Even if you're an Olympic lifting professional or just starting your weightlifting journey snatching, cleaning and jerking, you need to know about the equipment for Olympic Weightlifting.
There are a few vital bits of equipment for olympic weightlifting that you need to get started and a few that are optional to each person. We've created our guide for you to get to know the different pieces of equipment, what it's for and how it's used.
Olympic Lifting Barbell
Weightlifting uses a steel bar (also known as a barbell) with larger diameter rotating sleeves on either end that holds the rubber coated discs of different weights.
The barbell one of the most common pieces of equipment in the gym so you should know about them already but there are a few pieces of technology that really helps olympic weightlifters.
The sleeves that hold the weights on either end of the barbell rotates freely, which is vitally important for the Olympic lifts, particularly the snatch and clean movements, as it drastically reduces the rotational inertia of the plates. Without sleeve rotation, the olympic lifter faces more challenging lifts and a far greater risk of injury.
A men's Olympic barbell weights 20kg or 44lbs with a shaft diameter of 28mm and a length of 2200mm, whereas a women's Olympic barbell weighs 15kg or 33lbs and has a shaft diameter of 25mm and a length of 2100mm.
The distance between the sleeves, is the same for the men's and women's bars at 1310mm.
The grip texture of the bar is called the knurling and is distributed differently between the men's and women's bars as the men's has knurling in the centre but the women's does not. The Olympic barbells used in competition are certified by the IWF.
Where To Buy Olympic Barbells
The internet is filled with places to buy barbells but you do need to make sure that for olympic weightlifting you get the right bar with the right knurling, weight and the ability to be dropped and spin regularly is key. Here are our top finds.
Hero Barbell Co. Cerakote Competition Barbell
Great strength and whip of the bar with a ceramic and powder coating.
ET Energic Olympic Barbell
No frills but hardwearing and durable with a nice knurl and chrome finish. 7ft long with a 1500lbs capacity.
Elevens EZ Bar Olympic Competition Barbell
High grade steel bar with a durable bearing. Comes in a wide range of finishes and coatings.
Synergee Regional Olympic Competition Barbell
Chrome and phosphate finish, 1.2mm diamond knurling with a great whip.
The weight plates, typically referred to as bumper plates because of their rubber design, weigh anywhere between 0.5kg and 25kg. The bumper plates are constructed out of rubber to allow the weights to be dropped from various heights - either after a successful lift or during an unsuccessful one.
Olympic bumper plates conform to international standards for colouring. That is green for 10kg, yellow for 15kg, blue for 20kg and red for 25kg. You may have seen this in your gym or in your CrossFit box too.
Where To Buy Bumper Plates
You can find bumper plates fairly easily on most fitness online stores but you need a brand that will withstand being dropped multiple times if you are using them for olympic weightlifting. Quality of assembly is key here.
Fringe Sport Kilogram Colour Competition Olympic Weight Plates
These competition plates differ from the ones found in the gym as they are not only guaranteed accurate to within 10 grams but also have a IWF diameter standard steel insert with a modified bounce and a regulated toughness. Perfect for competition.
AMGYM Color Bumper Olympic Weightlifting Competition Plates
100 percent natural rubber with full range of colours with short steel insert and low bounce.
XMark Olympic Bumper Weight Plate Set
Black with color coded lettering, precision tooled with 3 year warranty for residential and 1 year commercial use.
Competition Iron Fractional Plates
In addition to the rubber bumper plates, smaller competition iron plates can be used to add weights in smaller increments to the bar. The colour designations for these plates are: 1kg is green, 1.5kg is yellow, 2kg is blue, 2.5kg is red, 5kg and 0.5kg are white.
It's useful to note that the colour assignment of these iron plates are consistent with the heavier bumper plates.
Where to buy Competition Fractional Plates
Competition Iron Plates are a little harder to come by as these are very specific to olympic weightlifting. However there are a few brands that sell competition iron plates.
Everymate Change Fractional Weight Plates
5lb, 2.5lb and 1.25lb fractional weight plates in different colours each in pairs for weightlifting.
Syngergee Rubberised Fractional Weight Plates
The full range of fractional weights from 2.5kg right down to 0.125kg with rubberised coating.
Olympic Barbell Collars
In competition, Olympic Barbell collars are usually metal and using two to secure the weights on the barbell are 2.5kg each. In training and in the gym, you may see plastic clip on collars. These are great to keep your plates in place and easy to attach and detach too.
Where To Buy Olympic Barbell Collars
Barbell collars are fairly common to come across as they are smaller and easier to ship so you may see many variations on sites like Amazon. Here are our top picks.
Synergee Aluminium Barbell Collars
These secure collars are perfect for securing your plates and with a durable aluminium design, these will last longer than your plastic collars.
Powerfeng Olympic Barbell Bar Clips
Secure and non-slip, easy to install and widely used with a 6 month warranty.