Buddy Capps Texas All-American Bar Review: An All-Purpose Power Bar for the People?

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If any barbell qualifies as "legendary" in strength culture, it's the Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar. It's been the tool of choice for elite powerlifting meets and has held countless record-breaking loads on its sleeves, including the first-ever 1,000-pound squat all the way back in 1985. But it has also helped countless lifters get seriously strong in elite training centers and garage gyms alike. So when the Capps team set out to create an all-purpose lifting bar, they took an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, making strategic alterations to what is already one of the best barbells out there.

The result is the Buddy Caps All-American Bar, a strong, stiff, and well-made lifting tool that meets the needs of many different lifters, not just those aiming for the platform. Want to see if you're one of those lifters? Read our Buddy Capps All-American Bar in-depth review to find out!

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A Quick Look at the Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar

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SPECS

  • Weight: 20 kg (44 lbs.)
  • Diameter: 28.5mm shaft
  • Strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Stiffness: Stiff
  • Spacing rings: 32 (powerlifting) and 36 inches (Olympic)
  • Knurling: Medium
  • Finish: Bare steel, zinc, or cerakote
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Buddy Capps is one of the most decorated and longest-lived barbell manufacturers, with roots dating back to the 1960s. As the story goes, Capps was perpetually disappointed in the knurling and sleeve construction of popular bars, so he built his own. The Texas Power Bar, launched in 1980, was an immediate favorite of the world's strongest lifters, and the company has since expanded their line to include the extra-beefy Texas Squat Bar, the more flexible Texas Deadlift Bar, the slimmer Texas Bodybuilding Bar, and the all-purpose Texas All-American bar, among others.

Since its launch in 2018, the Texas All-American Bar has become a popular choice for training facilities where strength is a priority, but not the only priority. With the same starting shaft as the Texas Power Bar but a less aggressive knurl and an extra-wide second set of spacing rings at 36 inches, it's suitable for a wider range of lifts than just the powerlifts.

What We Like

  • World-class construction and elite performance for big lifts
  • Quiet, smooth spin
  • Dual knurl marks at powerlifting-standard 32", and Olympic lifting-standard 36"
  • Less aggressive knurl than the notoriously tough Texas Power Bar
  • Center knurl for back squats, unlike some other all-purpose bars

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't come in a 15kg, 25mm version
  • More of a "less knurled Texas power bar" than a whole new bar
  • Knurling still pretty aggressive for an all-purpose bar
  • Slightly aggressive center knurl makes front squats and cleans uncomfortable

A Closer Look at Buddy Capps Texas All-American Bar


Weight and Diameter

In weight and shaft diameter, the All-American Bar matches the Texas Power Bar at 20kg (44 lbs.) and 28.5 millimeters. That's right in line with other popular all-purpose bars like the Rogue Ohio bar, and just 0.5 millimeters bigger than the 28 millimeter American Barbell California Bar. It's just slightly narrower than the many 29-millimeter power bars on the market, but no one is going to tell you that the 0.5 millimeters difference is going to keep you from getting strong, especially if you also tell them that it's a Buddy Capps bar.

One difference between the All-American Bar and the California Bar is that the latter comes in a 15kg, 25 millimeter-diameter version designed for smaller lifters and women, whereas the All-American bar is what it is. However, in 2018 Capps released the Starting Strength bar, which comes in a 15kg version with the same dual spacing rings as the All-American Bar, as well as a larger 20kg version and an even smaller 10kg version.

Stiffness and Strength

At an identical 190K PSI and diameter to the Texas Power Bar, you can expect this to feel, well, exactly like a Texas Power Bar. That means plenty stiff, but still nowhere near as stiff as the 32.5 mm, 55kg telephone pole that is the Texas Squat Bar.

Is it too stiff for a general-purpose bar? No, although some lifters might prefer something with a little more flex and a little less size for fast lifts like cleans and snatches, or for serious deadlift work. The bigger question is if you already have a Texas Power Bar in your gym, does the All-American bar add enough features to the formula to be worth the additional purchase? Perhaps if you're a full-on bar fiend with a spot in your weight rack that is begging to be filled, but otherwise, owning just one of the bars is probably enough.

Knurling

Knurling is a major difference between the All-American Bar and the Texas Power Bar. The knurling is definitely less aggressive, with some reviewers calling it "passive," and Capps description saying "medium." But a few commenters note that it's still aggressive-ish, maybe too much so for high-rep work or barbell complexes. This is a matter of taste and pain tolerance, for sure.

And while the Rogue Ohio Bar and the American Barbell California Bar lack center knurl, the All-American bar has center knurling—and a slightly more aggressive one than even some power bars. This makes it great for back squats, but somewhat uncomfortable for front squats, cleans, and anything where the bar is pressed against your throat.

