Do You Count the Barbell Weight? – Tracking Your Training

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While journeying through the world of fitness, particularly strength training, you’re bound to run into many questions.

Among these, the question that tends to ignite the most debate is, “Do you count the weight of the barbell when calculating your lifts?”

This is a crucial query, as the answer shapes your understanding of your workout progress and safety. So, let’s dive in to unearth the truth.

Understanding the Basics of Barbell Weight

barbell is a long metal bar to which you attach weights or “plates” on either side for resistance training exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses.

Barbells come in various shapes, sizes, and weights. For instance, an Olympic bar typically weighs 20kg or 45 pounds, while the EZ curl bar is often lighter.

Knowing the weight of the barbell is essential because it contributes to the total weight you lift. Ignoring it can lead to miscalculations and, worse, potential injuries due to overload.

Common Misconceptions about Barbell Weight

A common mistake people make is to disregard the barbell’s weight when counting their total load.

They believe that it’s only the weight of the plates that count. This misconception can significantly skew the perception of one’s strength and progress.

Another widespread fallacy is assuming all barbells weigh the same. The weight can actually vary based on the type of barbell used.

For instance, a squat bar often weighs more than a deadlift bar. These misconceptions can lead to inconsistencies in your lifts, hampering your progress and even putting you at risk of injury.

The Importance of Counting the Barbell Weight

When tracking your lifting progress, it’s critical to include the barbell weight.

It allows you to accurately measure your total weight lifted, helping you better assess your strength improvements over time.

Moreover, knowing your barbell’s weight can significantly influence your form and technique.

For example, switching from a standard barbell to an Olympic barbell without considering the weight difference could strain your muscles and lead to poor form.

Here are a few important points or just tips to ensure you’re tracking your barbell training properly.

  • Personal Experiences – The question of whether to count the barbell weight has sparked numerous discussions among fitness enthusiasts. Some people view the barbell as a “counterweight” and therefore don’t count it, while others argue that since you’re lifting it, it should be counted.
  • Consistency – Whether or not you count the barbell weight, it’s crucial to be consistent in your approach. This consistency allows you to accurately track your progress over time. If you train a different barbell at the gym each time, there’s no guarantee the weight is the same. Because of this, just adding more weight than you did before could end with the bar being way too heavy or light. Regardless of what you decide to do, be consistent and use the same barbell each time.
  • Gym Staff – If you’re unsure about the weight of the bar, don’t hesitate to ask a gym employee. They can hopefully provide you with the accurate weight of the bar, helping you avoid any miscalculations.
  • Not Counting the Barbell Weight – Not counting the barbell weight can lead to potential risks and consequences. One of the major risks is the possibility of injury due to overload. By not accounting for the barbell weight, you might end up lifting more weight than your body can handle.
  • Different Types of Barbells – Barbells come in different types, and their weights can vary significantly. For instance, a squat bar often weighs more than a deadlift bar. Knowing the difference between a deadlift bar and a stiff bar is essential.
  • Competition – In competitions, the weight of the bar is always included. This practice underscores the importance of counting the barbell weight in your regular workouts.
  • Total Weight Lifted – The barbell contributes to the total weight lifted. This point is often overlooked but is crucial in accurately tracking your progress.
  • Form and Technique – The weight of the barbell can significantly influence your form and technique. For example, switching from a standard barbell to an Olympic barbell without considering the weight difference could strain your muscles and lead to poor form.

Practical Applications of Counting the Barbell Weight

Counting your barbell’s weight accurately requires understanding different types of barbells and their average weights.

barbell buying guide can provide you with essential insights.

Counting the barbell weight becomes even more important when programming your workouts and tracking your progress.

It helps you accurately adjust your lifts’ intensity and volume, ensuring your progression remains on track.

Counterarguments and Rebuttals

Some argue that counting the barbell weight is unnecessary, claiming it complicates the process. However, accuracy is crucial in lifting.

Knowing your exact total weight lifted gives you a clear benchmark for progress, contributing to your long-term success.

Others may believe that the weight of the barbell is negligible. Yet, the cumulative impact of the barbell weight over time is significant.

If you do multiple sets and reps with a 20kg bar, that weight adds up quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions


Counting the barbell weight is not just a formality—it’s a necessity. It plays a pivotal role in tracking your progress accurately, maintaining proper form, and ensuring safe workouts.

By including the weight of your barbell in your calculations, you’re taking a vital step toward achieving your fitness goals.

Let me know if you have an questions below.

Until next time,


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