Pros And Cons of Using A Deadlift Bar
Updated June 24th 2021
Should I use a deadlift bar?
Does it actually make a difference?
Your goals and training needs should determine whether or not you should use a deadlift bar.
In general, a deadlift bar is longer and has more bend to it.
As a result, lifters will usually deadlift more using a deadlift bar rather than a conventional Olympic barbell.
We will go over the pros and cons of using a deadlift bar and whether or not you should get one for yourself.
What is a deadlift bar?
A deadlift bar is a specialty bar designed for deadlifting higher amounts of weight.
Equipped with a longer overall length and a thinner diameter, this creates the ultimate bar that helps the lifter both grip easier and increased the whip when pulling.
This increase in flexibility means that lifters and athletes are able to pull from a higher point before the weights break off the ground, which can increase the amount of weight the person can lift.
Specifications of a deadlift bar
The deadlift bar usually has close to the following specifications:
- Made of Steel, 190,000 PSI Tensile Strength Steel
- Diameter - ~27MM
- Overall Length - ~90 Inches
- Aggressive Knurling
- No center Knurl
- Has multiple finishes, available within bare steel or black zinc
The Pros Of Using A Deadlift Bar
- You are pulling less range of motion
- There is some bend in the bar
- Weight is easier to come off from the floor
- Deadlift bars are a bit thinner, so your grip is better
- Knurling on deadlift bars are aggressive
1. You are pulling less range of motion
Because there is some bend in the bar, you are technically pulling for less distance.
This helps since you will need every bit of help on a max effort pull.
2. There is some bend in the bar
When you deadlift on a deadlift bar, you will notice that there is a lot more whip.
It was designed that way.
The more weight you deadlift, the more it will bend.
This is simple physics since the deadlift bar is longer than a standard Olympic barbell.
A deadlift bar will typically be around 90 inches in length, whereas a standard Olympic barbell would be around 86 inches in length.
When it comes to deadlifting huge weights, these inches matter greatly.
3. Weight is easier to come off from the floor.
Part of the reason why it “feels” easier to deadlift the weight off the floor is because of the whipiness of the bar.
You may not have a deadlift back crack since you are starting at a few centimeters higher than usual.
4. Deadlift bars are a bit thinner, so your grip is better
The deadlift bar is around 27-28mm diameter, depending on the brand.
A standard Olympic barbell is around 29mm diameter, depending on the brand.
As a result, your hands have more surface area to grip the deadlift barbell which makes it a more comfortable lift, from a grip standpoint.
5. Knurling on the deadlift bars are aggressive
The knurlings on a deadlift barbell are aggressive and rightfully so.
They will dig into your skin as designed in order for you to “get a grip.”
The Cons Of Using A Deadlift Bar
- Lack of proper training for a powerlifting competition
- Sometimes, harder training might benefit you
1. Lack of proper training for a powerlifting competition
Your training should be sport-specific.
With that said, you probably will not train with a deadlift bar if you compete in certain powerlifting federations that utilize a stiffer bar.
2. Sometimes, harder training might benefit you
Many lifters who have used the deadlift bar have noticed that deadlifting became “easier” and maybe even “more fun.”
While that is the case, let us be real with you.
You will need to train with a more difficult training experience to really make a difference.
Doing my research online, I have noticed many lifters who trained with either a stiff bar or a thicker bar in their facility and within a few months, they were able to crush their old PRs.
Training with the deadlift bar only and constantly crushing new PRs?
Not so much.
Deadlift bars may be fun to use.
They are an excellent tool to use for overloading your deadlift stimulus but sticking to the basics will always work.
Is a deadlift bar worth it?
Ding, ding. Ding!
The million-dollar question!
To decide the answer to this question, let us analyze what we know.
There are several factors that all lifters must consider before deciding to purchase or even invest in a facility that has a deadlift bar.
Some of these factors include—
- training experience
- linear progression limits
- competition conditions
- training history
If you have a home gym, purchasing your own equipment is what you may be thinking about.
After all, we want the flexibility of having a gym close to home.
So, how much does a deadlift bar cost?
And what are the best brands to purchase from?
The deadlift bar itself costs over 300 US dollars.
Compare that to how much a barbell costs.
So, it is not your random piece of equipment.
In addition to that, I found that Rogue Fitness has some of the highest quality machinery available.
On a separate topic, I have purchased a Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Barbell.
