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Building a weighted technique bar on a budget

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For those do it yourselfers, and people without deep pockets, the idea of spending big bucks on a technique bar seems ridiculous. I am a big believer in PVC pipe for learning, but at some stage a person has to move up in weight.

For many, jumping from a few ounces to an empty 44lb OLY bar is just too much.

Take the OHS for example. When learning, most people have no issues with a PVC bar, but add an empty bar to the equation, and it just isn’t happening.

I have a few people I’m working with that fall into this category.  I really didn’t want to spend a fortune getting them ready for a standard bar, mainly because I have a bunch of other items on my gym “Wish List”.So being ever thrifty, I scoured the Internet hoping I could purchase something cheap. That went nowhere quick. 

(While I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ROGUE GEAR, at this point, $136 a bar was a little out of reach. Especially when I need more than a few.

Of course, “professional” technique bars allow you to add weight, so you get what you pay for. If you have the money, Rogue can’t be beat.)

After my search failed, I looked up do it yourself ideas. The list ran from filling a PVC pipe with Rebar and sand, to filling it with water, and many variations between.

One idea that stuck out was using threaded black steel pipe filled with sand and capped ends.

Having that in mind I looked up the dimensions for a Men’s OLY bar.

Standard size is: 7.2 ft long.  Weighs 44lbs. The ends are 2.0” in diameter. The grip section is 1.1” in diameter, and is 52” in length (Space between collars).

Since these wouldn’t be carrying weights, the only dimensions that mattered were bar diameter and length.

I called my local hardware store in search for 1” black steel pipe. They quoted $3.99 a foot, another $1 for the cut, and $1 for the threads. (In my opinion this was Waaaaay overpriced. Since I don’t have a Home Depot close, it was my only option.)

I also bought a 70# all-purpose bag of sand for $3.95 (I could have driven to the beach, but was being a bit lazy).

Then two 1” end caps, which ran a couple of dollars each. (Another over priced item at this particular store.)

I already had a can of half used flat black primer.

 The Project in photos:

1. Sand, a 5' length of 1" black steel pipe, two  1" end caps and a small pipe wrench.

2. I used a makeshift funnel made from a piece of 8.5x11" printer paper for the sand.

3. I barely made a dent in the bag of sand ( You will have a bunch of extra). It only took 5 or six scoops from the kids toy shovel to fill the pipe. I then tamped the end a bit to make the sand settle and filled it a bit more.

4. I topped off the sand to fill the void when I put the end cap on. I also added a bit to the cap. My concern was that the sand would make it hard to tighten when it got on the threads. It was no problem when using a pipe wrench.

5. When they cut the pipe and threaded it, there were small rough edges afterward. I knocked these down with some fine grit sand paper. This also gave the paint a good surface to adhere to.

6. I have used Rustoleum Sandable Primer for a bunch of projects. It holds up well and covers smooth. We'll see how well it holds up to workout abuse.

7. Lesson to self! Check the cap from the old can of paint BEFORE you paint. The first spray shot this thick goop all over the pipe. I had to wait until it dried, re-sanded, changed the cap out and re-sprayed.

8. Now that is how it is supposed to look.

9. The finished bar in all it's painted 11.4 lbs of glory.

When I build another I would make the following changes.

I’d have them only thread about a ¼ inch so the cap completely covers the threads.

2.     If you have access to someone who can powder coat on the cheap, this may be better that spray paint. I haven’t had issues yet, but I guarantee paint will never hold up like powder coating.

Shopping List:

1 - 60” (5 feet) threaded black steel pipe.
2 – 1” Steel threaded end caps
1 - Bag  All Purpose sand, you will never use close to a full bag. You WILL have a lot left over

1 – Can spray paint. I chose flat black; we’ll see how it holds up


- A couple of pipe wrenches to tighten the end caps.

- Sand Paper for taking smoothing ridges made by the wrenches or the machinery used to cut threads.

Total Cost:  (with Sand and Paint) approx $27.

Finished weight: 11.4 lbs.

Overall Length: 60 inches. (5 feet)

Oh and if this project seems out of reach, I’d be happy to build and ship them for a fee of course

 * Disclosure Per FCC You need to know that certain links from this article are to affiliate products for sale. What that means is that if you click on the link and later purchase a product from the site I could get paid. I have not tried every product on this page. Buyer beware, do your own research prior to any purchase. You can read a more in depth disclosure here if need be. So why would I tell you this? Well first it’s the law, second it’s the right thing to do and third I ain’t got nothing to hide. Since this site don’t pay the bills by itself, I figure providing a link to product you might want could benefits both of us.

See you on the beach.


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