T Nation

Different Type of Plates Feel Heavier?


This probably sounds like a pretty dumb question but want to see if anyone has experienced something similar and knows why!

I’ve always trained in standard commercial gyms with rubber coated plates and standard cheapish barbells then last summer I started to set up a gym in my garage, got a Texas power bar and a bunch of standard 100% metal plates.

Long story short I still work out at both my local gym and in my garage and every time find the weight in the garage feels significantly heavier and I get far fewer reps per set.

I’ve weighed the plates I have and they are what they say they are (give or take 0.5lb ish). I’ve also done a few meets using calibrated plates and hit prs having only trained at the commercial gym beforehand so don’t think the plates there are lighter than they should be.

Would love to hear if someone has had a similar experience as its driving me mad!!


They are probably slightly heavier at your home gym if it’s enough for you to notice. Bar could be a factor too.

But yes, I’ve experienced the same thing, but have never weighed the plates.

I’m also able to lift more at my away gym versus my home gym. just my opinion, but I think a public gym is more conducive to tapping higher strength levels. Similar as to having a like minded, intense training partner versus training by yourself.


Physically theyre the same weight but their mass moment of inertia, which is a metric for how that weight is distributed, will be different. For example a 45lb barbell is easier to rotate about its long axis vs its short axis because of how its weight is distributed.


Hmm, interesting. I can’t say I fully understand what mass moment of inertia is, but could explain it.

I’ve just been reading some other forum posts about similar experiences so it doesnt seem uncommon, although no real explanation is given.


Some commercial gyms have cheap bars that weigh 25 or 35lbs., you wouldn’t know unless you actually weighed them. Other than that, it’s probably psychological. You might feel more hyped up lifting in front of your friends or some hot girls, but it’s also going to take more out of you and cause more fatigue. Not really an advantage, unless you are just lazy and unmotivated when you train alone.


I’d put it down to the bar. A Texas power bar is going to be stiffer than your gym’s bars. That’ll make it feel much heavier.


Denser plates always feel heavier to me for some reason.
Plates that are thicker on edges but thinner inside I mean.


I ddonknow about plates, but I have 2 sets of 20 lb dumbbells and one set definitely feels heavier than the other. I have weighed them, and they are both 20. But the shafts are longer on one pair and it makes them feel heavier. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Thanks guys, some of these were along the lines of what I was thinking, good to know others find the same thing happens.