I compared 51 Olympic barbells for women in 21 quality categories and the Rogue Bella bar is my top pick for most women because it strikes a great balance between price and quality. It is pricey, though.
If you’re on a budget, my recommendation for the best women’s barbell is the GetRXD WOD bar in hard chrome because it ticks all the major quality boxes at a much lower price.
Those are the boiled-down results after 30+hours of research.
They don’t tell the full story….far from it.
The conservative approach to choosing a barbell that’s best FOR YOU is taking a few minutes to actually read this guide. It’s packed with everything I’ve learned about barbells over my 20 years as a personal trainer.
Another reason not to rush things is the fact that the top 5 picks are all “cramped” into ONE single point. The difference in ratings between the Bella bar and the runner-up is only 0.25 points, and the fifth top-rated barbell is only 0.875 below.
That might not mean much to you, but let me tell you, it has NEVER happened before. Never.
This is all I’m saying – the differences are subtle and you should know exactly what you’re looking at before spending money. Whichever bar you buy, you’re getting a fantastic one… but by reading the guide you’re getting the perfect one.
Get RXd Bar 5.0
Bella Bar 2.0
Highest PSI Option
Fringe Sport Wonder
- Best women’s Olympic barbell – our Top 5 picks
- 1. Best women’s barbell overall – Bella bar 2.0 by Rogue
- 2. Best budget Olympic bar for women – GetRXD WOD BAR 5.0
- 3. Top-rated underdog pick – X Training Olympic weightlifting bar
- 4. Owners’ favorite – Synergee Regional 15kg women’s Olympic barbell
- 5. Highest tensile strength in the Top 5 (and 10) – Fringe Sport WONDER BAR W2
- One honorable mention
- Olympic bars for women that ranked in the Top 10
- Choosing an Olympic barbell for women – complete buying guide
- How we review and rate women’s Olympic barbells
- Women’s Olympic barbell – takeaways and updates
Best women’s Olympic barbell – our Top 5 picks
|Name||Best For||Tensile Strength (PSI)||Finish||Price|
|Rogue Bella Bar 2.0||Overall and premium||190,000||cerakote||$$$$|
|GetRXD WOD Bar 5.0||Budget||190,000||hard chrome||$|
|X Training Bar||Underdog pick||190,000||hard chrome||$$|
|Synergee Regional Bar||Owners favorite||190,000||hard chrome||$$|
|Fringe Sport Wonder Bar V2||Highest PSI||199,000||zinc||$$$|
1. Best women’s barbell overall – Bella bar 2.0 by Rogue
rated 17.75 out of 30.5
If you want a durable bar that won’t look all dinged up after a year, your best bet is a Cerakote finish.
The problem here is that Cerakote significantly dulls the knurling… to the point of being a deal-breaker for powerlifting movements. If you like/need the extra grip from an aggressive knurl, keep this in mind.
Rogue’s hybrid knurling offers good tactile feedback even with a Cerakote finish.
Still, it is a multi-purpose bar and if you’re used to an aggressive knurl of a power bar, Bella will feel passive. For CrossFitters and weightlifters who don’t need the hyper-aggressive knurl, this bar is excellent. You won’t go wrong with it.
The Bella is one of the cheapest Rogue barbells RWH-treated bars (Rogue Work Hardening), which makes it more resistant to dropping than the competition.
Bottom line – it’s all about the balance with the Bella – between the knurling and the finish, between the flexibility and spin, between the ruggedness and looks, price and value… it’s an all-around performer and the overall winner. An excellent bar for the woman who needs her barbell to serve multiple purposes.
- Premium cerakote finish – more resistant to corrosion and wear than any of the bars in Top 5
- Well-balanced hybrid knurling – makes for a comfortable, yet secure grip
- RWH (Rogue Work Hardening) treated – makes it more resistant to dropping and lasts longer
- Awesome color combos – one of the nine combos (twelve if you count the chrome sleeve option) will add a splash of color to your home gym
- Dual knurl marks – easier to get a good initial balance on both power and Olympic lifts
- Precise finishes and quality control – you won’t see any bumps or imperfections on a Rogue bar
- High-quality bushings – the sleeves spin smoothly, making the lifts easier on your joints (especially the wrists)
- Made in the USA – for some people, US-made products will inspire more trust.
