T Nation

Smaller Than 5 Pound Plates

as a beginner, intermediate or someone who is even advanced, do you feel that using the <5 pound plates at your gym is very benefical? do you believe it is critical in improving strength/mass?

I don’t think they’re very beneficial at all. I only use the 5 lb plates for overhead work, everything else I use a minimum of 10lb plates.

Why would it not be beneficial? If last week I hit 275 on ME bench for 3 reps, and this week I know there’s no way 285 is going down, I’ll use the 2.5lb plates and go for 280. I’ve set a PR. How is this not useful?

[quote]OneEye wrote:
Why would it not be beneficial? If last week I hit 275 on ME bench for 3 reps, and this week I know there’s no way 285 is going down, I’ll use the 2.5lb plates and go for 280. I’ve set a PR. How is this not useful?[/quote]

exactly even the 1.25 lb plate or collars thats a PR its progression.

Sure - more weight is more weight. It’s not a competition.

[quote]Brett Tucek wrote:
I don’t think they’re very beneficial at all. I only use the 5 lb plates for overhead work, everything else I use a minimum of 10lb plates.[/quote]

You breath in and they aren’t beneficial and then breath out and they are? If you are using for overhead work wouldn’t that make them beneficial?

To the OP, yes if you add 5lb plates to your max lifts every time you work out, your numbers are increasing, right? Sounds good to me.

Personal preference, guys…

I just don’t see the point of increasing the weight on the bar 5 pounds. Instead, I keep after more reps until I’m able to add 10 or 20 pounds.

Perhaps if I ever get so strong that I’m breaking world records then I’ll consider using the chips.

[quote]Brett Tucek wrote:
Personal preference, guys…

I just don’t see the point of increasing the weight on the bar 5 pounds. Instead, I keep after more reps until I’m able to add 10 or 20 pounds.

Perhaps if I ever get so strong that I’m breaking world records then I’ll consider using the chips. [/quote]

I like your attitude!

Something to consider: People who have actually weighed plates have found great variances from their printed weight. A 45lb plate might actually weigh 42 or 48. Even a 10lb plate might weigh 8 or 12. So unless your using, say high quality Eleiko plates, don’t be fixated on small increments because you don’t know how much you’re truly lifting.

[quote]Dash_Riprock wrote:
Something to consider: People who have actually weighed plates have found great variances from their printed weight. A 45lb plate might actually weigh 42 or 48. Even a 10lb plate might weigh 8 or 12. So unless your using, say high quality Eleiko plates, don’t be fixated on small increments because you don’t know how much you’re truly lifting.[/quote]

Valid point.

I don’t have to worry about this anymore because I lift at home, so I’m always using the same plates.

The lighter weight that you are lifting, when you go up in weight the larger the percent increase is. For example, benching going from 300 to 310 is a 3% increase, but on curls going from 40-50 lbs is over a 20% increase.

So that means the lighter the weight, the more important it is to be able to make small jumps. So yes, use the little plates. Think of this way, 5 lbs a week is 250 lbs a year, even 5 lbs a month is 60 lbs a year of progress. Use any tool you have.

[quote]nptitim wrote:
The lighter weight that you are lifting, when you go up in weight the larger the percent increase is. For example, benching going from 300 to 310 is a 3% increase, but on curls going from 40-50 lbs is over a 20% increase.

So that means the lighter the weight, the more important it is to be able to make small jumps. So yes, use the little plates. Think of this way, 5 lbs a week is 250 lbs a year, even 5 lbs a month is 60 lbs a year of progress. Use any tool you have.[/quote]

On the oposite end of this spectrum the more weight your pushing the longer its going to take you to make even small gains. A 5lb PR when you have been stuck near the same weight for a long time can be huge deal.

Saying small increases are useless is like saying extra points are worthless in football. If you win by 30 points or 1 point it doesnt matter, a win is a win and an increase in poundage is an increase in poundage

Of course they are beneficial. I actually bought some fractional plates, because sometimes it is too large of a jump for someone to make with the 2.5 plates, but they can make a 1 lb plate increase – and now they feel like they are getting somewhere. My daughter has a difficult time with a 5 lb increase on her bench but two pounds – now that is do-able for her.

Anytime you increase the weight - no matter how large or small – you benefit from it.

One of the most beneficial changes I’ve made to my workout program is to set a PR in every lift every time I lift, whether it’s reps or weight. So that way I know I’m always getting better. If having an extra on or two reps in every set has helped me this much (my bench was stalled for a year, I made a 20 lb pr in two months after I changed things), I would think adding a little extra weight would too.

As for Brett Tucek’s comment, it depends on what you are doing. If you’re doing sets of eight reps, yes adding 2.5 pounds might be a little silly. However if I’m maxing out. I may be able to push up another 5 pounds, while having no chance of getting two reps with the weight I was just using.

This is a much more interesting thread than I imagined it would be.

Dash makes a good point in that the weight on the bar can vary several pounds even if the plates say they’re the same numbers.

I don’t agree with nptitim that small chips should be used by beginners. I think that if everything is in line, beginners should be making the LARGEST jumps of anyone. “Beginner’s Gains”, anyone?

firebug9, I don’t agree that a 5lb (or less) increase on a 1RM is anything beneficial, other than for bragging rights.

cap’nsalty, I agree that going for a PR every workout is a good idea. My idea of a PR is slightly different though, in that it also may include doing a 1RM twice in one day, whereas I could only do it once (and barely) before. If your bench stalled for a year, and you made a 20lb PR in two months after adding chips, I have to think that a large part of that was a mental block.

I notice that most people here are talking 5lb PR’s on 1RM lifts. There’s really no way to know if it’s more effective to add minimal weight to a 1RM, or to just keep hitting that 1RM for a few sets. Again, it boils down to personal preference.

I feel idiotic enough getting the 5lb plates, and the 2.5lb plates are that much worse. It’s actually probably a little odd that I have such an aversion to small plates.

I’d like to add that it seems as though powerlifters seem to think the small plates are beneficial, which makes sense. I train for strongman, though, so 1RM’s don’t mean very much to me.

No, I didn’t say that chips made the difference, what I said was that trying to lift more weight (either reps OR weight) made the difference (before I was just maxing out on my 1 rep max, and then on my assistant sets just doing what I could, rather than striving for at least 1 more rep than I did last time). My point was that tiny increments are important too.

Really it seems like your problem with it is that it isn’t manly to use the small plates. To argue that using the chips makes no difference, but adding 5 or 10 lb plates does is ridiculous and arbitrary.

[quote]cap’nsalty wrote:
No, I didn’t say that chips made the difference, what I said was that trying to lift more weight (either reps OR weight) made the difference (before I was just maxing out on my 1 rep max, and then on my assistant sets just doing what I could, rather than striving for at least 1 more rep than I did last time). My point was that tiny increments are important too.

Really it seems like your problem with it is that it isn’t manly to use the small plates. To argue that using the chips makes no difference, but adding 5 or 10 lb plates does is ridiculous and arbitrary.[/quote]

Either you edited your previous comment, or I read it WAY wrong. We’ll assume the latter.

I don’t disagree that tiny increments are important. In fact, that should have been pretty obvious from my last few posts.

Alright, fine, I’ll admit it:

My name is Brett Tucek and I feel like a pussy if I use plates that weigh less than 5 lbs.

Better?