Both Olympic bars and power bars are staples in the weightlifting world, but they serve different purposes and are designed with specific features that cater to different types of lifting. Here's a comparison of Olympic bars and power bars:
Weight: Olympic bars typically weigh 20 kilograms (44 pounds).
Diameter: The diameter of an Olympic bar shaft usually ranges from 28mm to 28.5mm.
Whip: Olympic bars are designed with a certain amount of "whip," or flexibility, allowing them to bend slightly under heavy loads. This is particularly useful in Olympic weightlifting for movements like the snatch and clean and jerk.
Knurling: The knurling on an Olympic bar tends to be less aggressive, providing enough grip without being overly sharp. Many Olympic bars also have a center knurling to help with stability during back squats.
Sleeve Rotation: Crandall Fitness Olympic bars have needle bearings that allow the sleeves to rotate as smoothly as possible. This is essential for Olympic lifts, where the bar needs to rotate in the lifter's hands.
Purpose: Designed specifically for Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit Style workouts, these bars are best suited for fast, dynamic movements like snatches, clean and jerks, etc.
Weight: Like Olympic bars, power bars usually weigh 20 kilograms (44 pounds).
Diameter: Power bars typically have a thicker diameter of 29mm, giving them a stiffer feel.
Whip: Power bars are designed to be more rigid with minimal whip. This rigidity is preferred for powerlifting exercises like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. The rigidity is achieved by having a thicker diameter and a higher steel tensile strength.
Knurling: Power bars generally have more aggressive knurling to provide a more secure grip, especially for heavy lifting. They also have a center knurling which is helpful for stability during squatting, so the bar doesn't slide down or off the lifter's back.
Sleeve Rotation: While the sleeves of Power Bars do rotate via the use of bushings, they often don’t spin as freely as those on Olympic bars. The rotation is less crucial for powerlifting movements.
Purpose: Specifically designed for powerlifting, power bars are best for the "big three" lifts: squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.
While both types of bars can be used interchangeably to some extent, they are designed with different sports in mind:
Olympic Bars: Best for Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit, where flexibility, sleeve rotation, and less aggressive knurling are key.
Power Bars: Ideal for powerlifting, offering more rigidity and grip to support heavy, slow lifts.
So in conclusion for Olympic Bars vs Power Bars, choosing between the two will depend on your specific lifting needs and goals. If you participate in both Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, having access to both types of bars would be beneficial.