- Pricy – you’ll spend about 50% more on the Bella bar than you would on some of the picks below
- Knurling is not aggressive – it will feel passive to women used to power bars
- Warranty limited to construction – you’re covered against bending
2. Best budget Olympic bar for women – GetRXD WOD BAR 5.0
rated 17.5 out of 30.5
WOD bar 5.0 is an entry-level bar that packs the punch of an upgrade and does it at a minimum cost.
Only two bars in the top 10 are in this price range, and the other one is inferior to the GetRXD – much lower tensile strength and weight capacity, less resistant coating, and a shorter warranty.
In this price range, you typically get cheap chrome or black oxide coating and subpar steel, all of which would be potential deal breakers for us.
WOD 5.0 is coated in hard chrome and the tensile strength of the steel is 190K PSI, which is as high as any bar in the top 5, including the Bella.
Color me impressed.
- Great value – you’ll pay much less than you would for similar bars from high-end brands
- Includes both bushings and bearings – this makes it more versatile because the spin will be somewhere between the fast spin of a weightlifting bar and the slower spin of a power bar.
- Hard chrome coating – makes it more resistant to corrosion and wear and requires less maintenance.
- Limited warranty against bending – you’re only covered for one year. To get a lifetime, you’d have to upgrade to their Rocket bar, which costs more.
3. Top-rated underdog pick – X Training Olympic weightlifting bar
rated 17.25 out of 30.5
By “underdog” I mean a bar from a brand that’s not as widely popular as Rogue or Fringe Sport. I know the brand, but only from conversations with other gym owners.
Their bars are designed and certified by Olympic weightlifting coaches and athletes, which inspires trust just as much as the Lifetime warranty.
The black-gray combo might not look as fancy as the Bella bar, but it carries a certain professional feel.
Finally, the snap-ring design makes it easier to take the sleeves off and clean the bar. If your bar lives in a dusty, moist or salty-aired garage and needs regular cleaning and maintenance, this is a huge plus. It’ll add years to the functional lifespan of the bar.
- Lifetime warranty – apart from offering peace of mind, a lifetime warranty is a reliable indicator of quality.
- Durable – robust 190 K steel paired with hard chrome will last without bending or changing
- Snap-ring design – this makes it easier to remove the sleeve and clean the bar
- Grippy knurl – good in-hand feel for both weightlifting and powerlifting lifts
- The sleeve length is borderline short – at 12.5 inches, you might find it short if you’re using low-weight bumper plates.
4. Owners’ favorite – Synergee Regional 15kg women’s Olympic barbell
rated 17.125 out of 30.5
There are popular bars and then there’s the Synergee Regional.
The reasoning behind the “owner’s favorite” label is two-fold – overall popularity and the percentage of owners who are loving it (vs. those who had a bone to pick).
Objectively, the one thing that stands out about this bar is the highest listed weight capacity.
This doesn’t mean that the Bella bar, for example, can handle less weight – but Rogue doesn’t list the maximum load. Synergee does, and it’s a whopping 1,500 lbs…which is the same as Eleiko which costs five times as much.
Of course, you won’t be lifting a thousand pounds with it, but the max load is a telltale about the steel quality.
- High listed weight capacity – you don’t have to worry if you’re packing too much weight
- Nice spin – high number of needle bearings (5 per sleeve, ten overall) makes for a smooth spin
- Robust – it’s built like a tank and can take a beating.
- Shortest warranty in the top 5 – you’re covered for only one year
- Knurling on the passive side – less than ideal for faster Olympic lifts
5. Highest tensile strength in the Top 5 (and 10) – Fringe Sport WONDER BAR W2
rated 16.875 out of 30.5
Coming in at 199K, the wonder bar from Fringe Sport is the only one in the top 10 with a tensile strength of over 190 K PSI.
On its own, the tensile strength doesn’t mean much. I know bars that go well over 200K but disappoint in other aspects.
That’s not the case here – the Wonder bar is US-made, backed by a Lifetime warranty and it won’t break the bank.
Along with the Bella and the California bar (by American barbell), the Wonder bar is one of the three US-made bars in the top 10.
