The Best Deadlift Bar and Deadlift Brands
Next to the power squat and flat bench press, the deadlift is probably the most popular compound lift of all time. It’s the simplest of compound movements and one of the most rewarding to perform. There’s something about pulling up dead heavy weight from the ground that’s both instinctual and universal.
Nearly every strength sport utilizes at least some form of the deadlift. The name deadlift itself stems from the word’s exact meaning—pick up dead weight from the floor. Some speculate the name came from soldiers picking up the bodies of their fallen comrades on the battlefield, but that’s never been substantiated.
The earliest stories we have about this compound movement go back to the sixth century B.C. on the Greek Island of Thera. Archaeologists unearthed a massive boulder with an inscription that read, “Eumastas, the son of Critobulus, lifted me from the ground.” The story goes that Eumastas hoisted the massive boiler to hip height, performing one of the oldest-known deadlifts in recorded history.
Moving forward a few centuries, between 1910 and 1930, Ed Coan rose to fame for the strength feats he performed with Pagel’s Circus. Often referred to as the “father of the deadlift,” he hoisted a record 901 pounds at a bodyweight of 220. His record stood for decades.
Today, the deadlift remains one of the most popular lifts seen in the Olympics, Strongman competitions, and local gyms across the nation.
The deadlift has evolved quite a bit since that first boulder was hoisted to hip height. There are as many deadlift variations as there are squat variations. In this article, we’re going to take a close look at deadlift bars, the different types and brands, and determine which is the best all-around deadlift bar for most lifters.
5 Deadlift Benefits Backed by Science
Aside from the long history of deadlifts in popular culture, this lift has remained one of the most popular because of its undeniable effectiveness in increasing strength and building strong, durable bodies.
Deadlifts Promote Whole Body Strength
Compared to other exercises that tax just as many muscles as the deadlift, the deadlift lets you pull the most weight. You get stronger in a hip hinge position while also making neurological strength adaptations that carry over and benefit other compound movements like squats and the bench press. The body’s physiological response to the deadlift is whole-body strength and power. 1
Deadlifts Build Stronger Legs
The deadlift places a big emphasis on your lower body, including your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Adding deadlifts to your training plan will take your leg strength to the next level. One study found subjects who did deadlifts just twice a week for ten weeks increased the rapid torque capacities in their quads and hamstrings and substantially increased their vertical jump.2
Deadlifts Burn More Calories
The deadlift engages muscles throughout your entire body, which burns more calories per lift than most other lifts. The more calories you burn, the more fat you lose. At the same time, deadlifts help build muscle, which increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR) for a greater calorie burn while resting. A 2014 study found a 5% increase in participants’ metabolism after nine months of resistance training.3
Deadlifts Release Anabolic Hormones
Because the deadlift recruits so many muscles, it triggers the release of key anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and HGH. Having higher testosterone and HGH levels comes with a ton of benefits, including the capacity for more strength, energy, and improved libido.4
Deadlifts Increase Endurance
Although deadlifts are typically associated with building strength, they’re also great for increasing cardiovascular endurance. Lower the weight and increase your reps to turn a deadlift set into a heart-pounding, high-intensity cardiovascular workout. The Journal of Sports Medicine found that deadlifts have a positive impact on the performance of endurance athletes.5
Types of Deadlift Bars
As we mentioned, the deadlift has evolved quite a bit since the days of picking up heavy boulders. Today, the market is flooded with different types and brands of deadlift bars. It can be overwhelming to choose the best deadlift bar to serve your unique goals.
To better understand your options, we’ve broken down the most popular types of deadlift bars and the pros and cons of each one.
Traditional Barbell Deadlift Bar
In most commercial gyms, you’ll find the traditional barbell is the most popular bar for deadlifts because it’s designed for versatility. Gyms save by purchasing one bar that can be used for multiple types of lifts. Traditional barbells work for squats, bench presses, and various other compound Olympic lifts.
The traditional barbell is good enough to get the job done when it comes to the deadlift. They’re not as stiff as a power bar, or as flexible as a specialty deadlift bar, but exist as a happy medium between the two.
