by Al Myers
The Texas Power Bar has become synonymous with THE STANDARD of powerlifting bars over the past 25 years. This bar was initially marketed in the early 80’s and has been used by many powerlifters thru the years, both in training and in competition. It is a general PL bar – meaning that it is a good bar to be used for all the powerlifts. It is fairly rigid, has good aggressive knurling, and holds up to “hardcore” use. The name “Texas Power Bar” has name value to anyone who has been involved with powerlifting, and most all lifters associate the Texas Power Bar with quality.
I bought my first Texas Power Bar in the early 80’s from Mac Barbell Equipment. At that time, the main advertising for lifting was through the PL magazine, Powerlifting USA. You could count on there being an advertisement for the Texas Power Bar in every issue. One of the company’s selling pitches was this comment in their ads, “The Mac Texas Power Bar has been used in more World and National Championships than all other brands combined. Make sure you don’t get a cheap imitation or counterfeit”. Mac Barbell was located in Grand Prairie, TX, thus the reason for the name being called the Texas Power Bar.
Now a little history lesson. This bar is the “brainchild” of Buddy Capps. He has, for over 30 years, owned and operated Capps Welding and has been in the weight lifting bar manufacturing business this entire time. His business is located in Irving, Texas. Buddy Capps was a former Texas State Powerlifting Champ, so he knows something about the needs of powerlifters. The TPB (Texas Power Bar) was influenced in design by a couple of other very good powerlifters, Doug and Clay Patterson. However, Mac owned “the rights” to the TPB, and shortly afterwards Capps and Mac Equipment had a “falling out”. Capps then did a redesign of the TPB, and started making his newer (and improved) version. Since then, he deals through distributers for resale. Mac Equipment has now been out of business for several years, so the earlier “Mac Texas Power Bar” is no longer being produced. The only TRUE Texas Power Bar on the market is the Capps TPB. I say this because I have seen other advertised Texas Power Bars on the market that are not made by Capps, and are imposters. Every Texas Power Bar contains a sticker logo on the end of the bar indicating it as the OFFICIAL Texas Bar. Bill Ennis, of Weightlifters Warehouse, told me that the steel used by Capps in the Texas Power Bars is American high-quality steel, and has always been that way. I have owned several Capps TPB’s and from my lifting experience on them, I agree with this. The steel seems the same to me in the new TPB’s as the ones I got over 20 years ago. I’ve had only one Capps TPB bend on me, and that was because is was being used inappropriately and not the fault of the bar. Capps believes in producing high-quality bars and this can only be achieved by using “top of the line” steel.
The bar specs on a few of my Texas Power Bars are:
|BAR||Length||Shaft Diameter||Center Knurling||Center Spacing||Width Inside Collar||Collar Width|
|Mac TPB||7-’2″||1- 1/8″||Yes-6″||16-1/2″||52-1/8″||1-1/2″|
|Capps TPB (10 years old)||7′-1 3/4″||1-1/8″||Yes-4″||17″||51-3/4″||2″|
|Capps TPB (NEW)||7′-1 3/4″||1-1/8″||Yes-4″||17″||52″||2″|
My Mac Texas Power Bar is still in good condition even though I have had it and been using it for over 25 years. It still has a very aggressive knurling that hinders most from wanting to use it. The newer TPB’s have less aggressive knurling, but still I would consider as aggressive in terms of depth of knurling cut. The newer TPB’s are coated in Black Oxide and have a nice finish. The sleeves rotate very well for power bars, but not well enough to be used as Olympic Lifting bars if you are an experienced Olympic lifter. The are plenty “stiff”, which make them great bench and squat bars and general purpose training bars.
I believe Texas Power Bars are very consistent in quality (at least the ones I’ve lifted on – and that’s been many). They have several of Capps distinguishing features – wide 2″ collars, aggressive knurling cut pattern, and the use of two roller pins to secure the sleeve. The end cap is recessed as well. His bars have a look unlike all others. If you are looking for a good bar that will last for a long time – I highly recommend Texas Power Bars.