You’ve just completed your biggest lift of all time. When talking about it to your friends as you leave the gym, you recall the weight and share some pride in yourself. One of your friends agrees that it’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, but reminds you that you actually lifted more than that. And not just a little bit more but quite a bit more than you were giving yourself credit for!
Did you forget to include the weight of bench press bars in your calculations? That’s right! The bar itself weighs something, and you might not have been including it in your calculation. That said, let’s talk about the weight of these bars and why they might vary from place to place. Then, let's learn what the standards are and what to expect from that weight in the future.
What’s the Bench Press?
Before we talk about the weight of a bench press bar, let’s do a quick debrief on what a bench press is for anyone who might be unsure of what we are talking about when we refer to the bench press.
The bench press is a workout where you lay flat on your back on a bench. Then, you lift a barbell which is a bar that may or may not have weights on the ends of it. This lift is then called a bench press because you are using your pectorals to press the weight while you lay on the bench.
This workout is very popular with those who are focused on their chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles, and it can be used as a very effective tool during full training.
What Is the Weight of Bench Press Bars?
Now that we have cleared up what the bench press is, let’s talk about today’s main topic: the weight of these famed bench press bars.
1. The Olympic Standard
The Olympic bench press bar is the most standard of all standard bench press bars. It is made of metal and is seven feet long. It weighs in at 45 pounds and once more weight is added, the total weight of lifting will be higher than that.
The bar is primarily there to be able to add weights to each end to make it heavier, but the weight of the bar itself is no joke! While Olympic standard bench press bars are commonly found in many gyms, not every bench press setup will have the same base weight. Usually, you can confirm whether or not this is the case by looking at the rack of the bar itself, but you should never assume that you know what the weight will be before you start lifting. If you are wrong, you could cause a serious injury to yourself.
2. Other Standards
While many people like to use the Olympic standard bar weight when they are doing the bench press workout, that is certainly not the only option.
Some gyms have a light bar that is 33 pounds. Not only is this bar a bit lighter, but it also has an area with a smaller diameter. This means that those with smaller grips can still get a good hold on the bar despite not having the wide hands necessary for the Olympic bar.
Additionally, there is also what is known as the EZ curl bar. This bar is lighter, and it has a number of curves on it. These curves in the center of the bar make it ideal for various curling applications, but there are a few ways that people use the EZ curl bar while doing a bench press type of workout as well.
How to Obtain the Total Press Weight?
When you’re calculating your final press weight, you should be including the:
- Weight plates
- Bar weight
For example, if you lift a bar that weighs 45 pounds with 100 additional pounds of weight on the bar, you have lifted 145 pounds total. Don’t forget to add in the weight of the bar when you are doing those calculations; you worked hard to lift the bar as well as the weights!
How to Bench Press?
Now that you know more about how much the bench press bar actually weighs, let’s talk about how you can get into actually doing some weight lifting!
It can take a lot of effort and time to scale up when doing bench press, but every step of the way, you will be building muscle and growing stronger. Even if you aren’t lifting huge weights or collars on each end of the bar, remember that just lifting the bar is a huge accomplishment!
When you’re first getting into bench press workouts, following the tips outlined in this video will help you grow at a safe but efficient pace:
In time, you can be just as strong as Mike is! As you progress in weight, make sure to increase the weight and do fewer repetitions to see the most progress.
Bench Press Safety
Even when you are new to bench press and are not yet lifting heavy weights, it can be very dangerous. Not having the proper technique or spotting while you are lifting could be creating a perilous situation for yourself. Don’t let that happen!
Instead, make sure that you follow all of the following safety tips:
- Always have a spotter
- Ensure that you can lift at least the 45-pound bar over your face
- Spotters are important even if you have some experience as you never know when your hands might unexpectedly slip
- Increase weight you lift gradually
- Don’t overdo it
- Use proper technique to avoid back injuries
- Use a heavier weight but do fewer repetitions as you increase
That Bar Weighs….
The weight of bench press bars is usually somewhere around 45 pounds, but not every bar will be at that standard point. If you are at a new gym or workout facility and aren’t sure what the bar weight is, feel free to ask! There’s no shame in wanting to know, and the staff will admire your knowledge about the possibility of differing weight.
Remember: Bench press is a tough exercise, but you’re even tougher!