For most people, the best short barbell for the money is the GetRXD 2.0. In some areas (like resistance and durability) it’s as good as shorty bars that cost twice as much. In others, like sleeve length, it’s better. Overall – impressive value.
There are scenarios, however, where the GetRXd would be a major letdown and money down the drain – we’ll get to that in a hot minute.
If you’re OK with spending a few Benjamins, Rogue’s C-70S is the obvious choice. It’s the only rackable men’s shorty bar with a Cerakote finish, which is a huge deal.
Why give me the time of day and read this
In my 20 years as a personal trainer, I used a wide range of short barbells for an even wider range of clients’ needs.
I know what’s good and what’s not.
More importantly, I know the industry’s underbelly…I know which bars appear to be great but aren’t.
Anyway, my experience is only the starting point for this guide.
The ‘meat’ is in the methodology (data, testing, and talking to experts) and sheer numbers – we rated 50 bars in 23 quality categories, including weight capacity, rackable space, and finish.
Let’s get to the results.
Titan 5ft Short Barbell
GetRXD Shorty Olympic bar
- 1. Best short barbell overall – GetRXD shorty Olympic bar
- 2. Best premium short barbell – Rogue c-70S rackable bar
- 3. Best shorty bar for beginners – Rep Technique
- 4. Best short barbell for women – ROGUE C-68S
- 5. Best budget short bar – Titan 5ft barbell
- Honorable mention – Rogue Axle top pick among fat short bars
- 9 major factors of choosing a good short barbell
- 5 secondary factors of choosing between shorter barbells
- What are short barbells for?
- Are short barbells good?
- How much does a short barbell weigh?
- Is it harder to lift with a shorter barbell?
- Can you squat with a short bar?
- How do you use a short barbell?
- Can you bench press with a 5ft bar?
- Is a 4ft bar good?
5 best short barbells
|Name||Best in category||Rating (out of 35.125)||Price||Bar length (in feet)||Loadable sleeve length (inches)|
|GetRXD bar||Overall and value||24.5||$$||6.2||9.84|
|Rep Technique Barbell||For beginners||20.875||$$||6.0||9|
|ROGUE C-68S||For women||20.875||$$$$||5.7||5.75|
1. Best short barbell overall – GetRXD shorty Olympic bar
(rated 24.5 out of the max 34.625)
GetRXD is the best shorty bar for people looking to avoid spending hundreds. Its main forte is the value for money.
The tensile strength of the steel is the same as Rogue’s, the sleeves are longer, (making it more versatile because it offers a higher maximum capacity) and it’s fully coated in hard chrome, which means it won’t rust or chip.
Corrosion resistance aside, hard chrome is tough enough to take on the years and keep the bar in mint condition for decades. I can’t say that with a straight face about any other bar in this price range.
If I go down my list and look for the second-best bar coated in hard chrome, I get to the Fringesport Wonderbar, which is a great bar, too…but costs almost three times as much.
At 52 inches of collar-to-collar distance, the 2.0 version of the bar is rackable and much better suited for wide-grip lifts like snatches.
GetRXD tried to get a piece of the pie in this market segment with the first version of this bar, but that was never in the books…what with the short un-rackable shaft and all. ‘Rackability’ (is that even a word?!) of a barbell is important, because it allows you to store it much more easily on a rack (important in a home gym where space may be limited), plus it opens it up to exercises where you need to take the bar from chest height (squats, lunges, presses etc).
Bottom line – GetRXD is my top pick because it ticks all the main boxes at a doorbuster price.
- High value for money – you’ll spend much less compared to bars of similar quality.
- Longer sleeves than any 6ft bar in the top 10 – you can comfortably pack on weight, be it cast iron or bumper weight plates.
- 52″ collar to collar shaft- allows the bar to be racked which allows you to use it for bench press, and squats. Plus it helps for snatch hand placement.
- Both sleeves and shaft are coated in hard chrome – this makes the bar resistant to corrosion, wear and tear
- Oversized oil-impregnated bushings spin smoothly – it lowers the risk of wrist injury, and they oil themselves to keep the spin smoother for longer.
- Dual knurling marks – helps you be precise with hand placement
- Two inches longer than a standard 6ft bar (74 inches long) – won’t save you as much much space as a 5ft or standard 6ft bar.
