PK Weighs In: What does knurling, whip, and spin mean for a barbell? Barbell Lingo Explained

Hey hey, Fringe Fam.

Welcome to PK Weighs In!

We're excited to launch this new series so we can connect with you, our Fringe Fam, more often and answer the burning questions you might not have seen answered before.

Plus, this is just another chance for you to connect with our fearless leader, the man in charge and CEO of Fringe Sport, Peter Keller.

We all value his opinion and knowledge in the strength, exercise, and garage gym world, so we thought we'd give him a platform to shine and allow Fringe Sport to help you with all the questions you might be wondering about.

You can think of this series as a sort of Dear Abby advice column, but instead of answering questions about your love life, PK will answer your burning questions about garage gyms, iron, and gains. (Plus some other stuff too!)

So, let's get to our first question and installment of PK Weighs In. Let's rock 'n roll:


What does the spin of a bar, whip on a bar and all those other weird words mean?

What's happenin', all my beautiful brothers and sisters of iron? I'm very excited to get this series rolling and 

First of all, it totally makes sense that you're wondering about these words and the lingo behind a barbell.

It's not always common knowledge, and doesn't need to be if those words don't mean squat to you, right?

Whip? Spin? Knurling? What are do doing here, dancing?

It sounds like we're putting together a killer dance routine, but actually, these are words to describe the way a barbell performs - not dance moves.

So, let's break down these terms so you can get a better understanding of your iron excalibur and what to look for in your future additions to your arsenal.


What is whip? We're not talking about the Cool kind, the leather kind, or anything of the sort. Whip does indeed apply to a barbell.

Whip occurs in a barbell when it changes directions quickly, and allows the lifter to use the momentum from the barbell initially in their lift, not them.

By definition, whip in a barbell is the difference between yield strength and tensile strength.

The bigger the difference between those two numbers, the more whip a barbell will have.

This sounds confusing, right?

In layman's terms, this means that whip is a combination of how much plus how easily a bar will bend under load on each side without being permanently bent once the load is released.

This is really important to know and consider when buying a barbell, because an Olympic barbell vs a standard barbell is going to be very different when it comes to load allowance.

Our barbells vary in whip, from stiff to light to moderate and super whippy.

A higher whip barbell means there is less stability in the barbell once it's loaded and unracked or moved off of the floor. Sometimes you'll want this, like if you're a super skilled Olympic Weightlifter looking to utilize whip to propel the weight upward.

Otherwise, if you're a garage gymmer or community gym wod-er, you don't need to worry too much about whip. Our bushing barbells are typically on the light side with their whip, which is perfect for at-home WODs and community gym workouts.

Check out our blog all about barbell whip & barbell bend to learn more.


Spin? On a bike? No. The spin on a barbell comes from the sleeves. Want me to get even nerdier on barbell spin?

Yes? Okay, because you asked for it...

Spin on a barbell allows the barbell to reduce to torque felt during explosive movements to make lifting smoother for shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

We've all been to a big box commercial gym with fluorescent lighting and bad music, right?

You'll often find there what are called straight bars, usually racked in a pyramid.

They have hexagonal or circular edges and the shaft is significantly shorter than a normal barbell, but the weights on the ends don't move at all.

If you do a barbell clean with a straight bar, it's SUPER awkward and difficult to get around to the front rack position because the weights on the end don't spin. Straight bars don't have sleeves on the end that spin and allow the weights to move around the shaft.

Spinning sleeves on a barbell is crucial to Olympic weightlifting because it reduces risk of injury and increases comfortability in a lift.

Plus, a spinning barbell reduces the amount of force produced off of the ground from the inertia of the bumper plates.

Put more simply, spin comes from the sleeve of the barbell. There are two sleeves on the end of the shaft. Spin increases comfortability and smoothness in weightlifting while saving your wrists and elbows from injury.

Want to learn more about the parts of a barbell? Check out Barbell 101.

Our barbells vary in spin speed, from moderate to fast to Oly level, which is super fast for the lists that need it most.

If you've got more questions about barbell lingo, don't hesitate to reach out to my team. Our superstar CS team would be more than happy to answer any questions you have so you can get all the lingo in your vocabulary and build the garage gym you dream of.

See you next week with the next installment of PK Weighs In 👋



P.S. - This week we're offering this CRAZY special offer on our Best Selling Midas Bar.. grab one before they're gone!

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