When you start weight training, you’ll be confronted by a wide range of free weights in the gym. If you want to try out barbells, there are two main types to choose from: Olympic weights and standard weights.
But what exactly is the difference between them? Here we take a closer look.
Overview of Olympic and Standard Weights
Standard weights, or standard bars, are the most common type of barbells. They are about six feet long and weigh up to about 25 lbs. The bars are not as thick as Olympic bars, having a diameter of just 1 inch at the ends. They also use standard weight plates, which have 1-inch holes so they can be attached to the bars.
Olympic weights, or Olympic bars, look similar to standard bars but they are longer, heavier and stronger. They are about seven feet long and weigh about 45 lbs. The diameter of the bar is 2 inches at the ends, and they can be loaded with Olympic weight plates, which have holes with 2-inch diameters. They also have rotating sleeves, which standard weights do not.
Standard Weights: Pros and Cons
There are several benefits that come with using standard weights. For a start, standard weights are more suitable for beginners because they are less intimidating when you first get started.
Their load capacity is less, so they are perfect if you are just starting out with strength training. They also take up less room, and they are more affordable than Olympic weights. As a result, they tend to be a more suitable option for the home gym.
However, standard weights also come with a few disadvantages. Because they are not as strong, they can bend if you load too much weight on them, and the damage can be permanent.
Another disadvantage is that they don’t have rotating sleeves, so they can be less comfortable to use and they can put more strain on the wrists.
Olympic Weights: Pros and Cons
The main advantage of Olympic weights is that they are much stronger than standard weights. This means you can add much more weight to them, and they usually have a capacity of about 1,650 lbs, making them a better option for anyone who wants to develop serious strength and take their training further.
They are also more durable than standard weights. So while they may bend if you load them up with a lot of weight, they will return to their original position.
Rotating sleeves are another big advantage. These provide a smoother lift because the bar spins inside the weight, leading to less torque and less strain on the wrists.
Olympic weight plates are more accurate because they are precision tested, so you know exactly how much you are lifting. This is important when you start taking your strength training more seriously.
The main disadvantages of Olympic weights are that they are larger and heavier, which means they take up more space and may not be suitable for your home gym. They are also more expensive, so they will require a bigger investment.
Get More from Your Weight Training
You should now have a better idea of the differences between standard weights and Olympic weights. The main thing to remember is that it’s best to start out with standard weights until you have built up more strength. Then when you are ready, give Olympic weights a go and take your weight training to a whole new level.