Despite what your high school gym led you to believe, there’s more than one type of barbell. These days, more gyms, usually specialty ones like CrossFit and powerlifting facilities, feature a range of options—some specific to certain lifts, others more versatile. It’s enough to make your head spin. But with a little knowledge and some quality time handling the bars, you can take your workouts to the next level.

Below, we’re running through a baker’s dozen of barbells, from tried-and-true bars you’ll find in your standard big box gyms to some seriously innovative options that are newer to the market. We’ve also enlisted Brandon Smitley, a competitive powerlifter and co-owner of THIRST gym in Terre Haute, IN., to provide his expert tips on mastering each type of barbell.

8 Compound Moves for Building Functional Strength

7 Best Barbell Exercises for a Strong Core

Train your core with these unconventional barbell exercises.

Read article