1" vs Olympic bar?

I've currently got a 5ft wide 1" bar setup - got some dumbbells I'm not really using this second in the same size.

Been doing "the big three" with my 1" bar on my home made rack.

The rack has to a bit narrower than I wanted, thanks to the fairly narrow bar - fingers are RIGHT at the edge doing a bench press and that's after I adapted it

I'm running out of room on the bar, as well as weights to go on it (100kg deadlift my highest weight) and ideally I'd like a wider bar so I can move the rack out a bit.
Other two are a 94kg squat and 74kg bench press. They've been steadily rising, as you'd expect for a fairly well structured 'noob'; but do plan to go on a lean gains style cut, so expect that will taper off a bit.

I was looking to get some metal plates - ideally a couple of 20kg, but some more 10kgs would do.
From that, I was thinking it might be worth getting a wider 1" bar.

However, reading up it seems the limit is around 125kg for a 1" bar and they can't take a massive amount more than this.

So; the question is; are there any options for a stronger 1" bar (I can't find any so far) in the UK?
Should I worry about it anyway, or will it be fine for a good while (I reckon it's going to take me a while to be doing 150kg)?

Or should I stop spending money on the 1" stuff, try and make do with what I have, then get an Olympic setup when I do have money?
Ideally I'd like to get or make a proper power rack at some point (I suspect second hand metal one may not be far off the price of some big bits of sturdy wood to make one, along with all the other bits needed)


  • wellbert
    wellbert Posts: 3,924 Member
    Going to an olympic bar was one of the best decisions I made. I never touch my standard bar now.
    Buy the plates used.
  • Bakkasan
    Bakkasan Posts: 1,027 Member
    Absolutely go for an oly bar. I dare you to overload it!
  • ilovedeadlifts
    ilovedeadlifts Posts: 2,923 Member
    Going to an olympic bar was one of the best decisions I made. I never touch my standard bar now.
    Buy the plates used.


    I bent a cheap 1" bar just from doing curls and sitting the bar down too hard.
    Try a used sporting goods store and pick up an olympic bar and a few plates.

    bumper plates are great for saving your bar as well.
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Cheers for the thoughts!

    Heh; don't think I'll be coming close to overloading an olympic bar!

    Will be going second hand, was just having a look on ebay completed listings and there's some times some good deals for a rack with bar and weights; so will keep an eye out for a good deal when I've actually got some money.

    Si think I will just make do with my current 5ft/1" bar for the moment - can probably squeeze another 6kg on. If I can find the other 6kg plate I've got lying around, maybe another 20kg or so without spending more.
  • RunDoozer
    RunDoozer Posts: 1,699 Member
    Going to an olympic bar was one of the best decisions I made. I never touch my standard bar now.
    Buy the plates used.

  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Realised what I could do in the short term is get a couple of maybe 20kg Olympic plates and get some shims made up so they fit on the current 1" bar for the moment.

    Won't make it any wider, but will mean I can have more weight if needed (and stop messing about trying to work out 6x10 + 4 x 4.5 + 4 x2 + 4 x2 + 6 etc each time.
    Also mean I'm starting to build a collection of Olympic weights for when I do get a bar, so a bit less to spend then.

    Some places do sell similar things, but they specify they're not for use on bars; just for stands and machines I think (presumably less impact, as think they're plastic).
  • chrisdavey
    chrisdavey Posts: 9,836 Member
    I've deadlifted 220kg with a 1" bar. 6' one is rated to 150kg I believe.

    I've also bent another one with 160kg for plenty of reps squatting. I think the extra time that is required for a squat is what makes it bend.
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Mine was a from a 'Weider red' Barbell set; must have been mid 90s.
    Looking around, most available to buy seem to be listed at 125kg or so - if I could find a bigger bar listed at 150kg for a not too high price, might be tempted. But think I'll stick to buying olympic plates, as reckon I can bodge them on to the 1" bar, but of course won't be able to go the other way around (saying that, I see a 1" set with 47kg of weight on ebay for £30 'buy it now' - if I have to be over that way anyway at some point, I might pick it up - as usually you can sell plates for at the very least £1 per kg here.)
  • jimmie65
    jimmie65 Posts: 655 Member
    Not saying I recommend this, but you can use standard plates on an Olympic bar: http://www.instructables.com/id/Convert-one-inch-weights-to-Olympic-Bar/

    I plan on getting an Olympic bar at some point, but I picked my standard bar and weights off Craigslist dirt-cheap. The bar is an old Weider bar and has handled 300 lbs; I may have to go a little higher to bend it and justify to the wife why I need new equipment.
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Cheers; nice little bodge there!

