EP.68 | Why DURABILITY is important when choosing a Barbell

Are you a gym or barbell owner?  How durable is your barbell?  How long will it last you?  What factors should you consider when it comes to selecting a barbell to buy?  How often do I need to maintain my bar?  These are just a few of the many questions that you need to address BEFORE making a barbell(s) purchase.

I would like to preface this post and installment of #BarTipTuesday by saying that I came across this awesome video from the King of Strength & Conditioning Equipment, Rogue Fitness.  Their Director of Product Development, Ahmik Jones, M.D. narrates this video, explaining the process more specifically.  If you aren't familiar with Rogue Fitness and you've bought exercise equipment before, check them out here.

I was taking a quick look at their barbell offering because they are always coming out with something new such as the new cerakote bars, a new Olympic Weightlifting bar or new design.  My curiosity led me to a page on their site that I hadn't stumbled across before.  The subject: barbell durability.  

Put simply, how long will your barbell last over the long term from the countless drops from overhead?  

Well, over the past five years and two million dollars later spent on barbell research, Rogue has developed a patent-pending process called Rogue Work Hardening (RWH) to help increase the durability of their barbell lineup.  To make choosing a barbell easier for your application, Rogue has developed the F Scale to rate barbell durability.

Why did Rogue launch this project?
The way that barbells are used today has changed dramatically over the past decade with the introduction of high volume Olympic Weightlifting movements.

What they did
Rogue hired a team of scientists to study the use and abuse that barbells go through, ultimately coming up with a 3 Step Plan to increase barbell durability.

#1 Optimize the chemical & mechanical properties of the steel
Too low tensile & yield strength = bending
Too high tensile & yield strength = brittle
*Ideal Range is 190-220k

#2 Barbell Coatings
Turns out chrome is detrimental to the life of a barbell
No more chrome-plated shafts at Rogue*

#3 Rogue Work Hardening
Proprietary system for treating bars that make them more resistant to stresses that they see during daily use

Major Discovery
Dropping the barbell from overhead with less weight caused more stress than heavier weights did.  Essentially, with more of the sleeve unused, the sleeve continues to travel or flex towards the ground.  This causes more stress.  So, when there is more weight on the bar and more of the sleeve is being used, the bar will stay more level and won't flex as much.

Chrome: decreased the durable lifespan by up to 50%
Zinc/Cerakote: did NOT negatively affect the durability of the barbell

With Rogue Work Hardening (RWH)
Bars lasted up to 3-4X longer than untreated shafts (overhead drops)