Introduction: Kids Olympic Weightlifting Bar

About: I make small practical projects. I tend to be a little impatient, so if the projects require a lot of care, detail and time, I won't do them. My projects take a couple of hours at most.

As of this instruction (May-2020), weightlifting equipment prices have gone through the roof and most items are out of stock due to the pandemic restrictions. My son wanted his own weightlifting bar, so we decided to make one ourselves. For kids around 5 years old, even an empty steel bar might be too heavy and a little dangerous if they drop it, so it's important to make the bar out of aluminum stock if you can find one. We used a 4 foot length piece of Schedule 80 aluminum pipe. It is nominal 3/4" inside diameter which comes out to about 1.05" outside diameter. The rest of the bar is made from PVC pipe segments and some wood. The instructions cover the fabrication and assembly. These bars cost around $105 plus shipping from Rogue fitness. The cost of this bar should be under about $50 even if you use high quality aluminum bar stock, probably less if you have PVC lying around.


Aluminum Bar; 4 foot length, Schedule 80, Inside diameter 3/4" nominal, 1.05" outside diameter.

PVC Pipe: 1ft x 1.5 inch

PVC Piple: 1ft x 1.25 inch

PCV Pipe: 1ft x 1 inch

Wood: 1/2' hard wood (I used red oak)

Epoxy glue (fast set)

PVC solvent and glue


Hole saw 1"

Hole saw (Anything between 2.5" or 3")

Files (flat and round)

Sandpaper (around 220 grit)

Hacksaw for PVC

Step 1: Start With the Bar

The is a piece of 4 foot schedule 80 aluminum bar stock. You can of course use galvanized steel or back pipe steel, but for a young kid, that might be too heavy. However, steel is cheaper than aluminum. Do not use PVC pipe as the bar unless it's just for very light weight. The aluminum bar can easily handle 40 to 50 lbs which will last a long time for a 5 year old. I got my pipe off of Amazon which is high quality 6061-T6 pipe, but a little expensive. it is still cheaper than buying a junior bar from a retailer.

Step 2: Cut Your PVC Pipe

Get your 1", 1.25", 1.5" PVC pipes and cut them into two pieces having a length of 5 inches. You should end up with six PVC pipe segments. These pieces will be used for the outer bar sleeve (where you load the weights).

Step 3: Cut You Pipe Segments Lengthwise.

The pipe segments will not fit over each other, so you need to cut the pipes lengthwise so that they can be stretched open to fit over each other. A mini-hacksaw works best for this cut.

Step 4: Cut Inner Sleeve Pipe Pieces

Cut additional pieces from your 1" and 1.25" pipe. Don't cut the pieces from the previous step. These are additional pieces. Cut the 1" and 1.25" diameter PVC pipe into two pieces having 1" length. You should end up with 4 pieces additional pieces. Cut the 1" pipe segments lengthwise which will allow you to slip them over the aluminum bar. When you assemble the inner sleeve, the 1.25" will slip over the 1", but there is no need to cut a the 1.25" segments lengthwise because they'll just slip right over the 1". You now have 10 total pieces of PVC pipe segments.

Step 5: Cut Your Inner Sleeve

Get a piece of wood plank which is approximately 1/2" thick and 3.5 inches wide. Cut the the wood into two round pieces having an outer diameter of at least 2.5", preferable 3". Then cut an inner hole using a 1" hole saw. The 1" hole will be slightly too small to fit over the aluminum bar, so you will need to file down the inside hole a bit. With some trial-and-error, you'll eventually carve out a hole that fits snug over the bar. You can then sand down the outer edges to remove rough splinters. I used a hole saw for all cutting, but you could use a coping saw. It doesn't have to be perfect, but just looks better if they are nice round circles. I also used red oak wood for strength, but it's not critical. You could even use a large steel washer or any other convenient round piece that you might have around.

Step 6: Mark the Bar to Line Up the Inner Sleeve Location.

If you used 1/2' wood for the inner sleeve. Mark a line on your bar that 5.5" from the outer edge of the bar. This line is important because it will mark where you need to place your inner sleeve PVC pipe segments. Of course if you didn't use 1/2" wood, you'll need to adjust the mark accordingly. The bottom line is that, when all assembled, all your pieces line up to the edge of the bar as seen in the photo.

Step 7: Glue Your Inner Sleeve on the Bar

Take your 1" PVC piece and glue it on to the bar. This segment should be located to the inside of the mark (toward the middle of the bar) that you made on the previous step. Glue it on with a fast set epoxy glue. You'll might need help opening up the PVC segment. You can use a screw driver to keep the pipe open. The outside edge of this piece should be 5.5inches from the edge of the aluminum bar. In other words, there should be 5.5 inches of aluminum remaining for the wood piece and the other PVC out sleeve pieces to fit on the bar.

CAUTION: If your segment is being held open with a screw drive and the screwdriver slips off, the segment could pinch your skin. This hurts!

Step 8: Add Another PVC Segment to Your Inner Sleeve

Take your 1.25" x 1" PVC segment and glue it over the inner sleeve PVC pipe that you just glued on to the pipe. Use PVC solvent and glue to adhere the pieces. if you don't know how to weld PVC pipe, look for instruction on YouTube. The outside of these pieces should be 5.5" from the outside edge of the bar.

Step 9: Add the Wood Inner Sleeve On

Put some epoxy on the bar near the PVC inner sleeve pieces and slip on the wood inner sleeve. There should now be 5" of aluminum pipe exposed for sliping on the remaining PVC outer sleeve segments.

Step 10: Start Adding the Outer Sleeve Layers

Add epoxy glue to the remaining exposed aluminum pipe where the sleeve will be. The glue doesn't need to cover the aluminum completely because it will just ooze out. Then slide the 1" x 5" PVC segment over the aluminum tube. You will need to stretch the tube open with a screw drive so that it can fit over the aluminum.

CAUTION: If your segment is being held open with a screw drive and the screwdriver slips off, the segment could pinch your skin. This hurts!

Step 11: Add the Next Layer of PVC Pipe Segment the Outer Sleeve

Add the 1.25" x 5" layer to the outer sleeve by sliding it over the 1" x 5" segment that you added on to the previous step. Weld the 1.25" segment onto the 1" on using PVC solvent and glue. If you don't know how to weld PVC pipe, look for other instructions on YouTube. The 1.25" segment will go on the easiest. You don't need a lot of glue, because it will ooze out quite a bit.

Step 12: Add the Final PVC Layer to the Outer Sleeve

Add the 1.5" x 5" PVC segment by sliding it over the previous segment. Use PVC solvent and glue to weld it on. When you're done, there will be an approximate 1/4" gap lengthwise along in the PVC pipe segment. This is important because the outer diameter of the sleeve will now be approximately 2" which is what is needed for olympic weights.

Step 13: Repeat for the Other Side of the Bar and You're All Done!