- Hard chrome is not as grippy as Cerakote or Zinc – if you like aggressive knurling and lift heavy, you might need to spend money on chalk.
2. Best premium short barbell – Rogue c-70S rackable bar
(rated 21.75 out of the max 34.625)
If you’re OK with spending a few hundred on a short bar, the choice becomes simpler – go with the ROGUE C-70S. It takes all that abundant goodness of their Ohio bar and packs it smaller.
Note that we’re talking about the C-70S and not the C-70 here.
The one with the S in the name hits the sweet spot in terms of shaft-to-sleeve length balance, which means it’s rackable and the sleeves are long enough even for the serious lifter.
Other men’s shorty bars from Rogue (including the ‘basic’ C-70 and the C60-B) dropped below the Top 5 line because they’re not rackable. The former is just a peg shorter than the C-70S but favors sleeve over shaft space and the latter is less than 5 feet long. Again, neither is rackable.
Rogue is the only brand that offers a Cerakote-finished shaft in their short barbells. All the others offer hard chrome or Zinc at best or sub-par decorative chrome at worst.
Cerakote is more resistant than hard chrome, let alone Zinc. It also doesn’t dull the knurling and feels better in your hand.
“Zinc coating slightly dulls the knurl of most bars and has a “powdery” feel in many cases. “
- Cerakote coating – the most-resistant coating you can get in short barbells (I’m not aware of any stainless steel bar in this length range…if you are, drop me a line)
- 52 inches of rackable space – this makes it more versatile than the other ‘Rogues’ because you need a rackable bar for stuff like bench presses and squats
- Well-balanced spin similar to Rogue’s Ohio bar – better suited for Olympic lifts than the GetRXD because there’s no “leftover spin” after the lift
- High attention to detail and quality control – you get a bar free of any imperfections, like chipped sleeves or notches in the knurling
- Precise finish and striking print – the white Rogue logo looks crisp and clean against the black matte backdrop of Cerakote – it will add a touch of ‘awesomeness’ to any home gym.
- Hard chrome sleeves would be better – Zinc is not as resistant or durable, which means the sleeves will wear with time.
- Pricey – will make a substantial dent in your home gym budget
3. Best shorty bar for beginners – Rep Technique
(rated 20.875 out of the max 34.625)
If you’re looking to learn proper technique, recovering from an injury, or simply never lift more than 130 pounds, the Rep Technique will be the perfect bar.
REP did a great job of mimicking a regular barbell at a much lower weight (graph below) – from the knurling to the shaft length and grip marks. If you need to move on to another bar, you won’t feel the change because the kinematics and lift trajectory will be the same.
Bear in mind that this one is just the beginner’s option from REP Fitness. In the event that you would like to learn more about their barbells, be sure to check out our Best REP Fitness barbell in-depth guide.
Last but not least, REP’s customer service is second to none – I mean these guys are lightning-fast. That makes all the more difference when getting a more ‘sensitive’ bar like this one.
- Weighs only 15 lbs – allows you to start with lower weights
- The knurl marks and the shaft length are the same as in ‘regular’ bars – once you have the lifting technique down, you can transition to other bars seamlessly
- Zinc-coated shaft – more resistant than bare Aluminum you often get with this kind of bar
- Great value – costs less than similar bars from Rogue, but it’s of much higher quality than cheaper learning bars
- Lower weight capacity than regular short barbells – you can’t use it to lift more than 200 lbs, and even at that weight it’ll likely bend like a banana
- 1-year warranty – you can pay the same and get a Lifetime warranty on a regular short barbell
- Doesn’t grow with you – most people will very quickly outgrow a bar with such a low weight capacity, so if budgets are tight I’d urge you to go with something that’ll allow you to lift more
4. Best short barbell for women – ROGUE C-68S
(rated 20.875 out of 34.625)
C-68S is the women’s version of the overall runner-up – the C70-S. It’s a dab shorter (both overall and in the sleeves) and thinner (25mm diameter).
Other than that, it’s the same bar as the C-70S.
- High 190-K PSI tensile strength – check.
- Cerakote shaft – check
- Rogue Work Hardening – check.
Check, check, check…
It’s fair to say that our rating system was somewhat unfair to the women’s bars this time around. It’s because we award points for loadable sleeves length. I hope I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings when I say that long sleeves will not be as important to a girl as they are to a guy.
Social justice aside, this bar is dangerously close to perfect if you have the money to get it.
