How Much Does a Squat Barbell Weigh? Made Easy

With all the different types of barbells out there, it’s understandable you get confused sometimes. How much does that barbell on the squat rack actually weigh? It’s usually not very complicated. In this article, we’ll quickly untangle your confusion.

The standard squat barbell you find in most commercial and home gyms weighs 20 kg. Barbells which are built to pounds can weigh 44-45 pounds. Other barbells can sometimes be used to squat and can weigh anywhere from 15 to 30 kg (33-66 pounds).

In the rest of this article, we’ll cover the details of the different barbells which can be used to squat, why the weight matters, and what you can do if an empty bar is too heavy.

Standard Squat Bar Weight

A standard squat barbell you can find in most commercial and home gyms will weigh 20 kg. Barbells which are built to pounds can weigh 44-45 pounds.

Most barbells you’ll find in gyms around are general-purpose bars that are used for all exercises from squatting to deadlifting to benching, etc. Only specialized, barbell-focused, gyms will have different specific bars for squatting.

Most general-purpose barbells are modeled after the men’s Olympic barbell. That means the squat barbell you’ll likely find on your squat rack weighs 20 kg or 44-45 lbs.

There can be small variations since in most places, you don’t get official Olympic barbells but cheaper copies and variations. However, they’ll likely be close in weight and dimensions if you go to a decent gym.

Different Types of Squat Barbell Weights

While most barbells on a squat rack will weigh 44/45 lbs., there are six other types of barbells that are used for squatting.

TypeWeight (kg)Weight (lbs.)Length (mm)Length (in.)Diameter (mm)
Men's Olympic2044.09220086.6128
Women's Olympic1533.07201079.1325
Powerlifting (IPF)(Men+Women)2044.09220086.6129
6' Barbell12-1526-3318297225-28
Safety Squat bar20.4-31.745-702133-226084-89
Cambered bar22-2550-55243896

Men’s Olympic Barbell

The men’s Olympic barbell is what most general barbells are modeled after. Real Olympic bars have to be built to very tight tolerances. Most general barbells are quite close to this barbell but can deviate on some points.

A men’s Olympic barbell is a weightlifting bar used in various strength training activities, such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and Olympic weightlifting movements like snatches and clean & jerks.

It has the following key features:

Weight20 kilograms (44 pounds)
Length7’2 feet (2.2 meters)
Shaft Length1310 mm (51.5″)
Diameter28 mm
SleevesRotating sleeves for reduced wrist stress during dynamic movements
KnurlingCenter knurling
MarkingsMarking rings 910 mm apart
Common UseWeightlifting competitions, commercial gyms, home setups

Women’s Olympic Barbell

Some gyms will use the women’s Olympic bar as their standard bar because it’s comfortable to use for more customers. Men can still somewhat comfortably use women’s bars but men’s bars are often too thick and heavy for women.

Weight15 kilograms (33 pounds)
Length6.6 feet (2 meters)
Shaft Length1310 mm (51.5″)
Diameter25 mm
SleevesRotating sleeves for reduced wrist stress during dynamic movements
KnurlingNo center knurling
MarkingsMarking rings 910 mm apart
Common UseWeightlifting competitions, commercial gyms, home setups

Power Squat Bar

There is a barbell that can in some cases be found on a squat rack which is much thicker and a bit heavier than the standard bars.

This bar goes under a few different names; power squat bar, 32mm squat bar, and a few others. They look like a normal bar but they’re thicker with a 32 mm shaft. This also leads to the bar being heavier at 25 kg (55 lbs).

The main reason for this bar’s existence is something called ‘whip’. This is how much a bar flexes and bounces under heavy loads. This can throw off your balance during squats and can increase the load when the bar bounces back. A thicker bar is stiffer and thus easier to squat heavy with.

Besides being thicker, it’s also longer. Both the shaft and the sleeves are longer to accommodate more weight.

Weight25 kilograms (55 pounds)
Length94.5″ (2.4 meters)
Shaft Length56″ (142 cm)
Diameter32 mm
Sleeves50 mm Diameter
Common UsePowerlifting, squats, and heavy compound lifts

Safety Squat Bar

Safety squat bars look very different than a normal straight barbell. There are extra pieces and bends on this one. They are supposed to make holding the bar easier and reduce stress on your wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

For some people they feel better for the low back, for others, they don’t. It’s personal preference if you like this bar.