    If I could get a couple of 20kg Olympic weights now, that should work quite well if I found a cheap Olympic bar - as I could put 3x10 1" weights on either side along with a 20kg plate and be sorted until I could afford to get more Olympic plates.
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    While doing my workout earlier I go thinking about all sorts of stuff.
    Including making weights. I'd previously wondered about how much hassle it is to melt down steel to make my own discs and decided 'probably far too much' - unfortunately don't have any scrap iron, which would be a bit less hassle. With scrap prices at £16 or so for 100kg, could make a good number of weights with not much money's worth of steel.

    Got me to thinking about what else I had around and realised I DO have a good number of steel car wheels with tyres.
    With weighs over 30kg for a van wheel + tyre, that'd keep me going for a while and have the bonus of acting as a 'bumper' plate - though I'll have to get something to stand on for the deadlifts really.

    Had a google around and while my initial thought had been getting some steel rod with a 1" ID, seems an easier idea would be just to use a small weight plate and drill some holes in it.


    If I get some time, will give it a go tomorrow.
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Well, didn't get around to that and saw what I hoped was a good value bar on ebay.
    Note the way the two bigger metal plates sit differently - I rather hoped these were Olympic, as it wasn't mentioned in the description.
    Won the bar with the 82.5kg of weights (quite badly listed) for £32 or something.
    Didn't want to ask a question less the seller caught on and chucked them up for more.
    Collected today and yes, 2x15kg and 2x10kg Olympic weights. As they usually go for at the very least £1.15 a kilo or so, pretty happy with the result. Might try and sell off the bar and some vinyl weights at some point.

    Unfortunately while the bar it's self is longer (5'5"), the space for your hands isn't any wider and it feels a lot lighter, so probably can't take as much weight. However, means I can easily get around 130kg or so on my current bar.

    Oh and thinking above on the deadlifting vs squatting - in squatting most of the force is taken by your back in the centre of the bar, while dead lifting each hand is further out, so there's less length for it to bend on too.

    I'm going to keep my eye out for more Olympic weights and a bar and
  • Jenlwb
    Jenlwb Posts: 682 Member
    bargain, good find for your intermediate time. I have the same one I think, it takes up to 100kg officially and weighs 7.5kg? I had a friend make me a sturdy wooden power cage, it's awesome but would be a little narrow for an oly bar. I had an older barbell from a little set which was in 2 pieces and screwed together- that's now across the top of my power cage as a chin up bar! See my blog entry from November to see the bar and power cage.
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Nice rack indeed! :D

    I don't think my bar is the same looking at your pictures.
    Mine is splinlock - and only weighs 6kg, which is even more worrying if yours is rated to only 100kg!
    In the end, providing it bends rather than snaps, it's not the end of the world.
    I reckon I originally bought my set around 1997, so can't find the details.
    This is the closest I could find to it; weights are the same, but mine doesn't have the red on bar and it looks like the threaded sections for weights are a bit longer (maybe 5.5ft as the bar I got today is?)
    Had a look around and seems 5' bars of this length and weight seem to be rated 100-125kg - hoping mine is the upper end and will survive a bit more (or at least until I see a good deal on a better one :) ).

    My rack a bit more 'bodged' - I used various random bits of wood I have lying around.
    I'm going to put in a protective bar for the bench and a second removable one for squats on when I get a minute.

    I do want to get/make a proper power rack - but all costs money which I don't really have this second - at some point I'm going to be getting a load of wood to make some more climbing walls; so I'll see consider getting some extra with that.
    To get my rack decently wide the weights are just touching when you put the bar on, which isn't ideal - and doing a bench press my hands generally just touch the wood as I put it on - initially it was even narrower, which made the bench press awkward.
    Just had a look around and there's a decent deal for rack with olympic and normal weights and a load of other kit I could no doubt sell for a decent price - hopefully something like that will turn up locally when I DO have money :).