The bench press is a popular strength-training exercise that involves lifting a barbell while lying on a bench. It is an effective exercise for building upper body strength, increasing muscle mass, and improving athletic performance.
However, one question that often arises among gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts is “how heavy is a bench press bar?”
In this blog post, we will answer this question and provide additional information related to the topic.
How Heavy is a Bench Press Bar?
The standard weight of a bench press bar is 45 pounds or 20 kilograms. This is the weight of the bar without any weight plates attached to it.
This weight is consistent across all gyms and competitions, making it a standard measurement for exercise. It's important to note that not all bars are created equal. While the weight of the bar is standard, the length and thickness of the bar can vary.
The length of a standard bench press bar is 7 feet or 2.13 meters, and the diameter of the bar is typically 28 to 32 millimeters.
The weight of the bar is an essential consideration when it comes to calculating the total weight lifted during a bench press.
The other option which is the Olympic barbell, is usually 7.2 feet or 2.2 meters in length, while the diameter of the bar varies between 28 to 32 millimeters; and it weighs 44 pounds or 20 kilograms.
Regardless of which type of barbell you use, they both provide an effective workout for muscle groups like the pectorals, arms, back, and shoulders.
The weight of the bar may also differ based on the type of bench press being performed.
For example, a women's bench press bar is typically lighter than a men's bar, weighing around 33 pounds or 15 kilograms.
Olympic weightlifting bars, which are used for exercises like the snatch and clean and jerk, are also typically lighter than powerlifting bars, weighing around 44 pounds or 20 kilograms.
It is important to note that the weight of the bar is not the only factor in determining the overall weight lifted during a bench press. The weight plates, which are added onto the sleeves, also contribute to the overall weight lifted.
In addition, the lifter's own body weight and strength also play a role in the weight lifted during the exercise.
Related: Does Bench Press Work Abs?
What Makes Up the Weight of a Bench Press Bar
To fully understand the weight of a bench press bar, it is important to know its components. A standard bench press bar consists of three main components: the shaft, sleeves, and collars.
The shaft is the long, straight portion of the bar that is gripped during the bench press. The shaft is typically made of steel, with a diameter of 28-29mm for men's bars and 25mm for women's bars.
The length of the shaft is 7 feet, or 2.13 meters, which is the standard length for most powerlifting and weightlifting competitions. The knurling, or textured pattern, on the shaft provides grip and traction for the lifter's hands.
The sleeves are the rotating ends of the bar that hold the weight plates. The sleeves are typically 16.5 inches long and have a diameter of 2 inches.
They are often made of a smooth, durable material like bronze or stainless steel. The rotating feature of the sleeves allows the plates to spin independently, which reduces stress on the lifter's wrists and elbows during the bench press.
The collars are the end pieces that secure the weight plates onto the sleeves. The collars are typically made of a strong material like steel or aluminum and can be either spring or screw type.
The collars must be tightly secured onto the sleeves to prevent the plates from sliding off during the bench press.
Different Types of Bench Press Bars and Their Weights
When it comes to bench press bars, there are several different types to choose from. Each type of bar has its own unique features that can affect your performance and comfort during the exercise.
In this section, we will discuss the different types of bench press bars and their weights.
Standard Bench Press Bar
The standard bench press bar is the most common type of bar used for bench press exercises. It is usually seven feet long and weighs 45 pounds. The bar has a diameter of one inch and is designed to fit most weight plates. The standard bar is a versatile option for most lifters and is suitable for both beginners and experienced weightlifters.
Olympic Bench Press Bar
The Olympic bench press bar is a larger and heavier bar designed for more serious weightlifters. It is usually seven feet long and weighs 45 pounds, but it has a diameter of two inches, making it much thicker than the standard bar. The thicker diameter of the bar allows it to handle heavier weights and provides a better grip for lifters with larger hands. Olympic bars are also designed to accommodate bumper plates, which are thicker and heavier plates used for Olympic weightlifting.
EZ Curl Bench Press Bar
The EZ curl bench press bar is a specialty bar designed to reduce stress on the wrists and elbows during exercises such as bicep curls and skull crushers.
The bar has a zigzag shape with angled grips that allow for a more natural grip and hand position. The EZ curl bar is shorter than the standard and Olympic bars, measuring 4-5 feet long and weighing between 15-25 pounds.
Safety Squat Bench Press Bar
The safety squat bench press bar is a specialty bar designed to increase the stability of the lifter during the exercise.
The bar is similar in length and weight to the standard bench press bar, but it has a unique design that places the weight plates closer to the lifter's body. This design allows for a more stable lift and reduces the risk of injury to the shoulders and upper back.
The Duffalo bar is a newer type of specialty bar that has gained popularity in recent years. The bar has a unique curved shape that allows for a more comfortable grip and reduces stress on the shoulders and wrists.
The Duffalo bar weighs approximately 25-35 pounds and is shorter than the standard Olympic bars, measuring around 5 feet long.
Understanding the different types of bench press bars and their weights is important for any weightlifter who wants to optimize their performance and comfort during the exercise.
Each type of bar has its own unique features that can affect your grip, stability, and overall lifting experience.
The Advantages of Using Lighter or Heavier Bars in Bench Press Exercises
When it comes to bench pressing, the weight of the bar can have a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of the exercise.
Both lighter and heavier bars have their advantages, depending on the fitness goals and experience level of the lifter.
