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View Full Version : is a plate just a plate???

Cmanuel
11-19-2009, 03:18 PM
Posting this in the powerlifting section, thought I might more likely get an answer here.

My question is: For various non calibrated plates, are the weights of most typically in the same range? I know Ivanko advertises a + / - 2% on their non calibrated plates, which means that a 45# could weigh somewhere in 44-46 lbs range. Their calibrated plates are within 10g of the target weight (which justifies their high cost).

Anyways what im getting at is this: My gym has about 209385029385 different sets of plates floating around the free weight area. One 45# plate can look completely different from another 45# plate, so im assuming they are made from different manufacturers. Bad assumption or not? With the likelyhood that a 5pps deadlift this week will use totally different plates from next week, should I be concerned?

One things for sure, when I build my own garage gym i'll be sure to splurge a little and get Ivanko plates.

Chris Rodgers
11-19-2009, 03:26 PM
Don't be concerned. 5 plates is 5 plates. If you have kilo plates, then obviously the math will be different.

When you break an all-time world record in the World's some day, let them weigh the plates out and find out you lifted an extra lb or two. Til then, just load em up and SFW!!

Cmanuel
11-19-2009, 03:28 PM
Don't be concerned. 5 plates is 5 plates. If you have kilo plates, then obviously the math will be different.

When you break an all-time world record in the World's some day, let them weigh the plates out and find out you lifted an extra lb or two. Til then, just load em up and SFW!!

Thanks for the input. I was just somewhat concerned because the plates in my gym look incredibly different, though they all say 45. Even Rippetoe in starting strength advocates marking plates so that you know you use the same plate each session.

Guido
11-19-2009, 03:33 PM
I would just say to use the same kind of plates each time if you can and try to balance them out so if you are using 2 of one kind and 3 of another on side that you use the same configuration for the other just so the bar is balanced. Unless you actually weigh all the plates there is no way you're going to know the difference.

deeder
11-19-2009, 03:37 PM
I would just say to use the same kind of plates each time if you can and try to balance them out so if you are using 2 of one kind and 3 of another on side that you use the same configuration for the other just so the bar is balanced. Unless you actually weigh all the plates there is no way you're going to know the difference.

Agreed. I have 5 different kinds of plates in my basement and I just make sure I use them in pairs...

Lones Green
11-19-2009, 03:48 PM
Agreed. I have 5 different kinds of plates in my basement and I just make sure I use them in pairs...

Exactly.

No reason to worry about it other further than that.

Notorious
11-19-2009, 03:49 PM
It matters if you ever try to increase the weight linearly. I would also try to use the same bar every workout (or at least the same brand).

IronDiggy
11-19-2009, 03:54 PM
I try to keep plates the same on each side at least in pairs. I know some of the plates at my gym have those little holes with led inserts for calibration but they're old and alot of the inserts have fallen out which can make a noticeable difference.

MarcusWild
11-19-2009, 03:59 PM
We have a mix n match variety of plates. We try to pair them because some are thinner/thicker than others. That can make the balance of the bar different. There are TONS of things more important than calibrated plates. I'd actually rank them near the bottom unless you need a set because you want to host meets.

Cmanuel
11-19-2009, 04:04 PM
We have a mix n match variety of plates. We try to pair them because some are thinner/thicker than others. That can make the balance of the bar different. There are TONS of things more important than calibrated plates. I'd actually rank them near the bottom unless you need a set because you want to host meets.

Cool! i'll remember that when it comes time to build the garage dungeon of doom in a year or so.

BTW, Ivanko claims a tolerance of +/- 2% vs other manufacturers (they dont specify names, just lump them into a category) tolerance of +/- 5%. Pure marketing BS???

MarcusWild
11-19-2009, 05:32 PM
All plates start as a casting, and casting isn't very exact. Most companies just leave the plates as is. Ivanko does a quick pass to machine them and make them more accurate. That's why they are \$2/lb vs. \$1/lb for most other brands. That or you can find used ones for \$0.50/lb or less. Calibrated plates are machined to a an even tighter tolerance. Then they are weighed. The big ones have space for threaded plugs that are inserted to make them super accurate.

