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Barbell Collar Clamps are the Key to Safe Lifts

Someone new to weightlifting might assume that there really isn’t much to it — just pick up the heavy thing and put it back down a few times, right? But once you start digging into the world of weightlifting, you’ll realize that there’s a whole lot of information out there — and gear. It can be hard to differentiate between the gear that you do and don’t need, especially when so much of it purports to help you stay safe, lift more or both. One piece of weightlifting equipment that you may have overlooked while getting lost reading about gloves and belts is a barbell collar clamp.

Barbell collar clamps serve a deceptively simple purpose. They’re used to hold the barbell plate in place. For obvious reasons, you want the plate to be secure on the bar. If the plate falls off it could hurt you or others. And even if it isn’t going to fall, it might still wobble, causing an uneven lift. A secure hold is the ultimate concern, but it’s far from the only consideration you should make when buying a collar clamp. Of course, you’ll have to make sure that the collars actually fit. The options below are designed to fit Olympic bars; Olympic bars have a standardized diameter, length and weight. If you don’t have an Olympic bar, they’re worth the investment, because they save you time when shopping for things like plates.

When choosing a collar, you’ll also want to take convenience into consideration. Some collars can be hard to put on or adjust, meaning that you’ll lose precious gym time futzing with the barbell instead of lifting it. Collars also tend to loosen over time, so you want to make sure it doesn’t loosen too quickly. Otherwise, you’ll have to stop and adjust the collar. We’ve picked out some of the best clamps and collars — these are the ones to get.

1. Lock-Jaw OLY 2 Olympic Barbell Collar

If you’re looking for something heavy-duty, especially if you regularly drop the weights, then these collars from Lock-Jaw are a good pick. They may be more expensive than some other options on the market, but they provide a secure hold and are easy to secure and slide on and off. They have a soft, grippy material on the inside that prevents damage to the barbell.

Pros: Sturdy, easy to put on and off. Grippy material on the inside for a secure hold.

Cons: More expensive than some other options on the market.

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2. CAP Barbell Olympic 2-Inch Spring Clip Collars

These spring clips are the old-school approach to securing weights. They resemble hand grip exercisers — there’s a curled metal ring that secures around the bar by squeezing the handles together. The major appeal of these is that they’re affordable and super sturdy — there are no plastic parts to break. The problem with these is that they require a substantial amount of force to get them to a secured position.

Pros: Sturdy, affordable, grip is not made out of plastic, unlike most other options.

Cons: Can require a substantial amount of force to get into a secure position.

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3. Clout Fitness 2" Olympic Size Barbell Clamp Collar

These clamps from Clout Fitness have an easy, locking mechanism that secures the clamps to the bar with minimal effort. The clamps click in place, so you’ll know you have a secure hold. The collars have rubber padding for a more secure fit, and they’re made out of sturdy ABS plastic.

Pros: Easy to open and close, with a satisfying and secure click. Stainless steel pins for longevity.

Cons: Can slip with heavier weights.

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