- High tensile strength – more durable and likely to last without bending
- US-made – on average, US-made products undergo stricter quality control, plus they’re less at risk of damage in cross-continent transit chains
- Lifetime warranty – proof that Fringe Sport stands behind their claims about the Wonder bar.
- Zinc coating – not as resistant to rust as hard chrome or Cerakote
One honorable mention
I’ll take a moment here to tip my hat to one bar that’s not in the top 5 for a silly reason…at least I believe it’s silly.
It’s worth reading about it because this might be the best barbell for many women out there.
I fully expected to see Synergee Games in the top picks.
It’s well-rounded and looks so awesome that it pains me not to see it in the Top 5.
‘Games’ has so much going for it.
- One of the few bars that break the mold with awesome color combos
- Rugged and corrosion-resistant – you can pack up to 1500 pounds onto the cerakote sleeves
- Constructed with a high number of needle bearings (five per sleeve, ten total), which make for a smooth, controlled rotation
Still…at its price point, the warranty terms are a massive letdown. One year on manufacturing defects is not good enough to compete with the big boys in the space.
The year is OK (kind of) if we’re looking at a budget bar like the Synergee Regional (4th top-rated overall) but not if you’re paying top dollar for a cerakote-coated bar.
Here’s a brief excerpt from our stats that illustrates my point:
- Only 9.1% of bars that currently cost over $200 dollars have a 1-year warranty and none have lower.
- 77.3 % of bars at that price range offer some kind of a lifetime warranty (this includes Rogues “construction” warranty which I’ll talk about in a minute)
The bottom line is this – over 90% of bars in its price range have a better warranty than Synergee Games.
At 190K PSI and 1500 lbs capacity, this bar can definitely take a beating or it wouldn’t be as popular or highly rated among owners.
The silly part is that (I think) the warranty terms are a remnant of what Synergee uses for their inferior bars. It feels like a default rather than a thought-out decision and they could easily have offered at least 5 years.
If they did, it would shoot this bar right into the runner-up position below the Bella bar.
I hope someone from Synergee reads this.
Olympic bars for women that ranked in the Top 10
In the section below, I’ll take a brief look at a few bars that almost made it to the top – those that ranked in places seven to ten.
Ranked 7 – GetRXD WOD BAR in black Zinc
This is the same bar as the runner-up, only coated in Zinc. The hard chrome bar is much more resistant to wear and corrosion and costs just a peg more. Still, this is a great bar if you’re really stretched budget-wise.
Ranked 8 – Archon Cerakote
The only bar with Cerakote sleeves that you can get without spending two Benjamins. The shaft is black oxide, though…which is probably the reason it’s not popular.
Ranked 9 – Valor Fitness OB-80
A well-liked budget bar for beginners. Main selling points – good price and a solid warranty. Main downside – below-average tensile strength and max load.
Ranked 9 – California Bar by American barbell
Choosing an Olympic barbell for women – complete buying guide
Primary factors of choosing an Olympic barbell for women
Sizing and weight of Olympic barbells for women
one point in our ratings
A standard Olympic bar for women will be just over 79 inches long (6.6 ft), weigh 33 lbs, and have a 25 mm shaft, which is approximately 0.98 inches.
Those are the by-the-book standards and 60% of the bars on our list strictly meet all of them. The other 40 % are outliers in one sense or another…whether it’s an extra pound of weight or an extra inch of length.
Bear this in mind if you compete in lifting sports – it’s always better to train with bars that share the dimensions of the ones you’ll compete with.
Still, the manufacturers will list them as “Olympic.”
Out of the Top 5, two bars meet all the sizing IWF standards – the X Training, Bella bar, and Synergee Regional. Again, if you compete in strength sports, perhaps give these bars extra attention. The devil is in the detail…
If space is a problem and you’re looking for something shorter, you’ll want to look at the CAP Barbell’s Solid 5-foot bar. Its grip is thicker, though (28mm instead of 25mm like most women’s barbells).
Only a primary factor if you’re into Olympic lifting
If you’re not a competitive lifter, these specs are much less of a factor…at least the length and weight. The thickness of the shaft, however, is important for all lifters because it affects the whip and grip.
The good news is that all the bars we’re talking about today have a 25 mm grip, so you don’t have to worry about that part.
