I do “functional fitness”, so I’m going to approach this review from that angle.
Truth be told, I’m probably better at the powerlifting side of it than I am at every other facet of the sport. When the Rogue Fitness Ohio Power Bar was announced, I felt like I had to have it, even though I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do anything more than squat, press and deadlift with it. Since that was what I preferred to do, naturally I would want a bar that would excel in those areas. Rogue set out to make the perfect barbell that would fit all those categories, but is it everything that I was expecting it to be?
Specifications (taken from RogueFitness.com):
- Made in Columbus, OH, USA
- More aggressive knurling for powerlifting
- Center knurl for added “stick” to the back during squats
- 29mm Diameter and 205,000 PSI tensile strength for greater rigidity and reduced whip
- Bronze Bushings and Snap Ring Design for smooth spin
- Weight Options: 45lb or 20kg
- Finish Options: Black Zinc Shaft/Bright Zinc Sleeves or Bare Steel
- Lifetime Warranty against bending*
For powerlifting, you generally don’t want your bar to have the same whip that that weightlifting bar would have, because you don’t want it to start bouncing around while you’re trying to hit a max lift, except maybe a deadlift which then whip would shorten the range of motion. The 205k PSI shaft is stiff, at least with the weight I’m moving. I recorded videos of me squatting and there’s a noticeable decrease in how the bar flexes under load compared to videos I’ve done with me squatting with a normal olympic barbell. I don’t know if this is going to add 50lbs to my back squat, but the bar feels solid and locked into place when it’s on your back. That could also be due in part from the center knurling. Must remember, there is center knurling on this bar. The first thing I did when I unpackaged the barbell was a hang clean, and that knurling scratched up my neck something fierce.
While most crossover/olympic barbells nowadays have slightly toned down knurling, the Ohio Power Bar has very aggressive knurling. That’s what you want though, since in powerlifting you’re only doing low rep or singles work. A 10 minute deadlifting EMOM taught me that well. My hands aren’t the sweatiest, but I never felt myself needing to chalk up with this knurl. Honestly, it’s not all that bad on your hands, but you’re definitely going to feel a difference coming from a normal Rogue bar. The OPB knurl is aggressive, yet refined and never gets to be harsh on your hands.
The sleeves look like they’ve come straight from the Ohio bar. They’re slightly machined so that you don’t have to worry about your weights sliding all over the place. Bronze oil impregnated bushings come inside the sleeves and oddly enough, this is probably the best spinning Rogue barbell that I’ve ever owned, including my WL bar! Now if only they could get the Ohio bar spinning that well. The shaft, unlike crossover barbells is at 29mm. I’ve got small hands but I didn’t see that extra .5mm making too much of a difference in my deadlift. It did make a difference in comfort for my bench press though.
So the question is: Is the Rogue Ohio Power Bar the right barbell for you? Well, if you’re like me and you’re primarily someone that does functional fitness, then no, probably not. You can get 90% of the same performance with the Rogue Bar 2.0 as a power bar while still being able have the flexibility of an Olympic lifting bar; no pun intended. If you’re a dedicated powerlifter, then the Rogue Ohio Power bar is most definitely the barbell for you. At the end of the day, it really depends on what kind of numbers you’re benching, squatting and deadlifting.
Please use my links to make your purchase at Rogue Fitness!