T Nation

Question for Overseas Lifters


I have a question for those lifters that train overseas. Forgive my ignorance but I have not traveled to England/Asia/Russia yet. I know in measuring weights most overseas use kilos, I was wondering in the gyms do most gyms have kilo measured plates (ie the weight itself says it is 25 kg, 20 kg, etc) or are the actual weights most people are using similar to what we have in America which is 45, 35, 25, 10, 5, 2.5 lb weight plates?

I am asking this because when I look a bar loaded with the pound plates I instantly know how much weight it is just by looking at it and I imagine most American lifters are in the same situation, but if I see a bar loaded with kilo plates I have to add it up each time. I was wondering if our overseas counterparts all instantly knew what a kilo bar would look like but would have to add up the pound plates or if the pound plates were still popular outside of America?

Thanks for the info.


Hey Tim

Its going to depend on the company that makes the plate, some have lbs and kilos listed others just kilos
When reading American weight training articles etc, you basically do the math each time a weight is listed in lbs.

I hope it helps


Hi Tim,
I live in China so I guess I know what you mean. In Beijing most plates are measured in kilo's, and when if I load up/see a bar with 2 20's on each side i instantly know its 100kg/220 pounds. So yeah, I guess we're kind of similar? But I know for a fact that when I go to America, I always have to add up the pounds (when I first went, I thought the bar was 44 pounds because all bars in china are 20kg).
But if you think about it, 20kg is quite close to 45 pounds, 10kg close to 25 pounds, and etc. So that makes life easier.


I live in Japan and all the plates I've ever used have been labelled with kilos, going 20, 15, 10, 5, 2.5, and then the occasional 1.25 kilo plates being standard.

You're right about seeing things in kilos; when I see a bar loaded with three big plates I assume it's 140 kilos rather than 315 lbs, and I have to stop and think about what plates to use when I go back to the states. It's never really a big deal until you get into heavier weights, as a bar loaded with 5 plates in Japan would be 220kgs (484lbs) versus 495 in the U.S.


Thanks for the info. Actually in America most bars really are 44 lbs everyone just rounds up to 45, we would use the same bars but added with the collars (2.5 kg each) we get 55 lbs (25 kg). A lot of shitty bars however range in weight from 42-48 lbs.


Trained in Helsinki "Voimapuoti" a little out of town last April, had everything, buffalo, cambered, chains bands, some unreal benches monster DBs two monolifts, very liitle room stand around except on the platforms..

everything in kilos, and my fav was a beutiful pair of 50kg Eliko bumper plates, ... if only I could have power cleaned them that day ... sigh


I've only seen kilo plates in gyms in England.


Hey Tim I'm from England. I've only ever seen kilo plates, but some give the respective pound weights too, but they're not 45lbs. They usually say 20kg and 44lbs.

Yes, I can look at a bar and pretty much know how much it weighs without adding up. When I see Americans posting about lbs they lifted, I usually have to convert it into kilos to get an idea of how much it is. Although after doing this for a while I've kinda become familiar with how heavy things are in lbs.


I've only ever lifted in kilos, but reading a lot of T-Nation, EliteFTS etc gives you a pretty good grasp of (roughly) what the conversion is, without having to grab a calculator, particularly when its 20kg/45lb increments. The difficult part is seeing people make 5 and 10lb PRs and expecting 5 and 10kg PRs to be as frequent.


I train at a commercial gym here in Germany (don't judge! It's actually pretty well-equipped) and the plate assortment is as follows: 1.25 kg, 2.5 kg, 5 kg, 10 kg, 15 kg. We're missing the 20-kg plates, which would be nice for the larger compound lifts. The main problem, though, is that these are smaller in diameter than standard olympic-sized plates, which means that I need to deadlift from on top of 5-kg plates in order to achieve the proper spinal alignment and distance to the floor. If I move house in the next year or two I might seek out a gym that has stations with olympic or--better yet!--bumper plates.


Australia: kilo plates, like most of the rest of the world.

It's one of the things that really annoys me with US based sites in that they are talking in lb when the vast majority of powerlifting done on the planet is in kilos. In fact, I would hazard a guess that any decent US federation would have their comps in kilos as that is the international standard, they just report it in pounds. It might have been elitefts that had conversion tables for US lifters for some comps.

Same with the Olympics. Everything is in kilos. US commentators find it irresistable to convert to pounds, making the whole thing an annoying experience.

The kilo standard is shown in the US lb plates. I mean, why 45lb? Why not 50? Why a 44lb bar and not a 45, or even a 50 or a 40? Because they are all near equivalents to the kilo standard.

Sorry for the rant. It's just a pisser having to deal with 18th century standards.


Trick to convert it in your head is times it by two and add 10%.


I am from Norway and have for the most part seen kg plates, but I had a weight set as a kid and I think they where kg plates based on lbs because instead of 0,50kg plates for instance they where 0,65kg.

Whenever I see someone post about lifts in Pounds I make a simple an unaccurate conversion in my head, like for example: 5lb = 2,5kg, 10lb = 5kg, 100lb = 45kg, 200lb = 90kg, 300lb = 135kg. Not accurate perhaps, but I feel it gives me a rough understanding of what you imperial guys are talking about.


Yeah in New Zealand you see the occasional rogue lb plate, and some with both numerical systems labeled.
But 90% of the time it's all in kgs.

Everyone knows a bar is 20kg and a two plates each side brings you to 100kgs.

25, 20, 15, 10, 5, 2.5, 1.25 (kgs) are the common plate sizes I have in my basement.


Never seen a gym in the UK that wasnt kilos.

bar is 20

proper collars are 2.5

discs come in 1.25, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25

25's dont get used much so the "big" plate is a 20

one plate either side is 60 (few use proper collars and all ignore the weight of spring collars)
two plates is 100
3 plates is 140
4 plates is 180

and by looking you can do the maths automatically

but as we work in pounds for general items such as buying food (a pound of apples etc) and as we weigh ourselves in "stones" which are 14 pounds, we are generally bilingual in the languages of pounds and kilos


oh, yes, another thing, we dont train "overseas". you do. : )


Yep. Most gym bars are 44 lb.

And I've never been to a meet in the US where the weight is not in kilos.

It is a shame that Americans don't use the metric system. It's easier to work with.


Can you all stop decreasing all my lifts by 1 pound please?!

I'm gonna put my hands over my ears and repeat to myself that the bar is 45lbs.


I'm from England and my (commercial) gym uses really old Ivanko plates which are in lbs. Confused the hell out of me for a few weeks...

I like talking in lbs though, seems more 'hardcore' for some reason


Another thing that's cool about being familiar with both (besides being able to put US lifts in perspective) is there's another set of milestones. So if you deadlift say 250kg, you can aim for 600lb before looking at 300kg as the next big landmark.