The downside of using a traditional barbell for deadlifts is that they tend to have less tensile strength, which makes them bend more easily under load, warping them over time. In addition, traditional barbells have less knurling, which means you won’t find a highly textured grip.
Still, a traditional barbell will work for most lifters. They are especially good for beginners learning the basics, and those looking for a versatile deadlift bar to use with other low-weight lifts.
Standard bars weigh either 45 pounds or 20 kilograms. Some can weigh as much as 55 pounds or as little as 35.
The Best Traditional Barbell Deadlift Bar
The Synergee Rhino Bar is a well-made traditional barbell that’s budget-friendly when compared to others in its class. It’s a great choice for home gyms that need a versatile bar, capable of multiple lifts.
It doesn’t have the tensile strength that specialty deadlift bars have, but it’s certainly one of the most durable bars on the market at an affordable price point.
Power Bar Deadlift Bar
A power bar deadlift bar is great for deadlifting because they have more aggressive knurling, which helps you maintain your grip on the bar.
For some, the aggressive knurling is a turnoff, but for those who compete, it’s an advantage and welcomed. In competition, you don’t want to miss a lift because of a slipped grip.
A power bar deadlift bar is also more resistant to bending or warping over time because of its tensile strength. The bars are resilient to heavy loads.
The downside to a power bar deadlift bar is that power bars can be too stiff, which makes it harder to initiate the lift when the bar is on the floor. The stiffness forces you to exert more force to bring everything up at once.
The center knurling on power bars can also catch your legs as you pull the bar up or bring it down, which some people avoid by wearing shin guards.
A power bar deadlift bar is still a good option for those who compete in powerlifting or those who prefer to train power lifts because that’s exactly what the bar was designed for. It’s also a good option for a private gym that wants to cater to strength athletes.
The Best Power Bar Deadlift Bar
The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar is the best power bar deadlift bar on our list because of its aggressive knurling and versatility for use with all three power lifts.
The Ohio bar is approved for use by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and is used in most competitions. So, lifters who want to compete should train with this bar and get used to the way it feels. The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar is one the most popular bars among powerlifters and is found in many strength-focused private gyms.
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar weighs 45 pounds or 20 kilograms and has an impressive tensile strength of 205,000 PSI.
Trap Bar Deadlift Bar
The trap bar deadlift bar is recognized for its cage-like hexagonal shape. They can be found at most commercial and strength-based gyms.
Trap bars are used mostly for trap bar deadlifts. This deadlift variation mimics a squat but is still considered a hip hinge. The trap bar is a good deadlift bar because it teaches you how to use your quads to break the bar off the floor by putting your knees in a forward position.
The trap bar deadlift bar has a good amount of carryover to the conventional deadlift and can help you dial in your technique and reduce your chances of injury.
The downside of a trap bar deadlift bar is that it forces a neutral grip (with palms facing inward) instead of the typical grips used on a deadlift—the double overhand, hook grip, or mixed grip. So in terms of grip, the carryover to other types of deadlifts doesn’t work as well.
Another negative is the need to stand inside the frame of the trap bar. Those with a larger build might feel cramped.
Trap bars most commonly come in 45-pound weights but can be as high as 85 pounds depending on the brand.
The Best Trap Bar Deadlift Bar
The Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar is the best trap bar deadlift bar on our list because it offers different grips depending on your preferences, and it’s extremely durable.
This trap bar has great textured knurling and is perfect for those who prefer a grip that’s even with the bar.
This great bar weighs 60 pounds and has longer sleeves than other trap bars on the market, which can accommodate individuals with higher strength levels as well as beginners.
Specialty Deadlift Bar
Some deadlift specialty bars are designed and engineered specifically for the deadlift and should not be used for any other compound movements.
These bars have longer shafts, more aggressive knurling, and feature thinner diameters than standard bars. They also do not have knurling in the center, so you don’t need to worry about scraping your shins as you pull the bar up and along your legs.
A specialty deadlift barbell is good because the bare steel knurling keeps your hands locked in place and the long shaft gives the bar more flexibility, helping you get it off the floor with more ease. When you pull up on the bar, you’ll get more leverage and be in a stronger position before the plates even leave the floor.