Spacing Rings

While the Texas Power Bar has rings or knurl marks at only 32 inches wide in the classic powerlifting style, the All-American bar adds a second pair of rings at 36 inches wide, which is the standard for Olympic lifting. However, the center knurling and larger diameter of the All-American bar deviate from the Olympic formula, which has a smooth center and smaller diameter to increase flex and minimize abrasions on the throat and front delts.

Does this mean that the All-American Bar is unsuitable for fast lifts? Definitely not. You can still do cleans and snatches with this bar, in addition to a wide range of barbell lifts. But once you get serious or competitive about Olympic lifting, you'll likely be doing it on a different bar

Finish

The All-American Bar comes in two finish options: bare steel (which is to say, no finish at all), or black zinc. For comparison, bare steel (not to be confused with stainless steel) will develop a patina and can oxidize without regular maintenance, whereas black zinc is more corrosion-resistant. This is a matter of taste, but at just $10 extra for the black zinc, it's worth considering if you're not an obsessive barbell-brusher and don't want oxidation to develop. The sleeves come in either chrome or bare steel, with no price difference between them.

If you're a fan of the color options and corrosion resistance of cerakote, the good news is that Capps has also released a Texas All-American Bar Cerakote version, at a price point of $55 above bare steel and $45 above zinc. It's available in four colorways: red, black, olive green, white, blue, and a steely black tungsten cerakote. All of the cerakote models come with chrome sleeves.

Buddy Capps Texas All-American Bar Features

The Buddy Capps Texas All-American bar starts with the same well-loved 28.5-millimeter shaft as the Texas Power Bar, but dials back the aggressive knurling and adds a second pair of spacing rings at the Olympic lifting standard of 36 inches. The 17-inch sleeves, an 86-inch total distance, and 52-inch inside collar distance are also identical to the Texas Power Bar, as are the quiet and smooth-as-silk bushing bearings on the collars. This isn't so much a new bar, as a more versatile version of a popular existing bar.

Buddy Capps Texas All-American Bar Construction

Buddy Capps makes some of the longest-lasting, strongest bars on the market, and everything from the bearings to the knurling showcases craftsmanship and attention to detail. That said, this is a power bar at heart. The stiffness, diameter, still-pretty-aggressive knurling, and center knurl all speak to a bar that prioritizes the Big 3 lifts, and big squats and benches in particular. So if you buy it, buy it knowing what it is!

Our Verdict

The Buddy Capps All-American Bar is a solid option as an all-purpose barbell, although if you do a lot of lifting in a front-rack position, the center knurling may get pretty annoying. If you already own a Texas Power Bar or another bar, there may be better options, because this is basically a power bar with less knurling. But if you're looking for a single-bar solution that has the feel and stiffness of a power bar, it's a strong contender.

Other Power Bar Options We Recommend

If you're looking for an alternative, here are a few more power bar choices from some of our favorite fitness equipment brands:

FAQs About Buddy Capps Texas All-American Bar


Is a Texas All-American Bar stiff?

The Texas All-American Bar is the same stiffness as the Texas Power Bar since they're built around the same shaft. It's not the stiffest bar on the market, but is still plenty stiff. Don't expect much, if any, flex or bounce using mortal loads. If you decide to squat 1,002 pounds with it like Fred "Dr. Squat" Hatfield did in 1985, the bar will definitely flex a little. But even then, it held remarkably straight!

Can you deadlift with a Texas All-American Bar?

Yes! If you find that the aggressive knurling of power bars rips up your hands, the medium knurling of the Texas All-American bar will be a relief! But it's still plenty aggressive enough to keep the bar snug in your paws, with or without chalk.

Can you bench with a Texas All-American Bar?

The Texas Power Bar is the bar of choice in the NFL Combine 225-pound bench press test, and the Texas All-American bar is the same bar with less aggressive knurling. So yes, it's safe to say that this is a well-pedigreed bench press bar. And with the dialed-back knurling, it might mean you can finally leave your gloves in the bag and bench without leaving marks on your palms.

What is the difference between a power bar and a deadlift bar?

Dedicated deadlift bars are built around a smaller-diameter shaft than power bars, usually to the tune of 27 millimeters rather than 28.5 or 29 millimeters. They are also usually longer than power bars. These two factors mean that the bar flexes more off the ground, and is easier to hold in the hands without straps. For comparison, the Buddy Capps Texas Deadlift bar is a whopping 92.5 inches long with a 27-millimeter shaft diameter, while the Texas Power Bar and Texas All-American Bar are 86 inches long with a 28.5 shaft diameter. The deadlift bar has the Power Bar's aggressive knurling, but no center knurling.

About the Author

Nick Collias

Nick Collias is a writer and editor with over 12 years of experience working in health and fitness. Before that, he spent a decade as a print and online journalist, book author, ghostwriter, and editor.

See More from Nick

Nick Collias is a writer and editor with over 12 years of experience working in health and fitness. Before that, he spent a decade as a print and online journalist, book author, ghostwriter, and editor.

See More from Nick

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