Vaughn Weightlifting 20kg Olympic Barbell Review


Chad Vaughn:  Two time former Olympian, national champion, American record holder and all around weightlifting badass. If you haven’t seen his clean and jerk or snatch videos that are on CrossFit’s YouTube channel, stop what you’re doing and go watch them right now.

Now, he has his own line of barbells and bumper plates, “Vaughn Weightlifting”.

I’m here to talk about the barbell…

Specifications (From

  • Full year satisfaction guarantee, with FREE returns
  • Designed by Chad Vaughn
  • 216,000psi steel- rated to 1500 pounds… and tested to 2200 pounds!
  • 28mm shaft diameter
  • IWF (weightlifting) knurl marks, no center knurl
  • Black manganese finished shaft and collars, bright chrome sleeves
  • Proprietary bushing collar design for a buttery smooth spin
  • Lifetime warranty against bending or breaking
  • $399 shipped

Naturally any barbell made to the specifications of someone with this pedigree should be something you would want to be lifting on.  But, why would you want/need a pure weightlifting barbell?  Because if you really want to get serious in weightlifting, the bars at the box just aren’t going to cut it.  If you’re used to lifting on stiff CrossFit bars, lifting on a bar like this is going to be night and day to you.  Finally, for the price you’re going to have a hard time finding a WL bar that performs like this bar does and can handle pretty much any WOD you throw at it.

Out of the box, you’re immediately going to notice the sharp finish of the chrome sleeves with black manganese phosphate shaft. Most bars you’re going to come across are zinc coated, which tends to be a little bit on the slick side, which is why you probably need to chalk up every few reps.  The coating on this bar is a more chalky texture almost like black oxide, but with better protection properties and is super grippy!  The knurl is going to catch you off guard, it’s one of the softest knurl patterns I’ve come across.  Some might hate this, but to me, the combination of the coating and this knurl is perfect!  It doesn’t tear your hands up, but it never feels like you need to chalk up; high rep WOD’s = A-okay.  No center knurl might be against normal weightlifting bar standards, but your clavicle will be elated to hear that there isn’t.  Don’t worry, that coating is going to stick to your shirt without problems during those squats.

At 216k tensile, you’re not going to have to every worry about bending this barbell; though there is a lifetime warranty against bending or breaking.  It’s going be fine for general purpose and CrossFit workouts along with weightlifting. The whip might be a little much for straight powerlifting, but if you’re lifting the weight where that whip might be an issue, you probably wouldn’t be reading this review and should be waiting on the Ohio Power Bar review.  About that whip, it’s beautiful.  If you don’t know what whip is, it’s the transfer of stored elastic energy when the bar is moving under load.  Knowing how to use whip can make or break your lift.  When you’re up on that platform and only have one shot, you’re going to want to know how to use this.  Also, as with all Olympic weightlifting bars, the diameter of the shaft is going to be 28mm with only IWF knurl markings.

The best part of this barbell is by far the insane amount of spin it has for being a BUSHING barbell.  Yup, that’s right, just watch my YouTube video and you’ll see that this bar beats out even bearing barbells that cost much more.  How do they do it?  I have no clue, but I’m dumbfounded by it.  You want to talk about wrist protection? Barbells that rotate over this fast are the best ways to protect your wrists.

So, it’s pretty obvious this bar has a lot going on for it.  There isn’t much I dislike either, but there are a couple things.  I do like the coating and how it’s super grippy, but if you’re resetting on your thighs, you’re going to get bruised up pretty badly.  Zinc normally slides down pretty well, but this coating just catches your clothes and slams into you.  Not a huge deal since most of us get bruises on our thighs anyways, but worth noting.  Also, the box that the bar is shipped in is probably not the most efficient way to ship a barbell.  My first barbell came to me somewhat scratched in a torn up box that looked like it had just been dragged around by UPS.  Thankfully, Fringe, like always has awesome customer service and replaced the barbell for me painlessly but I think if a little more went into the packaging, they might save a bit on replacing barbells because I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to.  The cylindrical shipping tubes work well and I’ve never had an issue with barbells getting damaged when they’re shipped in those.  Finally, though the sleeves are ribbed, plates don’t seem to want to stay on them without collars.  I’m lazy and I don’t like putting collars on…that might just be my problem. 🙁

For $399, you’re getting one hell of a barbell spec’d out for one hell of a weightlifter.  If it’s good enough for Chad Vaughn, it’s definitely good enough for you.  If you’re looking to get serious in weightlifting or you just want another great multi-use barbell to add to your affiliate or garage gym, you must definitely give the Vaughn Weightlifting 20kg Olympic barbell a look.

Get your Vaughn Bar here, only from FringeSport!

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