We covered general barbell maintenance in our last article. Now that you know general care and maintenance of your barbells we’ll delve into more thorough cleaning of your Olympic barbell sleeves. The ‘sleeves’ on a barbell are the rotating ends where your plates are added to the bar. A newer bar shouldn’t require such close cleaning and care for your sleeves; this will be for your older, well used barbells. Your barbell sleeves are likely held on by one of two methods- snap rings or a pin and end cap. This article will be covering those types of sleeves. There are bar manufacturers that have it made it so the sleeve does not come off, you will have to contact them directly for any maintenance questions and/or concerns.
First, if you have a snap ring style bar you’ll need a snap ring pliers to remove them. You’ll need to remove the outer snap ring, the end cap, and the inner snap ring to loosen your sleeve from your bar. You want to grab the two holes in the ring and compress it to remove it from the bar. Your end cap should pop out next, and you can remove your final snap ring.
Secondly, the pinned barbell sleeves. If your sleeves are pinned there’s a steel disc, or end cap, and pin keeping them from falling off of your bar. The end cap is approximately 2-inches in diameter, and about 1/2″ thick. To hold the endcap in place a pin runs the diameter of the bar. You can use a hammer and small screw driver to tap the pin out of its hole. Once you’ve got the pin out, the end cap should come off and you can remove your sleeve.
Next you should take a clean rag and wipe off any excess dirt, corrosion and grease on your bar, and inside the ends of your sleeve. If some of the dirt is caked on you may want to use a bit of steel wool to smooth things down. You can use the steel wool again, on the now bare bar, and inside the ends of the sleeve. Be sure to wipe down your bar again to remove any residue from the steel wool.
You should use a Teflon grease on the inside ends of the sleeve, and either end of the sleeve portion of your bar. You want to use a high pressure type of grease that will hold the pressure of the bar. Grease should keep the sleeve spinning longer, and will keep it cleaner than if you used oil. You don’t need to use a lot of grease on the bar a little goes a long way. Finally you can put your sleeve back on, remove any excess grease that may be around. Spin the sleeve a few times, again wiping up any excess grease.
As we said in our last article you need to be sure you are otherwise taking good care of your bar. You don’t want to let it slam down on the ground after you’ve removed weights. Don’t drop an empty barbell, letting the barbell slam to the ground may damage your bearings/bushings. Remember to remove the weights from the bar when you are done. Storing weights on hanging bars can cause the bar to bend over time. Be sure to check your workout area for any sharp edges that might damage your bar. Use collars at all times to prevent plate movement on the bars. Proper care and maintenance of your barbells can keep them performing well for a life time.