We have over 3,000 lbs of weights in our gym. I can't imagine paying \$2/lb for them which would be \$6000 vs \$1500 for used weights. \$4500 can buy a lot of extra equipment that'll help your training far more than your weights being more accurate. Heck, we don't even use 2.5's in the gym, so everything is in at least 10 lb increments anyway.

Ryano
11-19-2009, 05:50 PM
Weigh some of your gym plates. The 45's will be anywhere from 42-48. It can make a big difference on you opener check the week before a meet. I usually do my opener check with 5 lbs over my projected opener just to make up some of the difference. If your just gym lifting, who cares, but for a meet it can be important.

NickAus
11-19-2009, 07:07 PM
My old training partner worked at my gym, he weighed most of the plates and wrote on them, they range between 44 and 47.
Every single plate is slightly different which means if you have 6 plates per side one side could be up to 12lbs heavier!
This sucks but I have no choice, I have to sort through them and even them up as I load.

shawno
11-19-2009, 07:11 PM
I used to own a gym & I did the same thing as Nick's buddy. The difference surprised the hell out us - 44 to 50lbs was the range. We engraved little numbers on each plate.

NickAus
11-19-2009, 07:24 PM
I used to own a gym & I did the same thing as Nick's buddy. The difference surprised the hell out us - 44 to 50lbs was the range. We engraved little numbers on each plate.

Ha ha, so you know how bad it is to sort though them as you go.........

ELmx479
11-19-2009, 07:49 PM
I couldn't figure out why I could always lift a bit more at my school vs. my house. Until I checked the bar and plates. School bar was 35lbs and plates were 43lbs. So what I thought was 135 was really 121. My bar is 46lbs and plates are 45.5 which is 137. Turned out to be a 16lb difference so it wasn't just in my head.

11-19-2009, 09:36 PM
there are three types of plates at my gym, handle plates which the 20kg's
vary from 17.6 up to 20.5 ( mostly about 19kg ), I try to only use these for assistance stuff. I spent a couple of hours one day weighing them all
and wrote the weights on the side. If I have to use them I'll try and match them up so I have 2 19.4's etc

a bunch of older plates which are all within a couple of hundred grams of 20kg. I only use these ones for deadlift or bench, and I'm fussy in that I try to make sure they are the same on each side.
The owner bought a bunch of new 10's recently which I don't use either as
they are all closer to 9kg than 10kg.

And calibrated plates, leftover from 88 IPF worlds, but still super accurate.
since these are behind and next to the mono I generally use for squats

Calibrated plates aren't necessary for training, but if I was buying plates I'd want them to be over rather than under. The cheaper the plates the more likely to be under

chris mason
11-19-2009, 09:58 PM
As others have said, don't worry about it. Any variance will give you variety in your training which is never a bad thing. Using the same bar etc. all of the time is NOT best if you want to develop optimal strength.

NickAus
11-19-2009, 10:02 PM
As others have said, don't worry about it. Any variance will give you variety in your training which is never a bad thing. Using the same bar etc. all of the time is NOT best if you want to develop optimal strength.

You can see how having an extra 10-15 on one side can be dangerous I'm sure.

This is a problem.

Cmanuel
11-19-2009, 10:44 PM
As others have said, don't worry about it. Any variance will give you variety in your training which is never a bad thing. Using the same bar etc. all of the time is NOT best if you want to develop optimal strength.

I agree variety can be great, but in an ideal training environment, wouldn't you rather:
1. Have a relatively accurate and precise idea of the weights you are training with so that progress can be accurately logged
2. Incorporate variety into your training through different movements, exercises, rep/set schemes, etc., instead of relying on the natural variance of bars/plates?

joelhall
11-20-2009, 04:29 AM
i suppose this could be a good point if theres a significant difference in whats on each end of the bar. other than that i wouldnt worry too much. if youre lifting more over time then it doesnt matter what is actually on the bar.77and of course the variation is a good thing.

Judas
11-20-2009, 04:34 AM
Ever miss a weight that you thought you should get? Ever had one ov those PR's that just blasted through the sticking point a lot easier than it should have? I have. All ov us have. One day i got to wonder'n about those plates we were lifting, so i brought this calibrated dairy scale i have, like the kind you find in the produce dept. (0-60lbs) to the gym and spent a couple hours learning a valuable lesson.