While the flexibility benefits are great, they’re not necessary for everyone. You won’t recognize the flexibility benefits unless you’re pulling over 500 pounds, which is rarely something non-competitive deadlifters will ever do.
If you plan to compete, one drawback of training with this bar is that it’s not a type of bar used in competition. It’s suitable for feeling and practicing with heavier weight, and that’s about it.
These bars are only for serious deadlifters who can lift 500 pounds or more and want a bar for training, not competition.
The Best Specialty Deadlift Bar
The Texas Deadlift Bar is the best specialty deadlift bar on our list because it offers everything a specialty deadlift bar should offer, like a longer bar length, thinner diameter, aggressive knurl, no center knurl, and exceptional tensile strength.
The Texas Deadlift Bar is the official deadlifting bar of the American Powerlifting Committee, The International Federations, and The International Powerlifting organization for equipped powerlifting.
The Okie deadlift bar is right up there with the Texas Deadlift Bar. However, even though Okie Deadlift Bar is a great deadlift bar, it is still made the way it was in the 1970s. New technology has made it a less popular option than Texas power bars and the other specialty barbell options.
Olympic Barbell Deadlift Bar
An Olympic-style barbell is designed for individuals who train and/or compete in Olympic lifting. The Olympic barbell deadlift bar has rotating sleeves, increased flexibility, and a smaller diameter.
Olympic barbells are good for deadlifting because they have a bit more flexibility to help you get some extra leverage with your initial pull off the floor. However, Olympic bars are designed for cleans and snatches and perform best with these movements.
The moderately aggressive knurling helps keep your grip but is less aggressive than specialty deadlift bars.
The downside to an Olympic bar is its rotational capabilities. Rotation is great for cleans and snatches, but too much rotation during a deadlift can compromise your grip. This is especially true if you don’t hook grip.
If you’re looking to deadlift heavy weights, you’re better off with a power bar or specialty deadlift bar that’s designed to help you maximize your deadlift potential. If you’re incorporating deadlifts to improve your Olympic lifting, an Olympic barbell could be a good fit.
The Best Olympic Deadlift Bar
For men, the Rogue Training Bar is the best Olympic deadlift bar on our list because it has no center knurling to scrape your shins, has a great whip for other Olympics lifts, and comes in at a decent price point.
This bar has 190,000 PSI of tensile strength and comes with a lifetime warranty through Rogue Fitness.
For women or those with smaller hands, we like the Rogue Bella Bar because of its high-quality engineering, a thinner, 25mm grip that makes it easier to grip comfortably, and the same high tensile strength of 190,000 PSI.
Best Overall Deadlift Bar
For us the best overall deadlift bar is one that’s most versatile. For 98% of the population a $400 barbell is unnecessary and impractical. Most people don’t need to invest in competition-style deadlift bars, nor do they have the space to store the bar and the related plates and collars.
In addition, most people want the benefits of heavy deadlifts, without the risk of injury. Common deadlift injuries include muscle tears and tendon injuries, slipped discs and lower back injuries, knee and hip joint injuries.
The only deadlift bar on the market that delivers a reduced risk of injury while saving you time and space is the X3 Bar Elite.
The X3 Bar offers the most advanced form of strength training available – variable resistance. Traditional weights overload your joints and underload your muscles.
A little-known fact: you are seven times stronger near full extension in an impact-ready position versus a joint-compromised starting position, such as that at the bottom of a deadlift. Variable resistance maximizes your potential for muscle growth by offering greater resistance in your body’s strongest range.
Have you noticed that the toughest part of a deadlift is breaking the heavy “dead” weight off the floor? But as you near full hip extension, your lift seems lighter, as if you could do more. You can. In fact, you can lift seven times more. With a banded, variable resistance deadlift, you’re no longer limited to lifting only the amount you can successfully break off the floor.
Bands make the bottom of the deadlift lighter (and safer), yet as you reach your strongest position, the bands tighten and resistance increases. The lift becomes heavier as you become stronger. This taxes your muscles exactly where you want it to—at the strongest and safest part of your lift.