It has been over 4 years since that purchase and I am absolutely loving that bar.
If you are a gym membership kind of person, finding a gym facility that has a deadlift bar may be tough.
A lot of commercial gyms will not have any specialty bars so always make sure to get a tour of the facility and ask them about their equipment.
You need to know this crucial information.
What you may end up doing is having to sign up for one of the more elite-level gyms or fancier gyms with a lot more modern equipment.
Membership prices for these gyms are not cheap so expect to shell out at least 100 dollars a month.
For the sake of research, I was looking at gym memberships around me in New York City.
There was an elite gym that appeared to have a deadlift bar but the membership price was at 200 dollars a month.
So, the final verdict?
Cost is a very important aspect to consider.
While some casual lifters can easily not justify the price for using a deadlift bar, some lifters who compete in competitions with a deadlift bar will find it 100% worth it.
I had the opportunity to train with a deadlift bar in college.
I was fortunate enough to have an athletic director, who was an ex-powerlifter that listened to the students in ordering new equipment.
Even with that, I remembered using the deadlift bar once.
At the time, I was barely deadlifting over 300lbs so I did not feel much of an effect with it.
However, after doing some research about other lifters’ training experiences with the deadlift, I have noticed lots of approval for training with the deadlift bar.
Ranging from 400lbs to 700+lbs, lifters already noticed the subtle pros of using a deadlift bar.
How will your training experience be?
If you deadlift anything less than 405lbs, you probably will not notice a difference.
However, if you are deadlifting 405lbs+, you may have an enjoyable experience with how “easy” the weight can feel.
Linear progression limits
It does not last forever.
If you are unwilling to gain weight, get injured, or just stop progressing, you are close to your limits for linear progression style programming.
For instance, there were some Greyskull Lp questions I had when I was running the program but I never fully realized the answers to my questions until:
- I started to implement the program myself
- I was faced the program head-on
Through struggles and constantly trying to find solutions, I was able to slowly inch myself into higher levels of strength.
At least better than I was a few months ago.
With a deadlift bar, elite level lifters are able to overload with their training.
The whipiness of the bar allows the lifter to have an easier time breaking the weight off the floor and to move less range of motion.
However, if you are looking for serious training, most lifters would recommend using a stiff bar since it is harder to deadlift.
If you are trying to improve your deadlift, a deadlift bar is nice to have but not mandatory.
If you are an athlete that competes in a competition that uses a deadlift bar, training with a deadlift bar will only help you, not harm you.
While it is important for you to still train with a stiff barbell, training for your competition should be your top priority.
For instance, if you can pull more weight with straps, is deadlifting with straps cheating?
If you can use straps in competition, I do not see why not.
So, if you have a competition that requires you to use a deadlift bar, it is 100% worth it to start using one.
For instance, certain powerlifting competitions might have a deadlift bar available.
So, it is important to check for your specific meets to see if that is an option.
Though, if you are lifting in IPF or USAPL, these chances are practically zero.
Some Strongman competitions have made you use a deadlift bar or the legendary Elephant bar.
Again, you need to do your research on your contest and see what type of equipment they will use on meet day.
If you are a beginner, you have no business using a deadlift bar.
Stick with getting the basics right.
Make it a short term goal to at least deadlift 4 plates.
If you are an elite level lifter, you have options as you will know your strengths and weaknesses better than a novice lifter.
The deadlift bar should be used as an extra benefit for your training, something extra that you could not normally do on a stiff barbell.
For lifters that need extra work on the top portion of the deadlift or just need to overload their deadlift training, doing some deadlifts on the deadlift bar may be beneficial for you.
As lifters gain training experience, it is up to their best judgment whether or not using a deadlift bar will help them increase their max.
For all beginners and intermediate level lifters, it is best if they stick with the basics and learn how to deadlift using a stiff barbell.
Another topic of concern is accessory training— should you use a deadlift bar?
It does not really matter.
You need to pick exercises that work on your weaknesses.
Two of the most common deadlift accessories, good mornings vs Romanian deadlifts— which is better?
You have no business training with a deadlift bar, which is a specialty bar if your form is not great.
What are some things you may want to correct before using a deadlift bar?
Just some of the many things you should correct before you starting any specialized training.
It will be beneficial for you to not waste time still getting stronger when you can do that by spending less money and effort to find a deadlift bar.
Then, a 2x bw deadlift should be easily obtainable.
Your journey only begins from here.