Primal Strength

Barbell Buying Guide

Primal Strength present the widest range of Commercial-Grade Olympic Barbells and specialist bars covering all aspects of Olympic lifting, powerlifting, Strongman, CrossFit and our core Olympic bars for general gym and home use. There have been decades of improvements in barbells from high whip deadlift bars to low whip power bars and Primal Strength cover every aspect of each specific barbells. Our 2021 Guide will cover the technical spec of all bars as well as explain the benefits of each.

What should I look for in a Barbell?

Barbell Guide

Tensile Strength

Tensile Strength refers to the breaking point of the barbell. This is rate in pounds per square inch (PSI). All Primal Strength Barbells range from 160,000 to 215,000 PSI. A lower tensile strength doesn’t necessarily mean a lower quality bar, certain PSI’s are required for different bars.


Knurling is made from two sets of diagonal grooves cut into the barbell. These grooves dig into your hands to assist with grip. The width and depth of these grooves will determine how aggressive the knurling on the barbell is. Powerlifting bars have very aggressive, often diamond knurling whereas a Crossfit style bar will have a softer knurling for less impact during repeated drops. An example of knurling difference would be our aggressive 1.6mm knurl on the Austin power bar versus our softer 1.2mm on our Linda Dual Hybrid Bar.


The “whip” is the common term for the barbell ends bouncing at the end of a rep or phase of a lift. Experienced Olympic lifters use the whip to help them during the transition of a lift. The main contributing factors to a bars whip are the material, PSI rating and thickness of the shaft.


The barbell sleeves are the part that determines how much spin the bar will have. The level of spin is dictated to by the bearings and to lesser extent the bushings within the sleeve.

Bushings are placed between the shaft and the sleeve offering low friction and are mostly made of brass.

Bearings offer a far superior experience. They are faster, smoother, and quieter. Primal Strength offer two style bearings; 4 and 8 needle. The 8 needle bearings in our premium bars offer not only an exceptionally smooth but fast spin. The sealed chambers allow for low maintenance even in high use gyms and boxes.

Olympic 28mm Barbell


Ceramic Coated

Primal Strength brought the first Ceramic Coated bars to the UK in a matte finish. Ceramic coating allows the bars to stand out in a vibrant range of colours including camouflage finish, the coating protects the bar from sweat and other elements. The downside to ceramic coating is metal on metal damages the coating so this finish isn’t suitable for racks that have metal J-Hooks or bar rests.

Ionised Black

Primal Strengths most popular finish is our ionised black treatment. It’s an ionised finish ensuring it never wears and gradually develops a natural patina over time. With very light but regular surface maintenance the bars remain perfectly finished for years. The only downside to the ionised finish can be damaged by chemical cleaning sprays being left on the bars.

Stainless Steel

Quickly becoming our best-selling 8 needle bar and perfect for ultra-high use commercial gym sites that are using chemical cleaners the steel bars never discolour and will remain perfect for years to come.


We use hardened to chrome to finish the ends of our specialist bars including the shrug and Swiss/Football bars.