X3 Deadlift Bar helps you:
- Reduce risk of injury compared to traditional weights
- Lift heavier loads
- Protect both joints and tendons
- Recruit more muscle fibers for greater gains than weightlifting
What Comes with the X3 Bar System?
Steel Workout Bar
The 21.5-inch workout bar is engineered from machined alloy steel. It’s designed to withstand over 600 pounds of force—so heavy deadlifters can still benefit. The X3 Elite Bar has a good amount of knurling, making your grip secure. And unlike traditional deadlifts with weights, you won’t pull the bar against your shins, so no worries about scraping.
Each side of the bar has ball bearings with a hook attached which allows the bar to rotate, keeping the band’s orientation consistent and your grip secure throughout the full range of any movement, especially important for heavy deadlifts.
The band’s quality and strength are what sets X3 apart from traditional deadlift bars and other bands that are sometimes used as add-ons. The heavy-duty layered latex resistance bands are far superior to the cheap, rubber, hollow-tube bands you typically see in commercial gyms. X3 bar bands are designed to provide greater resistance and last longer than any other resistance band on the market.
Each resistance band is made specifically for the X3 bar and features layered latex for superior strength. The four included resistance bands come in the following tensile ranges:
- Super lightweight: 10–50+ pounds as a single loop, 100 pounds doubled over
- Lightweight: 25–80+ pounds as a single loop, 160 pounds doubled over
- Middleweight: 50–120+ pounds as a single loop, 240 pounds doubled over
- Heavyweight: 60–150+ pounds as a single loop, 300 pounds doubled over
When resistance bands are stronger and more powerful, anchoring them by standing on them becomes increasingly difficult. They dig into your feet and put a ton of pressure on your ankle joints. It’s also unsafe—one slip and a band might snap back at you. The X3 Bar system solves this common resistance band training problem with the addition of a stabilizing ground plate.
The high-density polyethylene plate has a notched-out area on the bottom designed to keep the band in place while at the same time, allowing it to stretch. Using the ground plate makes deadlifts safe, comfortable, and more effective.
The ground plate is engineered to withstand over 600 pounds of force, allowing it to keep up with our heavy-duty resistance bands.
With the steel bar and ground plate, the X3 workout bar system lets you safely accomplish the total-body strength training movements you may already be familiar with, including the deadlift. A complimentary 12-week online training program helps you get the most out of every X3 workout.
At first, you’ll alternate between a push day and a pull day, each performed twice per week for a total of 4 workouts. After completing four weeks, users move to a 6-day/week workout schedule.
The easy-to-follow workouts consist of just four exercises per day. Users perform just one set each. And before you think it sounds too easy, note that each set is performed to failure. When you can no longer do the complete movement, you continue doing partial reps until you absolutely cannot move the bar. This goes for deadlifts and all other compound lifts you’ll perform with the X3 Bar.
This training method is designed to maximize the recruitment of muscle fiber and trigger the perfect hormonal environment6 for muscle growth and fat burning.
Push Day Exercises Include:
- Chest Press
- Tricep Press
- Overhead Press
- Front Squats
Pull Day Exercises Include:
- Bent Row
- Bicep Curl
- Calf Raise
Variation Exercises Include:
- Pec Crossover
- Split Squat
An online program also includes nutrition tips to help you lose fat and gain muscle. Tips vary from week to week and are designed to be progressive. Dr. Jaquish, the X3 Bar System’s inventor, emphasizes eliminating sugar and increasing protein for the greatest change in body composition.
A Deadlift Bar Designed & Engineered for Everyone
If muscle building and fat loss are important to you, the best long-term choice for a deadlift bar is X3 Bar. X3 is the only deadlift bar to offer enough resistance for muscle growth, while reducing risk of injury thanks to variable resistance. The X3 System features a selection of bands withvarying tension levels, making it suitable for all levels. It’s also the most portable on our list, so with X3, you’ll never miss a workout when you’re on the road. Start with the best home deadlift bar and give yourself room to grow.