What is a Collar in Weightlifting: Securing Your Gains Safely

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If you’re a weightlifting enthusiast, you’ve likely come across a small yet crucial component of your lifting setup—the collar. Collars are essential for ensuring both safety and precision during your workouts.

What is a collar in weightlifting? In simple terms, a collar is a device that secures weight plates onto the barbell. Collars help you maintain balance and focus on your technique by preventing the plates from sliding off.

Various types are available when choosing the right collar, such as spring, screw, and quick-release. You must find one that suits your needs and offers a secure, tight grip to avoid any accidents during your lifts.

Collar in Weightlifting

When you’re in the gym, focusing on strength training, one crucial piece of equipment is the collar weightlifting. Collars secure weight plates on an Olympic barbell, ensuring they stay in place during your lifts, providing safety and stability.

Design and Purpose

Collars come in several designs, but their primary purpose is to keep weight plates firmly attached to your barbell. The most common types of collars include spring collars and locking collars.

As the name suggests, spring collars have a spring mechanism that makes them easy to add or remove from the barbell sleeve. On the other hand, locking collars offer a more secure hold on the weight plates with a locking mechanism that fastens tightly around the barbell sleeve.

Materials and Sizes

Collars can be made from many materials, including steel, aluminum, and plastic. Each material comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages:

  • Steel: Durable and strong, steel collars provide a solid grip on the barbell sleeve. They’re often heavier, adding extra weight to your lifts.
  • Aluminum: Lighter than steel, aluminum collars offer a good balance between weight and durability. They’re resistant to rust and corrosion, making them a popular choice for long-term use.
  • Plastic: Affordable and lightweight, plastic collars are an easy option for those new to weightlifting. However, they may not be as lasting or secure as their metal counterparts.

Most collars are designed to fit the two main barbell sleeve diameters – fifty millimeters for Olympic barbells and twenty-five to twenty-eight millimeters for standard barbells. Ensure you match the collar size with your barbell’s diameter for optimal functionality and safety.

Types of Collars

Regarding weightlifting, a reliable collar is essential for securing your weight plates in place. This ensures your safety and maintains consistency and accuracy during your lifts. Let’s consider some examples of popular types of collars available today.

Spring Collars

Spring collars are common in gyms due to their simplicity and affordability. You simply squeeze the handles and slide them onto the bar to use them. While economical and easy to use, they may not provide the most secure hold on heavier lifts.

Lockjaw Collars

Lockjaw collars are more advanced, using a clamp-style mechanism for a stronger hold. Press the lever to open the collar, place it on the bar, and release the lever to secure it in place. This type is quick and easy to adjust, providing stability during lifts.


Competition Collars

Competition collars are designed for the highest level of precision and security. These collars are usually made from metal and include a threaded screw to tighten them around the bar. While they can be more difficult to adjust, they provide the most secure grip for serious weightlifters.

Proloc Collars

Proloc collars feature a durable, adjustable resin material and a secure clamping system. To use, place them on the bar and turn the knob until tight. Known for their versatility, these collars can be used with various barbell types and are suitable for home and commercial gym use.

Oso Collars

Oso collars are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and utilize a lever-locking system. Simply open the lever, slide the collar onto the bar, and close the lever to lock it in place. This type of collar is known for its durability and precision, making it a popular choice among weightlifters.

Muscle Clamp Collars

Muscle clamp collars use a single-motion cam system for quick and easy adjustments. Place the collar on the bar and press down on the lever to secure it. Although providing a decent grip, these collars may not be as durable as other types and are most suitable for lighter lifts.

Selecting the Right Collar

Choosing the right collar is essential when you’re looking to improve your weightlifting regimen. In this brief section, we’ll discuss key factors to consider when selecting a collar, including barbell compatibility, user experience, price and quality, and considerations for specific workouts.

Barbell Compatibility

First and foremost, make sure the collar you choose is compatible with your barbell type. Olympic barbells have a two-inch diameter sleeve, while standard barbells have a one-inch diameter sleeve. Pick a collar that matches your bar to ensure a secure fit.

