DIY Weight Bars. I have created two weight bars of my own to best fit my gym needs. Both were very easy to make and cost much less than purchasing traditional weight bars.
This first bar holds olympic weight plates. It is longer than a traditional dumbbell so that you can have multiple grip options. I used a 3/4″ hollow steel pipe, foam insulation, 3/4″ flanges (one per end) and duct tape that I got at Lowe’s. The silver parts are actually foam insulation cut to fit over the bar and secured with duct tape. This creates padding to lesson the weight plates movement and to make it more comfortable to hold. With this bar the olympic weight plates just barely fit over the foam to slide into place. I use this bar for biceps curls. You can grip it anywhere you see foam.
This second DIY Weight Bar also uses olympic weight plates. It uses all of the same materials as the weight bar listed above. The difference is the length of the bar and the placement of foam and the use of additional duct tape. I am comfortably able to lift 100 lbs of weight on this 5 ft long bar. I am unsure just how much more weight it can hold so for my own safety I am purchasing next month an actual olympic weight bar for heavier workouts. I will keep this bar for lighter work outs since it is still useful.
This third bar is my DIY version of a weight bar. Many names are used by various companies for this type of bar (mutt bar, cadillac bar and many more). Because of the direction of the bars you hold it works the triceps. You can do wide or narrow grips for more challenging workouts. I also use it for deadlifts sometimes and for overhead presses. Call it what you will but this is my version of it.
I made it out of scrap 2×4’s that I cut to fit together in a rectangular shape. I drilled holes thru the wood to attach dumbbells thru them. If you do this project and want it to turn out better than mine did then I suggest using a drill press for the holes instead of a cordless drill like I did. My holes are not exactly lined up as well as they could have been had I had a drill press to use. To secure the wood I used deck screws and then to be doubly sure it would not come apart I also used metal brackets with screws to attach different pieces of wood together with. Duct tape was used over areas that looked like they would cause splinters. On two ends of the wood frame are 1/2″ flanges with 1/2″x 6″ hollow steel pipe to add additional weights to. If needed you can unscrew the hollow pipes and replace them with longer 1/2″ steel pipes. Be sure to attach 1/2″ flanges on the ends of the steel pipes being used to hold the weights onto the pipes. As for the dumbbells being used, I used two pair of them and can unscrew the ends to attach weights to them as well.
Because of how close the dumbbells are together you can only use 5 lb weight plates on each end of them. Technically you can fit two 5lb weight plates on the ends of each dumbbell but for safety I recommend only using one 5lb weight plate on each end. By doing it this way you are able to add 40lbs total to this 22lb weight bar plus whatever weight you add to the sides.
If you feel safe using two 5lb weight plates per end of the dumbbells that you can hold 80lbs on this bar plus whatever you add to the ends. I have tried this and it can support it. The reason I do not do it this way is because it does not leave much room on the ends of the dumbbells to prevent the screw on connectors from loosening too much too quickly and possibly resulting in an injury. I got the dumbbells at Walmart (with the screw on connectors) for $7 each. So the most expensive part of this bar was actually the dumbbells themselves. Not counting the weights themselves it cost me only $50 to make this bar versus the up to $300 I saw it can cost online for a version that can hold up to 300lbs.
Pictured above is the completed bar.
Pictured above was early on in the making of this bar. At this point I had not added the other two sides or reinforced it.