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Weight Lifting Basics: Equipment - Collars

As you can imagine, for safety reasons, you want the plates to stay on the bar when you are lifting! Collars are used for this purpose. It is likely that you will encounter three different types of these in weightlifting, so we have outlined them below.


In training sessions you are likely to use either ‘spring collars’ or ‘flip lock collars’.

2 types of spring collar & red flip lock collar

Spring collars (see photo) are a gym staple, you simply squeeze the handles to open the spring and slide the collar on to the bar. Seemingly simple but we often find them to be a bit awkward… Flip lock collars (see photo) however are very easy to use. With the clip open they slide on to the bar sleeve, you then flip the lock back down to tighten the collar, securely holding the plates in place. They are also very easy to remove when you want to change the weight between sets. Both types of collar should be pretty durable to the bar being dropped over and over during a set. However, occasionally they can slide down the sleeve or flip locks can open meaning the plates are unstable on the bar, so it is important to bear this in mind and routinely make sure they are still in place.

2.5kg competition collars


If you are to compete in weightlifting you will experience another type of collar which are uncommon in training. These competition weightlifting collars weigh 2.5kg and therefore are included in the total weight on the bar (the other types mentioned do not weigh a significant amount so do not count towards the weight). Like the flip lock collar, these slide onto the bar when open and then they are screwed on tight (see photo), holding the plates securely onto the bar. At competition you won’t have to put them on the bar yourself as the bar is prepared by ‘loaders’, however it is a good idea to get used to lifting with these as it can feel a bit different. When tightly screwed against the plates the plates themselves cannot spin independently to the bar sleeve, only the sleeve will rotate. This difference in spin can be noticeable when completing the lift.

- Team Canterbury Strength


Everett, G. 2016. Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches. 3rd Edn. Catalyst Athletics.

Haff, G. & Triplett, N. T. 2016. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 4th Edn. Human Kinetics, Leeds.

Lear, J. 1991. Skilful Weight Lifting. 1st Edn. A & C Black, London.

Rippetoe, M. 2011. Starting Strength - Basic Barbell Training. 3rd Edn. The Aasgaard Company, Wichita Falls.


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