Loadable sleeve length of women’s Olympic bars
one point in our ratings
The sleeve length is a pretty self-explanatory factor and most of the better bars fall into the 12.51 to 13 inches range (65% of them to be precise).
As long as the sleeve diameter is standard Olympic or close, I’d say that 12.5 inches is the cutoff point for sleeve length.
At this point, you can comfortably fit three 45-lbs bumper plates and collars.
There are only a few outliers with sleeves longer than 13 inches – Titan Atlas barbell (14 inches), Vulcan Standard (13.1 inches), and the Bells of Steel Women’s bar 2.0 (13.7 inches).
In the unlikely event that you’re using bumper plates to lift 270+ lbs, the Titan Atlas is your only option.
Again, for most women, any sleeve length over 12.5 inches will do just fine.
Weight capacity of women’s Olympic weightlifting bars
one point in our ratings
Any bar with a weight capacity of over 400 pounds can be considered “good”.
“But why 500 if I’m not lifting over 150 pounds?” she asked.
Because in the context of choosing “the best,” the capacity of a barbell is more of a quality (read: longevity) indicator than anything else.
The problem with capacity
Just over 56% of all the bars we analyzed explicitly list the weight capacity, so I had to make do based on experience.
By “make do” I mean two things – define what’s good enough and assess based on the PSI and brand.
For the purposes of this guide, I grouped all bars into three categories based on the listed capacity:
- below average – under 500 lbs
- medium – 501-999 lbs
- high – 1000+ lbs
All the top 5 bars have either a medium or a high weight capacity.
On the low end, you have the Valor with a borderline 500-pound capacity and, on the opposite end, there’s the Synergee Regional with a whopping 1500 lbs max load.
Finish of weightlifting and power bars for women
Choosing the finish that works for you comes down to two things – how the bar feels in your hands and corrosion resistance.
It’s a make-or-break feature, so I’ll take my time here and look at all the finishes represented in the Top 10 – stainless steel, cerakote, zinc, and hard chrome.
Stainless steel – pristine knurling, second-to-none resistance
Stainless steel is the “grippiest” finish because there’s nothing between your hands and the bar. It’s also the most corrosion-resistant, with cerakote being the close runner-up.
If you’re doing low reps and maxing out, you’ll want the tactile feedback of stainless steel.
It seems that, for most women, the difference in resistance and grip isn’t worth the extra bucks or giving up the awesome color combos of cerakote.
The perfect example of that is the Rogue’s Bella bar 2.0 – the Cerakote version is wildly popular and universally loved.
Stainless steel on the other hand doesn’t get nearly as much love.
Cerakote – resistance backed with awesomeness
US Military uses Cerakote to protect weapons against corrosion, which should tell you all you need to know about corrosion resistance.
But the soldiers aren’t deadlifting the rifles.
If they did and if the rifles weighed 200 pounds, they’d be losing M16s left and right because cerakote dulls the surface.
This makes it less than ideal for power bars.
Finally, it’s the one coating that takes color without chipping. So, if you want to add some oomph to your gym, cerakote is your best bet.
Zinc – good feel, will rust
Zinc is cheaper, requires less maintenance, and doesn’t dull the knurling as cerakote does. It feels almost like bare steel.
It will rust and chip, though.
Chrome coating- hashtag “hard”
Chrome coating is similar to cerakote – it offers solid protection but dulls the knurling.
The important thing here is actually getting hard chrome and not the cheap deco chrome that does nothing protection-wise.
The bad news is that no company will explicitly say their bars are coated in decorative chrome.
The good news is that any company that uses hard chrome will openly boast about it.
The reality is the finish takes on extra importance based on where your barbell lives. If you store your bars in a dry, well-ventilated indoor gym, it’s less important. If your bar lives in a damp, cold outdoor gym… well then protective coatings become all the more important. If you live by the coast, with warm, moist, and salty air, either buy a high-quality, rust-resistant barbell or make your peace with the fact that you’ll have to spend a fair amount of time on barbell maintenance!
Tensile strength of a women’s Olympic barbell
The tensile strength of a barbell describes the stretching force it can take without breaking.
