How Much Does A Deadlift Bar Weigh? (And What It Could Mean If It Doesn’t)
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, ‘Do I include the bar in my lifting weight?’, then the natural follow-up question is:
How much does a deadlift bar weigh?
The answer to the first question is yes. No, you’re not cheating yourself or misleading anyone--that’s just how much weight you’re actually pulling against gravity. With a plate on each side of the bar, you still have to lift both plates plus the bar, right?
Don’t worry, you’re not the first to ask. And it leads us to another interesting point: how much does a deadlift bar weigh, and how much should it weight?
In this post, I’ll explain a few reasons why this question should really have just one answer.
Men’s Olympic bars weigh 45lbs (20kg), while women’s Olympic bars weigh 33lbs (15kg) and are shorter with a thinner mid-bar section.
Cheaper and shorter power bars can also come in between 33 and 40lbs, typically with less give--making them rigid and somewhat uncomfortable.
The only acceptable exception, in my mind, is for some intentionally thicker bars. These can be used for building forearm and grip strength, and can weigh as much as 55lbs.
The weight of a deadlift bar, or any bar, can be a sign of quality--it can tell you whether or not your gym is decking out its members with the finest equipment, or cutting on costs and wondering if anyone will notice.
I’ll tell you what makes a standard barbell ‘standard’; I’ll talk about Olympic bars, and why they’re so exceptional; then, with this new knowledge about lifting bars, I’ll give you a couple of ideal lifting weights to shoot for (with the bar’s weight included!)
Let’s get started.
Standard Bars (Power Bars)
This are the most common type of barbell you’ll come across. Most power bars are between 6 and 7ft long, with the best bars being made from high quality steel from end to end. They’re the go-to barbell for most commercial gyms, used for back squats, deadlifts, and more casual Olympic lifts (by casual, I just mean ‘not competitive’!).
Ideally, the bar should be rigid with a little give. So don’t worry if you see the bar bending under heavy squats or deadlifts--it’s supposed to do that!
The best quality bars will have three grooved or ‘knurled’ sections--those are the textured parts where you’ll get the most grip. For back squatting, it can really make a difference to have this knurled section in the middle of the bar, as well as on the sides for gripping with your hands. The textured metal will catch on your shirt, making sure that the weight won’t slide down your back during the movement (especially when things get a little sweaty, a smooth bar can be a pain to hold in place).
For standard bars, each ‘sleeve’ ranges between one foot and 16 inches, with a thicker diameter than the centre of the bar; typically about twice as thick (28mm in the center and 52mm at the sleeve). Cheaper bars tend to have shorter sleeves, and this can be a way to tell an Olympic bar on first sighting.
These are the real deal. Used for weightlifting all the way up to the highest level (yep, you guessed it--they use them at the Olympics), these bars have a strict set of dimensions to meet. They’re also typically ‘bendier’ than regular power bars, but this doesn’t mean they can’t hold as much weight. In fact, they can usually hold more.
The last major difference is the grip itself: Olympic bars have precision bearings that spin at the base of each sleeve. This allows the bar to rotate in your hand, while still keeping a good grip during power lifts like cleans and jerks. If you’re looking for a gym to improve your power clean form, keep an eye out for Olympic bars with precision bearings--the bend and give in these bars is also more forgiving for ‘catching’.
How Much Does A Deadlift Bar Weigh?
For traditional barbell deadlifts, if possible you’ll want to find an Olympic bar. Men’s Olympic bars weigh 45lbs (20kg), while women’s Olympic bars weigh 33lbs (15kg) and are shorter with a thinner mid-bar section. Cheaper and shorter power bars can also come in between 33 and 40lbs, typically with less give--making them rigid and somewhat uncomfortable. The only acceptable exception, in my mind, is for some intentionally thicker bars. These can be used for building forearm and grip strength, and can weigh as much as 55lbs.
Barbell deadlifts aren’t your only option though. Hex bar deadlifts have also been shown to have some interesting benefits (*link to benefits of hex bar post), offering a deeper range of movement and some advantages for individuals recovering from lower back injuries. Hex bars, although following a completely different shape, have kept with the standard 45lbs weight.
Other more unusual bars are out there, too. If you’re interested (and since we’re talking all things lifting bars), the Cambered bar is a unique-looking bar, usually used for squatting. It puts the emphasis on your posterior chain, with the weights hanging down by your hips while the bar still crosses over the shoulders. Cambered bars also weigh 45lbs.
One bar you’re probably familiar with is the EZ-Bar. These are great for all variety of upper body and arm workouts, weighing in at just 15lbs.
Ideal Lifting Weights (including the bar!)
Now that you’re not going to short-change yourself 45lbs, I’ll give some rough (very rough) guidelines for each exercise, and what you might try shooting for in relation to bodyweight.
Back Squat - 0.8 Bodyweight
Bench Press - 0.6 x Bodyweight
Deadlift - 0.75 x Bodyweight
Back Squat - 1-1.4 x Bodyweight
Bench Press - 0.8-1.1 x Bodyweight
Deadlift - 1 x Bodyweight
Back Squat - 1.5-2 x Bodyweight
Bench Press - 1-1.6 x Bodyweight
Deadlift - 1.4-1.8 x Bodyweight
Look at the below, this would be for an Intermediate lifter, weighing in at 180lbs.
Back Squat = 180-252lbs
Bench Press = 162-189lbs
Deadlift = 180lbs
These are estimates, but will give you a good idea of what’s possible and what to shoot for. Depending on where you are in your training, don’t take these figures too close to heart. Some people may be pushing well beyond these figures, while others are still refining technique and building strength. Even though I’ve just given a section on ‘how much weight should you be lifting’, it’s much more important to lift with good technique than it is to lift a certain amount of weight.
How To Choose Barbells For Dumbells (Video)
When you start to lift 1.5-2 times your bodyweight, the difference between bars becomes a little more obvious.
The quality of a bar will have a lot to do with how well it bears a load, how easily you can perform power lifts like cleans, and how well you can hold onto is. The biggest sign of quality is weight. If the power bars or barbells at your local gym aren’t hitting that magic 45lb mark, it won’t hurt to ask why. If the answer is that they’re cutting back on quality to save on costs, this is never a good sign--success is in the details, and the weight of your deadlift bar can be a tell-tale detail of quality.