Weightlifting isn’t for the weak of heart.
If you’re thinking that all it takes to muscle up and lift astronomical weights, you’ve got it all wrong. It takes a lot of determination and effort to build that kind of strength.
You don’t get to achieve that kind of explosive power just by sitting around.
To do that, you need to have equipment that is just as hardcore as you are. Probably even more so.
You need a bar that will not bend or break no matter how much weight you put on it. A bar that will not give even an inch.
But these things don’t come cheap and when you’re a bit short on cash, it is only natural to go looking around in the lower to mid-range section.
If this is you, then no doubt you’ve probably heard of the Texas Power Bar during hours of scouring the Internet for a hardcore powerlifting bar that is within your budget. You’ve probably also heard a lot of good things and bad things about it.
Should you or should you not buy it? In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons as well as give you a comprehensive review of the Texas Power Bar, one of the most popular powerlifting bars on the market.
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The Texas Power Bar Review
Before giving an in-depth review of the Texas Power Bar or TPB, I’d like to make it a bit clearer because there is a lot of confusion with this bar.
The original Texas Power Bar-and the one which will be the subject of this review-is the one that is made by Buddy Capps Welding. I understand that there are a lot of Texas Power Bars cropping up and some of them cheaper than the original.
I suppose when you achieve a level of popularity like that of the TPB then a lot of copycats are bound to crop up and ride on the idea.
From what I gathered, Buddy Capps also makes a Texas Power Bar for another company but it comes at a lower tensile strength than the original version. It apparently costs less, too.
I can’t vouch for those other bars as I’ve never used them. Heard of them, yeah, but not really used them.
So for the purposes of this review, I’ll be referring to the Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar. Yup, the one with the insignia of Texas stamped on it.
Let’s start with the basics. Here are the specs for the Texas Power Bar:
- 20 kg weight
- 28.5 mm shaft diameter
- 186,000 PSI tensile strength rating
- Load capacity of 1,500 lbs
- Aggressive knurling
- Black zinc finish
- Has center knurling
- 15-inch sleeves made of raw steel
Based on this info, you have an idea of what this bar is all about and what it can do. But still, we’ll break it down further so you’ll know what these specs mean in your weightlifting game.
Powerlifting bars are strong, rigid bars with little to no whip. This is because the Big Three of powerlifting-namely, squats, bench presses, and deadlifts-needs a pretty hardcore bar that will not budge.
To achieve this, there are two important characteristics: shaft thickness and a higher tensile strength. This is why most powerlifting bars come with a shaft diameter of 29 mm.
The Texas Power Bar comes pretty close at 28.5 mm.
Basically, a power bar should have a bare minimum of at least 165,000 PSI and higher-end bars typically have tensile strength ratings of anywhere between 195,000 to 215,000 PSI. By current powerlifting bar standards, the TPB tensile strength rating of 186,000 PSI is a bit low but still pretty decent for a power bar.
Performance-wise though, this powerlifting bar has little to no whip, which still makes it a pretty good bar for the Big Three.
You will notice that powerlifting bars are more aggressively knurled than Olympic weightlifting bars. They also come with a center knurl which is essential for those squats.
Knurling is very important as it will provide enough friction so the bar does not slip from your grip even when you pile on the weights. It has to be deep and coarse enough to bite into your palms but not so sharp that you’ll end up shredding the very skin off your hands.
Recently, there are a lot of powerlifting bars claim to have aggressive knurling and fall short of the lifter’s expectations. You will find that the Texas Power Bar has appropriately aggressive knurling for a powerlifting bar. It’s pretty sharp but it’s the right kind of sharp-enough to keep the bar from slipping but not yet up to cheese grater levels.
It also has center knurling to keep the bar from slipping off your back during those squats.
The finish of a bar serves two purposes.
One, and most importantly, in my opinion, is that it protects the bar from the nasty effects of oxidation. Your bar is only so strong. Once the oxidation sets in, it will start eating away at the metal like a disease.
When it comes to prevention of rust, chrome and stainless steel bars have bragging rights as they are most resistant to corrosion.
They are also a lot more expensive than other types of finish.
The second purpose of a bar’s finish is that it adds to the “feel” of the bar. Some lifters will claim that there is no better feeling than lifting with bare steel.
Unfortunately, bare steel requires the most maintenance and care because of all the types of finish, it is the least resistant to corrosion.
The Texas Power Bar has a black zinc finish, which offers better protection against oxidation but is not as slippery as that of a chrome finish. It’s like meeting both needs at the middle without costing you an arm and a leg to purchase.
The only downside to the black zinc finish is that it tends to turn an ugly greenish color over the passing of time, which is why it’s not such a popular choice among lifters.
5. Maximum Load Capacity
Powerlifting is all about the weight and lifters in this category notably pile on heavier loads than their Olympic weightlifting counterparts. A good power bar should have a maximum weight capacity of at least 1,200 lbs. Most power bars have maximum capacities of anything between 1,200 to 2,000 lbs.
In this case, the Texas Power Bar has a pretty decent maximum capacity of 1,500 lbs.
- The Texas Power Bar is one of those good quality power bars that cost less than $300
- Little to no whip
- Black zinc finish between collars to prevent rust
- Just the right kind of aggressive knurling
- Central knurl present
- Has a long history of IPF greats to back up its reputation
- Pretty slim shaft diameter of 28.5 mm
- Tensile strength of 186,000 PSI is decent enough but a higher tensile strength would have been more desirable
- Black zinc finish tends to turn an ugly greenish color over time
- A lot of copycats means that you might end up with a substandard version of the original Texas Power Bar by Buddy Capps
Should You Get the Texas Power Bar?
Now, this is a decision that I like to leave up to you because every lifter has his or her own preferences. I might find the feeling of bare steel better but you might find lifting with black zinc bars pretty okay.
Or you can have a bigger budget and able to purchase a higher-end bar with all the fancy trimmings.
However, if you want a good quality bar for less than $300, then you might want to give the Texas Power Bar a shot.
The Texas Power Bar by Buddy Capps is one of the most popular power bars not only because of its good quality but because it is pretty affordable compared to other power bars of the same quality.
A lot of powerlifting greats have won tournaments over the years with this bar. Whether you plan to enter IPF tournaments or not, this bar is ready to take on the challenge because it is an IPF-approved bar.
It has a pretty decent tensile strength rating of 186,000 PSI but a little too slender with a shaft diameter of 28.5 mm. However, you will find little to no whip lifting with it.
The black zinc finish might put off some lifters but offers the bar a decent amount of protection against rust to make sure that you can go ahead and build more muscle with it for a long, long time. Hopefully, the color won’t keep you away from it by that time, though.
Have you tried lifting with the original Texas Power Bar by Buddy Capps? What did you like about using this particular bar? What are the things you DON’T like about it? Let us know what you think of one of the most popular power bars by sounding off in the comments below!