What’s the best and safest way to store your barbell? If there’s more than one in your gym, you’ll want some kind of storage solution. What’s the best one? Here’s what you need to know.
The best way to store barbells is, clean, off the floor, in a horizontal rack. The space it’s stored in should have a relatively low humidity to prevent corrosion. Coated or stainless bars are much less prone to rusting. Regular cleaning also helps extend barbell lifespan.
There are some nuances that aren’t covered in that short paragraph. The difference between horizontal and vertical storage for example. Keep reading to find out more.
Does it matter how you store your barbells?
Yes it does. The biggest reason why it does is because it impacts how long your bar stays in good shape. Storing them in the wrong conditions can cause the bar to corrode quicker than it should. It could possibly bend and even damage the bearings in the sleeves.
Want to know more about barbells? Click here for a full guide that will tell you everything you need to know.
That means that even though it’s a steel bar, you can still make some mistakes when storing your barbells. Here are 4 things that are important for barbell storage;
- Location in gym
- Horizontal or vertical
The atmosphere in the room you store your barbell definitely has a big impact on how quickly your bar deteriorates if at all. Especially the humidity is a big factor. Barbells are made of steel. Steel rusts. The higher the humidity, the quicker your barbell will corrode.
Of course it also depends on the finish of your barbell. Bare steel bars corrode pretty quickly, even in relatively dry situations. Most barbells have some kind of finish however. Zinc or oxide coatings protect the bar against corrosion but can wear off over time. Chrome lasts a very long time so you don’t really have to worry about this.
If you’ve got a stainless steel barbell, there is no coating but the steel also won’t corrode.
Looking for a barbell with great corrosion protection? Check out my favorite bar here.
Of course you can’t always control the humidity is a gym. Most places will have A/C or some other kind of climate control. This will help massively but if things are just outside of your control, try to get a barbell with good corrosion protection.
Looking for ways to improve the atmosphere in your home gym? Check out this full guide on gym air quality.
Your sweat is probably a whole lot more damaging than you might think. Sweat can actually damage paint and coatings really quickly. And once the bare metal is exposed, sweat also causes more corrosion.
That makes it really worthwhile to clean your bar after every workout session. Just a quick wipe down will remove most of the sweat and other liquids from the bar. To really get them clean you can use a tiny bit of mild soap to get rid of all the skin particles and grime that a wipe down won’t get rid of.
Skin particles, oils and other grime from your hands get into the knurling. All that dirt is a great place for bacteria to find a home and multiply so it’s a good idea to keep your bars clean anyways.
Location in the gym
One of the easiest ways to bend or otherwise damage a bar is to drop something heavy on it or more probably let something fall on it accidentally. That’s why the place you store them is important. Sure 99% of the time nothing will happen. It’s always that 1% that makes you wish you would’ve done something else.
Keep your stored bars out of the way where you’re working with other weights. Maybe one day you’ll fail a rep and you drop your weights in a way that’s not normal. And now you’ve damaged your $300 barbell.
Just keep them out of the way of things that can fall on them and the chances of damage go down dramatically. Usually this means to simply store them anywhere that’s not on the floor or leaned against the wall in a corner.
Horizontal or vertical?
Finally, something that’s not so obvious. Should you store your bars horizontally or vertically? As often, it depends. It depends on one thing;
More specifically the bearings in the sleeves. Some bars don’t have spinning sleeves. For that type it really doesn’t matter. There is no bearing that can get damaged.
Most barbells do have spinning sleeves however. That means there is some kind of bearing to allow for the rotation. These bearings are not designed for a sideways load. If you store this type of bar vertically, whether standing on the floor or hanging, you could possibly damage those bearing. Most manufacturers recommend horizontal storage for their barbells.
That said, those same manufacturers also sell storage racks that allow you to store their bars vertically. Maybe they officially don’t recommend it but it seems that actually damaging the bar in this way is a exceedingly rare occurrence.
So, officially horizontal storage is better. In practice, it doesn’t really matter.
Now what about practical solutions for storing your bars? There are quite a few different ones. Here are some of the best options.
On the rack
The simplest way to keep your bar safe is to put it on the power rack. Just clean it after use and you’ll be good. This isn’t always possible for various reasons;
- You want to do other things in the power rack and a bar would get in the way.
- You’ve got a foldable power rack
- There’s more than one bar in your gym.
- The bar is too short to store on the rack.
If none of those apply to you, there is no reason to get another way to store your bar. Your rack will do perfectly fine. If it’s not possible, try one of the following solutions.
Horizontal wall mounted rack
This type is a good option for people with two or three barbells. You just mount two little brackets on the wall and you’ve got the option to store 3 -6 bars horizontally. If you’ve got short bars, you can mount the two brackets closer together and they’ll fit perfectly fine.
Another benefit of this type is that you can mount it as high as you want. This can help you mount it in a safe place. The higher the rack is mounted, the safer your bars are. However, don’t put them so high you can’t easily get to them. That would kind of defeat the purpose.
For a home gym, a 3 bar horizontal rack is enough. Check it out here on Amazon.
Vertical floor holder
A common barbell holder is the floor standing one. It consists of a heavy base plate with some short metal tubes which fit the sleeve of a barbell. No mounting is required. Just put it in a place you like and it’s ready for use.
There are different types that can handle different amounts of bars but in the end they’re all pretty much the same. The one difference is that some allow you to lock a bar in place. This can be useful in a public gym where you want to prevent the general public from using your personal bar.
This 5 bar barbell stand on Amazon is a great deal. It’s simple, fits 5 bars and you can even bolt it to the floor for extra stability.
Wall mount hanger
Another wall mounted option is the hanger. This type allows you to hang the barbell by its collar. It’s super simple and gets the job done. This type is available in different versions that hold from just a single bar up to five.
For home gyms a 4 bar hanger is good since most people don’t really have a whole collection of bars. You might have a long, short, a specialty bar and still have one space left open. Check out this mount with space for 4 bars on Amazon. It’s very reasonably priced and ships for free.
The benefit over a horizontal rack is that; A. you need less width in your gym. B. you only have to mount one bracket instead of two.
What to look for in a barbell storage solution?
There are a few things a barbell storage solution should (or shouldn’t) do;
- Fits your barbells
- Stable and sturdy
- Doesn’t damage your barbells
In the end it’s a pretty simple piece of equipment. There’s not too much that can go wrong with it. As long as it doesn’t drop your bars randomly or damages them with normal use, you’re good.
What is the cross-hatch pattern on a barbell called? The cross hatch pattern on a barbell is called ‘knurling’. It provides grip for your hands while grabbing the bar. A smooth metal bar can get very slippery, especially with sweaty hands. Another use is as guide marks for grip width on certain lifts.