Much like the C-70S follows in the footsteps of the Ohio bar, the C-68S takes after the Bella bar.
Lastly, there’s not a single reason why a man can’t use this bar to get a whippier feel – courtesy of the thinner shaft.
If you’re a man looking into this bar and someone gives you s**t about it, keep quiet, blast through those PRs and you two can talk again in a year.
Or check out our full review of women’s barbells here.
- Comfortably rackable with 51.5 of collar-to-collar space – you’re not limited to narrow racks
- Thinner (25mm) – more comfortable grip for women and whippier than a men’s bar.
- Weight is quintuple (a multiple of 5) – this makes it easier to do the weight math and plan your workouts
- Premium feel – same high-end craftsmanship as the universally praised Bella bar
- Price – you’ll have to pay a premium price
5. Best budget short bar – Titan 5ft barbell
(rated 20.5 out of 34.625)
This Titan is not a perfect bar by any stretch of the imagination. But the value is there – no question about it.
It’s the only 5ft bar that found its way into the Top 5, which makes it the leading space-saver here.
Still, it packs longer sleeves than any of the competing 6ft bars.
You can probably guess where the trade-offs are – the shorter non-rackable shaft (36.5 inches) and cheap, deco-chrome coating. If you’re blessed with plenty of space, fantastic – this could be perfect for you. If not, think about this… storage and use are impacted.
So, if you’re not big on snatching and you’re OK with some rust and wear, this one’s a steal. You can see a quick overview in the video below.
- Cheap – other top-rated bars on the list cost 90-200% more
- Covered by a one-year warranty – gives you peace of mind when buying, which is no small deal with cheaper bars
- Deco-chrome coating – not as durable or resistant as Cerakote, Zinc or hard chrome. You’ll see some chipping fast.
- No knurl marks – if hand placement doesn’t come intuitively, you might need to mark your grips with tape or a sharpie.
- Lower weight capacity than most short barbells – a higher risk of bending
- Short sleeves – the low 5.75 loadable sleeve length only works well with iron plates – it won’t be enough for heavier lifts if you’re using bumper plates.
Honorable mention – Rogue Axle top pick among fat short bars
This section is for two groups of people – those looking for a fat short bar and those unaware of its existence.
First things first – why use a fat short bar?
Because the extra mechanical tension adds demand on your arms and hands, especially the forearms.
In functional, non-Popeye terms, if grip is the weak link in your kinetic chain, a fat bar might help.
Plainly speaking – if you’re letting go of a pull-up bar because your forearms are failing before you even feel the lats, you’re a viable candidate.
My top pick among the fat short bars is the Rogue Stubby Axle, with Titan Fat Grip as a budget alternative.
Choosing a short barbell – complete buyer’s guide
9 major factors of choosing a good short barbell
1 – Overall bar length
I’m looking at the data as I write this and most of the better bars are 6 feet (72 inches) or longer.
Anything lower than that and you’re facing some serious ‘sacrifices’ of shaft and sleeve length.
If the collar-to-collar distance is shorter
In this scenario, the bar isn’t as comfortable for Olympic lifts, especially snatches, because the geometry is different than that of a standard 7ft barbell. This will seriously impact technique of the Olympic lifts because your hands are much closer together.
Simply put, the shaft might be too short for bigger guys.
A perfect example of this is the Eleiko XF short bar – everything about its design serves one purpose – to keep as much of the sleeves while cutting the overall length down.
Note what Eleiko did with the flange here – they “pinched” a fraction of an inch. Combine that with a short shaft (44 inches) and you have a barbell that’s great for high-level functional fitness if space is an issue (think Crossfit competitions).
Bars like the Eleiko XF are niche and made with competitions in mind. For a home gym, the sweet-spot range is 6-6.2 feet.
All the analyzed bars in that range are rackable with a collar-to-collar distance of no less 51.5 ” and sleeve lengths between 8.4 and 10 inches (more on that below).
Bars shorter than that typically won’t be rackable. So, I’d only go this low in tight spaces where every inch counts.
2 – Shorty bar sleeve length
(0-1.5 points in our ratings)
Loadable sleeve length is a primary factor but there’s also too much noise around it…way too much.
So, let’s cut through that fluff and simplify things.
For most people, 8.5 inches of loadable sleeve length will do just fine.
Why 8.5 inches?