Since the SSB isn’t modeled after any competition bar, the dimensions and weights can differ from bar to bar. That’s why you’ll see ranges in the chart below.

PurposeDesigned for squatting exercises, especially for individuals with shoulder or mobility issues
WeightVaries, typically around 20-30 kilograms (44-66 pounds)
DesignAngled handles, padded shoulder yoke, and safety handles for added support and comfort
BenefitsMinimizes strain on shoulders and wrists, promotes upright posture during squats
VariationsDifferent models may have varying padding, handles, and bar shapes
Common UseRehab facilities, Strength focused gyms, strength training home setups

6′ Bar

This isn’t really an official barbell but many gyms still use these. They are. a bit shorter than other barbells which means you need less space to use one. That’s beneficial in both commercial and home gyms.

At the same time, they do fit on a squat rack so you can encounter one when squatting. That’s not the case for all 6′ bars but many will fit on a rack. Most 6′ barbells weigh 15 kg (33 lbs). The shaft is often a bit thicker at 28-29 mm. That’s to reach the 15 kg weight, you have to put the metal somewhere.

WeightUsually 15 kilograms (33 pounds). Some 6′ bars can have different weights.
Length6 feet (1.82 meters)
Diameter28-29 mm
SleevesRotating sleeves for reduced wrist stress during dynamic movements
Common Usecommercial gyms (bench press), home setups

Cambered Bar

A cambered bar, also known as a “Cambered Squat Bar” or “Cambered Bench Bar,” is a specialized type of barbell used in strength training exercises like squats and bench presses. It is characterized by its unique curved or arched shape, with the center portion of the bar being higher than the ends.

This curvature changes the dynamics of the lift. On the squat it changes the center of gravity which means your muscles are targeted differently for a different training impulse. The curved bar also feels different on your back and is more comfortable for many people.

Like the SSB this is a very specialized bar for advanced lifters that need all the little bits extra they can get. It’s usually used as a squat variation.

On the bench press the main thing you get from a cambered bar is more range of motion which could mean more muscle development.

PurposeDesigned for squatting and benching, offering a unique loading angle and emphasis
WeightVaries, typically around 20-30 kilograms (44-66 pounds)
DesignCurved bar shape with cambered center, providing a different squatting experience
BenefitsAlters the squat movement pattern, places emphasis on different muscle groups than a straight bar.
Use CasesUsed for powerlifting, accessory work, variation in squat training. For advanced lifters.
VariationsDifferent models may have varying degrees of camber and bar shape

IPF Powerlifting Bar

If you train in a powerlifting gym, this might be the bar you find on the squat rack. There are some differences with normal bars but the weight is still 20 kg.

The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) has its own standards for barbells to be used in competitions. Unlike Olympic bars, there is no difference between men’s and women’s bars, both use the same bar.

In reality, it’s heavily based on the Olympic men’s barbell. They have the same length and weight. The diameter, shaft, and sleeve length are slightly different but now worlds apart. The knurling is a bit more aggressive and has markings in a different spot.

One big difference is that Powerlifting barbells have sleeves that spin less smoothly. That’s because powerlifting doesn’t have any movements that need free spinning sleeves.

PurposeDesigned for powerlifting competitions and training, meets International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standards
Weight20 kg (44.09 lbs.)
Length2200 mm
Diameter29 mm
DesignStraight bar with center knurling, specific markings for grip and hand placement
MarkingsIPF-standard markings for hand positioning and centering
Sleeve RotationSleeves often have moderate rotation to reduce stress on wrists during bench press
Common UsePowerlifting competitions, IPF-affiliated gyms, strength training setups

Does Squat Bar Weight Matter?

Yes, the weight of an empty squat bar does matter, especially when it comes to your overall lifting performance, technique, and progression. The weight of the empty bar is often referred to as the “barbell’s tare weight,” and it can impact your training in several ways:

  • Warm-Up and Technique: The weight of the empty bar is often used as a starting point for warm-up sets and technique practice. It helps you establish proper movement patterns and form before adding any additional weight. Practicing with the empty bar allows you to focus on perfecting your technique without the added challenge of heavier weights.
  • Tracking Progress: The weight of the empty bar is part of the total weight you lift during a squat. Tracking your progress involves considering the entire load, including the barbell’s weight. Changing bar weights could throw off your tracking if you don’t notice and compensate.
  • Beginners: Beginners start with an empty bar. Some people can’t lift a 20kg. bar from the get-go. A 15 kg bar can make all the difference.
  • Other Exercises: usually a barbell isn’t only used for squatting. While a 20 kg bar might be nothing for you on the squat, maybe on other movements it’s a different story.