Anyways, long story short. Unless they are calibrated, or just very expensive, plate weights are just a guideline. If you work out in my town you'll find most ov the gyms have little white numbers inked on the side ov each plate. They are very seldom the same as the big number cast into the plate. In my old gym we had 'good' plates, 56 ov 'em. I weighed every one, along with the smaller plates, and found the 45's to be anywhere from 43.5 to 46.5lbs. The average weight ov all 56 was 44.3lbs. Thats not terribly significant, but if you do happen to get the lighter plates on PR day, you might do better. Great for bragging, not as good for determining openers for the upcoming meet. Go for that 405 squat you know you could get and dont get it? could easily be 412. Details to some, but for the stronger lifters... those misadvertised plate stacks can add up (or down).

My current gym has the good ol' 'Standard' plates. I see these ones everywhere, very popular. They are also terrible for consistency. Being a smaller gym, we only had 26 (!!!), but they varied from 42.5lbs to 47. Ouch. More were heavy than light, which i think is a good thing. I'd rather train heavy than light. Sometimes i wonder if lifters, especially the ones that like to ride the ragged edge, who miss attempts or bomb in meets could partially blame this? I spotted one kid doing a '315' 3 plate bench in my gym a while back and counted 302lbs... Not sure if he knew that or not (a savvy bicept-jockey could certainly use marked plates to show off...)

Also consider that in my current gym the plates had already been weighed and marked. They were all over the map and not one was close to reality. The owner and various members had used anything from bathroom scales to medical scales to weigh them. On my calibrated scale they were all very wrong.

Also consider that i've weighed about 25 different barbells here and there, and only my Ivanko OBX-20's and a couple (out ov five matching) York gym bars actually weighed 44lbs. Most cheap bars are supposed to weigh 44 or 45lbs. I've found (normal sized) bars to weigh anywhere from 37lbs to 51lbs. In the automotive industry this is called 'stacked tolerances'. One little detail out ov whack is okay, two, meh, three? four? seven? I once had a five plate bar loaded, to prove a point, and it was only 473.5lbs... again... great if you like to show off...

Judas
11-20-2009, 04:45 AM
I should add that for some reason, the 35's are always worse. That i've found anyways. Our gym has FIVE '35's that range from 30lbs to 30.7lbs. A few are 32ish, one is 39.2lbs. Ever wonder why your grip feels off on one side... geeez... They dont get better as they get smaller either, though an extra 1.5lb on a 10lb plate aint gonna ruin too many bench days...

Funny thing is, most ov this **** (good and bad) comes from the East. You'd think if they were gonna screw up the tolerances and ship plates that were so inaccurate they'd at least make them all light and save themselves a LOT ov money... Think ov it... your barbell company casts 45lb plates, MILLIONS ov them... and you shave just ONE pound off ov each... Thats millions ov saved pounds in iron. How much does a million pounds ov even cheap Chinese iron go for these days anyway...???

C-Sobrino
11-20-2009, 07:57 AM
I thought I'd never use this... SFW...

deeder
11-20-2009, 08:56 AM
Judas, it's of, not ov.

mr handy
11-20-2009, 10:43 AM
This thread got me thinking so I found my digital fishing scale and decided to weigh all my plates to see how accurate they are. I currently have 2- 45lb plates, one is 46' and other is 44'12". all my other plates are slightly over marked weight, most inside 4 oz. The exception seems to be the 5 lb plates. 2 of them are 11oz over and the other 2 are 3-4 oz over.

The scale is not the most accurate but I know it is relatively close, as I have used it to weigh suit cases before traveling. Last time I weighed a suitcase it came out weighing exactly 50lb on my scale, and when I got to the airport I hit 50 even on their scale as well. Not the most scientific, but close enough for me, and close enough to show that my plates are all relatively accurate, and that I'm not cheating myself.

