T Nation

How to Load a Barbell on the Floor


I have been training for a little while and am working on eliminating most machines and pansy exercises from my workouts. Recently I started deadlifting and worked up through the pre-loaded bars at my gym. I'm now doing 135 and working on technique while avoiding a recurring low back injury brought on by poor bent-over dumbbell row technique.

Lifting the weight has been no problem, but I feel like a dork while loading the bar on the floor. I haven't had any trouble loading bars for bench press and such, but when the bar is on the floor I just can't seem to get the plates to easily slide all the way to the hilt or stopper or whatever it's called.

My best solution so far has been to one-arm row one end of the barbell up to get the plate off the floor and then use the other hand to pull the plate down to the hilt, but that is crazy awkward and I usually have to switch back and forth between the two ends of the bar before I get both plates where they should be. I just can't imagine that this is the technique used when loading a barbell with multiple 45's on each side instead of the piddly weight I'm using.

I'm guessing there is a simple way to load the bar on the floor, but I haven't figured it out yet. I've been watching the experienced lifters at my gym to try and pick up on their techniques, but it seems that none of the experienced lifters at my gym ever do deadlifts, or at least not when I am there.

Does anybody have any tips on this?



I wouldn't shun machines too hard, I did and the people on here basically told me I was an idiot.
It is great if you're looking to really hit a certain spot that day.

For me, I just pick up the naked bar, put one plate on the end, then put another plate on the other end, then the clearance from the ground is usually good enough to just keep slapping them on. Maybe my plates are different than yours though


it gets easier as you get stronger, but just pick up the bar with one hand, and slide the plate on with the other


You could always just ask someone to hold up the bar while you throw a plate on if you really really don't like doing it that way. That's the way I did it when I started though...

The only other thing I can say is once you can press 135 you can sometimes load it on the squat rack, clean it, press it, walk it out of the rack, and bring it down that way, then load plates on each side.

For now though, I would really suggest asking somebody to give you a hand for thirty seconds...


That's pretty much how I do it. After the big bumper plates I just slide on the 35# plates so after the bumper plates the barbell is already off the ground.


Try putting a 45 on either side and then load the 35 and 25's. You won't have to keep lifting the barbell.


At my gym, they have a squat rack with pins that when set to the lowest point will put the bar at a height where the 45s will be ever-so-slightly above the ground. When you load more than one on there, they still make slight contact with the ground and slide a little bit, but it makes it a lot easier to load the bar.

If I can't use that, I usually just kinda lift it with one arm similar to a rowing motion like you said, but I squat down with my knees bent to do so and rest my elbow on the edge of my quad above the knee for leverage.


I one arm row it, but I've seen others roll the BB onto 5 lb plate lying flat on the ground to elevate the BB off the ground enough to slide the plates on. Once the plates are on, they roll the BB off so it`s on the ground.


dont do this if you dont want people to think you are a pansy. Otherwise it is fine


Unless your gym has one of those nifty devices that you can use to lift the barbell up from the floor and hold it for you as you load up for DL's, the one arm row technique is your best bet. Or if you use the outside pins of the power rack and load the bar up there. You would set the pins at the lowest point and place the bar on the outside of pwr rack then load the weight. The only downside is lifting the bar back to pins to load or deload.


That's pretty much it. Best solution is a DL jack, but you don't find a lot of commercial gyms that have those.


easy solution:

  1. load a big plate on each side.
  2. put a small plate between the big plate and the floor, now additional plates will easily slide on.


You misread me, I did it his way in the past, the solo way, but seriously who gives a shit what anyone thinks. Just do what you gotta to do get it done, don't let what others think stop you.


I basically do it that way. It gets easier as you get stronger. It used to take me forever to wrestle the plates on, and people would keep asking me if I needed a hand, and I'd get really embarrassed. But it does get quicker and less awkward over time.