I don’t know how people can squat without collars.
If you’re like me, you might wobble out of the rack into position before squatting. When doing this, I find that if I don’t have barbell collars securely clamping down on the Olympic plates, those plates will start shifting from side to side.
When I was training at Fitness First Rama 3 in Bangkok, the sleeves on the barbells was smooth (in other words, there were no ridges), and the only collars available was those spring collar and the L-screw Olympic collars, pictured below:
I normally used the screw style Olympic collars because they held tighter than the spring collars, but they would come loose on a regular basis, especially if I was lifting heavy weights, or performing deadlifts where I lower the weight back on the ground before doing another rep.
If I’m squatting a heavy weight, the plates would slide away from the center slightly and I would have to adjust the plates and tighten the collars in between sets.
One time, the plates on the right side of the bar shifted so much that it was half way from falling off!
While deadlifting, every time I completed the rep and put the barbell back on the floor, the plate would shift. Sometimes it would shift a little, but other times the collars would actually come loose, making the plates shift a few inches away from the center of the bar and I would have to stop, re-adjust the plates, tighten the collars and then continue with my set.
Needless to say, this constant readjusting of the plates and tightening of the collars was a pain in the ass, and added unnecessary friction to my workout.
I’ve tried doubling up on collars, but this wasn’t always possible because other people would be using them. Also, I didn’t want to be the jackass in the gym hogging half of the collars.
Also, it’s not entirely effective because during deadlifts, the plates will shift out of place even with 2 collars on each end of the bar.
Being fed up with this, I decided it was time to INVEST in my own barbell collars.
What Lead Me To The Ivanko COT-1.25 Barbell Collars
I did some research online and considered Olympic barbell collars such as Muscle Clamp and Lockjaw collars. They were light weight because they were made of plastic. But being made of plastic, I was concerned that it would not be as effective in holding a lot of weight as I wanted.
After seeing this video, my suspicions were confirmed.
Also, this video lead me to look at the Ivanko compression collars, which I ultimately ended up buying from Amazon.
Ivanko has a few types of compression collars, ranging from a massive 2.5kg (5.5lbs each) to 1.25lbs collars (totaling 2.5lbs). I went with the smaller version because it would be a lot more convenient carrying them around. And I believe they’re the ones shown in the video above.
At the time, they offered 2 versions of the COT 1.25 pressure ring collars. One was chrome plated, and the other was black oxide. Luckily I got the black oxide version (they look manlier) because Ivanko no longer manufactures that model.
How It Works
There’s a curved metal plate lining the inside of the collar called a “compression band”.
When you tighten the T-bolt, the compression band clamps down onto the bar.
Since the compression is distributed along compression band, it’s very tight and unlike other barbell collars (such as the L-screw collars where the screw digs into the bar), it doesn’t damage the bar.
Below is a picture of the Ivanko COT-1.25 collars untightened, and tightened:
What I Like
T-bolt collar. This makes it easy to spin from any direction.
I know the weight of my collars. They Ivanko compression collars weigh 1.25lbs each, so that’s 2.5lbs in total. With other collars, I’m not sure of the weight.
Extremely tight and secure. Weight plates don’t move, period.
Doesn’t damage the bar since the pressure is distributed throughout the interior ring.
Easy to tighten. I don’t need to apply much force to tighten the collars securely, compared to the L-screw collars.
What I Don’t Like
Prone to rust if not taken care of. I left these collars in a basement for a few weeks and it started to show some corrosion. This would not be an issue if I got the chrome plated version instead.
If you’re annoyed like I was where the barbell collars are not tight enough are coming loose during a heavy set, the Ivanko compression collars are a worthwhile investment. It certainly was for me, because I no longer had to adjust the plates and re-tighten the collars in between (and during) a set. My workouts were smoother, and I can focus on lifting the weight rather than if the barbell collars are coming loose or not.
While Ivanko doesn’t offer the black oxide version anymore (according to their website), I’m sure the chrome version of the Ivanko COT-1.25 works just as well, and is more resistant to corrosion.
They also have larger (and probably stronger) models of the compression collars. They are the COT-2.5 (which is a larger version of the COT-1.25), the CO-2.5KG and COC 2.5KG.