What’s happenin’, Fringe Fam?! In today’s blog and video, you’ll see that we’re featuring a new face: Jo, from Jo’s Barbell Service, an ATX-local barbell service dedicated to keeping your barbell performing at the best of its ability! Jo is here to show us some tips and tricks to keep your prized excalibur’s looking spick and span for their entire lifetime (and yours!). Let’s give Jo a warm welcome in the comments, and get started with today’s tips.

Today, we’re talking about 3 things that can RUIN your barbell (the horror!). Read on.

The look

When you approach your barbell, and you chalk up, you’re getting rid of the humidity in your hands. The chalk is going to help you lift the bar and not let it slip and slide out of your hands.

The problem with that is that the chalk gets stuck in the knurling. The knurling is the crosshatching in the bar that allows you to have proper grip. Because the chalk is holding humidity and it’s ground into the knurling, when you mix humidity and metal, you get rust and corrosion.

Rust can spread very easily, and as the rust continues to spread, not only will it ruin the way your barbell looks, but it can also get inside of the sleeve. The sleeve is at the end of the barbell, where the weights slide on. You want your sleeves to be able to spin freely for good turnover on a clean or snatch. Either way, you want it spinning freely so you can hit your PR’s.

If rust slips into the sleeve, that’s another thing that’s going to affect the spin of the barbell. Once the rust gets into the sleeve, it’s extremely hard to get rid of to get your bar back to looking and working like new.

Another thing to consider is the dirt and debris in your workout environment. Every time you drop your barbell, dirt and debris might bounce into the air and onto your barbell. These particles can find their way onto the shaft of your barbell, and easily into the sleeve. This will cause your barbell to spin inefficiently and slowly, and again, mess with your bar.

If your barbell isn’t spinning freely like it’s intended to, it can be extremely dangerous. You can get injured, it can mess with your form, and who wants to miss a lift because of a slowly spinning barbell (nobody!!).

The sound

How does your barbell sound? Does it sound like it’s rattling or grinding?

The sound of the grind or rattle is inside of the sleeve, or the end cap of the barbell. This is a strong indication that your barbell needs maintenance. Just like the oil in your car needs to be changed, the same thing is true for your barbell. 

The grinding in your barbell can chip away at the inside of the sleeve. Inside of the sleeve, we have bearings. Bearings are what allows the sleeve to spin. You don’t want your barbell to spin too fast, or too slow, but you want it spinning just right.

If it’s grinding, it can lead to possible chipping, or wear and tear from metal-to-metal contact. At worst, it can ruin your bearings, your bushings, or whatever is inside of the sleeve of your barbell, and forcing you to invest in another barbell.

All of that can be avoided if you take regular action to oil your barbell once or twice a week depending on the amount of use, or by taking it into Fringe Sport and getting it serviced by Jo’s Barbell Service.

Proper storage

How are you storing your barbell? Are you in a climate controlled environment, or a garage gym, or a local CrossFit box with no A/C? All of that humidity in those spaces, like we talked about earlier, can lead to rust and corrosion because metal and humidity do not like each other.

The lower the barbell is to the ground, the more humidity there is. We want our barbells elevated, and stored horizontally ideally. Many of you might store your barbells vertically like you see in the background of the video above. Storing a barbell vertically is efficient, but could eventually lead to the oil in the bar leaking out of the bottom, causing your sleeve to have less or no lubrication.

If you’re storing your barbell in a garage gym or CrossFit box with little to no climate control, Jo recommends storing your barbell off of the ground, horizontally, to extend the life of your barbell.

Remember to think about these things and check on them regularly.

  1. How does your barbell look? Is there chalk, rust, or debris?
  2. How does it sound? Is there a rattle, or a grind?
  3. How is it stored?

Keep up with these things and a regular maintenance routine, and you’re setting yourself (and your barbell) up for success and longevity.

As always, don’t forget to comment below any questions you might have for the Fringe team or Jo from Jo’s Barbell Service. Join our Facebook group for more content and community interaction.

Lift heavy, lift happy! :)