Because that’s the length that allows you to load 240 pounds using 45-lbs bumper weight plates, and leave 2.5 inches of space for a collar. That’s plenty for all but the most advanced lifters.
With cast iron weight plates, a 9-inch sleeve will easily take on 500+ pounds.
Bottom line – unless you’re He-Man and Teela won’t let you lift in Castle Grayscull so you’re stuck in a tiny cave, there’s little chance of the sleeve length being a problem (if you don’t get that reference, I envy you because you probably still have full shoulder mobility). Great line by the way!!!
3 – Diameter of the bar sleeves (compatibility with Olympic plates)
This one is pretty straightforward because all the good shorty bars fit Olympic plates and collars.
There are slight differences and not all the brands are precisely machined to 2 inches. Some of the bars we looked at have a sleeve diameter of 1.97, which isn’t a deal-breaker but it does mean you’ll get some rattle when lifting without collars.
The few thinner bars that still fall into the ‘short’ category are fat-grip axle bars, like the 60-inch Titan Axle (1.93 sleeve diameter).
Read our article on the best barbell collars to learn all you need regarding collars.
4 – Rackability – the collar-to-collar distance of shorter barbells
(0-3 points in our ratings)
We partially covered this in the overall length section. Let me clarify some stuff, resume and add a personal note.
I wouldn’t buy a non-rackable bar for my gym because I’d need to get more barbell stands or have barbells lying around the floor.
A rackable bar is more functional for squats and presses, easier to use, and easier to store.
A non-rackable short bar only makes sense if you don’t have the space for a rack and you’re OK with tucking the bar away in a corner.
Rackability vs. overall length of a bar
If you want a rackable bar that’s shorter than 6 ft, you have three choices – a junior bar, a women’s bar, or a learning bar like the Rep Technique (the latter of which I’d probably not even consider, because it’s basically for teaching with, not really lifting).
The adult men’s rackable bars start at 6 ft.
If you have an extra narrow power rack (42 inches or lower), there are two bars under 6 feet that might work – the Ivanko OBS-66 and Eleiko XF. You’d have to cough up some mega bucks for either.
Bottom line – unless you have a clear-cut reason, skip the 5 ft bars and go for a nice, rackable 6-footer.
5 – Weight capacity and tensile strength of the barbell
(0-2 points in our ratings)
How much weight a bar can take is less important here than in regular bars, because you’re more likely to max out the sleeves than the listed capacity, especially if you’re using bumper plates.
This is what the math looks like – you’ll need about 9 inches of loadable sleeve length to lift 240 lbs using bumper plates (with at least 2.5 inches for the collar). This means that going over 300 pounds with bumper plates and a shorter bar isn’t an option.
Still, skip any shorty barb with a listed weight capacity under 300 lbs (unless you’re not a beginner looking for a learning bar). It’s not because of the number per-se but because of what the number tells you about the steel – tensile and yield strength specifically.
In other words, a higher max load is typically better even if you’re not lifting at capacity because it’s a sign of a durable bar that won’t yield to time (read: bend).
Pair that with a resistant coat and you’ve got a home gym heirloom.
Tensile strength range
All the five top-rated short barbells have a tensile strength of 190.000 PSI*. That means you’d need to put 190 thousand pounds of pressure per square inch to break the bar.
To put it another way, you’re not breaking any short bars in this lifetime. You might bend some, though…if you go under 120 K PSI.
Besides a higher risk of bending, low tensile strength indicates ‘soft’ steel, which means the knurling will dull with prolonged use.
Go over 220K PSI and the steel becomes brittle. Again, brittleness here doesn’t mean that the bar will break but it will be too stiff and won’t give you any whip.
The 190-220.000 PSI range is where (almost) all of the serious shorty bars live.
6 – Finish of short barbells – the bad and the good news
(0-2 points for sleeve finish and 0-1.5 points for shaft finish)
You want a finish that can take the sweaty hands and the humid basements without dulling the knurling too much. It also needs significantly less maintenance, and let’s face it – who likes high maintenance anywhere in life?!
The finish that fits that bill is stainless steel – it won’t rust or change, and its effect on the knurling is zero because it doesn’t coat the bar, it is the bar.
The bad news is I don’t know of a single bar in this class with a stainless steel finish. Why that is, I have no idea. My best guess is that most people buy short barbells as a secondary piece and aren’t willing to splurge on stainless steel.
