The Mastery Power Bar is my second barbell from the young, up-and-coming company LUXIAOJUN.
My first barbell from them, which I reviewed here, was the E1 Training Bar – a quality budget-friendly multipurpose bar.
Since using these bars and speaking with several others who have had experience with LUXIAOJUN, I believe they're offering some of the best bars and plates for the money.
This 29mm power bar offers a stainless shaft, an aggressive knurl, and one feature that is sure to appeal to some users.
In this review, I'll break it all down and I'll compare it to two of my favorite bars: the stainless Rogue Ohio Power Bar and the stainless REP Power Bar EX.
Let's dig in.
The Lu Xiaojun Mastery Power Bar is rated based on the Garage Gym Lab Universal Barbell Score. Read more about the ‘UBS' here.
LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar
The LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar is one of two power bars the company currently offers. This bar fetches a $399 price which, for a stainless steel bar, is consistent with the market.
If you're looking for something a little less expensive, they also offer the E1 Power Bar, which is similarly spec'd but with a black chrome shaft and black sleeves. That bar currently retails for $288, over $100 less expensive.
Stainless steel, however, is certainly the superior finish. Whether you live/train in a humid environment or you just want the benefits of an uncoated shaft, stainless is an excellent selection.
This bar offers a 29mm shaft, a very wide center knurl, and a longer loadable sleeve length relative to most bars thanks to its slim collar.
Before getting into the review, here are the full specs of the Mastery Power Bar:
Bar Weight: 20kg
Shaft Diameter: 29mm
Center Knurl: Yes, extra wide
Knurl Marks: Powerlifting
Shaft Coating: Stainless Steel
Tensile Strength: 200,000 PSI
Bar Length: 86.6″
Distance Between Collar Faces: 51.5″
Loadable Sleeve Length: 17.05″
Sleeve Coating: Hard Chrome
Made in: China
The knurling on the Mastery Power Bar from Lu Xiaojun is volcanic in its profile, giving it an aggressive feel that isn't sharp. It's a very well-rounded knurl that's suitable as an everyday driver for the big 3 power lifts. You're not going to get the bite that you would find on something more mountainous, like the REP Power Bar EX (see more below), but you're going to get a bar that grips very nicely.
Generally, this knurl is tightly packed, meaning it offers more points-per-square-inch than something like the Rogue Ohio Power Bar (also see more below). In my experience and my opinion, this further cuts down on some of the bite in the same way lying on a bed of 1,000 nails is going to feel better than a bed of 500 nails: it distributes the pressure better.
One thing I immediately noticed about this bar is that it had a lot of metal shavings… A LOT! This is indicative of some rather rough machining. Upon further inspection, I also noticed that generally there were some micro-cracks within the knurl itself. Again, an indication of rough machining. It's possible that the tooling bit just needs to be replaced more frequently, and it's also possible a more thorough brushing/cleaning after the fact is necessary. Either way, Lu Xiaojun has acknowledged the issue and has worked to correct it, so it's likely not to be an issue in future batches. If it is, you can brush out the shavings with a heavy-duty stiff-bristle brush and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.
Overall, I think this is a nice, balanced knurl. With it being stainless steel, it provides outstanding texture and it maximizes grip as compared to an applied coating (e.g. black zinc, hard chrome, etc…)
The shaft on the Mastery Power Bar measures 29mm, which makes it consistent with IPF standards. This creates a very rigid shaft that's again ideally suited for the squat, bench, and deadlift. The bar also offers a 200,000 PSI tensile strength, which is right in the wheelhouse for a power bar. For perspective, the very popular stainless steel Ohio Power Bar is also 200k.
One of the nice things about this bar, and something that makes it unique, is the extra-wide center knurl. Where most bars offer a center knurl between 4.5-5 inches, the Lu Xiaojun Mastery Power Bar offers a whopping 6.25″. If you have a bigger back or if you just like the additional grip, this is a great benefit.
Aside from the aforementioned machining, the knurl termination points are clean, all coming to a crisp stop. I haven't noticed any feathering or any other concerns with the knurl or shaft.
Another nice feature on the Mastery Power Bar, with one caveat, is the collar. While most bars offer a collar that ranges in width from 1.125″ to 1.5″ (and on up to 2″ in some cases), this bar offers a slim collar of less than 0.5″. The benefit here is that you get a loadable sleeve length of just over 17″ vs. 16.35″ and under. If you're someone who lifts a lot of weight and maxes out the sleeves of other bars, this will be a great feature for you.
The downside to having a slim collar like this is if you have a rack with a 49″ width. Rogue Fitness is an example. Because your plates sit closer to the middle of the bar, they will also rest closer to the rack's uprights. This stresses a proper walk-out and re-rack because you're more at risk of hitting the uprights with the plates. If you have a 47″ rack (Sorinex, Rep Fitness PR-5000, etc…), then this won't be as concerning.
As for the sleeve itself, it's finished in hard chrome and it's grooved. Both of these features are common on a barbell. Hard Chrome is resilient and it looks nice over time. I would love for this bar to also offer stainless sleeves like the fully stainless Rogue OPB, but hard chrome is a great sleeve coating option.
Grooved sleeves are known as being a little better at keeping plates on the bar when collars aren't used. The downside to them is that they produce a very audible zip noise when sliding plates on and off. I really don't like the noise and I prefer smooth sleeves, but this is purely subjective. Many people prefer a grooved sleeve. I will say that these sleeves are less offensive sound-wise than other grooved-sleeved bars I own.
