EP.81 | Why are my bars rusting?

How excited were you when you purchased your first barbell?  What kind of bar did you get?  What about the finish?  Knurling pattern?  I bet you couldn't wait to rip off the packaging and get it on the platform!  I know I was super pumped to get my Rogue Ohio Bar. 

Not to take the wind out of your sails...

Welp, this week on #bartiptuesday we are going to dive into why barbells rust and what we can do to help alleviate the process.

Rust - What is it?

Rust occurs when iron or steel is exposed to oxygen and moisture over time.  Rust occurs when the steel begins to corrode.

Ever notice brownish/reddish/orangish film or dots (commonly referred to as patina) that begin to accumulate on the bar if not cared for?  Yep, that's just the beginning...

After repeated exposure to moisture and oxygen, coupled with neglect, you are left with a orange barbell.  

The Typical Scenario

Let's see if you can relate.  For simplicity's sake, let's assume that you have a class of 10 members.  They go through a nasty workout consisting of power cleans and pull-ups, supplied by a fresh block of chalk.  Shortly afterwards the weights are stripped off the bars and placed back in the 9-Bar Holder.  Out the door they go.

Most people leave it at that right?  Unfortunately we're left with a bar that is covered in both sweat AND chalk...  With most gyms being exposed to the outdoor elements, we have concocted the perfect recipe for rust: oxygen, moisture, and chalk.  

Unluckily for us, chalk holds moisture very well.  This is exactly why you see specific areas of the barbell that are rusted, while others are not (think about where you grip for a clean or snatch).  Get the chalk out and get the bar dry!

Best Way to Prevent

Keep your equipment as dry as possible.  Regular application of Bar Shield on your barbell and other steel surfaces will serve as a protective barrier against rust.

How Our Formula Works

When applied, our lubricant is preventing a reaction from occurring.  It is replacing the oxygen in the reaction, thus halting the rusting process from happening. 

Important Factors to Consider

Where do you live?  If you are located in a more humid environment you MUST stay up-to-date on your maintenance.  We're talking AT LEAST three or more services per month if you are wanting to keep your bars in tip-top shape.  Some environments can be quite unforgiving.

Number of Users
Who's going to be using the barbell(s)?  Just you or a gym full of members?  More hands = more moisture and a greater likelihood of rust occurring.

Bar Finish

Finishes are NOT created equal.  Some offer better protection against rust than others.  You have bare steel on one end of the spectrum offering no protection, and stainless steel on the other end offering the best.  What type of finish do your bars have?  


Attention saltwater gyms!  Just another thing to throw into the equation!  The addition of salt will accelerate the reaction because it increases the conductivity of water, which ultimately increases the rate of oxidation/corrosion.  This is why gyms near saltwater are more susceptible to rust.

To wrap it up...

It's not going to be perfect.  We don't expect you to be spending an hour every day maintaining your barbells.  Just do your best!

-Get the chalk, skin, etc. out of the knurling after every use
-Keep your bars as dry as possible
-Get yourself a barbell kit to help keep your bars healthy 
-Take into account the number of users and the climate that you live in to determine maintenance frequency

The reality is that the bars are going to rust over time.  It's up to us on how fast they do.  The more conscious we are with our equipment maintenance the longer our equipment will last, and ultimately the less money spent replacing equipment!

Get started protecting your barbells by clicking below: