PK Weighs In: How Should Barbells Be Stored?

What's happening, all you beautiful brothers and sisters in strength?

PK here.

We recently had a few questions in our Garage Gym Revolution Facebook Group (which you should definitely join if you're not already) about barbells, and particularly, barbell storage.

A HOT topic, it seems.

Now, I've always been a huge believer in buying barbells for quality.

You may or may not know that years ago, I purchased and currently still use a barbell from some random guy in Ohio that I believe was used by Arnold in the 80s. It might not look shiny and new anymore, but works like its brand new. That's the quality I strive for.

So, what does barbell quality have to do with barbell storage?

Quite a bit, actually.

First and foremost, I believe that if you purchase yourself a good, high quality barbell (like our Bomba Bar), it doesn't really matter how you store it.

Within reason, of course.

You're not ever going to want to store your barbell, no matter the quality, exposed to the elements.

You're just begging for a Tetanus shot at that point as a barbell is sure to rust if it's constantly exposed to the elements and not cared for properly.

What is the proper way to care for a barbell, you ask?

Aside from wire-brushing the chalk remnants, and cleaning, you might need to maintain the sleeves regularly. If you have a Fringe Sport Wonder Bar, you can check out this video & blog that walks step-by-step through the sleeve maintenance process from our friend Jo at Jo's RX Service & Repairs.

Among cleaning it regularly, it's important to consider the way you're storing your bars.

Like I said before, if you're investing in a good, high quality barbell, you can store your precious iron excalibur how you please.

Vertically, horizontally, either way works.

So, why is barbell storage such a hot topic in the garage gym and fitness world?

Let's talk about vertical vs horizontal storage for barbells.

Which one is better? Is either way truly better for your bar? 

It's been said that vertical storage of barbells is bad for two things: the bearings on a bearing bar, and the oil in the bushings on a bushing bar.

Where these opinions came from, I'm unsure.

All I know and can say is this: I, Peter Keller, CEO of Fringe Sport, Owner of Many Barbells and a Garage Gym, store my barbells vertically.

If you gasped, take a deep breath... I'll explain myself.

Like I mentioned previously, quality is everything. If you're buying a cheap-o barbell from, you're going to get cheap, crap quality. Simple as that.

However, when you invest in a GOOD, quality barbell, you can store it how you please. I said it, and I'll say it again.

The worry about a bearing barbell being stored vertically comes from the thought that overtime, the vertical storage creates vertical, inline pressure on those bearings, which is thought to be lead to wear overtime.

But, any good quality bearing bar is going to experience MUCH more sideline load with weight on its ends than vertical, inline pressure from itself as its stored.

vertical barbell storage

As our good friend, Jack Lewis from the Garage Gym Revolution Facebook group stated,

"Any good bearing bar has monstrously capable bearings. You are never going to wear out, or even remotely damage, a good bar by storage (unless you let it rust away).

Wearing out a bar is about as common as shooting the rifling out of a target barrel. It might happen once or twice in a lifetime, but if it does you've gotten ALL the value out it -- and that's something to be proud of!"

Jack couldn't be more right about that.

As for horizontal storage, you can see why some individuals might think that it would be more optimal for their barbell, especially bushing when considering the work that's done inside the sleeves to maintain them.

Truthfully, a good bushing barbell shouldn't have to worry too much about the oil seeping with regular maintenance and cleaning.

Maybe, just MAYBE, if you're storing a bushing barbell vertically and not taking it off the wall or out of the post to use it and cleaning it regularly, you might cause some issues within it, or rust might start to seep into the grooves of the knurling, which leads to the premature demise of any barbell.

But, in my honest, true opinion, ANY barbell can be stored vertically as long as the quality holds true.

So, when I say that you can make your own judgments about your barbell and the proper way to store it, I'm not saying it because I don't have an opinion either way.

I truly believe that you as a Garage Gym Revolutioner can choose the best storage option for you, and not just because a barbell requires a certain method one way or another.

We sell vertical storage options, like our 3-Bar Vertical Hanger for those who have just a few bars, and our 9-Bar Holder Storage for the barbell enthusiast or community gym owner that has more than just a few barbells to put away at the end of the day.

Like I said before, don't stress about the potential stress on your barbell's bushings and bearings in vertical storage if you've invested in a quality barbell and are using and maintaining your barbells regularly.

We also carry a 6-Bar Gun Rack for horizontal storage, but unfortunately those are currently out of stock. That's always a great option for horizontal storage.

As far as what I don't recommend for horizontal storage, I would advise against storing your barbells on the floor of your garage if you can avoid it.

Sometimes, it's just necessary, and I totally understand that. IF you can keep your iron excalibur away from the elements of a cold, dusty cement floor, I would argue that's best, but sometimes it's just unavoidable and I get that.

So, the moral of the story of barbell storage: store and use your barbells as you please.

Make sure you invest in good, high quality bars that will do your garage gym and your efforts justice, and withstand the brutality that is your workouts.

As always, no matter how you store your barbell, use it to lift heavy, lift happy :)


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