Using a lighter bar in bench press exercises can provide several benefits. First, it can be useful for beginners who are just starting and want to practice proper form and technique without straining themselves.
A lighter bar allows beginners to focus on their form without feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the bar.
Second, using a lighter bar can help in building muscle endurance. This is because lifting a lighter weight for a higher number of repetitions can improve the lifter's muscular endurance, allowing them to perform more repetitions in subsequent sets or with heavier weights.
Third, lighter bars can also be useful for lifters who are recovering from an injury or looking to prevent one. By using a lighter bar, the lifter can gradually increase the load and intensity of the exercise without causing undue stress on the joints and muscles.
On the other hand, using a heavier bar in bench press exercises can also have its benefits. For experienced lifters, using heavier bars can provide a more significant challenge, helping to increase strength and muscle mass over time.
As the lifter becomes more comfortable with heavier weights, they can gradually increase the load to continue to challenge themselves and build strength.
Heavier bars can also be useful for powerlifters or bodybuilders who are looking to increase their one-rep maximum. Lifting heavier weights can help in increasing overall strength, allowing the lifter to push themselves to lift more weight over time.
In addition, using a heavier bar can also have a positive impact on the nervous system. By lifting heavier weights, the body releases hormones like testosterone and growth hormone, which can help in promoting muscle growth and overall fitness.
How much weight should I start with for bench press?
The amount of weight you should start with for bench press depends on your fitness level and experience. It is recommended to start with a weight that you can lift comfortably for 8-12 reps with proper form.
As you become more experienced and stronger, you can gradually increase your weight.
What is the proper form for bench press?
The proper form for bench press involves lying on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground, grasping the bar with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, lowering the bar to your chest in a controlled manner, and then pushing the bar back up to the starting position.
Common Mistakes to Avoid when Calculating the Weight of a Bench Press Bar
Here are some common mistakes to avoid when calculating the weight of a bench press bar:
- Forgetting to account for the weight of collars: Many people forget to add the weight of the collars when calculating the total weight of the barbell. Collars typically weigh around 2.5 to 5 pounds each, so this can make a significant difference in the overall weight of the bar.
- Assuming all bars are the same weight: As we discussed earlier, there are several different types of bench press bars, and each has a different weight. Assuming that all bars are the same weight can lead to inaccurate calculations.
- Forgetting to factor in the weight of attachments: Some bars come with attachments, such as chains or resistance bands, that can add additional weight to the bar. Make sure to factor in the weight of any attachments when calculating the total weight of the bar.
- Using a worn or damaged bar: Over time, bars can become worn or damaged, which can affect their weight. Using a worn or damaged bar can lead to inaccurate calculations and potentially unsafe lifting.
- Not verifying the weight with a scale: While most bars are labeled with their weight, it's always a good idea to verify the weight with a scale to ensure accuracy.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that you are accurately calculating the weight of your bench press bar and lifting safely and effectively.
How much weight should you bench press?
The amount of weight you should bench press depends on your experience level, fitness goals, and physical ability. Beginners should start with a weight that they can comfortably lift for 8-10 repetitions with proper form. As you progress, you can increase your weight gradually.
How much does a standard bench press barbell set weigh?
A standard bench press barbell set usually weighs around 100 to 110 pounds. This includes the weight of the bar, collars, and standard weight plates. However, the weight can vary depending on the brand and type of plates used.
Is it safe to bench press without a spotter?
Bench pressing without a spotter can be dangerous, especially when lifting heavy weights. It's essential to have a spotter to help you in case of fatigue or injury. If you don't have a spotter, it's best to use a Smith machine or do a dumbbell bench press instead.
How heavy should my warm-up sets be when bench pressing?
Warm-up sets should be significantly lighter than your working sets. It's recommended to do two to three warm-up sets with 50-60% of your working weight to prepare your muscles and joints for the heavier weights.
Can I use dumbbells instead of a barbell for bench press?
Yes, the dumbbell bench press is a suitable alternative to the barbell bench press. It can help to reduce strain on the shoulders and provide a more comfortable lifting experience.
Can I bench press every day?
It's not recommended to bench press every day, as this can lead to overtraining and injury. It's essential to give your muscles adequate rest and
Can I use a different type of bar for bench press?
While the Olympic bar is the standard bar used for bench press, other types of bars can be used, such as the safety squat bar or the cambered bar. These bars may be useful for individuals with specific physical limitations or injuries.
How often should I do bench press?
The frequency of bench press workouts depends on your fitness goals and overall workout routine. Generally, it is recommended to do bench press 1-2 times per week with rest days in between.
Is bench press safe for beginners?
Bench press can be safe for beginners as long as proper form is used and the weight is appropriate for the individual's fitness level and experience. It is also important to start with a warm-up and gradually increase the weight over time.
Can I do bench press without a spotter?
It is not recommended to do bench press without a spotter, especially when using heavy weights. If you do not have a spotter, you can use a Smith machine or do dumbbell bench press instead.
In conclusion, the standard bar used for bench press is the Olympic bar, which typically weighs 45 pounds or 20 kilograms. This weight is not included in the weight plates that you add to the bar to increase the overall weight of your lift. It is important to use proper form and start with an appropriate weight for your fitness level and experience to prevent injury and maximize your results. With consistent practice and gradual increases in weight, bench press can be an effective exercise for building upper body strength and muscle mass.