Having worked in college weight rooms my entire life I have been very spoiled to have the opportunity to train with every top end barbell. From Uesaka, Eleiko and Werksan all the way down to more economical bars, I’ve trained with them all at one school or another throughout my career.
I can say, without question, that Uesaka makes the best barbells money can buy. They are handmade and built to absolute perfection. They’re basically a modern day Samurai Sword that you can snatch and clean with.
Are they expensive? Yes. The price point for a Uesaka bar is the reason there isn’t a Uesaka bar in every garage in the country. In this instance though, you get what you pay for and what you get for your money in this case is the best barbell produced today. It’s also the last barbell you’ll ever have to buy, especially when you considered these bars come with a Lifetime Warranty.
Now let’s dig deeper into why I think a Uesaka Training Barbell is the best barbell on the market.
Table of Contents
Uesaka Barbell Review
For the Barbell Specs, I pulled this info directly from the UESAKA Official Website:
- Made in Japan
- Hagane Japanese Steel
- Uesaka Rotation System
- Hand pressed knurling
- Plated steel for protection
- 413mm loadable sleeve length
- 2.2m Barbell length
- 28mm diameter
- Hand straightened for perfect accuracy
- Accuracy within .5mm matching IWF standards
- Lifetime Warranty
Ten out of ten. I mentioned earlier that Uesaka barbells come with a Lifetime Warranty. Here’s the thing though – that’s not some marketing gimmick. Chances are you’ll never get a chance to take them up on it.
One school I worked at had Uesaka bars that were close to twenty years old and still looked and performed amazingly. And that’s in a college weight room where they’re getting used by hundreds of athletes on a daily basis. Think about that. If they can last that long with that much usage, imagine how long it will last in your garage.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The only necessary cleaning and maintenance for a Uesaka Barbell is a little 3-in-1 oil and a nylon brush to clean the knurling about once a month. That’s it. The Bearings in a Uesaka bar use a dry rotation mechanic so the bearings do not need oil. Matthew Adamcheck – Uesaka rep and Olympic Weightlifting Coach – explains how to take care of your Uesaka bearings:
“The Uesaka barbell does not need any lubricant and is not designed in such a way where lubricant is needed. The quality of a barbell is not defined in its spin characteristics while at rest – our barbell is designed to keep the athlete in control of the weight at the apex of the lift so the weights do not keep spinning fast and throwing the athlete off in the “catch”. We rarely have to do any maintenance to our product and the best way to clean a barbell if you feel it is “catching” or something like that is to use a rubber mallet and beat the ends staight down then blow out with compressed air.”
I’ve never had to hit a Uesaka bar with a rubber mallet by the way, but it’s good information to know. A bare steel bar that will basically last forever with minimal maintenance. That is the kind of bar you’ll be getting.
In my mind, the spin is what really separates the bar from every other bar. I put this section after the quote from Coach Adamcheck on purpose, because he alludes to it in his quote. He mentions spin not spinning too fast and throwing the athlete off in the catch. This is so spot on.
It’s hard to explain unless you experience it, but the bar doesn’t actually feel like it spins. It rotates smoothly and freely when you want it to, but when you catch the rotation is gone – like it never happened.
The difference became even more noticeable to me when I started splitting time training at the school and at home. In our weight room at Georgia Tech we have Eleiko Barbells. Also, really really good bars.
But, my snatches are, no joke, 10% better with my Uesaka bar. I know there could be other factors in play besides just the bar, but I consistently struggle with anything over 90% when I’m at the school with the Eleiko bars. I can also absolutely feel the difference in the spin.
The knurling has good grip without being too aggressive. It’s a nice, balanced middle of the road knurling. I absolutely love the feel of the bar. For me, the knurling is perfect.
As long as you take care of the bar and don’t go clanging it and grinding it in and out of racks, it will maintain the same knurl and feel for a long time as well. Some bars start out with an aggressive knurling that dulls quickly. A Uesaka Bar will have the same feel lift 1 and lift 1000.
The whip on a Uesaka Bar is balanced as well. You get a nice whip off heavy cleans and squats, but not too much. The weights never feel loose and the bar maintains it’s tension even as it bends. Hope that makes sense, but it’s the only way I know how to describe it.
This is the reason everyone doesn’t own a Uesaka Barbell. Depending on whether you go for the Competition Bar or the Training Bar, you’re going to spend close to a thousand dollars for a bar. That is a tough idea to swallow for most people and I totally get it.
I looked at my Uesaka Bar the same way I look at anything that I spend a good amount of money on. As an investment and as a bonus, something that I really wanted and will get great joy from for many years to come.
Think of it this way. Let’s say you lift with your Uesaka bar 3 times a week, 50 weeks out of the year for the next 20 years. I would say that’s a pretty generous average for a serious lifter. That makes the cost of the bar just over 25 cents a lift. A quarter a workout to lift with the best barbell on the planet. Yes, please.
If you can afford it, I would spend the money, get a Uesaka Barbell and never look back. I literally did just that and haven’t regretted the decision for a second. Knowing I get to use that bar every lift makes me look forward to each lift just a little bit more.
If you end up going with a more budget-friendly bar, I totally get it. But, if what you want is the best barbell made on this planet – it’s hands down a Uesaka Bar.