The Real Difference Between Olympic Weights And Standard Weights

Any form of exercise provides more health benefits than not exercising at all. However, Insider explains that weightlifting provides unique benefits, such as increased bone strength, joint strength, muscle size, and testosterone, as well as a possible reduction of injury risk. Focusing on increasing muscle power during weightlifting has even been shown to lead to a longer and healthier life, according to ScienceDaily.

Because of these strength training benefits and others, you may have decided to start lifting weights. Congratulations!

What you may not know, however, is that there are two different types of weights: Olympic and standard. If you head to one of the most popular and well-known commercial gym brands, you will likely find that they have Olympic weights and barbells instead of standard weights (per Fitness Town). But what if you walk into a gym and realize they have both types or only standard weights? While most only carry Olympic weights, it's important to know the difference in case you come across them.

How Olympic weights compare to standard weights

Olympic weights offer more benefits than standard ones, including strength, adaptability, and even hole size (per XtremeFitness). However, standard weights may be more affordable.

Olympic weights, including barbells, are more durable than standard weights. For example, Livestrong says that Olympic bars are usually thicker than standard ones, allowing them to hold between 1,000 and 1,500 pounds before beginning to bend.

Olympic weights are also more convenient. They have a larger hole that can fit both Olympic and standard bars, but the smaller hole on standard weights can't fit Olympic bars, according to XtremeFitness. Also, Olympic weights can be purchased with handles that not only help with loading and unloading the weight but can also be used as a replacement for dumbbell or kettlebell exercises.

Livestrong notes that Olympic bars and weights are the only types used at the competitive level. If you plan to compete, they suggest avoiding standard equipment. Xtreme Fitness says, however, that while Olympic weights offer many advantages, there's nothing necessarily wrong with standard weights. It depends on what your personal goals are.