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The Complete Guide to Barbell Maintenance

The Complete Guide to Barbell Maintenance

Barbell maintenance is something a lot of people tend to overlook. After spending money on a good barbell, the last thing you want is for them to rust. Whether you are in a commercial gym, strength & conditioning facility, a personal training studio or a CrossFit box, bars are definitely one of the most abused pieces of kit. We are here to help you maximise the performance of your bar and make sure it serves you for as long as possible.

Why is Barbell Maintenance Important?

To prolong the life of your barbell it is important that you regularly clean it. Regular maintenance allows the bar to continue to perform at its optimum for longer.

How regularly this has to occur depends on the climate it is kept in and how regularly the barbells are used. For example, a busy gym in a hot climate may have to carry out preventative maintenance more frequently. This will also depend on the number of barbells. It may not be realistic to clean all the bars in one go, so cycling them may be a good idea. For example, half the bars one week, and the rest a couple of weeks later.

Rust is the main issue we want to combat. People sweat and steel rusts; combine the two and you end up with a rusty bar. Most manufacturers will attempt to overcome this by coating the bar with black oxide, chrome or zinc, however, you still need to maintain your bar.

origin men's crosstraining bars


Tools for Easy Barbell Maintenance?

Following the next steps will allow you to maintain your barbell in the condition you received it in. Or as close to this as possible! This includes an efficient spin, decent knurling and maintaining the shine.Tools for easy barbell maintenance?

1. Stiff nylon bristle brush

2. 3 in 1 oil 

3. Some sort of rag to use with the oil 



Cleaning Equipment in a post-COVID World

In light of a heavy increase in barbell cleaning routines in relation to Coronavirus, we wish to emphasize the importance of proper barbell maintenance. Cleaning solutions often remove all grease, as well as the protective black oxide and zinc layers, leaving barbells susceptible to corrosion. 

It's vital to make sure that your equipment is not only cleaned after each use, but that it is also cleaned safely and effectively. In a way that does not affect the overall quality of the product.

For cleaning the bars, consider using a non-corrosive, non-abrasive, mild cleaning solution on a cloth or tissue. In addition, using a 2-in-1 oil to protect your bars frequently will help prevent rust and extend their useful life span.



Top 3 Tips to Keep Your Olympic Barbell Rust Free

1. Clean The Chalk Out of the Knurling

Ideally cleaning the chalk out of the knurling would be done on a daily basis or after every use. To do this use a stiff nylon bristle brush to go along the knurling of the bar until the chalk is gone.

This is an important but very easy procedure to do. The reason it is important is that you use chalk for absorbing the moisture on your hands. Therefore, when left on the bar, the chalk is absorbing any humidity and holds it on the steel, which means: rust.

2. Wipe Down Your Weight Lifting Bar

Wiping down your barbell is a simple way to maintain the bar. How often you need to do this will vary depending on use and the facility. For example, in a commercial setting where a bar is being used more regularly and individuals aren't cleaning it after use, a weekly wipe would be ideal. In smaller gyms or home facilities, twice a month should be fine.

This part of the procedure should be performed after the brushing of the bar. Use a light coat 3-in-1 oil. Spray it onto a rag, wipe down the whole bar and leave overnight, then wipe it down again.

3. Check the Sleeve of the Barbell

Most bars have oil-impregnated bearings or bushings, therefore you do not need to oil them. Some bars now have small oil holes in the sleeves, allowing you to drop oil (not WD-40) into them, this allows the sleeves to spin freely. Aim to do this once or twice a month and make sure you wipe away any excess that may have leaked from the sleeve.


Barbell Storage

How you store your barbells is also an important factor to consider in your barbell maintenance.

Start by stripping your bar. Bars are designed to hold weight during lifts, but not permanently. If you leave plates on the bar longer than necessary, the bar will bend. Stripping your bars will protect the bar but it will also make the next user a lot happier than if they had to strip the bar before use.

A barbell can be stored horizontally on a rack (unloaded of course), on a wall frame in a horizontal position, or in a bar stand. Many people lean their bars against a corner, but this isn't ideal.

It is recommended that the end at the bottom of the vertical option is rotated, because some people claim that the oil can leak out of the sleeves. If you are oiling your bars properly though, this should not be an issue. Another thing to consider is whether the material the bars are stored on is non-abrasive, such as nylon, rubber, or plastic, so that it does not damage the bar or its knurling.


Maintaining your barbells isn't difficult or time-consuming, as you can see. Taking care of them properly ensures they last for years. Need more information on barbells? View our Barbell Buying Guide for more information on finding the right bar for yourself and your facility. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Speak to a member of our sales team now to learn more! 

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