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Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Hi peeps, I am approaching 60 and need to do weights for health reasons (plus I read that it's very good for older men). I used to be quite active when a teenager with bodybuilding, using Reg Park's routines (I'm from South Africa), so I know more or less what I am doing with the various movements and muscle groups.

I intend getting a little muscle, nothing drastic, perhaps bench press up to 80kg tops. No squats (very big legs already, genetically). Have some damage to my lumbar spine (herniated disc), so have to be careful.

Bought a cheap bench off eBay and assembled it last night. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality ... more than enough for my purposes. (Tried to post a pic, cannot)

But when it comes to other equipment, I'm lost. In the 1970s it was all standard bar stuff, iron plates etc. Now there are olympic bars, most of which seem to come from China (e.g those for sale at aussiefitness.com.au and gymandfitness.com.au etc).

The Americans seem to have an endless supply of quality bars at reasonable prices. But not so here in Oz.

I need a barbell and about 80-100kg weight, plus a dumbbell and weights (non-olympic is fine, already have an old cheapy with cement-filled plates).

The barbell is a once-only purchase, so I thought I should ask questions here.


  1. Do I accept that a ~$170 1500lb chromed Chinese bar with copper bushings and circlips (snap rings) is good enough for my purposes, perhaps even much more than I'll need? Or do I need to cough up for a more expensive bar, and if so, why?
  2. Do I buy the powder-coated steel plates from my local bodybuilding store (brand is "Force USA")?
  3. Do I buy an ez curl bar (Force USA) with hex-bolted sleeves ($79)?
  4. Can I use non-olympic stuff for dumbbell work (much cheaper)?

Thanks!
 

Shrek

Fucked up Kunce
Don't spend a fortune. Buy what you can afford. Not like you're gonna load 300 kg on the bar.
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Don't spend a fortune. Buy what you can afford. Not like you're gonna load 300 kg on the bar.

Exactly. It even occurred to me: Why not just buy a standard bar? Local store has a 7-ft 213mm 28mm-diameter Force USA standard bar for $60.
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Gymdirect.com.au has the best website for this stuff, lots of information right down to the tensile steel strength, which is missing from most other Aussie sites.
 

Mckim

New member
I was going to suggest gym direct. They have a 7ft standard barbell for $60 with a safe load limit of 150kg. That should do the job.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
I was going to suggest gym direct. They have a 7ft standard barbell for $60 with a safe load limit of 150kg. That should do the job.

That's interesting to hear it said like that. Most threads like this one are bombarded in other forums with advice to buy an Olympic bar no matter what. There seems to be a disdainful attitude to standard bars, or am I misreading the other forums I've visited?

A standard bar is:
  1. much cheaper
  2. less to go wrong (no clipsals, bushings, bearings & other fiddly things)
  3. adequate up to say 100kg (some are adequate for much more)

Cons are:
  1. they seem to have non-standard diameters (eg Force USA are 28mm and a lot of plates have 25mm holes)
  2. they overtopple if not carefully loaded and unloaded
  3. can't use them for movements where large weights are moved quickly on an arc, or bar rotated, because of stress on joints (not an issue in my sort of body-building)
  4. they don't look cool (which is tragic ;) )
 
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Timeah

Captain Kunce
Id honestly look to get in contact with a guy by the name of Brooks Kubik. Or in the least read up on his stuff.

Can i ask you please that yoi create a training log once you get going? I wont be the only interested in both the training and results/progression.

As mentioned above, id stick to what you can afford, there will be no loading 300kg for big heavy deads or squats, and even 80kg on bench really isnt something thats going to hurt the bar. Do you research though, some Chinese bars really will fall apart on first sign of "abuse", where as others will take a surprisingly epic flogging.

Good luck mate.

Tim.
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Id honestly look to get in contact with a guy by the name of Brooks Kubik. Or in the least read up on his stuff.

Will do.

Can i ask you please that yoi create a training log once you get going? I wont be the only interested in both the training and results/progression.

Yup, was planning that anyway, simple spreadsheet should do it.
As mentioned above, id stick to what you can afford

Thing is, I can afford an Olympic bar at $160, which is what my local dealer is selling. I can't find any bad reports about these Force USA-style Chinese-made barbells, but then I haven't read through all these threads yet...

