Can You Use A Bent Barbell: Understanding the Risks

Fact Checked

Ashley Castleberry

Ashley is a NASM certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. She specializes in strength, body composition, and lifestyle change through nutrition.


Lifting a barbell is a humongous task but also adds to your cap as your muscle strength increases, and you progress to the next weight level. However, imagine walking to a gym, lifting a barbell, and then finding it bent! Scary, right? So, can you use a bent barbell?

Short on time? Here’s a summary

Using a bent barbell to lift or for bench press is riskier as it can hamper the distribution of weight and can easily result in a fall. The degree of bend influences the degree of impact it could create. A slightly bent barbell with no rolling pins can be used for certain exercises.

Barbell is an undeniably crucial piece of equipment in a gym. However, it’s equally critical to stay cautious of a bend and know everything about a bent barbell. This article comes in handy to address every question you’ve in mind about it. Let’s get started!

How Do I Know If My Barbell Is Bending

Are you a regular user of a barbell? It’s time to check your barbell’s health! It’s easy as 1-2-3 to find out if your barbell is in shape or bending.

Your barbell is bending if:

  • It doesn’t roll smoothly. 
  • It produces a weird noise while using it. 
  • It contains an arc/bend that’s easily recognizable. 
  • The plate displays inconsistency on the bar.

Whether you own a gym or practice at a gym, it’s essential to start with visual cues and inspect the barbell before you use it.

Can You Use A Bent Barbell

Using a bent barbell is strictly not recommended if it has a major bend or arc or produces discomfort with the plate, or causes excessive sounds. Further, lack of pin rotation and uneven weight distribution can injure you during the process.

As soon as there’s a compromise in the structural integrity, it’s a warning that you should stop using it. Otherwise, a minor arc is okay to use as long as it’s for simple exercises that don’t rely entirely on weights.

Why Do Barbells Bend

Barbells slightly bend during Olympic lifts exclusively to enable easy lifting and store energy in them. Apparently, there are other reasons, like lack of contact of plates with the ground when the barbell is dropped, unequal stress between top and bottom portions, and the actual make of the barbell.

Most barbells in the gym are used by beginners that lack the understanding to use them rightly. Hence, it’s feasible to spot a bent barbell in the gym (not always, though!).

When Is A Bar Too Bent?

A bar is considered too bent if it’s asymmetrical, affects the possibility of lifting, has a major arc, or displays an uneven weight distribution. While some use bent barbells for squats, the rule of thumb is to fix it first and ensure that the basics are fixed. This will eliminate the chance of an injury.

How Much Weight Does It Take To Bend A Barbell?

While it’s not an easy task to bend a barbell, an experienced weight training enthusiast states that there’s a slight bend on the bar (up to 1.5 inches) at 225 lbs as soon as it’s lifted. This bend increases with the number of plates added to it. 

In general, powerlifting bars tend to handle more weight compared to weightlifting bars. This is because a weightlifting bar tends to display some bounce and affect the movement. Keeping this aside, a slight bend on the barbell needs at least 250-300 lbs, and it totally depends on the make, purpose, age of the barbell, and usage. 

Why Do Some Barbells Bend More Than Others?

The most common reason for some barbells to bend more than others is due to the type of use. For instance, weightlifting involves high momentum, and an extra whip in the barbell is much needed. Contrarily, powerlifting involves slow movements, and less bend is required. 

Stiffness is another key factor influencing the degree of bend associated with the bar. When a barbell is dropped, there’s a high chance of deformation. However, this also relates back to the concept of the type of use (powerlifting vs. weightlifting).  

How To Keep My Bar From Bending?

While a bent bar is fairly usable for low-intensity workouts, fitness enthusiasts prefer a non-bent barbell over a bent one.

Here are a few ways to keep your bar from bending:

  • The rule of thumb is to practice proper use. As beginners are prone to landing barbells with a huge force, it’s important to teach them the proper landing of the bar. 
  • Another vital aspect is to determine the purpose. If it’s limited to a weightlifting activity, choosing a suitable model does the magic. 
  • Finally, the bar storage technique can be a game-changer in retaining the quality of the bar. 

What Should I Do If My Barbell Bends?

If you find a bend on your barbell, it’s a clear warning for replacement. This protects you from further damage and safeguards you from potential injuries. Alternatively, you can either adapt to the bend or address it for the time being.

Remember that a fix for the moment isn’t going to add value in the long run. Hence, make a wise decision

How To Lift With A Bent Barbell?

Lifting a bent barbell needs an extraordinary level of caution. Begin with lifting the barbell from the bent area. The bar-hand movement needs to be kept in mind while lifting a bent barbell. As the bar rotates the hand, lifting from the bent area protects your hand.

For exercises like deadlifts and squats, a bent barbell is fairly recommended as long as there’s minimal bend. However, for heavy workouts, lifting with a bent barbell can do more harm than expected.

Note: You may have to exercise too much stress when you lift with a heavily bent barbell, and it’s dangerous.

How To Choose A Barbell That Won’t Bend?

To safeguard yourself and extend the life of your barbell, it’s highly recommended to choose one that won’t bend.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Choose a barbell that suits your style of exercise. Invest in quality. 
  • Choose a barbell based on the category (powerlifting or weightlifting). 
  • Take reviews from experienced professionals before you invest in one. 

These tips can save money and the effort involved in fixing a bent barbell. At the end of the day, all of us need a happy ending at the gym, don’t we?


While a bent barbell may still be usable under certain conditions, it’s generally safer and more cost-effective to replace it. After all, your safety and well-being should always be the top priority when engaging in any form of exercise.

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Chief Editor
Tonya McIntosh

Hello there! My name is Tonya McIntosh, and I’m the Founder and Chief Editor of TGFFitness. I’m also a NASM-certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. With eight years of experience under my belt, I’ve found that one of the most common issues my clients struggle with is remaining consistent.

Finding your main motivator to keep going is easier said than done for Keep Reading.

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