Lastly, the bar utilizes bushings for spin, which is expected with a power bar. This generates a slow but steady spin, which has been my experience with the Mastery Power Bar.
As mentioned, I see the LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar as being a true all-around power bar. On some bars where the knurl is either very aggressive or less aggressive, they may perform better on certain lifts, but at the sacrifice of others. For example, a less aggressive power bar may excel on bench press while underperforming on heavy deadlifts.
This bar performs extremely well on squats in my experience. The extra-wide center knurl is something that I really appreciate about this bar, and it's something I think more companies should do.
Weirdly, the rough machining and metal shavings are almost a benefit on squats. Because you're not getting direct contact to the skin on your back, the shavings actually help to create a lot more stick on your shirt. It may not be great for your shirt's fabric, but I'll be damned if it didn't contribute to some extra grip.
The slim collar, while a nice feature for max loading, is something you must consider if you have a wider rack. If you have an uneven walkout or you re-rack a little off-center, then you run the risk of clipping the upright. A hidden benefit here though is that this bar will train you to dial in your walkout/re-rack.
This isn't my favorite bar to bench with, but it's no slouch. I prefer it over more aggressive bars on this particular lift and also over similarly-knurled 28.5mm power bars. The thinner collar may also come into play for some people, particularly on re-rack.
The Mastery Power Bar is excellent on deadlifts. It's rigid, it's very grippy, and it just performs. Yangsu Ren, who is far stronger than I'll ever be, pulls 700+ lbs on this bar with very positive feedback. You also won't have any issues with the slim collar here since no racks are involved.
As with most stainless steel barbells, the Mastery Power Bar looks fantastic. There's just something about a stainless steel shaft that can't be replicated, in my opinion. It's clean, reflects light beautifully, and is all-around just very nice on the eyes. The beauty of stainless steel is that it will continue to look great for years to come, unlike some other finishes that are more prone to oxidation and general wear.
The end cap on this bar is clean and minimalistic. The simple black background with silver text has a refined, if not understated look. This goes for all LUXIAOJUN barbells, in my opinion.
LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar vs. Rogue Stainless Steel Ohio Power Bar
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is arguably the most popular power bar ever made. That bar has several versions ranging from different finishes to lb vs. kg. The most relevant comparison to the Mastery Power Bar is the Stainless Rogue Ohio Power Bar in KG.
There are quite a few similarities between these two bars. Both offer a stainless shaft, both offer hard chrome grooved sleeves, and both offer a slim collar. You do get a slightly longer loadable sleeve length on the Mastery Power Bar since the collar is just a bit thinner.
Both of these bars offer a volcano knurl with the main difference being the Ohio Power Bar has fewer points-per-square inch. I've always felt that the Ohio Power Bar isn't all that aggressive – more grippy than aggressive. I do think the LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar is more aggressive, but not overly so. Both bars are great all-around power bars.
The other main difference is that the Mastery Power Bar offers a center knurl that is ~1.25″ wider, giving you more surface texture.
In terms of price, this version of the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is $425, making it slightly more expensive than the Mastery Power Bar. It also offers a lifetime warranty vs. a 5-year warranty on the LUXIAOJUN Bar.
While I own the LB version of the stainless steel Ohio Power Bar, it's still a good comparison also. It has a standard collar as opposed to the thinner collar, and it's $395. You can read my review here.
LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar vs. REP Power Bar EX
The REP Power Bar EX is easily one of my favorite bars in my entire collection. That bar is fully stainless steel, including the sleeves, and it offers smooth sleeves, which I prefer. It also offers a noticeably more aggressive, mountainous knurling.
I generally prefer more aggressive knurling, and I do love the Power Bar EX because of it. That said, it's not as user-friendly across all the lifts. For example, I adore that bar on deadlifts, but I never use it on bench press. In that sense, the LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar is the better daily driver for most people, in my opinion.
The LUXIAOJUN Bar offers a wider center knurl as expected as well as a longer loadable sleeve length.
Both bars are priced identically. You can read my review of the Power Bar EX here.
LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar – Pros & Cons
- Stainless steel is one of the best finishes available for overall grip and aesthetics.
- The bar generally offers a very impressive spec profile being 29mm, having a 200k tensile strength, etc…
- This bar offers a 6.25″ wide center knurl, which is over an inch wider than the majority of barbells.
- The slim collar provides ~3/4″ of additional loadable sleeve length.
- Overall, the knurl profile on this bar makes for a great all-around power bar. It's not too aggressive, but it's certainly not mild.
- The bar spins very smoothly in a slow-but-steady manner that you would expect with a power bar.
- The sleeves are grooved, which may or may not be a con depending on the person. I prefer a less audible smooth sleeve.
- This bar included a lot of metal shavings in the knurl that had to be heavily brushed out (and still not completely out). I understand this issue is being addressed, and it likely won't be an issue going forward.
- Depending on what width your rack is, the slim collar may cause interference between the plates and the uprights when walking the bar out and when re-racking the bar. This is more notable on a 49″ rack. If you have a solid walk-out/re-rack, then it probably won't be an issue regardless.
Overall, I think this is a nice barbell with even nicer potential once they get that machining cleaned up. If you're looking for a quality stainless bar with a well-balanced knurl, this is a definite contender, in my opinion.
Furthermore, the slim collar is going to especially appeal to those who are lifting heavy.
If you want to read about the Universal Barbell Score, check it out here.
If you have any questions about this bar or power bars in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own the LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar and you want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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The bar is loaded,