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Olympic Bar Terminology

  • Tensile Strength: The force to pull apart material (breaking)
  • Yield Strength: The force to create a permanent bend
  • PSI: Pounds Per Square Inch
  • 190K PSI Tensile: 190,000 lbs per square inch of force required to break or tear apart.
  • Corrosion Resistance: The ability to combat the elements such as salt, air, sweat, etc.
  • Raw Steel: No finish to protect. Very easy to rust.
  • Zinc Plating: Either Black, Silver or Gold color. A very superficial finish providing very little corrosion resistance. Inexpensive.
  • Black Oxide: Black coating that has very little corrosion resistance. Inexpensive.
  • Chrome: Used for cosmetic purposes like car parts, faucets, etc. Very good corrosion resistance but very dangerous for Olympic Bars. Chrome can flake and peel causing severe lacerations to the user. Moderately expensive.
  • Hard Chrome: Moderate corrosion resistance. Very hard finish, cosmetically appealing and will not peel or cut. Used predominantly in the aircraft industry. Expensive.
  • Stainless Steel: Very good corrosion resistance. It can always be cleaned or repaired with no damage to the finish. Very expensive for material and machining costs.
  • Needle Bearings: A bearing with hardened needle shaped pieces in a cage that rotate around the bar.
  • Bushings: Either Bronze or a type of Nylon. Used inside bar sleeves for smooth rotation.
  • IPF: International Power Lifting Federation.
  • IWF: International Weightlifting Federation.
  • Shaft: The long section in the middle of the bar where the user grips.
  • Sleeves: The rotating ends on the bar where you load the plates.
  • 28MM, 28.5MM, 29MM, etc.: Refers to the diameter of the bar shaft.
  • IWF OR IPF Spec.: Precise specifications of the bar dictating hand grip locate points, bar diameter, knurl lengths, sleeve diameters, etc. An IWF bar has wider locating marks for hand gripping and usually a smaller diameter than an IPF bar.