Product Reviews

REP PowerSpeed Bar Review | Buying Guide

April 27th 2020

In this article, we will discuss the barbell with the most aggressive knurling, the REP PowerSpeed Bar.

It is a common saying... “Buy cheap, buy twice”.

When it comes to buying a bar for your powerlifting endeavors, going cheap will not save you more money and instead will cost you more in the long run.

Take it from me, I’ve owned my own fair share of “cheap, inexpensive barbells” that ended up costing me much more in the long run as I had to replace them due to them breaking/bending/rusting.

This is why if you are serious about getting into powerlifting, you should look for a high-quality bar that will last you for a long time.

But with so many barbells that are on the market, how can you decide which bar is suitable for you and your needs?

For one, if you plan on competing in powerlifting you definitely need a bar that falls within IPF criteria and specifications.

And another factor you should keep in mind is what type of exercises you will be using the bar for.

If you plan on using the bar simply to perform barbell curls… which I really hope is not the ONLY thing you are using the bar for… then specifications don’t really matter.

However, if you are using a bar to perform the main three lifts, the squat, bench press, and deadlift, then you should look for a bar that is suitable for your needs, and that can work flawlessly with the rest of your equipment as your squat/power rack and your weights.

One factor that can make or break the bar is the type of knurling it comes with.

The knurling is the ribbed part of the bar that you will be primarily gripping.

For those who are into powerlifting, I always recommend an aggressive knurling that is suitable for maximum grip strength.

And what bar can better fit this criterion other than the REP PowerSpeed bar.

With a design specifically for powerlifting, Rep fitness combined a high-quality barbell with ease-of-use as requested by many of its customers.

Many lifters want a bar that has both deep, aggressive knurling as well as the ability to easily re-center the bar on the squat rack.

The REP PowerSpeed bar accomplishes both of these things making it a great candidate for those who are looking to step-up their barbell game in their own a home-gym.

This article is a review of the REP PowerSpeed bar.

REP PowerSpeed Bar Image

REP PowerSpeed Bar Cost

The Rep Fitness PowerSpeed Bar costs $379.

REP PowerSpeed Bar Specifications

  • 20 kg, 215k tensile, 205k yield, 2000 lb. rated
  • 29mm, IPF markings
  • Very deep, aggressive knurl
  • Magnesium-Phosphate
  • Chrome, smooth sleeves with zero side-to-side movement
  • Bronze bushings with smooth rotation

Notes:

The bar comes with a light coat of oil in order to protect it during shipping. Wipe it down with a dry towel before first use.

The bushings will require at least 2 weeks to break-in until they are able to spin at their maximum potential.

There is a 5-year warranty against defects affecting the performance of the bar, such as bending, collar spin, knurling defects, or problems with the coating affecting the performance of the bar.

IPF standard design

First off, the bar fits the IPF regulations and specifications on the barbell weight, length, and load.

If you are planning on training for a powerlifting competition, this bar will be very similar to the bars you encounter.

Training with this bar will allow for maximum carry-over during competition.

Nothing is worse than training with a barbell that doesn’t fit IPF specifications, and encountering a bar you are not used to on competition day.

If you ever plan on competing, it will serve you a lot better in the long run by purchasing right the first time.

Aggressive knurling

The barbell was designed with very aggressive knurling with deep cuts that serve to increase your grip strength.

This makes it especially handy in the deadlift where a stronger grip can only help you, however it may be seen as a downside during the squat and bench press due to the possibility of the knurling cutting into your hands causing discomfort.

Though if you train with this bar for a brief period of time, your hands will get calloused and get used to the bar so I wouldn’t say that this is a downside. For beginners, it would simply take more time to get used to, just as if you were getting used to fretting a guitar for the first time.

I would say that aggressive knurling is the best type of option for powerlifting bars because you are lifting heavy weight at low repetitions. Once your hands get calloused, it will not lead to long-term discomfort that impact your performance.

However, if you plan on using the bar for CrossFit or for any other type of exercise that may require high reps, then you might want to go for a medium grip knurling in order to protect your hands.

Shortened knurling

What separates the REP PowerSpeed bar from any other barbell that is currently on the market is it’s shortened knurling.

Traditional barbells have knurling that stretches all the way to the sleeves.

However, the PowerSpeed bar was specifically designed to be cut 5.5 inches short on each side.

This accomplishes two things:

  1. Allows for easy re-centering and quick adjustments while the bar is racked
  2. Protects your j-cups (the hooks on the power rack) from damage

When squatting or benching, you might find during the last rep, you re-racked the weight so that it is slightly off-center.

If you were using a barbell with traditional knurling, this isn’t that much of a problem if you are warming up and using light weights. You can easily re-center the bar yourself. 

However, if you are using heavier weights, you might find it takes a lot more force to re-center the bar causing more fatigue which will impact your performance for the next set. This is because of the knurling that stretches all the way that is preventing side-to-side translation of the bar.

But with the REP PowerSpeed’s knurling (or should I say lack of knurling), the smooth coat allows for fast and easy re-centering no matter what weight you are using. This is simply due to the reduced friction from the shortened knurling.

This might not seem like a big deal when reading this, but when you actually experience it, you will realize how much of a difference it can make.

The second benefit of the shortened knurling is that it saves your j-cups (the hooks on the power rack) from damage due to the deep knurling.

This might not matter as much if you are using an old squat rack but why not protect it from any unnecessary damage?

The aggressive knurling will slowly chip away at rubber/plastic j-hooks which can decrease its life expectancy.

With the shortened knurling, your j-hooks will remain protected.

REP PowerSpeed bar Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Manganese phosphate coating which is resistant to oxidation and rusting leading to longer use
  • Chrome sleeves make it easy to take weights on or off the bar without hassle
  • Shortened knurling allows easy re-centering and protects your j-hooks
  • Deep aggressive knurling is perfect for powerlifters
  • Meets IPF criteria and specifications

Cons

  • End caps are actually stickers instead of a cut-in design. This is only an aesthetic drawback and does not impact performance
  • Because of the shortened knurling on both sides of the barbell, wide-grip exercises may be more difficult to perform because of the smooth grip

Final Review

The REP PowerSpeed barbell is an overall great bar with deep, aggressive knurling suitable for those who are into powerlifting.

It’s shortened knurling also allows for easy re-centering during training, and the design also protects and elongates your power rack’s lifespan.

The bar is highly durable and is sure to last you for a long time.

The only performance drawback I experienced is increased difficulty while performing wide-grip exercises such as the snatch or snatch-gripped deadlift because of the shortened knurling.

This makes it less suitable for those who are into Olympic weightlifting or for those who routinely train with a wide grip.

But, if you do not fit these criteria, this bar should be of no problem for you!

Get your REP Fitness PowerSpeed Bar today!

 


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