But I am finding it hard to convince myself that I actually need a bar that has rotating sleeves for my kind of training. But I'm open to suggestion.

Do you research though, some Chinese bars really will fall apart on first sign of "abuse", where as others will take a surprisingly epic flogging.

Thanks Tim, wish I knew which ones are the bad ones!
 

Timeah

Captain Kunce
160 is a good deal. And that bar will be fine 100%.

You'll get enough plates cheap enough. Id probably buy a pair each of 20,s - 10's - 5's - 2.5's - 1.25's

Tim.
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Thanks Tim. What would be the reason for me to pay the extra $100 for the oly bar over the ordinary one? I can afford it, just not sure it's a smart buy....
 

Timeah

Captain Kunce
I had two. I destroyed them. Haha.

I just like the feel of the bearings/bushings. Smoother operation. Much more enjoyable, and that does matter alot.

With any luck, you'll become hooked on the iron lifestyle for the rest of your life, and youll eventually buy something better than the cheapo (now probably bent) bar and wonder why you never just invested the cash at the start haha.

My 2 cents mate.

160 is still dirt cheap if you use it for 10+ years.

Tim.
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
I hear you, Tim. Unless I can find a standard bar that has the same sort of strength as the cheaper oly bars, I think I'm going to pony up the extra money and buy the oly bar. Thanks
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Sadly, our Aussie body-building websites mostly state nothing about standard bars.

They tell you the diameter, usually 28mm.

Do they tell you:

  • Steel tensile strength?
  • Exact weight of the bar?
  • Maximum weight rating?
  • Knurling details?
  • Ring markings and spacings?

The answer to all these questions is usually NO. So buyers of these bars are treated like children, or as unimportant customers, not to be taken seriously.

This alone is an insurmountable impediment to buyers like me. We are left suspecting that the standard bars are deeply sub-standard, if you'll forgive the pun.

For all I know, the Chinese factories making these bars out of recycled fishing trawlers and fridges don't even know the technical details of what they are flogging to the white foreign devils. :mad:
 
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WoodyAllen

Well-known member
OK. Here we go.

First off, I'm in the same age group, have trained for competitions for the last 5 years and have had a few bars in my hands. I have trained with cheap shitty chinese bars, decent all purpose bars, quality powerlifting bars and am currently the proud owner of a new competition Eleiko barbell. Yes bitchuz, I went there.

A barbell is the basic skeleton of any decent gym setup. DO NOT cheap out on the bar. Yes, you can get a bar for $60. Or $100. Or $150.

So, when it bends in a week or three (and it will), how much is it worth then? Will a bent bar make your lifting easier and safer? Nope.

When you get a bit more advanced in your lifting, and you will, what happens when you try for a clean and jerk and you wreck your writs because the bar touque had nowhere to go except your hands? Or you do a light rack pull and drop the bar onto the pins and it bends like a banana? Or when you drop it on the floor cos the knurling is just a pretty pattern, not a decent grip, and you snap it in half or bend it like a Beckham penalty shot?

A decent competition barbell is $1000-2000. No, you don't need one. But you should be paying a percentage of that for a bar to last more than a month and not wreck your writs/elbows/shoulders. And have some sort of knurl beyond a pretty pattern. There is a reason why a half decent barbel has bearings/bushings and why comp oly bars have up to 10 spindle bearings.

In all honesty, you should be looking at spending a minimum of $200 on a bar. I would suggest double that. Even if you only do this for a year then give it up because you want to take your new trophy wife to Panama, you can at least sell it for half price. A $60 bar you may as well just spear through your local bank front window or use it as a fence post. It will be worthless. Plus it will have cost you all that $ in medical expenses when the non grippy knurling rolled the bar out of your hands and took off your kneecaps, or your skull.

I have owned and used a powerlifting bar from ABC (Australian Barbell Company) and the quality was excellent. On par with anything made in the USA and much cheaper. You may not need that but they have cheaper options. I think I paid $400 for it and it was worth it. I stored it at the gym I was using and within a few weeks all of the trainers there wanted to borrow it and all of the lifters. It was the right weight (20kg, not 17 or 18 or 19), had a knurl that worked, the sleeves rotated and had powerlifting markings.

