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When it comes to creating your ideal home gym setup, compatibility is key. Are 6′ barbells compatible with squat and power racks? This question is a bit more complicated than you might expect but I’ll explain it quickly below.
Not all 6′ barbells fit on racks but some do. The barbell, especially the shaft length, and the width of the rack have to be matched to make it work. Many 72″ bars won’t fit on a rack so picking the right one is key. Since 6′ bars don’t have standard dimensions, the shaft length can differ greatly between models.
Can a 72″ barbell find its rightful place on a squat or power rack? Let’s find out which bars work, why and how to make sure for yourself.
Can a 6′ Barbell be Used with a Squat Rack?
Some 72″ long barbells fit on squat and power racks but many don’t. Some 6′ barbells are made shorter by reducing the length of the sleeves compared to a ‘normal’ barbell. Those bars will fit on a rack. However, sometimes the shaft has also been shortened which means they’re too short to fit.
This is complicated by the fact that squat and power racks aren’t all the same width. They can range from 40″ to 50″ wide.
Below we’ll go into which dimensions are important and how you can easily figure out if your combo works.
Understanding Barbell Lengths
Some 72″ Barbells fit on squat and power racks but not all. The bar and rack have to be matched up to make sure they fit.
The total length of a barbell doesn’t tell the whole story. You’ve got the total length and the shaft length. The shaft length is the distance between the two collars without the sleeves). That’s the part that has to be long enough to fit over the pegs on a rack.
Unlike Olympic bars, there is no standard for how to build a 6′ long barbell. That means some manufacturers shorten the shaft, some shorten the sleeves and some do both.
6 Feet barbells can have a shaft length that ranges from 45″ to 57″. That’s a wide range and means that it really depends on the bar and rack if it’s going to fit.
When choosing a barbell, keep in mind how heavy you want to load it. How many plates have to go on the bar. A longer shaft means shorter sleeves which means you can put fewer plates on them. In most cases, even the shortest 6′ bar sleeves can still fit three 45 lbs. plates (normal plates, not bumper) which is enough for most people although certainly not too much.
The length of the barbell alone doesn’t make a bar good or bad for you. Here are some other factors you should decide on.
Important Squat Rack Dimensions
The rack dimension that’s important for bar fitment is the width between the outsides of the upright posts.
Of course, if a bar fits also depends on the width of the specific rack. Most racks have an outside width of 48″ but some can be narrower. It’s obviously easier to fit a shorter barbell on a narrower rack. So you’ll need to match up the width of the rack and the shaft length.
There is a big difference between power racks and squat stands.
Power racks have four upright posts for extra stability and safety. On average, full-sized racks are about 48″ wide. Compact racks can be as narrow as 44″. However, averages aren’t good enough here, you need the specifics for your model.
Squat racks often only have two upright posts and are smaller. Some have a fixed width and some are even adjustable. Squat racks range from 40″-46″ wide in general. However, there is so much variety in squat stands, you should really check before buying.
How To Make Sure a 6-Foot Barbell Fits On Your Rack?
With shaft lengths ranging from about 45″ to 52″ and rack widths ranging from 40″ – 48″, you can understand why it’s difficult to make a general statement about if 6′ barbells fit on your rack.
You’ll have to figure it out by yourself and match the barbell to your rack or vice versa. Luckily it’s not difficult, here’s how you do it:
You want the shaft length to be at least 2″ more than the rack width to make reracking easier.
So if; (Shaft length +2″ > Rack width) you’re good to go.
Finding Barbell Shaft Length
If you’ve already got a barbell, just measure it. That’s the fastest and most reliable way.
In case you’re shopping for a barbell there are a few ways to figure out the shaft length.
Finding Squat/Power Rack Width
With the rack width, it’s not the total width that’s important, it’s the outside width of the upright posts. The collars and plates must fall outside the upright posts to fit.
Finding out the outside post dimensions can be a bit challenging although they are mentioned in the listing in many cases.
Here is a post with a chart of the dimensions of many popular power racks to make it easier for you.
3 Recommended 6-Foot Barbells For On a Rack
Here are some 6-foot bars that will fit on most racks.
- Philosophy Gym 6′ Olympic Barbell
- Power Guidance 71″ Olympic Barbell
- LionsCool Premium Barbell
Philosophy Gym 6′ Olympic Barbell
An affordable barbell that strikes a good balance between shaft and sleeve length. The shaft length is 52″ which means it fits on most standard power racks and fits comfortably on squat racks.
It fits on my Titan T-2 with about 1.5″ to spare on each side. That means it’s pretty easy to put back without having to be perfectly centered.
The sleeves are long enough to easily get 4 standard 45s on there and still have space for a collar. With narrow weight plates and a slim barbell clip, you could get 5 plates on each side. With the bar weighing 15kg/33lbs. you can lift a total of 483 lbs./219 kg. That should be plenty for 95% of people.
For bumper plates, most 6′ bars are pretty useless I’m afraid since you’ll only be able to fit maybe 2 plates and a collar. Not enough to challenge most more advanced people on their strongest lifts.
It also has chromed sleeves and a ceramic-coated shaft for great durability and rust protection. On top of that, this bar has needle bearings for low friction spin.
That makes this bar great for weightlifting heavy in small spaces. And for the price, you’re getting a lot of really nice features.
Power Guidance 71″ Olympic Barbell
This bar is actually slightly shorter than 6 feet at a mere 70.8″. The shaft length is only 44.8″ which is only really suitable for narrow squat stands. The upside is that you get room for an extra plate on each side which bumps up the load capacity.
If you need more load capacity but not the longest shaft, this is a good alternative to the Philosophy Gym bar. It’s got 2″ longer sleeves which means room for an extra plate.
It’s got chromed sleeves that spin on ball bearings. Those have a little more friction than needle bearings but last longer. For general fitness, ball bearings are great. For Olympic lifting, choose the first bar.
And finally, it’s cheap. This is a very affordable bar for what you get.
LionsCool Premium Barbell
An option that’s in between the first two when looking at shaft length is the Lionscool bar at 48″.
That 48″ of shaft length should allow it to ‘just’ fit on a standard power rack but it’s better suited for squat racks. It’s got 10.8″ of loadable sleeve length which means you can load it up to the 500 lbs. claimed max capacity.
It’s completely chromed so it has good corrosion resistance. Chrome is not as good as the ceramic coating from the first bar but it’s still decent for bars that don’t see super intense use.
Why Choose a 72″ Barbell
There are barbells available from 86.75″ long (full-sized Olympic bar), all the way down to 48″ long bars. Why pick a 6′ one?
If you have enough space in your gym and you need it to fit on a rack, it’s better to choose a full-sized, or women’s Olympic bar. Those bars always fit, have plenty of loading capacity and, maybe more importantly, there is a lot of choice.
Good 72″ bars are rare and you saw most of them above. longer barbells are built by way more brands and are available in higher quality.
4′ and 5′ barbells never fit on a rack. those are for exercises where a long bar is not necessary and you don’t need a rack. For example; rows, overhead presses, hip thrusts, etc.
That means 6′ barbells are for those who need it to fit on a rack and don’t have enough space for a longer bar. If that’s not you, consider a longer or shorter bar.