Center knurl vs no center knurl barbell- Major difference

Center knurl vs no center knurl


Knurling plays a very important role in the performance, that’s the reason IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) and PWF (International Powerlifting Federation) has a strict guideline on the placement and quality of knurling a barbell possess. 

Many people are not aware of the need to center knurl and no center knurl on barbel. Barbell knurling is one of the rarely discussed topics at the gym but understanding the barbell knurling is important before purchasing it for the home gym. 

Let’s understand the difference between center knurl and no center knurl. 

Center knurl vs no center knurl

Center knurling is present on the Certified Olympic Men’s barbells and its also present on the powerlifting as well. 

Women’s Olympic barbell does not features center knurl.

Center knurling is very essential for squatting, it prevents the barbell from sliding down the back while squatting, that’s the reason power bars requires center knurl.

On the other hand, Olympic lifts snatch and the clean and jerk does not require traditional back squats. 

Olympic lifts do not include back squats, why do they have center knurling? Certified Olympic men’s barbells contain center knurling because of the one-hand lift which was a part of the 1896 Summer Olympics

Certified Olympic men’s barbells are equipped with fine center knurling to provide some grip while front squatting. Women’s Olympic barbell does not contain center knurling at all because it could irritate their sensitive skin. 

The majority of Olympic Practice barbells come with no center knurl because it could severely irritate the skin while repetitive practice sessions. 



Center Knurl Vs No Center Knurl Barbell: Knurling is a very important aspect of any barbell, center knurl marks are provided to allow better grip while heavy squats, it also prevents the accidental sliding down of weight. Any barbell without center knurling is not the best choice for heavy back squats. If you are looking for a multipurpose barbell for garage gym then you should always choose a barbell with center knurl marks but if you are choosing a barbell for the bench press or deadlift then there is no need for center knurling.

How knurling affects the performance

Knurling plays an essential role in providing a monstrous grip to pull super heavyweight. The quality of knurling differs according to the need for a barbell. 

Knurling on Olympic barbell: Moderate knurling is provided on the Certified Olympic barbells due to the nature of lifts. 

Knurling on Powerlifting barbell: Lifter tries to move the max weight which requires aggressive knurl. Powerlifting lifts include Squats, Benchpress, and Deadlifts. 

Knurling on practice barbell: Knurling on the practice barbell will widely depend on the utility, you get a wide variety of barbells to choose for your practice sessions. Practice barbells come with a center knurling marks and without knurling marks, these barbells also features wide variety of barbell coating which also affects the knurling quality. 

Let’s have a look at types of barbell finishing. 

Types of barbell coating 

Finishes are the protective coating that is applied to the steel, its purpose of the prevent rusting and to provide better look & feel. 

You can find a barbell with these types of coating. 

Cerakote: This finish used to be exclusive to American Barbell. Cerakote is a colored ceramic typically used for firearms. It’s durable, grippy, and quite oxidation resistant. It’s also very pricey compared to other finishes.

Black oxide: One of the most commonly found barbell coating, bar is immersed into a bath of hot chemicals to “blacken” the bar. 

Barbell with black oxide coating are known for their aggressive knurling but also less resistant towards oxidation. These barbells are move preferred by serious lifters since they provide better grip and natural finish. 

Bright zinc: This coating is achieved by immersing the bar into a zinc bath where the bar becomes coated with zinc.

Bright zinc coating is quite resistant to corrosion and also improves the overall barbell’s strength. Bright zink provides moderate knurling

Black zinc: The barbell goes through a two-step coating process. The barbell is first given a bright zink finish then treated with another black oxide bath to blacken the barbell. 

This barbell provides the benefits of black oxide and bright zink. Black zinc coated barbells are more resistant to oxidation and also have great knurling. These barbells also require periodical maintenance. 

Hard chrome: These barbells are build to last longer. These bars are highly resistant to oxidation and don’t catch rust. Provide better gripping experience than the zinc coating but not the most aggressive knurl in the category. 

Barbell knurling dimensions

IWF Certified barbells and PWF Certified barbells also differ in the knurling dimensions. 

On the other hand, practice barbells come with dual knurl marks to facilitate Olympic lifters and powerlifters, both. 

oly and powerlifting marking
Multipurpose Practice Barbell Dual-Knurling Mark.

Read more: Powerlifting bar vs Olympic bar vs Multipurpose bar

Thanks for reading. Questions welcomed in the comments as always. 

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