeves need greasing/oiling based on use or just time?
    You shouldn't need to do too much. I haven't done anything with mine other than brushing off chalk and wiping it down occasionally and it's still in good shape.

    Btw, congrats on the bar, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Eventually the Cap will become your cheapo bar though. I got the Cap in hopes that I wouldn't need any more bars - I currently have 5 and feel like that's not enough .
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    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by judgecrandall View Post
    I got the Cap in hopes that I wouldn't need any more bars - I currently have 5 and feel like that's not enough .
    I think I've been one of the few guys on the forum who hasn't felt a particular need to have a bunch of bars hanging around--I have 3, and I occasionally have thoughts about getting rid of one. I know a lot of people will set up two bars at once so they can move quickly from one movement to the next. I'm curious as to why folks have a lot more than that, and how they use them. I'm not knocking it, I'm just curious.

    I will say that I am acquiring several specialty bars, and I use most of them at least once per week.
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    well i just ordered the CAP bar, so i'm happy. i'm curious though how much will i need to take care of this bar? my cheapo i don't rely care about, but this one will be a good test to see if i can properly maintain something to last a while.

    do bars sleeves need greasing/oiling based on use or just time?
    I'd suggest just using a bit of 3in1 or CLP on the shaft and sleeves. I wouldn't put any into the sleeves though, even though you'll see this recommended. I was using oil on the sleeves and found that it was just washing the grease out from where it was supposed to be. (See my OB-86B rebuild thread)
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    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 59phinz View Post
    I was using oil on the sleeves and found that it was just washing the grease out from where it was supposed to be. (See my OB-86B rebuild thread)
    THat was a really useful piece of information that came out of that thread you referenced.

    It would be worthwhile to check out The Barbell Thread (started by Keetman). He took apart a few bars to show how they were made.

    You can buy Snap Ring pliers at Harbor Freight. They would be useful for taking apart your bar and applying white lithium grease every once in a while.

    I can't imagine you would need to do this more than once every couple of years or so. 2-3 drops of 3 in 1 every 6 months or so might not be terrible.

    Whatever you do, DON'T use WD-40 in the sleeves. It will dry everything out in there.

    EDIT: I'm just now remembering how much detail the OB-86B rebuild thread went into. Domicron, you might consider subscribing to that thread so you can find it in the future.

    EDIT #2: I just bumped that thread so it is easy to find.
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    Originally Posted by rlundregan View Post
    I think I've been one of the few guys on the forum who hasn't felt a particular need to have a bunch of bars hanging around--I have 3, and I occasionally have thoughts about getting rid of one. I know a lot of people will set up two bars at once so they can move quickly from one movement to the next. I'm curious as to why folks have a lot more than that, and how they use them. I'm not knocking it, I'm just curious.

    I will say that I am acquiring several specialty bars, and I use most of them at least once per week.

    I'm the same way. I have a vintage York bar that I use for squats, a 7' curl bar that I use for LTE's, CGBP, and misc. overhead work, a rackable 6' Hampton bar that stays in my OHP station, and the OB-86B that I use for everything else.

    I've often thought about buying another bar (like a TPB or Rogue Operator), but I just don't see how it would add anything to my regular workouts. I think I just like spending money.
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  26. #26
    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RFabsik View Post
    Regardless, I hope you are happy with the cap.
    thanks, and i've never been at a gym with a strongly knurled bar, or at least i didn't use it much, plus i always had on gloves. i'm hoping it won't tear my delicate, girly hands up too much at first...

    Originally Posted by judgecrandall View Post
    You shouldn't need to do too much. I haven't done anything with mine other than brushing off chalk and wiping it down occasionally and it's still in good shape.

    Btw, congrats on the bar, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Eventually the Cap will become your cheapo bar though. I got the Cap in hopes that I wouldn't need any more bars - I currently have 5 and feel like that's not enough .
    thanks for the tips, i'm not wanting to go too crazy, but it's nice to think down the line i'll be able to invest more into my gym

    Originally Posted by rlundregan View Post
    I think I've been one of the few guys on the forum who hasn't felt a particular need to have a bunch of bars hanging around...
    i'm glad to hear some people are immune...i can't imagine spending so much on bars. i mean, i wish i could, but ya

    Originally Posted by 59phinz View Post
    I'd suggest just using a bit of 3in1 or CLP on the shaft and sleeves. I wouldn't put any into the sleeves though, even though you'll see this recommended. I was using oil on the sleeves and found that it was just washing the grease out from where it was supposed to be. (See my OB-86B rebuild thread)
    I did read your entire thread before buying, and even though that kind of work isn't for me, i hope that with the right care i won't need to. what brand/type of oil do your recommend i pick up for the bar?

