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I'd like to purchase some weight equipment to go with what I currently own for the NROLFW program.  We have a curl bar (small hole plates) with 4 10 lbs and 2 5 lbs. Then we have a mulit use cable machine and free weights up to 15 lbs.

I'm thinking I'd like to get at least 20 lb dumbells. BUT, here's my question.  Should I get a standard bar to go with the curl bar plates we already have or should we get an olympic bar set?

I'll say also, that I'm 4'11" and I have small hands. Is the oly bar wider around than a standard bar would be?  Also, what about the length of the bar with my height?  The book recommends a 7 ft one, but with my height would I need a shorter one to get a better workout or does that even matter?

Sorry for all the silly questions, What would be your recommendations?

9 Replies (last)

I went with the APEX 100 lbs set which included a 5 pound barbell and 100 pounds of weights (2x25,2x15,2x10). I then bought a few 2.5 and 5 pound weights to diversify and adjustable dumbells. Because I already had the weights, I didn't feel comfortable spending more money on the olympic bar (118 dollars) and another set of weights (because regular ones wont fit on an olympic bar)

I got another bar that weights 20 pounds (as the 5 pound bar was hollow and couldnt go higher than 100 pounds, and it was already bending a bit at 90) and a step with risers for the same price as the olympic bar. It's also 6' instead of 7' because our place isn't that big and I'm clumsy enough as it is.

I also have the lighter bar with 100 lbs of plates and I invested in a set of adjustable dumbells from select tech, which I love.  They do 2.5 lb increments up to 25 lbs then 5 lb increments up to 50 lbs.  At some point I do want to get an olympic set of weights but I have not progressed to the point of needing them yet.  I also have reg dumbells at 8, 10, 15, 20, and 25 lbs. 

A 4'11" female is probably never going to need a huge amount of weight, so a cheap barbell should be fine. The one thing you might miss is the spinning collars on a higher quality barbell.


I have a lighter (15lb.) bar that uses the 1 inch hole plates, and I have an oly bar (45 lb.) and a number of plates that will fit it. 

I wouldn't say my hands are too big -- I'm 5'4", and I don't really have much problem with either bar.  The length of the bar(s) has been more a factor for me, in that my workout space is small and it's easier to manuever the smaller, shorter bar.   But other than that I haven't noticed the length making a difference in how it feels to lift. 

I probably wouldn't even have the oly bar, but my nephew needed some bucks and some space, and he sold it to me for cheap along with a bench.  It does come in handy in that I can set it up for DLs, and then set up the lighter bar for something else and do supersets without having to unload/load plates. 

I personally went with the "cheaper," non-oly bar and 1" hole plates. The bar is 10 pounds and I have two 25s, two 10s, two 5s and four 2.5s. I also have a set of adjustable dumbbells with 40 pounds of plates (four 7.5s and four 2.5s). I could only really use an oly bar for deads as I can currently lift more than we have. Since I don't do that on a regular basis, I don't really need it.

I'm 5'2" and haven't had any issues with the length of the bar.

Thanks. I'm thinking of getting a bar that will hold the 1" plates, since we already have those. And our space is small so maybe the 6 foot one.   I'm currently using the curling bar for DL's, not ideal I know, but I can lift more than the dumbells that we have.

I may have to look at some adjustable dumbells.

Any tips on where to buy? 

Any sporting goods store should have adjustable dumbbells (Dick's, Sports Authority, even Walmart). Just get the kind like this, rather than these. Price is obviously the main reason to not get the latter, but also there's more that can go wrong. The screw-on kind... you can't do much to mess them up, and if you are getting a standard barbell, you can use those plates for the dumbbells as well.

You could even see what the price of the dumbbell handles alone are, if you already have the plates. Although you might want some 2.5 or 3lb plates to be able to go up slower in weight.

Craigslist and garage sales.

Try play it again sports and craigslist

 Also if you get the dumbell handles you can adjust the weights on teh dumbells using the same plates so you have unlimited amount of dumbell weights.


9 Replies