What If a Squat Bar Is Too Heavy?

As a beginner, just the bar can be too heavy, no matter which bar you’re using. It’s never a good idea to use weights that are too heavy for you since that can be dangerous. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do:

  • Bodyweight Squats: Start with bodyweight squats without any resistance. Can you do less than 30 bodyweight squats with good technique? You’re probably not strong enough for the bar yet.
  • Find The Lightest Bar: As you can read above, there are different barbell weights. Find the lightest bar in your gym and try again. That 5kg difference might just be enough for you. Even lighter “technique bars” also exist. They often weigh 15 lbs. or 10 kg.
  • Start with Dumbbells: You don’t have to squat with a barbell. Using dumbbells is a perfectly fine way to go if the bar is too heavy. Dumbbells are available in much lighter weights than barbells which makes it easier. The technique is slightly different but once you can Db squat with 2x10kg/2x25lbs. dumbbells, you should be able to switch to the bar.
  • Use the Smith Machine: The Smith machine is hated by some, and loved by others but it’s a good way to get started with squatting. The barbell in the Smith machine is often much lighter than 20kg/44lbs. So it should only be slightly heavier than bodyweight squats.
  • Strengthen Your Legs With Other Exercises: Use other exercises like the leg press, lunge, and others to build up strength in your legs before getting under a barbell.
  • Improve your Technique: If you can leg press or Db squat a reasonable amount of weight and the empty bar still feels too heavy, make sure your technique is correct. A good trainer can help a lot here.

While the barbell squat is a great exercise for building muscle and strength, it’s not the only way you can accomplish this. Everyone has to start somewhere, there’s no shame in starting somewhere that’s not under the barbell.

In my opinion, the barbell gets overhyped as the only reasonable thing to use to build muscle and strength. They are great but they’re just a tool in the toolbox. If it’s not the right tool (yet) use another one.

Are Squat Barbells The Same As Other Bars?

In most gyms, the squat bar is exactly the same as the bench and other barbells. Usually, gyms just buy a bunch of the same barbells and put them everywhere. So the bar you’re using to deadlift, bench press and other barbell exercises is the same as the one you use to squat.

Most gyms will have an EZ curl bar. But that one doesn’t fit on a rack and has bends in it so it’s easy to recognise. It would be pretty difficult to squat heavy with an EZ bar.

In gyms that are very focused on barbell weightlifting, there is a good chance the bars are actually different. In that case, the gym owner or staff will very likely be able to tell you which bar is what and what it’s for.

How Do You Know How Heavy The Squat Bar Is?

If you’re not sure how heavy the bar you’ve been using is, you can do a few things:

  • Check the Label or Specifications: Many barbells will have labels or markings on them that indicate their weight. Usually, you can find this on the end cap.
  • Use a Scale: Weighing the barbell is the only 100% accurate way to determine its weight. Most gyms will have a scale but you might raise a few eyebrows dragging the barbell across the gym. In a home gym, this is fine of course.
  • Compare to a weight plate: Grab the bar in one hand and a 20kg/45lbs. plate in the other. If they feel the same, it’s probably a 20 kg bar. If the bar feels lighter, it’s probably 15 kg. This is not very accurate but will often do the trick.


Do You Count The Bar Weight In The Total Squat Weight?

Yes, the weight of the bar itself is counted as part of the total squat (or any other movement) weight.
When you calculate the total weight lifted during a squat, you typically include the weight of the barbell along with the weight of any additional plates that are loaded onto the bar.

For example, if you’re using a standard Olympic barbell that weighs 20 kg (44 lbs) and you’ve added two 20 kg plates (one on each side), your total squat weight would be:

Barbell weight: 20 kg
Plates weight: 20 kg + 20 kg = 40 kg
Total squat weight: 20 kg (barbell) + 40 kg (plates) = 60 kg


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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