The more accurate term is “Ultimate tensile strength” because the specs of both weightlifting and powerlifting bars describe the breaking point.
Anyway, I’ll try not to get too technical here – if you’re a serious lifter, go with a barbell that has a tensile strength between 190K and 220K PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) – that’s where the optimal balance between flexibility and brittleness lives.
Four bars in the Top 5 have a tensile strength of 190K and one (Fringe Sport) is at 199,000.
If you’re not lifting over 200 lbs, anything over 165K PSI will do just fine. The Valor Fitness OB-80 is a prime example of a good bar with below-average PSI.
Anything over 220K PSI and untreated steel gets brittle.
Whip and flex – my pet peeve
The tall tales of whippy bars are blown out of proportion. Way out.
And I get why that is – the “experts” are doing it because it sounds sexier than sleeve length and the companies are doing it to sell.
The reality is that talking about whip as a major factor only makes sense if you’re comparing barbells of different sizes – specifically shaft thickness and length.
If we limit the conversation to one barbell type (say, women’s bars in the 190-220K PSI range), the differences in flexibility become unnoticeable because they’re all 79-80 inches long.
Think about it like this – for a fixed length, whip deflection is directly correlated to the force exerted onto the bar, which is mass multiplied by acceleration (F=m*a).
Simply put, you’ll get more whip on heavier lifts and faster movements. If you’re not lifting elite numbers at fast speeds, it’s not really that relevant. It’s like worrying about your car’s top speed when you spend all day in gridlocked city traffic!
Bottom line – if you’re looking at top-tier women’s bars and the whip lingo confuses you, you won’t miss out by ignoring it.
*Maximum force a bar can take before permanently bending.
Knurling of a barbell
You want aggressive knurling on a power bar and medium knurling on a weightlifting and multipurpose bar.
Since powerlifting bars are unisex, there’s no such thing as a power bar for women.
So, things become simpler – all the best women’s bars fall somewhere on the “medium” range of the knurling scale.
The Bella bar, for example, features what Rogue calls “hybrid knurling,” which is another way of saying “medium.” Pair it with Cerakote, and it leans towards a passive knurl. Strip it down to the steel and it’s much grippier.
None of the bars we reviewed features a passive hill knurling or a sharp volcano knurl.
Knurl marks on a training bar
The rings on the knurling without the cross-hatching are the knurl marks that tell you where to grip the bar.
There are typically two sets of knurl marks.
The outer tell you where to grip the bar for cleans and jerks (weightlifting standard set by the IWF), and the inner markings for powerlifting grips (standard set by the International Powerlifting Federation).
All top 10 barbells on our list have double markings. Overall, 73.7% of all the bars feature double markings.
Long story short – go for the double knurl marks, unless you’re a hardcore weight or powerlifter.
Center knurl or no – a topic for the ages
The IWF standard for women’s Olympic weightlifting bars is no center knurl.
In my opinion, having a passive “ghost” center knurl is a plus for a lifter who’s not looking to compete.
I say that for two reasons:
- The touch of extra friction prevents the bar from sliding down your back in heavy squats.
- In jerks, a center knurl bites into the top panel of a weightlifting suit. I can only describe the connection as “velcro-like,” and it means a lot if you’re breaking personal bests.
Alas, none of the bars we looked at has a center knurl, which makes sense in the context of IWF standards. If you have a sliding-bar problem when squatting, getting a good barbell pad will do the trick.
I recommend the fit Viva pad, which you can see below.
Anything more aggressive than a ghost knurl quickly becomes a problem for explosive Olympic lifts.
The spin of the barbell sleeves
0.5 points in our ratings
Spin only carries 0.5 points and, if you go just by bushings vs. bearings, there’s no such thing as universally “better.”
I’ll get back to my point above in a minute, but let’s first get our basics straight.
Sleeves of a barbell spin to prevent injury, especially on faster lifts with more angular momentum. The spin is “created” by connecting the sleeves and the shaft of a bar with bushing or bearings.
The former is better for slower lifts and the latter is the superior choice for fast Olympic lifts to the chest and overhead. It’s because bushings are constructed for minimal friction and maximal spin.
There’s one thing that’s rarely talked about when it comes to the barbell spin and it kind of bothers me.