    Originally Posted by rlundregan View Post
    THat was a really useful piece of information that came out of that thread you referenced.
    thanks, i had read the thread but its a great one. i don't think i would trust myself to do a good job taking apart a bar. i'm going to see how long it lasts if i don't oil the sleeves, inside that is...
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    what brand/type of oil do your recommend i pick up for the bar? i don't think i would trust myself to do a good job taking apart a bar. i'm going to see how long it lasts if i don't oil the sleeves, inside that is...
    I like CLP for the shaft and sleeves, I find it leaves the bar a little less slippery than the 3in1 I used before did. Just keep it out of the sleeves.
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    Originally Posted by rlundregan View Post
    I think I've been one of the few guys on the forum who hasn't felt a particular need to have a bunch of bars hanging around--I have 3, and I occasionally have thoughts about getting rid of one. I know a lot of people will set up two bars at once so they can move quickly from one movement to the next. I'm curious as to why folks have a lot more than that, and how they use them. I'm not knocking it, I'm just curious.

    I will say that I am acquiring several specialty bars, and I use most of them at least once per week.
    TPB - squats and bench press stays in rack
    Texas DL Bar - Deadlifts haha
    Ivanko Bar - Power Cleans/OHP/Olympic Lifts etc
    CAP OB-86B- Redundant to Ivanko
    Beater Chrome Bar - Reserved for land mine use when I buy said land mine
    Safety Squat - Squats/Front Squats/Calf Raises/Lunges/Box Step Ups
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    Originally Posted by djslik916 View Post
    TPB - squats and bench press stays in rack
    Texas DL Bar - Deadlifts haha
    Ivanko Bar - Power Cleans/OHP/Olympic Lifts etc
    CAP OB-86B- Redundant to Ivanko
    Beater Chrome Bar - Reserved for land mine use when I buy said land mine
    Safety Squat - Squats/Front Squats/Calf Raises/Lunges/Box Step Ups
    TPB - squats and bench press stays in rack
    GP stainless bar- O lifts, deadlifts
    CAP OB-86B- Landmine use.
    Beater Chrome Bar - Was reserved for land mine use, but the sleeves are oversize and I got sick of trying to get my landmine handles on/off. Now used in my old half rack as a wrist roller.
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  30. #30
    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    Guys, thanks for posting what you use your bars for (inb4 ANYTHING Attyguy or BT3R have to say about this!).

    OP, sorry for hijacking your thread, but it seems like you got your questions answered.

    I have an Ivanko OB-20KG that stays in the rack. I use it for almost everything that I do with a straight bar.

    I use my CAP OB-86B occasionally as a second bar so that I can superset calf raises with SLDL, and a few other things that I don't necessarily do every week.

    I have a Troy AOB-1500B, it hasn't been out of the stand in about 6 months. It is a nice bar, I just haven't used it since I got the Ivanko. I think about selling it sometimes, and then think "what if I want a bar with center knurling at some point down the road?". Eventually I'll either fish or cut bait.

    I have a CAP hex bar which I use for deadlifts and farmer carries every week. I can't do deadlifts with a straight bar anymore, so this has become a necessity for me. I would like to find one that is rackable.

    I have a safety squat bar that I use sporadically for squats and calf raises. Right now I'm probably squatting with this about 50% of the time vs. the Ivanko. It's nice.

    I have a Swiss bar that I have been using for OHP, bench press, and neutral grip pullups (bar on top of the rack). I like it a lot, it seems to put more emphasis on my triceps.

    I occasionally use my curl bar for skullcrushers, never for curls.

    If I ever had a vintage York bar fall into my lap at an insanely good price, I would probably jump on it. I'm sure I would drum up a reason to use it!
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