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Table of Contents
What are Barbell Collars?
Barbell collars are crucial to safe and effective weightlifting. Barbell collars are small cylindrical clamps that you attach to barbells or dumbbells to secure weight discs.
Essentially, the collars prevent weights from falling off the barbell, which may also be called barbell sleeves.
Barbell collars are also known to help distribute the weight on a barbell by holding the weights in the same place on either side of the barbell sleeve.
These collars are attached to the outer side of the disks on the barbell, and sometimes they are placed on the inside of the bumper plate as well.
By holding the weights in place, barbell collars can help weightlifters retain their balance, use good posture, and minimize weightlifting-related injuries.
How Do You Use Barbell Collars?
There are several different kinds of collars that you could use while weightlifting.
The most popular ones are the spring clip (clamp) collars and snap-lock collars. Both are used to hold weight plates in place, but they both look a little different and are placed on the barbell differently.
Spring-type Clip Collars
Spring-type clip collars are the more popular kind of barbell collars. One type of spring collar has two larger handles that squeeze to open and close a circle attached at the end of the handles.
These are easy to spot in most gyms because they look like clamps. These can be slightly more difficult to put on the barbell, and you may need two hands to slide it on and off.
The snap-lock collars look different from the spring-type because they do not have handles. Instead, they look like a small ring with a tab that locks on the top by a snap. These collars can be placed with one hand.
The type of barbell collar you use depends on your strength, the lifting you will be doing, and the design of the barbell that you are using.
How to Put on Barbell Collars
The way in which you put on a barbell collar depends on the kind of collar you have. It is best to research the collar you buy and learn how to put it on your barbell correctly.
Spring-type Clamp Collars
Spring-type clamp collars slide onto the barbell. The two handles of the collar are angled in one direction. As you put the collar on the barbell, angle the handles away from the weights (or bumper plates).
This will make it easier to remove later. The circle of the clamp should be squared to the bumper plate.
The snap-lock collars are perhaps the easiest to put on your barbell. You slide on the ring and push down the lock mechanism on the top. When you are done, unsnap the mechanism and slide the ring off the barbell.
Pressure collars work similar to the snap-lock collars, but instead of a tab to push, the pressure collars require you to tighten two wing nuts on a metal rod manually.
This kind of collar is more difficult to place on the barbell, but it is also perhaps the most secure of the barbell collars.
Spin-lock collars are two-layered collars that work on threaded barbells. To attach these collars, you must unscrew two layers of metal from each other and then slide it on the barbell. Then the two layers must be tightened together. The two layers essentially spin together to lock into place.
These are great collars, but they require larger amounts of strength to tighten securely. At the very least, collars are placed.
The aluminum collar offered by Iron Bull Strength is made of strong aluminum, which will wear better and last longer than nylon or plastic collars.
They are designed to withstand heavy and frequent drops, keeping your weights in place without breaking. This barbell collar fits a 50mm Olympic bar.
The rubber lining grips the bar, keeping your weight plates in place while simultaneously remaining gentle on your bars or sleeves.
These are great for competition and intense strength training or conditioning. The Iron Bull Strength Collar also has a quick release locking mechanism, allowing you to switch between weight plates quickly and easily.
The lock has a snap-latch that can easily be set by the press of a finger.
With the aluminum material and the locking mechanism, this pair of collars is great for CrossFit athletes looking to change their weight plates frequently. They offer durability, and they offer ease of use.
Iron Lab’s Olympic barbell collars were designed and created with safety and use in mind.
The high-strength nylon collars are made from a high-process process that makes them durable. Iron Lab’s collars also include high-pressure grips, and they are designed to fix weights in place, making your lifting balanced.
At 2” in diameter, these collars are great for Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, and other condition.
Inexpensive High-pressure grip pads Easy to use
Stiffer Fragile clip Resistance decreases during use
CAP Barbell’s Olympic Spring Clip Collars offer a chrome-plated spring clip that is as easy to take off as it is to put on the barbell.
