With the price of steel going up and up, “normal” olympic bars out of China really have become quite bad – low grade of steel, thick diameter, poor bearing housing, bad chroming etc, etc. It was once the pursuit of the lifting purest to find the most comfortable olympic bar to lift with, whereas, now, I would recommend that almost anyone weight training spend a couple of hundred dollars more and get what I would consider the best olympic bars for your bucks – the original Buddy Capps (Capps Engineering, Texas) Texas Bars. The main Texas Bars being the Texas Power Bar, Texas Deadlift Bar, and Texas Squat Bar.
The Texas Olympic Bars aren’t of any intricate craftsmanship, just basic in design and made using high-quality steel and bearings. Unlike some of the first Texas Olympic Bars, all bars now have a zinc oxide coating, which prevents them from rusting somewhat over time (note: the bars used to be just polished steel). It also provides a nice coating over the harsh knurling, which in turn provides excellent grip, but doesn’t cut in to your hands. Put it this way, you’ll be able to lift far more performing unassisted deadlifts than you used to.
For most lifts, the Texas Power Bar is more than adequate (more like what you’re accustomed to), measuring 7ft long total, a regular inside measurement , weighing 44lb, and a grip diameter of 1 1/8”. Of some interest, the knurling is a little closer than on a “normal” Olympic bar, which actually makes this bar very comfortable for exercises where you may have a slightly narrower grip, such as reverse-grip bent-over rows or deadlifts.
Better-still for deadlifts, the Texas Deadlift Bar does away with the redundant center knurling, with the outer knurling being only 16 ½ “ apart, compared to 17 ½” on the Texas Power Bar and 20 ½“ on a “normal” Olympic bar. More importantly, the grip diameter’s thinner (1 1/16”). Made of the same grade of steel as the Texas Power Bar, the Texas Deadlift Bar’s thinner (as previously mentioned) and longer (90” total, 56” internally) ensuring it still weighs 44lb and making it ideally suited for deadlifts (as the name suggests). The aforementioned factors make the bar far easier to grip and provides a bit of “spring” when performing the lift.
As regards the Texas Squat Bar, it’s longer (8ft) with a thicker (1 ¼”) diameter, therefore weighing 55lb. As the name suggests, it’s best suited for performing squats.
The Texas Deadlift Bar’s definitely the best bar of the three, but you’ll favor the Texas Power Bar for most lifts. So, if you’ve got the money for just one bar, buy the Texas Power Bar. The additional purchase of the Texas Deadlift Bar’s sensible, whereas the Texas Squat Bar’s for competing powerlifters or a luxury item for the general weight trainer, but there are other bars I’d choose first – Safety Squat Bar, Trap Bar, Swiss Bar (or similar), Leg Blaster Bar.
For a good price and a reputable company, you can purchase Texas Bars through several of our approved Globe Gripz dealers - EliteFTS (USA), LiftingLarge.com (USA), The Gym Revolution (UK), Gym Ratz (UK), Strength Shop (UK), Watson Gym Equipment (UK), Strength Shop DE (Germany). Whilst you're at it, you may wish to check out why these reputable companies rate our Globe Gripz invention so highly.
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Matt @ Gym Professor
Whilst in the U.S. the Texas Power Bar still presents itself as the best value-for-money quality all-round powerlifting bar, in the UK it has a challenger in the form of the ATX Ram Bar. I've used this bar a few times and it's not too dissimilar (maybe even slightly better) and comes in at around £100 less than the cheapest UK price for the Texas Power Bar. After being asked a few questions, I made this impromptu video:
The Ram Bar is available from The Gym Revolution at the following link: ATX Ram Bar (Powerlifting).