When you are serious about powerlifting, then it is time you get to buy your own bar. However, you know that not any bar will do.
You want knurling that will make your hands bleed.
A bar that can take on weights and still say “More!”
A rigid bar that will not bend or break whether you squat, press, or keep it coming.
Serious powerlifting requires a bar that is just as hardcore as you are. You are not looking for some puny bar that will embarrass you.
Nor do you want a bar that will cost you an arm and a leg when you can get one with the same quality for much less.
Although a powerlifting bar is not as expensive as, say, a power rack, costs can still pile up when you start pursuing powerlifting seriously.
If you take your power bar scouting to intense levels-because you don’t do anything halfway when it comes to fitness and the money you invest in it-you may have already heard of the Rogue Ohio Power Bar.
Probably heard how badass it is.
Let’s face it, you can’t talk barbells without this one coming up in the conversation. It is a crowd favorite and for a reason.
But the real question is-should you buy it?
In this article, we break down one of the most popular powerlifting bars in the world of weightlifting-the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. We’ll assess it in terms of the qualities you need to know about like whip, and knurling, and in the end, we’ll let you decide whether you can let the guys over at Rogue take your money or not.
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Rogue Ohio Power Bar Specifications
Okay, first things first. You need to read up on the specs of this thing.
Before you go around just buying a handsome piece of steel, you need that steel to tell you what it can and cannot do and one of the best places to find that kind of information is in the specs.
From the Rogue website, these are the specifications for the Ohio Power Bar:
- 20 kg men’s power bar, or 45-lb men’s power bar.
- 45-lb bar available in bare steel, black/bright zinc, or stainless.
- 20 kg bar available black/bright zinc or stainless steel.
- 29 mm shaft diameter.
- Tensile strength rating of 205,000 PSI.
- Yield strength is unknown.
- Highly aggressive knurling; IPF markings.
- Center knurl is present, and not passive.
- Cast bronze bushing system.
- No whip; very rigid.
- Loadable sleeve length: 16.25″ (45-lb) and 16.875″ (20 kg).
- Snap-ring sleeve assembly.
- 20 kg version has friction welded sleeves and is IPF-approved.
- Made in Ohio, USA; lifetime warranty.
Just looking at that gives you the impression of a bar that means business and is not shy about it. However, you need to step back and not let things like these just overwhelm you and take your money.
Rogue Ohio Power Bar Review
Although Rogue has been in the business of weightlifting for the last two years, their latest performance was sadly not quite up to the standards their fans have been used to.
The last Rogue Power Bar gave us a bar with a disappointing tensile strength and knurling that was meh at best.
This is why you don’t merely judge a power bar based on the list of specifications on their website.
“Whip” is a common term used to describe the ends of the bar bouncing at the end of a repetition and it’s not really that bad, depending on the situation and the type of lifting you’re supposed to be doing. Pro lifters can even take advantage of this momentum in certain transitions in their lifts, like the clean and jerk.
It’s quite different when you’re powerlifting, though.
You don’t need your bar to move around when you’re focusing all your strength into a squat or a bench press.
In short, the less whip the better. If there’s no whip, then even better.
Looking at the Rogue Ohio Power Bar, you’ll be happy to know that there is absolutely no elasticity in this one. No whip at all, like they claim on their specifications.
If you’re used to a bit more whip in your Olympic bars at the gym then you will have some difficulty with this one as this is a pretty rigid bar that will probably humiliate you on your first try.
So what does this mean?
It means that it is well-suited for the three exercises of powerlifting-the squat, bench press, and deadlifting.
A clean and jerk on this own, however, will feel very wrong and can be murder.
Knurling is what you call those rough spots in the bars that will help keep the bar in your hands from slipping. These are two sets of diagonal grooves going against each other to produce tiny diamond shapes. These grooves provide the friction needed to dig deep into your skin when you start lifting astronomical weights and need to keep the bar in your hands. The depth and width of these grooves will tell you just how “aggressive” the knurling is.
When you start powerlifting larger weights, you need knurling that will not let up. Sadly, what qualifies as “aggressive” knurling nowadays is pretty lackluster compared to the dig-in-your-palms and bite-until-you-bleed knurling from before. However, knurling that is way too much could be setting your up for discomfort and injury.
The trick is to find knurling that is suitably aggressive for the sort of lifting that you do but not sharp enough that they will cut into your skin.
You’ll be happy to know however that the Rogue Ohio Power Bar has one of the most aggressive knurling ever known to man without shredding your skin in the process. Compared to the knurling on other bars in the competition, this is where the Ohio Power Bar stands head and shoulders above them all.
The finish on the bar is not only for making you and your bar look good but it has a number of uses. One is that the finish will undoubtedly affect the feeling of the bar in your hands. The second reason is that it will keep the nasty oxidation at bay and prevent it from eating away at your beloved bar.
Based on the specifications on the website, the guys over at Rogue give you a choice of whether you want your bar finish to be bare steel, zinc, or stainless steel.
Among these three, bare steel feels the best in your hands with a nice grip. A word of caution to those preferring bare steel, however, is that it has the most tendency to rust amongst the other choices. Careful maintenance like cleaning off the sweat, dust, and chalk as well as regular oiling will keep your bare steel bar happy for a long, long time.
Black or bright zinc might offer you more protection from rusting compared to bare steel but it can look kinda ugly as time passes. Bright zinc will eventually become duller in a couple of years but the worst is black zinc, which turns green with the passing of time.
The third choice is stainless steel, which offers a degree of rush protection that is on par with fancier chrome bars. There are some who also say that it feels better than bare steel. Be prepared to cash out if you go for the stainless steel variant, though, as they don’t come cheap.
In the end, the finish is all really a matter of preference and it’s great that the guys at Rogue give you the choice to choose whatever type of finish suits you best.
The sleeves on the Ohio Power Bar are pretty standard for Rogue and are operated by means of a bronze bushing system. This means that they offer lower friction and provide for a more consistent spin than most. The bronze bushings also last longer.
What is nice about these sleeves is that the loadable length is approximately 16 inches. This translates to more than a foot on each side of the barbell that you can load up.
In simpler terms, this bar has the space to take on a huge load and the tensile strength to take it on.
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar certainly picked up where the previous power bar from Rogue left off. For a while, there was an issue with the substandard steel upgrades in all Rogue bars-CrossFit and Olympic bars included-and it was a bit worrying for some time.
However, this time, Rogue certainly deserves to pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar certainly means business with a tensile strength rating of 205,000 PSI and virtually no whip, which makes it perfect for the big three powerlifting exercises.
The choice of finish was also a nice touch as I believe that these things are a matter of preference and should be left up to the lifter to decide. If you want a bar that feels good and have no problems exerting a bit of effort to keeping it up, then the bare steel variant will suit you just fine. If you want a bit of an upgrade with excellent protection against rust, then you might want to consider the stainless steel bar.
The knurling, though, is where I believe this powerlifting bar truly shines as it hits the right spot between aggressive knurling without feeling like a cheese grater. However, I understand that these may put some folks off.
All in all, the Ohio Power Bar is a pretty reliable bar that can withstand a lot of stress.
Yes, it is certainly badass but not precisely murder on your bank account, either.
Did you like this review of the Rogue Ohio Power Bar? Have you tried using the Ohio Power Bar, too? What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with your lifting family and friends!