Barbell — a sports equipment designed for weight lifting in weightlifting, bodybuilding and powerlifting. The barbell consists of a neck (rod), on which discs (pancakes) are hung on both sides.

Dumbbells — a sports equipment that is used for strength exercises with weights.

Dumbbells are divided into the following types.

Solid cast — have a given weight, consist of two balls (hexagonal prisms), interconnected by a handle for gripping by hand. Note that the hexagonal shape of the dumbbell prevents it from rolling on the floor.

They can be made of solid metal or in the form of a plastic dumbbell with filler. Metal dumbbells of light weight (up to 3 kg) are often made rubberized for a comfortable grip.

When choosing, remember that if you drop a plastic dumbbell, there is a chance to break it, after which it will be completely unusable. Poor-quality rubberized dumbbells lose their original appearance after some time of intensive use, as the rubber bands burst and peel off.

collapsible — are a reduced copy of the bar: they consist of a short neck and discs attached to it. Advantage — allow you to vary the load by screwing or removing discs.

Important: collapsible dumbbells are convenient to store in the closet. In addition, dumbbell discs can be worn on the barbell bar, thus saving money.

Crying — a sports projectile, which is a metal ball with a handle. It is used in kettlebell lifting.

Weights are divided into the following types.

  • Solid cast — have a fixed weight (4-40 kg in increments of 4 kg, as well as 48 and 56 kg). In kettlebell lifting, weights with a weight of 16, 24 and 32 kg are used, that is, pound, one and a half pound and two pound (1 pound ≈ 16 kg). Some weights are covered with rubber for noise isolation.
  • collapsible — the lower part of such a weight can be detached, which allows you to vary the load in the direction of its decrease or increase.

Important: Kettlebells with a wide handle are convenient, as they can be freely taken by the sides of the handle, performing various exercises.

Bar type

Home (amateur) barbell — has a small length and weight restrictions up to 100-120 kg. Discs are used with a bore diameter of 25-26 mm. Good for amateur workouts with light weights. Advantage — relatively low price.

«People’s» bar — resembles «Olympic» vultures, but can withstand up to 150 kg. Discs are used with a bore diameter of 50-51 mm. Not suitable for professional training.

Olympic barbell — used by professional athletes. It is made according to special technology and differs in the increased durability. Withstands weights of 300, 500, 600 kg and above. Discs with a bore diameter of 50-51 mm are used.

  • Women’s Olympic barbell — differs from the male one in a shorter neck (205 cm), less weight (15 kg) and a diameter (25 mm).

Powerlifting bar — it looks like an Olympic, but the diameter of the neck is 29 mm and it is much more rigid.

Dumbbells and weights are also divided into amateur and Olympic (professional). They differ mainly in weight.

Important: be sure to pay attention to the maximum allowable load for the neck and in no case exceed it.


Bar neck — a metal rod of various diameters. Discs are put on its ends, and the base serves to hold the bar in the hands. The load is secured with bushings and locks.

Bar dumbbell — a smaller version of the neck for the barbell.


The shape of the neck is selected based on the exercises performed.

Straight — universal option. Suitable for most exercises.

EZ-shaped — provides a more natural position of the wrist when lifting the barbell to the biceps.

W-shaped — An improved version of the EZ-bar. It differs from it in a stronger bend, which allows you to keep the bar with a neutral grip and emphasize the load on the triceps. The best option for performing French presses and other similar exercises.

T-shaped — differs from a straight neck in that disks are hung at one end of it, and the other end of the neck is fixedly fixed to the rack. Used for back exercises.

trap vulture — has the form of a square frame with working areas on the sides. Designed for deadlifts, etc.

Oval — bar with parallel grip. Used for triceps exercises (for example, «French press»).

Important: «live fitting» will help you choose the right bar: evaluate the convenience of performing exercises with different grips. The bar of the bar should lie well in the hand.

Neck dimensions


The length of the bar depends on the exercises performed and the training conditions. For example, a bar that is too short can’t be gripped with a wide grip on the bench press, while a bar that is too long can make room workouts uncomfortable. The barbell bar has different lengths: 120, 140, 150, 180, 220 cm.

For comfortable and effective exercises at home, you will need a bar from 140 cm (with a length of the central part — 100 cm, side parts for pancakes — 20 cm each) to 180 cm. The bar for the Olympic barbell is 220 cm.

The length of the dumbbell bar also depends on the training conditions. It is impossible to put on a large number of pancakes on a bar that is too short, which means increasing the load. A bar that is too long is inconvenient for many exercises. The amateur dumbbell bar is 36 cm, the Olympic bar is 50 cm long.

Important: it is better to choose dumbbells with a rubberized handle (neck). This makes them pleasant to the touch and prevents them from slipping out of your hands. The bar has special notches that make the surface of the neck embossed and less slippery.

Diameter (thickness)

The diameter of the neck for an amateur bar is 25 mm, for the Olympic bar it is 28 mm, for powerlifting it is 29 mm.

The diameter of the neck (landing part) for dumbbells in Europe and Russia is 30 mm, the American standard is 25 mm (for amateur). The diameter of the landing part of the neck of the Olympic dumbbells is 50 mm.