CapnK
11-20-2009, 10:51 AM
Judas, it's of, not ov.

crazy talker

Beverly McD.
11-20-2009, 10:56 AM
Weigh some of your gym plates. The 45's will be anywhere from 42-48. It can make a big difference on you opener check the week before a meet. I usually do my opener check with 5 lbs over my projected opener just to make up some of the difference. If your just gym lifting, who cares, but for a meet it can be important.

When a lifter is going for an all-out max-lift everything-he's-got, a few pounds can be the difference between getting a lift or getting slammed by the weight.
I've seen some lifts where if a fly had landed on the bar the lifter would have missed it :D

SELK
11-20-2009, 11:00 AM
All plates start as a casting, and casting isn't very exact. Most companies just leave the plates as is. Ivanko does a quick pass to machine them and make them more accurate. That's why they are \$2/lb vs. \$1/lb for most other brands. That or you can find used ones for \$0.50/lb or less. Calibrated plates are machined to a an even tighter tolerance. Then they are weighed. The big ones have space for threaded plugs that are inserted to make them super accurate.

We have over 3,000 lbs of weights in our gym. I can't imagine paying \$2/lb for them which would be \$6000 vs \$1500 for used weights. \$4500 can buy a lot of extra equipment that'll help your training far more than your weights being more accurate. Heck, we don't even use 2.5's in the gym, so everything is in at least 10 lb increments anyway.

I hear you on the cost.

My home gym has 2000lbs of weight which i bought for around 50cents/lb.. They are just your standard black plates you would find at most commercial gyms. I thought about getting nicer plates, but the cost was insane (like, 5k cnd).

Hazerboy
11-20-2009, 11:26 AM
If each plate has an uncertainty of +/- 2%, or .9 lbs, you add this uncertainty when you're adding plates (there's an equation for this). Let's say we're using a working max of 495 lbs. Thats the bar plus 10 plates. Assuming the bar also has this uncertainty, thats a total uncertainty of +/- 10 lbs. Now lets say we were to take and measure the this total weight, for several different setups that all had this uncertainty, several times. We make a make a histogram of this, with weight on the y-axis, and number of times we got that specific weight on the x-axis. If the uncertainty is random, (i.e. assuming the weight company isn't bastards and cheap skates us, giving us a lower weight every time, or something similiar), and if we make enough measurements, then this histogram will look like a bell curve: http://sinequanon.spleenville.com/archives/images/bell%20curve.gif . 495 lbs should be smack dab in the middle as your average, 505 lbs should be right on the edge on the right, and 485 lbs should be right on the edge on the left. This also means that there is a 1/3 chance that you're measurement will lie outside of these values, i.e. greater than 505 or smaller than 485, BUT less than 515 and 475 (for you stat majors, this is also assuming that your uncertainty is the standard deviation, which I think is pretty standard, no?). There is a 95% chance that your values are within this range as a whole (as in the weight x is 475<x<515). Remember we're dealing with an assumed weight of 495 here.

What does this mean? if you're dealing with big weights, yeah it can make a difference on a day to day basis, even though though 2/3 of the time its going to be in the range 485<x<505 . Maybe this means guys who use ME training should use calibrated plates XD. IT also means that, yeah, if you're working with an opener before a meet it can make a big difference. totally right there.

But you guys are missing the big picture here-- wtf are you going to do about it?? And how will this effect your training in the long run?? Are you really going to go out and buy some of your own calibrated plates? Are you going to really go out and buy a scale and measure all of your plates, mark them, then by by those measurements?

In the long run, it shouldn't make a gram of difference in your training, assuming the uncertainty is indeed random (if the measurements are always short, then yeah that sucks because you weren't lifting as much weight as you'd hoped, but at least you'll be more consistent on a day to day basis - i.e. if the weight company is ALWAYS shorting you by 1 lb, your weight will be pretty close to the same value every time). otherwise, over time these errors will cancel out, and you'll end up with the same amount of weight -- the average, 495.

Cmanuel
11-20-2009, 04:01 PM
Important stats stuff

Yes! Statistics for the win.

LOL I'm going to report all of my working weights as 95% confidence intervals. We are learning some pretty complex crap in my stats class right now... *bangs head on wall*

chris mason
11-20-2009, 04:05 PM
You can see how having an extra 10-15 on one side can be dangerous I'm sure.

