If you are doing back squats or hip thrusts with a barbell, having the best barbell pad is important for the quality of your workout and comfort.
This article will examine several of the best barbell pads, their benefits, and top options on the market.
Do You Really Need A Barbell Pad For The Barbell?
The answer to this question varies from person to person and depends on the athlete’s specific needs.
For some, having a barbell directly on the shoulders and back can lead to discomfort and pain, so a barbell pad provides extra barbell cushion and comfort to complete the exercises.
And of course, this can lead to adding more weight to the bar or doing more reps, making for a more intense workout experience.
How To Choose The Best Barbell Pads
We will consider a few things when looking at the best barbell pad for hip thrusts or squats, whatever fits our needs.
First, we look at the material of the barbell pad. What is it made of?
Next, we will consider the pad’s size, including the foam’s thickness and length, both of which can vary but are important to understand based on your needs.
Some of the best barbell pads come with straps to help secure the barbell pad to the bar to avoid slipping.
We are also going to consider the price. Most barbell pads can be purchased for under 30 bucks, with a few options going over a bit.
We don’t want to overpay for a barbell foam pad, but we do want to try to get the best barbell pad available for our specific fitness situation and exercise routine.
Here is the summary list of our best barbell pads, and the full reviews are below.
Top 7 Barbell Pads For Squats And Hip Thrusts On The Market
1. ProFitness Barbell Pad w/ Straps – Shoulder Support for Squats, Squat Lunges & Hip Thrusts – for Olympic or Standard Bars
With almost a perfect 5-star rating and almost 9,000 reviews on Amazon, it’s a no-brainer that this squat/thrust pas is our top choice, along with thousands of other users.Pros:
This squat barbell pad is a great option if you’re an athlete looking to take your performance beyond what nature intended.
Its high grip surface will give extra control over the barbell while providing comfort and ease of use so that all aspects can be executed precisely, especially those heavy squats and hip thrusts.
With these tough, rubberized foam squat pads you’ll be able to protect your back and shoulders while performing heavy squats without worrying about them flattening out.
Plus, they won’t stick or slide on the barbell thanks to the two handy Velcro straps.
The heavy squat pads allow you to work out comfortably without worrying about your barbell moving around.
They’re designed for uneven weight distribution, perfect if it’s been a while since doing strong compound exercises like deadlifts or squats.
A great addition to your squat rack.
2. Iron Bull Strength Advanced Squat Pad – Barbell Pad for Squats, Lunges & Hip Thrusts – Neck & Shoulder Protective Pad Support
What’s the difference between this hip thrust pad and the one above?
A couple of straps and a little thickness.
So, very little, but enough that you might want to consider if you need the straps.Pros:
This ergonomic design allows you to perform your exercises pain-free and focus on form while reducing shocks delivered by the flooring beneath us during squats and hip thrusts.
Advanced Squat Pads are made of high density foam rubber that absorbs energy when applied with force onto surfaces such as bars or floors – helping reduce discomfort.
Our matte finish ensures stability, preventing slipping away where it matters most: off our shoulders. This matte finish helps with slippage in replacing the straps from above, but not 100%.
We also see the Iron Bull barbell pad in several colors, which is great for those worried about the gym aesthetic.
3. POWER GUIDANCE Barbell Squat Pad – Neck & Shoulder Protective Pad
The new Perfect Barbell Squat Pad has everything you need to make your squats more comfortable.
It’s designed with one-piece reinforced covers, ergonomic center groove design, and strong anti-slip properties so that there are no problems when it comes time for heavy deadlifting or Olympic LiftingPros:
This barbell pad from Power Guidance is upgraded from an older version but with the same reliable options and high quality.
With its anti-slip design, you can have comfort without sacrificing stability.
The Power Guidance barbell pad has two velcro straps to ensure the pads don’t slide up and down the bar. This is great for powerlifting or casual training while focusing on getting stronger each time without worrying about slipping.
The barbell pad is made of high-quality materials to ensure a comfortable workout. The reinforced fabric cover and sponge inside provide optimal support for your joints while also being soft on the skin without any pain.
The Power Guidance barbell pad is a bit longer than others we have seen on the list, coming in just over 17 inches; great for those who need longer barbell pads for hip thrusts, squat lungers, and other exercises.
4. Dark Iron Fitness Barbell Pad – 15-inch, Extra Thick, Padded Cushion for Barbell Squat, Hip Thrust, Weight Training and Lunge Exercises – Squat Rack Accessories
The Dark Iron Fitness barbell pad is the first non-ergonomic hip thrust pad we have seen on this list, but that’s not necessarily bad.
This is a different type for our best barbell pad list of reviews.Pros:
The barbell pad’s extra 1.5″ barbell cushion is one of the thickest on this list, guaranteeing extra comfort during those difficult exercises.
The Dark Iron Fitness has a 15″ barbell pad, so it’s not super long, but it’s not necessarily bad.
The barbell pad design is made with top-grade, 1 1/2″ dense foam to provide optimal support and comfort during your WOD or powerlifting training.
This dense level foam will help it retain shape for a long time.
Remember, these barbell pads are designed for the 2″ Olympic-sized bars. While you can use these on 1″ bars, they will not stay on well and are more prone to slipping.
