How To Load A Barbell Like A Pro – Reduce Risk And Get Stronger

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Loading a barbell may seem like a simple task, but doing it correctly is essential to training safely.

As someone who has been working out for years, I understand the importance of mastering the basics and loading a barbell with weights is no exception.

Whether you’re a seasoned lifter or just starting out, it’s crucial to know how to load a barbell properly to avoid injury and get the most out of your workouts.

After all, flipping your bar in your squat rack is a great way to damage your equipment and potentially hurt yourself.

In this article, I’ll show you how to load a barbell correctly and secure the barbell collars.

Let’s get started!

Loading The Right Weight Plate First

Picking the right weight plate to load onto the bar is important.

You should start with the heaviest weight first as you want them closer to the center of the bar.

man adding a weight to barbell

This is especially important when loading the weight in a rack. If you start with lighter weight plates first like a psychopath, the bar will flip which isn’t safe for anybody.

Let’s say you’re working up to 315 lbs on the squat! Here’s how it should look.

  • Barbell x10 (no weight added)
    • Add 25 lb plates.
  • 95×8 (1-25 lb plate on each side.)
    • Remove the 25 lb plates and add 45 lb plates.
  • 135×5 (1-45 lb plate on each side.)
    • Add 25 lb plates.
  • 185×3 (1-45 lb plate + 1-25 lb plate on each side.)
    • Remove the 25 lb plates and add 45 lb plates again.
  • 225×2 (2-45 lb plates on each side.)
    • Add 25 lb plates.
  • 275×1 (2-45 lb plates + 1-25 lb plate on each side.)
    • Remove 25 lb plates again and add the final 45 lb plates.
  • 315xTop Set

To ensure proper lifting technique and prevent injury, make sure you’re loading the weight plates evenly on both sides.

This will help distribute the weights evenly and prevent the barbell from tipping over.

Load the Weight Plates Evenly on Both Sides

Proper weight distribution is crucial for safe and effective lifting, ensuring a balanced and controlled workout experience.

  • To load the weight plates evenly on both sides of the barbell, I start by placing the first weight plate on one end of the bar and then the same weight plate on the opposite side.
  • I repeat this process until I reach my desired weight, making sure to alternate sides with each weight loaded.
  • It’s essential to keep the weights balanced on both sides of the bar to prevent any tipping or uneven lifting.
  • I always double-check that the weight plates are evenly distributed before I begin my set.

With the plates loaded evenly, I’m ready to move on to the next step, securing the barbell collars.

Secure Your Barbell Collars

Let’s make sure those weights stay in place and avoid any dangerous mishaps by securing the collars!

It’s important to take the extra step to secure your barbell collars, as they prevent the weight plates from sliding off and potentially causing harm.

Here are some tips to ensure your collars are properly secured:

  • Start by placing your barbell collars on the sleeve of the bar, making sure they’re positioned next to the weight plates.
  • Double-check that the collar is secure by giving it a firm tug. If it doesn’t budge, you’re good to go!
  • Some barbell sleeves have a thinner diameter so make sure you have the proper collars to keep the weight plates on the bar.

Repeat this process for each weight plate on the bar to ensure all collars are properly secured.

By taking the time to secure your collars, you can have peace of mind knowing that your weights won’t shift or slide during your workout. But before you start lifting, there’s one more important step to take – double-check your work.

How Do You Load A Barbell For Deadlifts?

A barbell jack is going to be the best way to load weight plates onto the bar.

If you don’t have access to one though, you can still load the bar safely.

Here are the main steps to follow to load a barbell for deadlifts.

  • Lift the bar on one side and load your heaviest weight first.
  • Switch to the other side and load the bar with the same weight plate you just added.
  • When you’re done loading weight plates onto the bar, put your collars on the bar to do your set.
  • Once it’s time to add more plates for heavier sets, place a smaller 5 lb plate on your lifting platform and roll the bar up onto it.
  • The idea is to jack the bar up so you can slide weights on and off easily, except for the first plates of course.
  • Make sure to roll the bar off of the smaller plates before starting your next set.

One thing you shouldn’t get in the habit of is loading a bunch of smaller plates heavier than 45 lbs.

If you do this, all of the weight is going to distribute to your biggest plates as they’re the only ones touching the ground.

woman loading plates on the ground for deadlifts

If you’re using bumper plates though this doesn’t matter, as most of these types of plates will have the same diameter.

Loading a bar on the ground can be done safely and correctly by loading plates one at a time, and using techniques such as rolling the barbell up onto small weight plates.

Does It Matter How You Load The Barbell?

Yes, it definitely does matter!

How you load the barbell can have an impact on your overall lifting experience and safety.

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Even Distribution – It’s important to load the barbell with weight plates evenly on both sides to maintain balance. Uneven loading can cause the barbell to tilt to one side, leading to instability during the lift.
  • Secure The Plates – Always use collars or clips to secure the weight plates on the barbell. This helps prevent the weights from shifting or sliding off during the exercise, ensuring stability and reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Heaviest Plates First – You should always make sure you’re loading the heaviest plates to the bar first. Doing this will keep the bar more stable while lifting. Plus, you have lower chances for the bar to flip in your squat rack from having a heavier plate on one side.

While loading the barbell may seem like a simple task, it’s crucial to do it correctly to ensure your safety as well as fellow lifters at your gym.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Now that you know how to load a barbell, you’re well on your way to training safer.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comment section below, right now!

Until next time,


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