The Barbell part 2

The bar bend is easily seen in this massive deadlift by world record holder Andy Bolton.

The bar bend is easily seen in this massive deadlift by world record holder Andy Bolton.

In the late 1950s, the sport of Olympic weightlifting was declining and the new sport of powerlifting was set to hold its first national championships.  The Olympic lifts were full of technique and skill, while the powerlifts-squat, bench press, and deadlift-were much easier to learn and become proficient with.  Powerlifting took much of its rules and competition infrastructure from Olympic weightlifting, such as 3 attempts at each lift, a total as well as 3 individual events.

As powerlifting evolved, so did the equipment used in competition and training.  While tools such as monolift squat racks have undoubtedly helped pushed record poundages ever upwards, the single most important piece of tool is still the barbell.

Originally an Olympic bar was used for powerlifting, but as squat, and later bench press, loads grew into the six and 700s, the whippy nature of the Olympic bar was found to be unwieldy and counterproductive.  A true powerlifting bar was needed.  Thicker (squat bars can be up to 32mm), stronger bars with deeper knurling were made.  The deeper knurling helps powerlifters hold onto super heavy deadlifts and heavy center knurling helps prevent the bar from sliding down the back on squats with the bar placed low on the trapezius muscles.

Deadlift bars are even more specialized. The bar itself helps the lift.  The deadlift bars are super springy so that when very heavily loaded, the middle of the bar will rise ahead of the plates. While powerlifting deadlift bars are the same length as other bars, the sleeves are shorter.  This makes the shaft longer, exaggerating the spring of the bar, and thus the lift.

Most bars used outside of Olympic or powerlifting competition have aspects of both kinds of bars.

Reminder: CFWSC classes on Christmas Eve are at 6, 7, 9am and 12pm.


Rack Thruster



5x 100m Row Sprints


5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Power Clean bw


Back Squat bw

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