Choosing a Barbell: Knurling

The “knurling” of a barbell is the grippy part that you hold in order to lift weight. And when choosing a barbell for your home gym, you should consider what type of knurling the barbell has as well as how much knurling covers up the bar.

Types of Knurling

In 99% of cases, I recommend going with the “standard” knurling.

The Rogue Ohio Bar has standard knurling which is perfect for the vast majority of athletes. In fact, Mat Fraser (5x Fittest Man on Earth) only uses the Rogue Ohio Bar when lifting.

The only times when you might want an “aggressive”, “mountain”, or even “volcano” knurling is if you are a professional power or olympic weightlifter. A coarser knurling is better for 1-rep max lifts.

Olympic weightlifting bars have a little bit more of a coarser knurling than the standard type (see Ohio bar below). However, they’re not as aggressive as a powerlifting bar (see Ohio Power Bar).

In most cases, the Rogue Ohio Bar is the best option as it has a “standard” knurling.


How Much Knurling

Generally, knurling is placed on a barbell in order to help you grip it with your hands. An olympic bar, or even a deadlift specialty bar, has no center knurling in order to prevent the knurling from dragging across your shins and neck.

Olympic Barbell (or Deadlift Barbell)

However, beware of the mistake I made just a few weeks ago of buying a power bar that has some center knurling. It’s called a “power bar” because it’s designed to help you with the power lifts: squat, deadlift, and bench.

Power Barbell (Squat and Deadlift)

As you can see, there is no knurling where your legs would be. This prevents some bloody shins. But, there is some center-knurling in order to help provide additional grip for your back (especially if you use a low-bar back squat technique).

As you can imagine, however, if you were to perform power cleans or front squats, that center knurling would cut up your neck and collar bones. The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is good then only if you don’t plan on doing these two movements.

And as a final note, maybe it’s worth noting that there are squat specialty bars out there. These have a fully-knurled shaft.

Squat Barbell

I wouldn’t recommend these to anybody unless they squat for a living.

Takeaway

The best barbell for a home gym is the Rogue Ohio Bar. You can use it for any lift and will have success.

And not only is the type of knurling just right (not too coarse but still grippy), but there is also no center knurling.

Tyler

WOD

5 Rounds For Time:
5 Power Cleans (heavy)
10 Handstand Push-Ups
15 High Box Jumps

Other Articles In This Series:

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