How to Change Weights on a Barbell For Beginners (From The Ground & Squat Rack)

New to The Gym?

When starting out in the gym, it can be incredibly overwhelming to know how to use all of the machines and equipment. I hope to ease that anxiety with the video linked above, and the article I created below. Let’s learn the ins and outs of adding weight to a barbell, both from a squat rack and on the ground.

Bumper Vs Regular Weight Plates

For starters, you might encounter two different types of weight plates at the gym. Bumper plates, made of hard rubber, or regular weights, usually comprised of steel or even iron. The bumper plates are typically used in high level gyms where individuals are dropping the weight from overhead. The bumper plates allow them to do this without damaging the floor. Most commercial gyms don’t have these, but rather standard iron or steel plates. Just know at the end of the day, they are both just weight and there is nothing special about them other than what I just stated.

Adding Weight in a Squat Rack

Adding weight to a barbell in a squat rack is incredibly easy. With the rack in the bar, carefully slide the hold of the weight onto the barbell. When putting weight on a barbell in a squat rack, I highly recommend to put even weight on. For example, if you need to put 2-45 pound plates on both sides of the barbell, I would do one plate on the right, then left, then repeat. Most barbells on a squat rack can handle 3-45 pound weight plates on one side without tipping, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Once you’ve got that locked in, add the weight clips if you have some (noted in the video above) and you’re good to go!

Adding Weight on The Ground

Adding weight on the ground is a little more tricky. You will still of course use the same technique of sliding the free weight hole through the barbell. But you will actually have to lift the barbell slightly off the ground on one side, before you can actually do this. If you have a partner you are working out with, this makes it much easier to do so.

Taking Off Weight

Taking off weight for the barbell in the squat rack is pretty straightforward. When taking the weight off, be careful and realize the weight will pull you down very quickly when it comes off the barbell. When taking off weight on the floor, I would again recommend having someone else help you if you are able to. If not, there is a slight trick to taking weight off the barbell. You’ll probably notice if you try to just pull the weight off that it doesn’t budge easily. Instead, place your hand towards the middle of the weight, by the hole, and push through this source of leverage. Once one weight is off, and that end of the barbell is on the ground, gently push the top of the weight plate forward, and slide the barbell out. This takes some practice, but you’ll get it in no time!

Hang On There!

If you want to continue to improve your health and knowledge of the gym, regardless of your current abilities in life, you need to subscribe to our blog. If you don’t want to do that, that’s okay! Check out this other article I created below, showing you how to change the weights on weight machines (once you’re done using the barbell.)

How to Change Weights on Machines at the Gym for Beginners

Before You Use That Machine If you’re new to the gym or weightlifting, it can be intimidating to navigate all of the machines and equipment. One of the most common questions I get asked when working with beginners in the gym is how to change the weights on machines. In the video linked above, in…

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