This week I’m going to be bringing you something a little different. Recently, I was lucky enough to be contacted by Rep Fitness, a Denver-based gym equipment company, about trying out one of their products. The product I will be reviewing for you today is their Men’s 20kg Gladiator Olympic Bearing Bar. I have been using the bar for about 2 weeks now.
Let me preface by saying that I have been competing in olympic weightlifting since 2011 and I have used all kinds of bars and bumpers at various different gyms and competitions. I was blessed to spend the first 3 years of my training with exclusively Eleiko and Werk San equipment. Since then, I have used bars from companies like Rogue, Again Faster, Pendlay, X-Fitness, Get-Rx’d, Fringe, and the list goes on and on. My point: I have extensive knowledge and experience using barbells specific to this sport.
I will be breaking down the review into the following categories: Spin, Knurl/Grip, Whip, Durability, and Price. I also must say that I had never heard of Rep Fitness before I was contacted by their representative, so there were no preconceived notions about this company or it’s bar. This is a 100% honest review.
The spin on the bar is pretty solid. It’s no Werk San, but at literally a fraction of the cost, you can’t possibly expect it to be. I would put the spin right on par with a few Again Faster barbells that I’ve used in the past (incase you happen to be familiar with AF). The spin is smooth and there’s no catches or issues with loading any plates. Score: Four out of Five.
I’m a big fan of the knurl on this bar. There’s nothing worse than unwrapping a brand new bar and having it act as a cheese grater on your hands for the first month. The knurl on the Gladiator Barbell is grippy, but not sharp. I also love that there is no center knurl, even though I believe IWF requires there to be a center knurl on the bar, oh well. The second worse thing is having the center knurl on a new barbell shred your neck and collar bones. It’s also not slippery and gripless like some old school York powerlifting barbells I’ve used in the past. None of that is an issue with this bar. Score: Five out of Five.
Personally, I like a whippy barbell. It looks cool, and makes you look like a savage when the bar bends over your back or chest. In addition, it’s also beneficial to have the whip assist your momentum in a movement like a jerk or bottom of a squat. This bar has 230k tensile strength, which is much higher than most bars that have around 190k. For a bar that has such a high strength, I was worried that it would be stiff like an axle bar, however the whip is very good. Immediately when we received the bar we put it on a squat rack and loaded it to 405 and checked the whip. The bar bounced up and down in the rack for about 15 seconds. Then I got nervous that it would be too whippy, however when it’s on your back it’s really not that bad. Score: Four out of Five.
Like I mentioned before, I’ve really only been using the bar for about two weeks, but it has seen use from me and a few other members of my weightlifting team. I have no issues with the durability except for one. When one of my lifters dropped the bar from a snatch position with 135lbs, one of the end caps popped off when it landed. At first I was nervous, however I found that it was just a sticker that they place on the end of the bar with some type of industrial glue. This hasn’t affected the barbell’s quality in any way other than aesthetically, however it’s it definitely worth mentioning and something I will keep an eye on moving forward. Score: Three out of Five.
Normally this barbell sells for $229, however at the time I’m writing this it is on sale for $194.65. You just can’t beat this price for a needle bearing bar. I have always been a big fan of Again Faster, and even their competition barbell is $300. And forget Rogue. You can’t touch any of their high quality oly bars for less than $525. Anything more than five or six hundred dollars and you might as well just say screw it and buy an Eleiko or Werk San for $900+ anyway. Hands down the best price for this quality barbell I have ever come across. Score: Five out of Five.
All things considered, this is a very good bar. I couldn’t give it a perfect score because those are reserved for Eleiko and Werk San because they are just so far above and beyond the competition. However, I would put the Rep Fitness Gladiator Barbell right in that Tier 2 group of barbells. Not only is it great for someone just starting out with oly lifting (especially someone that’s on a budget), but it is also a step above other discount barbells like Get-Rx’d. I would highly recommend this bar to my friends and colleagues. Rep Fitness just gained a supporter in myself and IronRx. Stay tuned for some more news coming about Rep Fitness and IronRx! You can find the Gladiator Barbell on their website by clicking here.
What do you guys think? Have you used products from this company before and want to share your opinions? Think I was mistaken in my review? Want to share another company that you like a lot? Post your thoughts in the comments to start the discussion!