Important: when buying a barbell and collapsible dumbbells, you should choose discs that are suitable for both shells. To do this, you need to pay attention to the diameter of the barbells and dumbbells — it must have the same value. It should also be borne in mind that the mounting diameter of the pancakes is 1 mm larger than the neck diameter.

The weight

The weight of the neck depends on its length and diameter, as well as on the density of the steel. A stronger bar has more weight and more weight capacity. The weight of the neck is also an additional burden for the athlete. The weight of the bar for an amateur bar is 10-20 kg, for the Olympic (powerlifting) — 20 kg, for squats — 30 kg.

Important: the barbell bar for home workouts should have sufficient rigidity and not spring when lifting large weights.


Disks (pancakes) — additional weights that are put on the neck of the bar. They differ from each other in weight and diameter.

There are several species disks.

Fitness discs — are the most common. As a rule, they are painted black.

Olympic — used for professional sports. Discs of different weights differ from each other in color (red, green, yellow, black). There are the following types of such disks:

  • rubberized models — absorb shocks, it is convenient to hold them in your hands and carry them when changing weight;
  • without rubber coating — used for powerlifting.


External diameter is the size of the disk itself. Depends on its weight: the greater the weight, the larger the diameter.

Inner (landing) diameter — the size of the hole for the neck. The compatibility of the neck of the rod and discs depends on this value. There are diameters of 26, 30 and 50-51 mm.

The weight

Barbell discs have different weights (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.25, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 kg). The most common are 2.5, 5 and 10 kg pancakes. In powerlifting, discs weighing 50 kg are used. Olympic bar discs are used by professional athletes and therefore have a particularly precise weight.

Important: for base loads, purchase a pair of 20kg discs and then supplement with 1, 2.5, 5, and 10kg weights. This will make it possible to smoothly increase or decrease the weight of the bar.

For dumbbells, it is inconvenient to use large diameter discs. Well fit pancakes, weighing no more than 5 kg. It is also recommended to have small discs of 0.5 and 1 kg in order to gradually increase or decrease the load.

Neck and disc material

The barbell bar (collapsible dumbbell) is made of metal. Barbells for Olympic and powerlifting bars are made of high-strength steel and using a special technology.

metal discs — the easiest and cheapest option. However, they are susceptible to corrosion, can scratch the skin and deform the flooring.

Metal rims with rubber strip on the rim — do not deform the floor, but are also susceptible to corrosion. Disadvantages: Rubber has an unpleasant odor and can leave marks on the floor.

Metal rims fully covered with rubber/plastic — the best option: not subject to corrosion, do not deform the floor, durable. Disadvantages: high price, unpleasant smell of rubber and marks on the floor. In addition, plastic can burst or split when dropped on the floor.

Number of dumbbells (discs) in a set

For a full workout, dumbbells with different weights are required. One-piece dumbbells of various weights are often found in the kit. This allows you to increase or decrease the load. Collapsible dumbbells are equipped with a different number of discs, which can also be purchased separately, depending on how much weight is required for the athlete.

Important: it is advisable to purchase solid dumbbells heavier, given the growth in strength in the future.

Locks (clips)

Locks (clips) — devices that fix the disk on the neck.

  • Threaded — strong and reliable, but fixing will require additional time.
  • Clothespins — quickly fix, but weaken over time and therefore it is necessary to control their reliability (especially on dumbbells).
  • Locks for olympic barbells — the most reliable and convenient in disassembly-assembly. The disadvantage is the high price.

For collapsible dumbbells, the locks are the same as for the barbell.

landing sleeve

landing sleeve — a metal cylinder that prevents discs from slipping off the neck. Adapter sleeves allow the use of discs with a larger bore diameter than the diameter of the neck. For example, on a neck with a diameter of 25 mm, using such a sleeve, you can put on discs with 30 or 50 mm.

Important: when purchasing shells, be sure to pay attention to the reliability of fixing the disks on the sleeve and the quality of the locks.


case — allows you to store and transport dumbbells.

Stand — structure holding the bar. A must for many exercises (including bench presses, squats, etc.).


You should not buy dumbbells and barbells of unknown brands. For the price, they can be noticeably more profitable than branded shells, but they have a number of disadvantages. For example, rubberized models can have a very strong smell that does not disappear over time. Using such dumbbells or pancakes at home is simply impossible. Also, the rubberized coating on the cheapest dumbbells often cracks and peels off.

When choosing a dumbbell or barbell, you should pay attention to branded products. Even if these are local or Chinese brands, they will in any case be better than «no-name». The most famous manufacturers: Alex, Eleiko, FitLogic, Foreman, Hop-Sport, HouseFit, Inter Atletika, Newt, Stein, USA Style, Vadzaari, Joerex, Kettler, Sprinter, Torneo, Stroy-Sport. As well as world famous Adidas, Reebok and Nike. It is worth noting that the price of their products may be too high due to the promotion of the brand. It is worth remembering that high-quality stacked dumbbells or barbells cannot be cheap.


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