Olympic Style Barbell
Available in several different lengths, fixed weights, and adjustable weights, barbells are considered a standard among exercise equipment. Barbells are an excellent resource for (but not limited to) power lifting exercises like squats, deadlifts, and heavy rows. Another great benefit to using barbells is that they promote muscle symmetry by forcing the muscles to lift equal amounts of weight. It is not uncommon to have one particular side of the body more developed than the other.
There are two main cons to using a barbell vs. dumbbells; the first is that the stabilizer muscles used with dumbbell exercises are not engaged nearly as much. Second, due to the straight nature of the bar, wrist strain can occur when lifting heavier amounts of weight, especially in an exercise like barbell curls or cheat curls.
Olympic style barbells are the most versatile type of barbell. Their ability to allow additional weight plates that can span the length of bar creates a nearly endless amount of weight lifting challenges. Most facilities carry the standard mens Olympic barbells which measure about 7 feet in length and weigh about 45 lbs. Aside from the ability to add additional weight, Olympic barbells allows the plates to rotate around their own axis, therefore allowing the lifter to more easily maintain balance.
Fixed Weight Barbell on Rack
Fixed weight barbell are similar to their dumbbell counterpart. They are available in many varieties ranging from all metal, to metal bar with rubber coated metal on the outer portions, as well as having a variety of outer portions that can be rounded or in a multi-edge format to prevent rolling.
Adjustable weight barbells are similar to the Olympic style but about 3 feet shorter in length. Clamps or clips are used to secure weight plates into position and allow for a variety of exercises to be performed. These are especially effective when performing a lifting technique like "tear downs".