The good news is that there are great bars with Cerakote, hard chrome, and Zinc finishes.
Cerakote short barbells – only from Rogue
The only brand offering a Cerakote finish in their short barbells is Rogue. Besides the high resistance, Cerakote also takes color better than any other finish which usually means you can add some oomph to your home gym.
No such luck with short barbells – all the Rogue models feature a black cerakote shaft with a hard chrome or Zinc sleeve.
I’m guessing that will change soon because, well…why not?
Hard chrome is the third most resistant finish (after cerakote and stainless steel) but it also dulls the knurling more than any coating apart from deco-chrome. Even the lower-tier black oxide and phosphate have a lesser effect on how the knurling feels.
For you, that means two things:
- If you prefer an aggressive knurl, you might wanna skip hard chrome
- If you do go with something like the GetRXD, use the money you saved and get a lifetime supply of chalk
Bottom line – I’d suggest you prioritize the resistance properties over the effects on knurling because you won’t be loading tons onto a short bar.
7 – Knurling of shorty bars
(0-3.5 points across three sub-categories)
All the bars we looked at describe the knurling as ‘medium’ or ‘standard.’
In reality, the knurling of most bars will be less aggressive than in your regular Olympic barbell, let alone a powerlifting bar.
I’d say that medium-leaning-towards-passive knurling (like the GetRXD) is the standard and medium-leaning-towards-aggressive (like on the Cali bar) is the exception.
None of the bars that scored high have a center knurl.
This is what I think – if a center knurl is an absolute must, one of two things is happening. You’re either a beastly creature of habit or you’re squatting wrong…and I’m just including the first one to be nice.
Jokes aside, if you need a center knurl, you won’t find it in a short barbell…at least not in the ones I know.
8 – Price of shorty bars
(-1 to 8 points in our ratings)
You can get an excellent short barbell like the GetRXD for around $150.
The premium brands will set you back twice as much and you’ll pay three times more for the high-end bars like Eleiko XF.
You can see the price distribution excerpt from our database below.
9 – Warranty on short barbells – read the fine print
(0-3 points in our ratings)
Look for a lifetime warranty if you’re spending more than $200 on a shorty bar, at least 5 years if you’re spending over $150, and avoid any bar warrantied for less than a year.
Look for a lifetime warranty that covers bending
It’s a misleadingly slight difference in the terms – for example, the GetRXD bar has a lifetime warranty that only covers you against bending for 1 year.
5 secondary factors of choosing between shorter barbells
1 – Loadable sleeve to shaft ratio – LSSR
Nothing to do with the ole’ SSSR, this is a metric I came up with for the purposes of this guide (aka. made it up), so that I can plastically illustrate a few points.
But, let’s take a step back…
There are two ways to make a shorty bar:
- Keep the distance between the collars close to a standard Olympic barbell and shave some sleeve length off
- Go long on the sleeves and shorten the shaft
I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of the math behind this, I’ll just give you an example and tell you what it means for you.
Let’s use ROGUE C-70S as an example – the loadable sleeve length is 8.875 ” and the shaft length is a standard 52 “. The LSSR is 0.17 (8.875 divided by 52).
That puts Rogue C-70S right in the middle of our ‘sweet’ range.
What’s the LSSR of a good short bar?
The best rackable short bars will have an LSSR in the 0.15-0.20 range – any lower than that and you’re entering junior bar territory, any higher and you’re looking at non-rackable bars.
What it means for your garage gym
It means that if you don’t like any of my picks and looking at other bars, make a mental note here and do the LSSR math to see if the bar fits the 0.15-0.2 range.
As a bonus – the LSSR metric also accounts for the shortened flanges of some premium brands.
2 – Grip diameter of a short bar
Almost all of the shorter barbells in our database have a 28.5 shaft diameter. You might find the occasional ‘unicorn’ with a 30mm grip like that of the Ivanko OB-60B.
A 1.1-inch grip is just the ticket for multipurpose barbells.
At 25 mm, you’ll find the women’s and junior bars. Over 29 mm is an axle-bar neighborhood.
3 – Rotating sleeves – bushings or bearings?
(0-0.5 points in our ratings)
There’s not much room for choice here since over 85 % of the barbell sleeves in our database feature bushings The remaining 15 % have either bearings, both, or none – with the % equally distributed between the three (5% each).