It’s the fact that the spin doesn’t only come down to bushings vs. bearings – the bar’s quality and your maintenance practices are just as important, if not more so.
Let me explain.
1. Cheap bars lose spin
Rogue is known and liked for a lot of things, but spin isn’t one of them, especially if the bar is packing bushings. Still, after a year, a premium bar will spin more smoothly than a cheap generic bar because there’ll be less wear in the cartridge.
2. You can speed a bar up
If you feel the bar slowing down and you start feeling (sometimes even hearing) the friction between the sleeves and the shaft, you can always “speed it up” by lubricating it as part of regular maintenance.
I like to use water-resistant silicone and white lithium grease.
Avoid oil (like WD-40) because it will only improve the spin in the short term. In the long term, it will attract dust and bond with it, making the bar sticky and slow.
Bonus tip: If you can choose between the ball and needle bearings, go with the needle – the spin is smoother and they’re more durable because of the larger contact surface.
Price of an Olympic barbell for women
-1 to 5 points in our ratings
Three out of our Top 5 women’s bars currently cost around $200. Our top pick, the Bella bar, costs significantly more.
Caveat emptor, the prices are rampant right now and, as much as we try to keep up with it, things change every day and the prices I talk about here are just for reference purposes.
My rule of thumb
Don’t spend more than $350 or less than $170 on an Olympic barbell, unless you’re a professional or strapped for cash.
For professional purposes, the obvious NO-COMPROMISE pick is the Eleiko Competition bar – it costs more than a used Nissan Ultima, but it’s a family-heirloom type of purchase.
If money is a massive factor, you can safely narrow that range down to $190-210.
As soon as you dip below that range, the first thing that goes is the shaft coating and you can typically get a phosphate or deco chrome finish. Time won’t be kind to either.
There are exceptions, though, like the Titan Atlas, which is the only bar in that range with hard chrome on both the shaft and sleeves. Color me impressed.
Warranty on women’s barbells
0 to 3 points in our ratings
Unless you’re buying a Rogue bar, look for a Lifetime warranty if you’re spending over $200 on an Olympic training bar.
“Unless you’re buying a Rogue bar” …what’s that all about?
I know it sounds biased but bear with me. All Rogue bars I reviewed and rated for this guide are covered by a “Construction” warranty.
Truth be told, I was today years old when I learned what a construction warranty is. I went back and forth with Rogue’s customer service trying to understand it…and now that I do, I’m not a fan.
Simply put, it means that the warranty doesn’t cover bending.
With that said, I have never seen (or heard) anyone bending a Rogue bar so it’s not a deal-breaker. My best guess is that they don’t cover bending because of the lower 25 mm diameter of the shaft.
As a reference – just under half of all women’s Olympic barbells we analyzed (44.7%) are covered by a Lifetime warranty.
How we review and rate women’s Olympic barbells
I’ll take a moment here to give you a brief outline of the rating process that gave us the top picks. I’m doing it because I hate seeing random ratings with no explanation or substance behind them.
This is what we did to reach the ratings and make our picks:
- I compiled an initial long list of 51 women’s barbells to rate
- We gathered all the data we possible can – from the sizes and finishes, type of steel used to tensile and yield strengths
- Based on my 20-year long experience with these barbells (as a personal trainer) I crafted and then tweaked rating 21 quality categories.
- I awarded each category a gravity (number of points ) and rated each barbell
- Summed up all the ratings and applied any bonus or penalty points – this gave me an assorted list of top-rated barbell
Women’s Olympic barbell – takeaways and updates
Rogue Bella bar 2.0 (cerakote version) is my recommendation for most women. It’s everything a multi-purpose bar should be – tough but flexible, protected in cerakote yet grippy. If you choose cerakote, you also have awesome color combos at your disposal.
If you like a more aggressive knurl, forget about Cerakote and get the stainless steel version.
If you want to spend less (much less) with minimal sacrifices, go with the budget GetRXD in hard chrome.
Where do you go from here?
Well, you can buy a bar today (this link will take you back to the Top 5 table) or bookmark this page for future reference because the market is changing faster than ever.
That is all there is to know about women’s olympic barbells. In case you want to explore more on Olympic barbells in general, check out our best olympic barbell in-depth buying guide.