A high quality Olympic bar is the foundation of any good gym. There are multiple styles and levels of quality when it comes to Olympic barbells. You've got a true Olympic bar, which has no center knurl to prevent scraping up your neck on cleans, or power bars that have a center knurl to help keep the bar on your back when doing squats. A good Olympic barbell will have sleeves that spin smoothly to allow you to rotate your hands under the bar with minimal resistance, and it will have a good amount of whip to help you accelerate the weights into place. A power lifting bar will be stiffer, thicker, and have heavier knurl to make sure your hands never slip, or the bar never slips from your back.
Olympic Bar for CrossFit
CrossFit has a lot of high rep routines, and so the main characteristics you want to look for in a CrossFit bar are medium/light knurl, no center knurl, and high tensile strength. The medium/light knurl is to ensure that your hands don't get torn up when having to do a lot of reps in a row. Olympic lifts are usually only done for low numbers of repetitions, and so the knurl on many bars might be heavier than you would want. No center knurl is important too to protect your neck from being torn up while doing cleans. Lastly, high tensile strength is a good measurement of the strength of the bar and how durable the bar will be. Since CrossFit puts a lot of stress on bars due to a high number of drops with bumpers, it's important to get one that won't become permanently bent easily.
The Rep Fitness Elite and Training bars are excellent for CrossFit and mixed-use weight lifting. The Elite bar is our best bar and includes a lifetime warranty. It can handle as much weight as you can throw at it due to incredible tensile/yield strength, and the knurl and whip will allow you to perform Olympic lifts with ease. For those of you who aren't planning on moving over 350 lbs in power lifts or 200 lbs in Olympic lifts, you can save some money and get our Training bar, which is great option and still an excellent quality weightlifting bar.
Weightlifting Bars for Beginners
If you're just getting started and need a bar to do some bench presses and other power lifts under 350 lbs, you can find a quality barbell for under $150. The basic Troy or USA Sports bars will be enough to get you started and lifting some weight. If you're more into Olympic lifting, you might want to step up to something in the $200-350 range that will have smoothly spinning sleeves and allow you to use bumper plates. For those that are into power lifting, there are some great power lifting bars in the $200-300 range to suit any lifter.