American Barbell Performance Bearing Bar

  • Manufacturer: American Barbell
  • Purpose: Olympic Weightlifting
  • Bar Weight: 20kg
  • Gender: Men
  • Tensile Strength: 190,000
  • Yield Strength: N/A
  • Knurl Type: Medium
  • Center Knurl: No
  • Knurl Marks: Olympic Weightlifting
  • Shaft Finish: Hard Chrome
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Sleeve Finish: Hard Chrome
  • Sleeve Type: Smooth
  • Rotation System: Bearing
  • Made In: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Read below to get a detailed look at the Performance Bearing Bar including product details, features, real user feedback, and more.


American Barbell Performance Bearing Bar

The American Barbell Performance Bearing Bar is American Barbell’s most economical bearing weightlifting bar in terms of price. It has several nice qualities, but it lags behind the more expensive Stainless Bearing Bar.

It’s built fairly similar to the Stainless version, but with two notable differences: The first being this bar having a hard chrome finish, and the second being the lack of a center knurl.

Here are some further details about the bar:


The knurling on the American Barbell Performance Bearing Bar is going to lean moderate in feel, like other bars made by American Barbell. You’ll get a bar with good grip, but not one that’s going to really bite. This makes it useful for everyday training and one that you can use in higher rep/volume sessions.

The bar does not include a center knurl, which is pretty common for bars not spec’d for competition. As you would expect, the bar also includes single Olympic Weightlifting knurl marks.


The Performance Bearing Bar weighs 20kg and it offers a 28mm shaft. In general, it’s fully built to IWF specs, although it’s not IWF certified. Its 190k PSI tensile strength puts it in-line with other American Barbell offerings as well as several other competitive bars.

The shaft is finished in a hard chrome coating that provides mid-level oxidation resistance and a good-not-great overall feel.


The sleeves on the Performance Bearing Bar offer their beautiful recessed welds, which differ from the friction welds other companies use. This won’t make a difference functionally, but aesthetically, it’s one of the nicest you’ll find.

Another quality of these sleeves is that they’re smooth and finished in hard chrome. The hard chrome is a very common finish for barbell sleeves. The smooth surface will largely come down to preference, as some people prefer grooved sleeves. The benefit of a smooth sleeve is that they’re quieter to use. The potential downside is that they may not keep the plates on the bar as well as a grooved sleeve. If you’re using collars, however, this is a non-issue. 

The sleeves utilize a proprietary bearing technology that produces a smooth spin that you would expect from an Olympic Weightlifting bar. The mechanics of the sleeves are the same as the stainless version. It also includes a protective ring on the inner collar to prevent calk, dust, etc… from coming into contact with the bearings. The sleeve is affixed with a heavy-duty single snap ring, and the end cap looks beautiful.


While I don’t own this exact barbell, I do own hard chrome bars from American Barbell, which will provide a very similar aesthetic. Overall, it’s going to be a nice-looking bar with a well-applied finish. The recessed welds are something special – just beautiful to look at.

I also love American Barbell’s end cap color for their Olympic Weightlifting bars. The blue has a beautiful pop to it and I like the silver snap ring as opposed to a black one.

Features & Highlights

  • Hard Chrome – Chrome is a cost-efficient plating that does a good-but-not-great job at fighting off oxidation. You won’t get the same feel as you would with a non-plated finish like bare steel, stainless steel, etc… but you get a nice blend of feel and rust resistance without the larger price tag.
  • Proprietary Bearings – This bar utilizes a proprietary bearing system that American Barbell claims will spin smoother as the weight gets heavier. The needle bearing, according to American Barbell, is “substantially larger, stronger, higher load rated, and more expensive than a conventional bearing found in all bars today.” They also use an inner sleeve that fits over the bar, which eliminates the needle bearing from coming in contact with the bar itself. This increases the life expectancy of the bearings and promotes a smooth concentric rotation.
  • Smooth Sleeves – The smooth sleeves will generally create less noise when loading/unloading plates compared to a grooved sleeve.
  • Recessed Welds – The bar includes stunning recessed welds that American Barbell is known for. 
  • American Made – This bar is 100% made in America.
  • Strong Warranty – The Performance Bearing Bar comes with a limited lifetime warranty from American Barbell.

From the Manufacturer

American Barbell’s Performance Bearing Bar incorporates a host of proprietary features unlike any other on the market. It’s with this technology our bars spin smoother as the weight gets heavier on the bar.

The bar shaft is made from precision ground alloy steel with a hard chrome coating. The strength of the shaft is tested with every shipment of raw material to ensure we have a consistent 190,000 PSI tensile strength. This attention to detail also allows for an excellent whip and long-term performance of our bars.

The bar sleeves are precision welded to eliminate failure. The weld is semi-concealed to not interfere with plates resting flush against the sleeve collar. Each sleeve is finished with a hard chrome coating for protection against dropping.  It also contains American Barbell’s proprietary concealed bearing system with higher load ratings than any bar available. A dust and chalk seal is also installed to protect and maintain longer bearing life.

What They’re Saying at

The American Barbell Performance Bearing Bar receives very positive feedback from users. With an average rating of 5/5 at, here are some of the things people have said:


  • “Purchased the 20 kg Performance Bearing Bar for my garage gym after using a Rogue Boneyard Bearing Bar for the past several years. The bar is crafted wonderfully. The spin is much smoother and more consistent than my Rogue and I LOVE the passive knurling. My hands would ache after doing complexes with the Rogue Bar, but that is not the case with the American Barbell. The knurling is probably more of a personal preference, but this bar fits my needs perfectly – passive enough to save my hands, yet grippy enough to be confident on my heaviest lifts.”
  • “I primarily used the bushing version of this bar at my local gym, until we were stuck in quarantine. I decided to spend a little more on the bearing version without the center knurling, and I LOVE this bar. It does not cut my hands, but is grippy enough to need no/minimal chalk. The whip is great, and I look forward to every training session with this bar.”
  • “Love the knurl and whip about the bar. Knurl is grippy but does not beat up on ur hands at all.”
  • “The spin on the bar is better than any other bar I have personally used, which includes several top of the line training and competition spec bars.”
  • “Knurl is perfect. The craftsmanship is perfect! Packaging is like Fort Knox! If you decide on this bar you will not be disappointed!”


  • “Only downfall wish it had center knurl for squats and heavy jerks.”

Garage Gym Lab Review

Garage Gym Lab has not yet reviewed this bar, but stay tuned!

Other Options

The below barbells were picked as alternatives to the American Barbell Performance Bearing Bar.