How to Clean an Old Barbell

After a barbell has been used for a few years, it begins to lose a little of its spin. This is bad, because for olympic lifts like snatches and cleans, it’s imperative that the bumper plates are able to rotate freely. If they cannot, then you have to waste energy turning the bar over in mid air, which means you simply won’t be able to lift as much. In this short video you can learn how to restore some of the spin to your old barbell. The demonstration uses a Rogue 15 kg Bella Bar, but the process applies to any barbell that uses an outer and inner snap ring design.

Update: On some first generation Rogue bars and some bars from Wright and Pendlay, the sleeve design does not use an outer snap ring. The end cap is simply pressed into place with a tight friction fit. This makes accessing the inner snap ring very difficult. Unfortunately, this cap just wasn’t meant to be removed–at all. So some pretty interesting measures are required to remove it. And before you freak out about what we’re about to do, let’s consider the options we have before us:

  1. Continue using the bar as-is, with very little spin, making it much less useful
  2. Buy a new bar
  3. Find a way to clean and lubricate the bar

Yeah, option 3 sounds best. So we used the method you see in this video:

After you get the outer cap off the barbell, the inner snap ring operates just like the Bella bars in the first video, and the rest of the process is exactly the same as the first video. We chose to leave the caps off the bars and not re-install them. This is because the caps were sometimes difficult to remove. Sure, they protect the interior of the bar from dust and dirt. But it’s obvious that dust and dirt are getting inside anyway. And leaving the caps off means we will be able to clean and lube the bars more easily and more often. With this strategy I think the bars will require periodic maintenance every few months, but I’m OK with that.