If you are going to skimp on something, buy cheap weights. You can weigh them and paint the real weight on them (they will all be lighter or heavier than the stated weight, always. And usually underweight.) so that you can get some sort of even weight distribution on the bar.

Let me know if you have any questions. Once you start probing, you discover all sorts of technical nuances and design requirements for barbells. They aint just a steel rod.

Cheap out on your weights, aftershave and wife's anniversary present. Don't cheap out on a barbell.
 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Thanks Woody. I had a look at the ABC site. It's really a horrible site with the typical Aussie lack of attention to detail. Nobody in the US (where I spent 10 years recently) would buy from a site that put this as the total info on the barbell:

220CM ABC OLYMPIC BARBELL. ALLOY BAR WITH BLACK NITRIDE FINISH.
440MM LONG X 50MM DIAMETRE BLACK NITRIDE ROTATING SLEEVES.
500KG RATING. DURABLE BRONZE BUSHING FOR GENERAL GYM USE.
AUSTRALIAN MADE. 20KG WEIGHT

Notice the spelling mistake ("DIAMETRE"). Notice the ALL CAPS. Contrast the objectionably brief description above with the sort of details provided about bars in the US


You can tell me that this does not matter, and that the ABC bars are great nonetheless, but for me, confidence in the manufacturer is essential, especially when I'm asked to drop $400-500 on what is, after all, just a small piece of steel.

One feels that if they don't give 2 hoots about the website, how much do they care about the bars?
 
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Pappy O'Daniels

New member
I found this video instructive. He's talking about buying a used bar, but when buying new bars from China this is probably good advice too:

 

Pappy O'Daniels

New member
Here is the bench I bought, $180 off eBay. Not bad for a Chinese product:

s-l1600.jpg
 

Big Mick

"2014 - Kunce of the year"
Hi peeps, I am approaching 60 and need to do weights for health reasons (plus I read that it's very good for older men). I used to be quite active when a teenager with bodybuilding, using Reg Park's routines (I'm from South Africa), so I know more or less what I am doing with the various movements and muscle groups.

I intend getting a little muscle, nothing drastic, perhaps bench press up to 80kg tops. No squats (very big legs already, genetically). Have some damage to my lumbar spine (herniated disc), so have to be careful.

Bought a cheap bench off eBay and assembled it last night. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality ... more than enough for my purposes. (Tried to post a pic, cannot)

But when it comes to other equipment, I'm lost. In the 1970s it was all standard bar stuff, iron plates etc. Now there are olympic bars, most of which seem to come from China (e.g those for sale at aussiefitness.com.au and gymandfitness.com.au etc).

The Americans seem to have an endless supply of quality bars at reasonable prices. But not so here in Oz.

I need a barbell and about 80-100kg weight, plus a dumbbell and weights (non-olympic is fine, already have an old cheapy with cement-filled plates).

The barbell is a once-only purchase, so I thought I should ask questions here.


  1. Do I accept that a ~$170 1500lb chromed Chinese bar with copper bushings and circlips (snap rings) is good enough for my purposes, perhaps even much more than I'll need? Or do I need to cough up for a more expensive bar, and if so, why?
  2. Do I buy the powder-coated steel plates from my local bodybuilding store (brand is "Force USA")?
  3. Do I buy an ez curl bar (Force USA) with hex-bolted sleeves ($79)?
  4. Can I use non-olympic stuff for dumbbell work (much cheaper)?

Thanks!

Don't go overboard, I have a cheap $45 standard bar that I have dead lifted 195kg with on several occasions as well as all the training working up to 195kg and it's still straight.

Unless you are going to be a professional power lifter, it will be fine.

I don't think you will be pulling or pushing any weights that will do any damage to a cheap bar, the muscles won't know the difference, I use 40 year old cast plates I bought on Gumtree to go with my cheap bar, just as heavy as expensive rubber coated calibrated weights, 1kg is 1kg no matter if it's chrome plated, or rusty cast iron.
 
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