User Experience

Consider ease of use and safety features, such as lock mechanisms. Quick-release collars are ideal for fast-paced workouts like CrossFit, while screw-lock collars provide added security for powerlifting and strength training activities.

Price and Quality

Collars come in various materials and designs, from budget-friendly plastic to durable metal. While price is a factor, don’t skimp on quality – investing in a reliable collar can prevent accidents and extend the life of your equipment.

  • Plastic: Budget-friendly, lightweight, suitable for basic workouts
  • Metal: Durable, robust, ideal for heavy lifters and long-term use

Specific Workouts

Lastly, think about the workouts you or your clients perform regularly. Some collars are designed specifically for certain disciplines, such as Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, or powerlifting, and may provide better performance and safety for those exercises.

Proper Collar Use and Safety

In weightlifting, using collars correctly is crucial for ensuring both performance and safety. This section will guide you through the proper use and safety considerations of weightlifting collars.

Installing and Removing Collars

To install a collar, first, slide it onto the barbell sleeve with the collar’s opening facing away from the weights. Once in place, tighten the collar firmly to ensure a secure fit. When you’re done lifting, carefully loosen the collar and slide it off the barbell sleeve.

Secure Fit and Stability

Collars should always provide a snug fit to prevent weights from shifting during your lifts. To test this, gently move the weights after securing them with the collar. They should not be able to move at all. A stable and secure collar will ensure optimal lifting performance and prevent any accidents due to shifting weights.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using collars in weightlifting:

  • Not tightening the collar enough can lead to a loose fit and decreased stability
  • Over-tightening the collar: While a secure fit is crucial, over-tightening can damage the collar, barbell, or weights
  • Ignoring compatibility: Make sure the collar you use is compatible with the diameter and style of your barbell
  • Using damaged or worn-out collars: Replace collars that appear worn out or damaged to ensure your safety

You can lift safely and efficiently with collars by avoiding these common mistakes and following the proper installation and safety measures.

Popular Collar Brands

The leading collar brands are known for their durability, functionality, and adherence to international standards. Some of these top collar brands include;

Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars

Ideal for professional use, Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars are an excellent choice for you. They are made from high-quality steel, ensuring durability and a secure hold on your barbell. The easy-to-use quick-release design allows for fast and efficient weight changes during your workouts.


Regarding affordability without compromising quality, Dreampark collars are a great option for you. These collars offer a secure grip on your barbell, ensuring your weights remain in place throughout your training. They’re reasonably priced reasonably and suitable for home gyms and fitness enthusiasts on a budget.

Rogue KG Competition Collars

Approved by the International Powerlifting Federation, Rogue KG Competition Collars deliver top-notch performance for competitive lifters like you. These collars are built with precision and dependability, ensuring that your weights stay put during intense training sessions and competitions.


The Collar in weightlifting is an essential piece of equipment that ensures your safety and maintains a balanced distribution of weights on the barbell. Selecting the appropriate collar for your specific needs depends on factors such as the type of barbell, the weights used, and your training environment.

Some common types of collars you may encounter include spring, lockjaw, and magnetic collars. Each has its advantages and drawbacks, so choosing the one that best meets your requirements is essential to ensure a secure and safe training session.

Remember, investing in a suitable collar is crucial to maintaining the longevity of your weightlifting equipment and enabling you to focus on achieving your goals. Make an informed decision and enjoy the benefits of a secure and stable weightlifting experience today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a collar in weightlifting?

A collar is a device that secures weight plates onto a barbell or dumbbell, ensuring they stay in place during your exercise routine. They come in various designs and materials, such as metal or plastic.

Why should I use collars?

Using collars is essential for safety and stability when lifting weights. It prevents weight plates from sliding off the bar, reducing the risk of accidents and allowing you to focus on proper form and technique.

How do I choose the right collar?

Consider your specific needs, weightlifting equipment, and preferences when choosing a collar. Factors to consider include the type of bar (Olympic or standard), collar material, ease of use, and overall effectiveness in keeping weights secure.

Can I lift weights without collars?

Although lifting weights without collars is possible, it’s not advisable, especially for heavy lifts, as it poses risks to your safety and stability. Collars ensure that the weight plates remain in place, which is crucial for safety and proper weight distribution.

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