28.5 vs 29 mm Barbell: Which One Suits You The Best?

Barbell is a long metal bar with disc loads on its two ends. Usually, barbells are used for strength training and powerlifting by professionals. Although they don’t seem much complex but choosing the best barbell for yourself depends on various variables. 

But let me give you the good news. If you are reading this article, you are already a step ahead to choose the right one!

By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea about 28.5mm vs 29mm barbells

The 29mm and 28.5mm barbells are different for the knurling, weight limit, and types of exercises. If you are more into power-lifting, you should definitely go for the 29mm one. On the other hand, a 28.5mm diameter will be the right choice if you want an all-in-one thing.

Now in this article, I have portrayed a quick comparison between the 28.5mm and 29mm shaft barbells followed by an in-depth analysis. Also, don’t worry about the fancy gym terms. I have written them into simple chunks for your better understanding. 

Got some minutes spared? Let’s go through and we promise you won’t regret it. 

28.5 vs 29 mm Barbell: A Quick Comparison

You can look at some common features before buying your power barbell or the multipurpose one. Have a look at the table below which demonstrates the key differences.

Features28.5mm shaft29mm shaft
Barbel weight20 Kg20 Kg
Maximum load1500 pounds2200 pounds
WhipMore whipLess Whip
Price range225-390 $290-510$

We hope you’ve got the basic idea about the two now. If so, let’s move on to the overall detailed comparison. Let’s take a look. 

28.5 vs 29 mm Barbell: In-depth Analysis

The diameter of a standard barbell basically means the diameter of its shaft. This diameter varies depending on certain criteria similar to 45 or 55lb barbells. Like the powerlifting bars have a shaft diameter of 29mm while it’s 28.5mm for multipurpose ones. 

In this part, we have an in-depth analysis of barbells with 28.5mm and 29mm shaft diameters. 

Barbell Weight

Weight of a barbell totally depends on the material it is composed of. It has a good impact on the durability and strength of the bar itself.

The weight of a standard 28.5mm diameter barbell is around 20 kg. This weight is optimal for doing various exercises. For instance, bench pressing, powerlifting, etc. 

On the other hand, the standard 29mm bar weight is around 20kg too. Although they weigh somewhat the same, the bigger diameter of 29 mm provides more grip.

So, it’s a tie considering the barbell weight.

Maximum Load

The place on both ends of the bar where you put the load plates is the sleeve. The loads whose holes have a smaller diameter than a sleeve, cannot fit right in. But loads with a bigger diameter can fit with the help of an adjuster.

Now, what’s the maximum load your barbell can take?

A 28.5mm can take a maximum of 1500lbs. That’s okay for lighter exercises that don’t require much weight involvement. 

On the contrary, a 29mm can take a maximum of 2200lbs. An average man can lift 405 pounds after a year of weight training. That’s more than enough for powerlifters.

That’s why these barbells are preferred by powerlifters. You can easily do leverage or barbell squat

Therefore, it’s a win for the 29mm barbells.


Barbell whip is basically how much a bar will bend when a set of heavy loads is attached to it. Weight lifters can use that momentum caused by the bar to lift more weight. 

A thin bar will have more whip compared to a thick one.

The 28.5mm diameter barbell comes with a moderate whip. This is amazing if you are a skilled weight lifter. The whip can be used if you want to propel weight upwards. 

Again, the stiff 29.5 m  diameter barbells come with no whip. This makes the lifting a bit difficult.

Therefore, it’s a win for the 28.5mm diameter barbells. 


To make the grip stronger, barbells have crosshatching on the shaft. It is known as the Knurling. This Knurling is regarded as aggressive if it’s pointy whereas the smoother one is called passive. 

The 29mm barbells have aggressive knurling. When the diamonds are too pointy, it ensures a better grip. But the powerlifters using the bar with aggressive knurling might hurt their skin. The 29mm bars come with a center and dual knurlings. 

On the other hand, the 28.5mm barbells come with mild to moderate knurling. It feels  less rough on the skin while ensuring a good grip. They only come with dual knurlings.

Although the grip is somewhat the same, aggressive knurlings can hurt your skin.

So, it’s a win for the 28.5mm bars. 

Price Range

A high-quality powerlifting barbell can cost you around 290 dollars. If you jump into the premium range, a rogue barbell can go as high as 510 dollars. Spending that kind of money on a bar is worth it if you are a professional. 

However, the multipurpose 28.5mm Olympic bars cost much lower. A decent bar starts at 225$ and can go up to 390 $. If you are a beginner you can go with these. Even most of the gyms have 28.5mm bars as their common diameter. 

That’s mainly because it’s affordable and almost all types of exercises can be done using it. 

So, it’s a win for barbells with a 28.5mm diameter. 

source: getimage

Exercises You Can Do With Barbells

Barbells can be used to do different types of exercises. Some people want to lose fat, some use it for strength, and some for more muscle mass. It is better to use barbells compared to machines. Now selecting the right exercise depends on them. 

Again, barbells of different diameters are suitable for different exercises. 

Exercises With A 28.5mm Barbell

With a 28.5 mm diameter barbell, all types of strength training can be done. You can easily test how strong you are with this all-purpose barbell. 

There are  5 strength exercises you can try right now. For example, barbell squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, bench presses, and lunges. These exercises strengthen both the upper and lower part of your body and give a balanced look.

Exercises With A 29mm Barbell

Now, 29mm bars are great for heavy-weight training. The extra thickness will give you an upper hand. The grips won’t dig into your palm that much and thus ensure a smooth lift. 

You can do powerlifting, weight lifting, or sumo deadlifts with the 29mm barbells. It’s better to use an anti-slip weightlifting powder to avoid accidents. In case of stiff joints or muscles, GOLDEN REVIVE+ can be a good solution when working out. 

28.5 Or 29 Mm Barbell: Which One Should You Pick?

Have you decided which one to pick? The comparison might seem intimidating but it’s worth the time. 

So, if you want to do your strength exercises along with powerlifting then go for the 28.5mm barbells. You can use this hybrid all-rounder barbell in ways you can’t imagine.

Also, if you are dedicated to powerlifting, then go for the 29mm ones. The most dedicated powerlifting bars in the market are 29mm in diameter. 

Furthermore, if you are a hardcore powerlifter, a 32mm barbell will be the best for you.

Now you can pick the best one for you.


What is a good diameter for a barbell?

A good diameter for a barbell should be 28-29 mm for men. Olympic bars are around 28-28.5mmwith adequate whip. And the powerlifting bars are around 29mm in diameter. 

Furthermore, women’s barbells start from 25mm in diameter. 

Does the thickness of a barbell matter?

It depends on the exercise you are doing. A thinner barbell can ensure more whip. You can use the momentum to lift the weights upward.

On the contrary, muscle activation and strength gains are improved by thick bars.

Do barbells ever snap?

No, barbells don’t snap. At least humans can’t snap a barbell. The maximum you can do is bend it. Barbells can only be snapped when it crosses the load limit. But, you can never lift such a load. 

How much weight should I lift?

You can start by lifting your body weight first. After that increase the limit slowly. Don’t look at what others are lifting. You should lift what’s right for you today. 

Take Away 

I Hope you have now a clear understanding of 28.5 vs 29 mm barbells. 

By the way, you can use barbells at your home. But, make sure you have enough space. Also, get yourself one of those rubber mats so that you don’t end up damaging your floor.

Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

Finally, hope you have a great training program with your new barbells.

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