The more important part is choosing a bar with a well-made bushing system. There’s a much higher chance of seeing problems because of sub-par materials than missing the free spin of needle bearings.
In fact, the opposite is true – some of the short bars are borderline too spinny for Olympic lifts, with the top-rated GetRXD as a prime example.
You can see Peter from Fringe Sport explain it in more detail below:
4 – Where is the bar made?
(0-0.5 points in our ratings)
The origin of the bar (manufacturing) carries only 0.5 points in our ratings because the days of dismissing gear because it’s made in China or Taiwan are long gone.
There are quite a few companies that have kept their design and quality control local and only moved the production overseas. A typical example of outsourcing without compromising quality is REP Fitness’ gear.
Yes, the number of factors doesn’t add up
You might have noticed that I mentioned 23 quality categories but, between the major and the secondary factors, I listed 13.
That’s because some factors are too technical to make for a useful read, like those relating to customer satisfaction statistics and popularity among lifters. Still, it’s important to note that we unearth all that data, analyze it and use it to get to the ratings.
Furthermore, the factor I listed without mentioning their gravity in points fall into three groups:
- Subjective ones like the overall length – because no bar length is universally ‘better’
- Factors with incomplete data – not all brands list all the technical specs, like the max weight capacity. When that happens, I make estimates or avoid awarding points altogether.
- Uniform values across the board – like the shaft diameter, which is 28.5 in almost all bars
I hope that explains it.
Methodology – how we analyzed and rated the short barbells
In all my guides, I include a short overview of the methodology behind the picks and the ratings. I’m doing it because it’s what I’d like to see if I was on the other side of the screen…and it’s rarely there.
Each of the steps below upholds the SHG (Strong Home Gym) values – honesty, transparency, and the pursuit of value.
- The initial directory of short barbells consists of 50 products.
- We compiled all the data on the 50 bars into two massive databases – one with raw information (specs like size, weights, etc.) and the other with criteria for the ratings (23 of those – from price and warranty terms to tensile strength and max load).
- Quantifying the quality categories – based on my experience as a personal trainer and consultations with industry experts, I assigned quantifiable gravity to each quality category.
- We rated all the short barbells in all categories and the databases returned ratings for each. The top 5 are the winners I’m presenting here
- I’m including an honorable mention because it’s a unique fat grip short barbell and rating it in the same way as ‘regular’ bars wasn’t doable
- Based on the price and unique specs I assigned each of the top 5 bars a label (top overall, premium, for beginners, for women, and budget)
Combined, it took about 50 hours to complete.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are short barbells for?
Short barbells are for training or competing in a constrained space because some of them, like the Rogue C-60B, are under 5 feet long.
You might use them for functional fitness, weightlifting, power, and even Olympic lifts. Best-suited for Olympic lifts are the short barbells with a standard shaft length. They’re also a nice way to make things more interesting for your biceps by alternating between a straight bar and an EZ curl bar.
Are short barbells good?
Yes, short barbells are good because they save space without sacrificing capacity (like the Eleiko XF) or functionality (like ROGUE C-70S).
How much does a short barbell weigh?
A short barbell weighs 15 to 35 pounds, with 6-foot bars like Rogue C-70S on the upper end of that range.
On the lower end of the weight spectrum are the learning barbells, followed by the 5 ft. bars which typically weigh 25 pounds, and the 6 ft. barbells that weigh 30-35 pounds.
The average weight (based on the SHG database) is 27 pounds.
Is it harder to lift with a shorter barbell?
No, it’s not harder to lift with a short barbell as long the shaft length is over 50 inches, like in Rogue C-70S.
If you go lower than that, the shaft becomes too short for a comfortable grip, which might be a problem for wide-grip lifts like snatches.
Can you squat with a short bar?
Yes, you can squat with a short bar, provided that it has 50-52 inches of collar-to-collar space, like the Cali Bar.
A regular shaft length also means that the kinematics of the movement or bar placement doesn’t change. Those two are the factors that can affect muscle activation in squats as per this 2020 study.
How do you use a short barbell?
You use a short barbell in the same way as a regular barbell since the good ones like the GetRXD 4″ are rackable and offer the same shaft length.
The sleeves are typically shorter but, for most people, still offer enough space for heavy lifts.
Can you bench press with a 5ft bar?