The spring tension will keep your weight plates in place and help you retain balance as you lift. CAP Barbell’s spring collars also are designed with black easy-to-grip handles, helping you keep a firm grip as you slide the spring collar on and off your barbell.
This barbell is known for its durability and strength.
Durable material Easy to grip handles Works with most barbells
Does not fit a threaded bar Difficult to open at first
IADU’s Olympic Standard Barbell Collars offer a durable high-strength nylon body with reinforced plastic.
These collars additionally offer pressure pads that offer durability for CrossFit athletes, weightlifters, and trainers. The mechanism offers a fast locking release action, making these collars quick to put on and take off of your barbell.
They are lightweight so that you can carry them in your bag or hands. The weight and ease make this a great option for a CrossFit athlete who is constantly on the go, and it is great for a weightlifter or trainer that is constantly changing or shifting weights.
For new athletes Great for lighter weights Easy to use lock
Lock-Jaw’s HEX barbell collar is known for a quick-locking latch that has been patented by Lock-Jaw.
The collar has a large gripping surface area, so the collars stay in place and therefore hold your weight plates securely in their place. It lauds the compound construction that makes it lightweight, easy to handle, and durable.
It fits 50mm (2”) bars, and it is great for those who are using serious lifting power. Those who are looking train in powerlifting or CrossFit weightlifting are recommended to use this collar.
These collars are suggested for commercial gyms and university gyms, which means they will work for your personal use.
Mid-priced set of collars Durable compound material Good for an “everyday” lifter Lightweight and easy to carry
Barbells can be used any time you lift or use a weighted barbell. Barbell collars make lifting weights safer for you and those around you.
In CrossFit, many athletes use a barbell collar when doing squats, deadlifts, rows and overhead presses.
How and when you use a barbell collar is also up to your preferences. Some individuals in CrossFit do not like barbell collars, but others will not lift any weights without them.
It is up to you to figure out if they work for you and your workout.
Tips for Buying a Barbell Collar
When looking for a barbell collar, you want to take into consideration what kind of exercise you are doing, how much, and at what weight.
Generally, you want your barbell collar to match its function and use. Therefore, think about the material you want, the design that you can work with, and the amount of weight you want it to hold (capacity).
If you are a casual weightlifter, you could look into the barbell collars made of hardened nylon and hardened plastics.
These are great for lighter weight loads, and they are durable enough to withstand repeated usage. Therefore, the nylon and plastic collars would work for you: these barbell collars are relatively inexpensive and will last a long time for the little amount of money put into them.
For those who are lifting higher amounts of weight (300+ pounds), a metal barbell collar would be a better option. The aluminum options may cost slightly more than the ABS plastics or nylons, but they will last longer when paired with the larger amount of weight being lifted.
More importantly, the metal barbell collars will do a better job of holding larger and heavier plates in place. This is essential to lifting weights safely, and this is what your barbell collar should be doing—keeping the weight plates in their place on either side of the barbell.
You should also think about the kind of barbell collar that will work with you and your training. The clamps function differently than the snap-lock barbell collars.
Generally, the clamps (like CAP Barbell’s 2-Inch Spring Collars) require more strength to open and place on the barbell.
If you are a casual lifter, placing this collar on the barbell sleeve may be difficult. In this instance, a snap-lock would be an easy option because it does not require as much strength to place it on the barbell sleeve.
You may also consider the speed at which you are changing your weights. For those who want to change their weights often and quickly, a spring collar would not be a good option.
Spring collars take more time to remove from the barbell. This kind of collar would slow down your workout, inevitably frustrating you and possibly leading to unsafe practices.
For those looking to change between weights quickly, a snap-lock barbell collar is the better option. It slides on and off the barbell sleeve in seconds, and it secures your weights into place instantly.
Choosing the Best Barbell Collar
To get the best barbell collars for the best value, compare your needs to the functions of the barbell collars on the market.