5 REEHUT Squat Pad Barbell Pad for Squats, Lunges and Hip Thrusts
The longest barbell pad on the list at over 17 inches, the REEEHUT is approaching 5,000 reviews on Amazon, so we aren’t the only ones who are a fan.Pros:
I don’t want to call this an oversized bar pad, but it is the longest barbell pad on the list, making it a great option for those who need to cover a wider body span, whether for squats or hip thrusts.
We see a similar ergonomic design as with other barbell pads, with the thick foam on the edges of the barbell pad and a dip in the middle.
This foam pad also has securing straps to help secure it to the bar.
This barbell pad can be used on both standard and Olympic-sized bars.
6. DMoose Barbell Pad – For Standard & Olympic Bars
The DMoose barbell neck pad is an awesome addition to any home gym.
With its lightweight and portable design, you can take this with in order so that your workout doesn’t have additional weight on top of all those exercises.Pros:
If you have been around fitness for long, you have surely come across the DMoose brand of fitness equipment.
So it’s no surprise to see them pop on this best barbell pads for hip thrusts and squats list.
This is another long bar pad for hip thrusts, measuring nearly 17 inches.
The barbell pad also has a 1.2″ inch non-slip EVA foam that comes in several color options.
They also sell this item in combo packs, so you can buy two or 3 barbell pads simultaneously at a small discount.
7. Fit Viva Barbell Pad for Standard and Olympic Barbells with Safety Straps
Fit Viva may not be as well-known as some other hip thrust pads on this list, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of the most reviewed barbell pads on Amazon.Pros:
The Fit Viva barbell pad is a great beginner option at a lower price than some on this list.
It’s a 17″ bar pad, long enough to protect the neck and shoulders for squats, and a great barbell pad for hip thrusts, thanks to its 1.3″ thickness.
It’s also another option with safety straps to help make sure the bar doesn’t move or shift during your hip thrusts or other movements.
And while it’s a basic bar pad for hip thrusts, squats, and other movements, with almost 6,000 reviews on Amazon, it seems this bar pad is more than capable of handling the weight.
Help Choosing The Right Squat Or Hip Thrust Pads Based On Features
We have identified a few main factors to consider when purchasing barbell pads.
It is worthwhile looking at how thick, thin, and hard barbell pads are.
The material must be durable, soft, and comfortable enough to cushion the body and the barbell.
The best barbell pad is made with rubber because it is more durable and comfortable, and the foam will also have a thicker texture, depending on your needs.
If you want your barbell pad to be secure and not risk it moving or shifting around, consider getting a bar pad with straps.
The best barbell pad can move around on the bar, but the pad can’t hold the bar in place. This means the bar can rotate within the pad itself.
You must ensure the bar pad is securely secured to the bar, so the weight does not move during training. Many barbell pads are tight enough not to require a strap, but there is certainly comfort in having the extra security for some.
Coverage And Size
Look into barbell pads that are wide enough so they can cover all of your muscles for whatever exercise you are doing.
If you want to do barbell squats, you want a pad that is wide enough to go across the width of your shoulder.
For hip thrust, the bar pad doesn’t need to be as long, but you want it wide enough to cover the width of your body so the bar can comfortably lay across it.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Barbell Pad?
A barbell pad is important for anyone who wants to do a barbell hip thrust or squat.
A product being such a low-price tool is extremely beneficial to both lifters and athletes, especially considering the price.
The extra comfort and security of using a foam barbell pad can help safely take a workout to the next level.
Which Barbell Pad Is The Best Barbell Pad?
We have selected the ProFitness bar pad as the best barbell pad on this list.
However, every person has different needs and requirements, so you might find a different pad better fits you.
In the end, the best pad is the one that helps you achieve your goals and get the quality of workout you want.
Is A Barbell Pad Worth It?
This certainly depends on your specific workout and fitness wants and requirements.
Trying a barbell pad at such a low price point is easy to see if it can provide an extra benefit to your workouts.
Also, many gyms have these on hand, so you can test these out at your local gym before buying to determine if you should get one of your own.
How Thick Should The Best Barbell Pad Be?
There is no standard answer to this question, as it will be based on the athlete using it.
For some, a thinner pad with less foam might be preferred, whereas others prefer a thicker, high-density foam pad for hip thrust exercises and squat lungers to add more comfort.
In the end, the best thickness depends on the user’s preference.
What Exercises Are Good To Do With A Bar Pad?
Regarding great exercises for which a bar pad would be useful, think about the different exercises you can do with a barbell. Nearly every movement with a barbell can benefit from a bar pad.
For example, putting an extra thick bar pad on the barbell can be used to cushion the weights against your body when lowering the arms.
A barbell pad can keep the bar from rubbing directly against your shoulders and traps and provide comfort with the high-density foam for back squats and squat lunges.
Many also use a bar pad for hip thrusts to protect the body from being directly impacted by the bar. The slight bit of cushion from a bar pad ensures that more reps can be done and with more weight for a better workout experience.
What Are The Best Barbell Pad Alternatives?
There are not a lot of alternatives available to use, but the main one seen at the gym is gym towels.
You can take any gym towel, or maybe two, and wrap it around the bar at the contact points of your body.
This will help with some cushion and is a great last-minute alternative, but not a proper alternative to a real barbell weightlifting pad.
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Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape in a quest to better himself and those around him focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.