Yes, you can bench press with a 5ft bar as long as it’s rackable like the Rep Technique Barbell.
Still, you are somewhat limited because the only 5ft bars with enough shaft length for racking are beginner bars, and those can’t handle more than 150-200 lbs.
The other option is narrowing your rack to fit a standard 5ft bar, and down to 33-38 inches. Think of it more as forcing variety into your training, rather than an outright replacement.
Is a 4ft bar good?
A 4ft bar is good because it’s a space-saver, and the better ones (like RitFit) offer enough sleeve length to fit 300+ pounds of weight plates. It’s a niche product, so buy one if you’re looking for another training tool rather than a replacement for a 6ft or 7ft barbell. They’re not the same thing.
For Olympic-style barbell training that requires a wide grip (like power or squat snatches), you’ll want to move to something with a longer shaft, like the Fringe Sport shorty bar.
Bottom line – if you know what you’re looking for, a short barbell can be a great addition to your home gym.
Other shorty bars in the Top 20
The section below is a list of barbells that were close but didn’t make the cut.
For some bars, I’ll include a blurb on the defining characteristics – what got them close and what kept them out of the top 5.
- Rogue C-60B bar – materials and finish-wise, this bar is similar to the C-70s. It’s not rackable, though.
- Powergainz Olympic Barbell – this bar was close to being a runner-up budget pick for a home gym. Deco-chrome sleeves cost it the title.
- 5-Foot Solid Olympic Bar by CAP Barbell – probably the most popular short bar out there with a good price-to-warranty balance. Still, a powder-coated bar was never going to make it to the top.
- Cali short bar – a good bar that should cost less because both the sleeves and shaft are Zinc-coated and it’s competing against cerakote and hard chrome bars.
- Eleiko XF Short Bar – if money is no object, the Eleiko XF is the best short barbell for functional fitness out there. It’s crazy expensive, as we’ve come to expect from Eleiko. Unless you own a commercial gym, skip the Eleiko XF, get a 2004 Lexus for the same money and push it around the block…now, that’s as functional as fitness gets.
- ROGUE 10KG junior – a junior bar that technically falls into the category of short bars. Two problems dragged it down – the zinc coating and ‘Construction’ warranty.
- BalanceFrom bar – a bar from a generic brand sold at Walmart. It is cheap but has some serious construction issues I couldn’t look over.
- Fringe Sport 15KG shorty barbell – the single biggest ‘disappointment’ on the list. Most experts have it among their top picks. In our value-centric rating model, the hefty price tag pulled it down. Way down.
Other bars that deserve a mention: Junior Performance bar by American barbell, SMIDOW, PEXMOR, IVANKO 5 ft Shorty, and Texas Shorty bar.
Bars that didn’t make it to the top 20: RitFit, Simplel, Kenxen, CAP Ultra-lite, AXLE, Bonnlo, Sunny Health & Fitness, Elevens Oly bar, Sporzon, Troy Barbell, CAP Barbell Aluma-Lite, Torque 5′, Sentuca, Ivanko 66″, BODY-SOLID OB60B, Alphafit, Raptor Shorty 70, BodyRock, IFAST, Newton Fitness OB-72, Weider 6’, HTNBO, BodySolid, RIGEL 5 FT, YESUNEED.
Short barbell aka. shorty bar – resume and updates
The best short barbell for most people looking for value is the GetRXD 2.0.
It hits the spot in all key aspects and you pay about half of what you would for Rogue or Fringe Sport.
Rogue C-70S is the bar for you if you prefer the gripper feel of Cerakote to hard chrome and you’re OK with paying extra for it.
If you’re still unsure, click here to skip back to the Top 5 table.
If you’re not making any decisions today, bookmark this guide for future reference because the market is a-changing and what’s best today might not be in a month.
Also, be sure to check our Best Olympic barbells article for more info.
2 thoughts on “Best Short Barbell – My Top 5 Shorty Bar Picks [Buyer’s Guide]”
Great write up!
You should take a look at the American Barbell Stainless Steel Gym Bar 5’.
I don’t have a Rack so I prefer longer sleeves over rackability for what I use it for: Deadlifts, RDLs, Belt Squats, Landmine Squats, Rows etc.
It retails for $295, and even though it’s ALWAYS listed as “Out of Stock” on the website, it’s always been In Stock when I reached out to Customer Support.
Good to know, we’ll look into it thanks.