Had to pleasure of speaking to Hao from Balance The Grind about my career, launching GC Performance Training, balancing coaching and business responsibilities, the myth of work-life balance and plenty more.
I've always wanted a barbell to myself, I did not like the inconsistencies of training with several different barbells week to week (not to mention bent barbells). I decided to get the 20kg Again Faster Klokov Bar as a high-quality, general use barbell. This bar is great for Olympic Weightlifting and for compound exercises.
Retail Price: $355 Canadian ($400 after shipping + taxes)
Price was one of the most important factors when deciding whether or not I should buy this bar. $355 was much cheaper than other barbells of the same quality. In comparison, the 20kg Pendlay Bearing Olympic Barbell is $530 (USD) and the Rogue Olympic WL Barbell is $715 (CAD).
As you can see, the AG Klokov Bar is cheaper by a large margin.
It is hard to find a bearing barbell south of $500. Bearings is the mechanism by which the barbell sleeve is allowed to spin. Bushing barbells are generally cheaper because of the cheaper manufacturing costs. Both needle bearings (which are better than ball bearings) and bushings are used in the AG Klokov bar, making the sleeve spin smoothly for snatches, and clean & jerks, yet durable enough for everyday use. The quality of the bearings and the sleeve spin may not be as great as Eleiko or Werksan barbells, but is a huge upgrade from bushing barbells usually seen
PSI and Bar Whip
The AG Klokov Barbell has a PSI rating of 264,000, which apparently is 30,000 PSI stronger than any other Olympic Weightlifting barbell on the market. I've had this barbell for a week now and have done several different exercises with it, but I haven't lifted heavy enough to test out how much the bar can handle. If it can handle the weights that Dmitry Klokov puts up, it is definitely more than enough for us mortals.
High Bar Squatting 225lbs: There is a bit of whip at the top of the movement compared to normal gym bars, but very subtle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quugw_xmOOo Judging by this video, there seems to be noticable whip starting from 140kg/308lbs onwards.
My favorite part about this bar. There has been reviews saying the knurling on this bar is inconsistent. I'm not sure if they mean the knurling is inconsistent from bar to bar, or inconsistent on different spots of the bar. Nonetheless, I love the feel of the barbell, the outer knurling is not too aggressive; it feels like how a high-quality olympic lifting barbell should feel. I also like the fact that there is a passive centre knurling, which aids in keeping the bar on your back during a high bar squat, or during a front rack position. Another thing I find useful is the knurling ring marks. There are 2 sets of knurling marks, one for the IWF and one for the IPF; this makes it easier to establish a grip width and be consistent with it especially for lifters who like to perform the olympic lifts as well as the power lifts.
Product Specifications (via Again Faster website)
"• Meets all IWF weight and dimension specifications for Men's and Women's bars
• Weight Tolerance +0.1% / -0.05%
• Dual knurl marks that meet both IWF and IPF specifications for knurl mark spacing
• 264,000 PSI Ultimate Tensile Strength
• 5 needle bearings per side
• High strength steel bushings are set both inside and outside the bearings in the collar
• A screw lock cap with two internal retention rings secure the collars
• Finish: Hard Bright Chrome
• Collar Band: Men's = Blue | Women's = Yellow
• Shaft Diameter: 20kg = 28mm (IWF spec) | 15kg = 25mm (IWF spec)
• Length: 20kg = 2200mm | 15kg = 2010mm"
Its a nice feeling to touch a new barbell, this bar feels really good in my hands and really good on my back. It feels very straight and very sturdy. Labelled as a "competition barbell", this bar would be perfect for anyone prepping for an Olympic weightlifting meet. Although this bar performs well when squatting, bench pressing or deadlifting, I personally, would not use it to prep for an IPF Powerlifting meet. The whip of the bar (especially when squatting and deadlifting heavy) is not ideal for Powerlifting meets as it will give the lifter a false sense of strength in training. The lifter will be guaranteed tears of sadness and shame after being stapled to the floor by IPF-approved Eleiko powerlifting barbells.
Overall, I would highly recommend this barbell to competitive athletes and weightlifters or any trainee involved in general strength training.