This is a problem.

It would teach me to adapt to unusual circumstances such as those that might occur at a meet...

chris mason
11-20-2009, 04:07 PM
I agree variety can be great, but in an ideal training environment, wouldn't you rather:
1. Have a relatively accurate and precise idea of the weights you are training with so that progress can be accurately logged
2. Incorporate variety into your training through different movements, exercises, rep/set schemes, etc., instead of relying on the natural variance of bars/plates?

I'm just not worried about it.

NickAus
11-20-2009, 08:36 PM
It would teach me to adapt to unusual circumstances such as those that might occur at a meet...

Ha ha very good.

Butcher
11-20-2009, 09:25 PM
If the plates I use dont weigh what they say they weigh, I dont want to know about it. Ive finally progressed to the point where every plate on the bar doesnt have to be from the same manufacturer.

NickAus
11-21-2009, 03:34 AM
I don't think it matters other than if one side is significantly more than the other.

C-Sobrino
11-21-2009, 04:17 PM
Why don't we just weight the dumbbells then? Let's not be inconsistent people.

Sean S
11-21-2009, 04:37 PM
I'm just not worried about it.

I'm with Chris. Do you think they sit around at Westside or Lexen or BIG Iron and worry if the plates are precisely the weight listed? They just grab some plates and throw them on the bar. Let's not lose sight of the big picture.

Ryano
11-21-2009, 05:34 PM
In the gym, it doesn't matter UNTIL you do an opener check for a meet. If you open with 675 (7 45's per side) a 1 lb difference/plate can make a big difference. Like I said before, I don't weigh the plates, I just add 5 lbs on an opener check to make sure I make up for at least some of the (possible) difference.

MPB
11-21-2009, 06:58 PM

Very well said. Especially the part where a missed lift could lead to having an excuse. I think it is better not to weigh the weights at all, or just forget about the weights not being even. My mentality is if it looks like 405, then believe that it definitely weighs 405, and lift like it weighs 405.

Judas
11-22-2009, 04:57 AM
I definitely dont lose sleep over it. I spent a few hours in the gym the first night there and weighed 'em and marked 'em. The owner was nice enough to let me do that... even gave me the grease pen to use. That was that. I just make sure they're relatively even, try to get the closest ones, etc. Call me weird, i just to know how much i'm lifting, especially when my style ov training has me pushing for 5lb PR's fairly regularly.

Judas
11-22-2009, 04:58 AM
Why don't we just weight the dumbbells then? Let's not be inconsistent people.

Oh god... i dont even want to know. Luckily i dont use a lot ov DB's anymore.

alfa romeu
05-14-2010, 08:42 AM
i have a friend who has a home gym with some plates like these

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/...mp;d=1103097070

he were asking to me if he should check those plates or not but i don't know what to tell him!!
are those plates training, or competition ones? more or less accurate than 2%?
could anyone tell me that?

IronDiggy
05-14-2010, 08:47 AM
My gym is like yours million different plates bought at different times. I generally don't notice a difference but I do still try to match plates up side to side and try to avoid the plated with the little led fillings to calibrate them as theres quite a few missing those led chunks in them now.

BigBatz
05-14-2010, 11:13 AM
The only thing that matters to me is the diameter of the plate. Example I started with the standard 300 lbs set. I was doing deads with this set. It felt different in the starting position. I maxed out the set and bought four used 45's. Come to find out the originals were about 3 inches smaller. Thus I was about an inch and a half lower in the starting position. Talk about a big difference. Feels much better now. I still use the orignals I just put themon the ends now.

alfa romeu
05-15-2010, 06:33 PM
just curious thing;
someone post :Eleiko brand,﻿ specialised for powerlifting:

Red = 25kg (55lbs)
Blue= 20kg (45lbs)
Yellow= 15kg (33lbs)
Green= 10kg (22lbs)
Black= 5kg (11lbs)

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=148938&d=1103097070

today i have seen a youtube vid where someone was squatting using those type of plates, one 45' and other one 33'plates ...and both were the same yellow color. could be that possible?