Olympic Barbell Dimensions and Weight

Before you start setting up a gym in your basement you need to know everything there is to know about every piece of gym equipment you are planning to buy. As you need to adjust the whole setup in the space available in the basement or garage.

Some pieces of gym equipment like an Olympic barbell are irreplaceable. You can’t finish a gym set up without an Olympic bar and weight plates. What you can do is, understand the available types of barbells, know the Olympic bar dimensions for each of them, choose the one that suits your space availability, then plan the remaining set up accordingly.

There are various types of barbells including the EZ bar and some specialty barbells that can accommodate Olympic size weight plates and thus can be called as Olympic bars. In this weight lifting equipment guide, we will focus on different sizes of straight Olympic bars.

Olympic Barbell Dimensions

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Olympic barbell length

The commercially available Olympic barbell lengths are divided into three classes that are 5ft, 6ft, and 7ft. Not all the barbells belonging to one class are of the same length. That means, not all the barbells that are called 7ft long Olympic bars are 84 inches in length, they vary a little.

The 7ft long bar is most commonly used in all powerlifting workouts as it is the length that is used in competitions and it is the easily rackable bar. The exact length of these bars varies between 80 to 88 inches.

The Olympic bar from Rogue fitness measures 86.6 inches in length. There is another Olympic bar from Rogue which falls in 7ft class and is meant for women, it has a length of 79.14 inches.

The 7ft bars from Titan fitness and CAP barbell have a length of 86.75 inches and 86 inches respectively.

In the 6ft category, one of the most popular bars is Rogue shorty, which has 69 inches in length, another one similarly popular in this class is the Olympic barbell from titan fitness which is 72 inches long.

The Olympic bar length for the 5 ft category varies between 56 to 62 inches. CAP deluxe Olympic barbell length in this category is 60 inches.

Olympic barbell shaft length

The overall Olympic barbell length is the addition of length of the shaft, both collars, both sleeves. The shaft is the part of the Olympic barbell between two collars.

The shaft length of the Olympic bar determines the rackability of the bar. If it is below 42 inches the bar can not be called as rackable.

For Olympic bar length of 7ft (or 86 inches), the shaft length is 51.5 inches. Most of the Olympic barbells at the gym are of the same length. If you are planning to buy a 7ft barbell from any popular brand, the chances are, you will end up with this shaft length. This bar is easily rackable as most of the power racks and squat racks are below 48 inches in width.

The 6ft bar from CAP barbell has a shaft length of 45.75 inches while the 5f long chrome Olympic bar from Titan fitness has 36.5 inches long shaft. The shaft length for 5ft and 6ft Olympic barbells from other brands is very close to the shaft length of these bars.

Olympic barbell sleeve length

How many weight plates an Olympic bar can accommodate depends on the sleeve length. The sleeve length is different for different Olympic barbell lengths.

Most of the 7ft barbells have a loadable sleeve length of 16 inches. the Rogue fitness 7ft Olympic bar has 16.33 inches long sleeves.

The 6ft long Olympic bars have 12 inches long loadable sleeves. For 5ft bars, the sleeve length is anywhere between 10 to 11 inches.

Olympic bar diameter

The Olympic bar diameter isn’t the same throughout the length of the bar. It has different diameters for sleeves, collars, and the shaft.

The shaft diameter of the bar is between 25mm to 32mm (1-inch to 1.25-inch). The men’s standard Olympic bar is 28mm in diameter. Some thick bars have 32mm shaft dia. The thick bars are mostly used for heavy squats or for other powerlifting exercises.

Women’s standard Olympic bars have 25mm shaft diameter. Women can use the commonly available men’s bar if they are comfortable using it, but if they are preparing for any competition they need to get used to the 25mm bar.

Olympic bar sleeve diameter

It can be called an Olympic bar only if it can accommodate the Olympic weight plates perfectly. The hole size of Olympic weight plates is 2 inches, so to be able to load the plates with ease and to avoid shaking of the weights the diameter of the sleeves is needed to be a little below 2 inches.

Most of the Olympic bars have a sleeve diameter between 1.9 to 1.96 inches which are close to 50mm and less than 2 inches. It would be difficult to load the weights on a bar with a sleeve diameter higher than this and if the diameter is lesser than this range, the weight would wobble. Thus, for almost all the Olympic bars the sleeve diameter is close to 50mm.


The weight of the Olympic bar changes with length and type. The weight ranges between 20 to 44 pounds (9 Kgs to 20 Kgs). The widely used 7ft long men’s bar weighs 44 pounds.

IPF barbell specs

The IPF is the body governing all official powerlifting competitions. The International Powerlifting Federation has put down some guidelines for the barbells to be used in the competitions.

If you are a serious lifter and aim to compete at some point of time in the future, then you must know the specifications provided by IPF forOlympic barbell size and weight. Using the same bar for training that is specified to be used for the competitions makes you familiar with the conditions you are going to face at the competition.

Here are the specifications provided by the IPF for the barbell to be used at powerlifting meets.

IPF barbell standards

Overall Olympic barbell length

Less than 86.6 inches

Shaft length

Close to 51.6 inches

Shaft diameter

28 – 29 mm (1.1 -1.14 inches)

Sleeve diameter

50 – 52 mm

Bar weight

44 pound or 55 pounds with collars (20 – 25 Kgs)

Distance between finger guides

31.9 inches (810mm)

IWF barbell specifications

The Olympic weightlifting events have weightlifting competitions in the categories snatch and clean and jerk. Olympic barbell to be used in this event or in any official weightlifting event has to fit in strict specifications provided by International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

The specifications are different for men’s and women’s events. The following table provides detailed information about the conditions a barbell has to meet to be used in any official weightlifting competition.

Unlike as you have seen in the powerlifting bar specification by IPF, the IWF specs are stricter. The conditions are mentioned as a single number instead of an allowable range.

IWF barbell specs


Women’s Bar

Men’s Bar

Overall Olympic bar length

79.1 inches

Less than 86.6 inches

Shaft length

51.6 inches

Close to 51.6 inches

Shaft diameter


28mm (1.1 inches)

Sleeve diameter



Bar weight

33 pounds (15 Kgs)

44 pounds (20 Kgs)

Distance between finger guides

35.83 inches (910mm)

35.83 inches (910mm)

Impact of Olympic barbell dimensions:

The Olympic bars you would be using at different gyms would vary between 5ft long to 8ft, the weight of the bar would fall between 20 to 55 pounds, the diameter of the shaft could be anywhere between 25 to 32mm. All these changes would affect your ability to lift in one or the other way.

If the bar is longer than you are used to, it would be difficult for you to balance it, if it is shorter than the usual length, you will find it difficult to rack.

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