T Nation

Switching Gyms, Switching Weights?


I have recently switched gyms, and since I've been in this new one, all my lifts have gone down. At first I didn't think much of it, I noticed that the bench there is much lower than the one in my old gym and even asked a couple questions here about benching in a low set-up, but I have been there for more than 2 weeks now and there's not a single lift that has not gone down, from the big ones to the small ones.

The only noticeable difference between each gym is that the old one had "gym barbells", of 10 kgs, and this new one has olympic barbells, 20 kgs. But I calculate according to that, and still am between 5 to 10 kgs lower than before.
Have this ever happened to anyone?


Work around it, adjust, progress.


I've had to switch gyms three times in three years or so... all my lifts translated differently between gyms. I noticed that (while I was younger and more inexperienced) a switch between iron plates and rubber plates always felt different to me for some reason.

Granted, perhaps it was purely psychological, but I think a lot of gym equipment is just varied enough that it may take a little time to get acclimated with.


At times I have had to train in other gyms and almost always my numbers drop and have a shit session. I really do believe there is a psychological aspect to it as well as different setups (espescially bench)


I switched gyms a couple months back. It took a couple weeks to get acclimated to the equipment and oddly enough, atmosphere. I'm not really sure how to explain other than it is psychological, and will eventually work itself out.


Well, I hope is just that... This is really frekin me out, I'm not a strong guy to begin with, and to see my strenght goin' down like that is the stuff of nightmares!!


The one physical (it still may be psychological too)imediment for me is the actual bar...I am used to my gyms newer somewhat thicker bar. My gym's bar had a larger circumfrence at least thats how it felt then the other gyms that I had to frequent where the bar felt thinner in my hands and less stable.


Definitely bars as well. Went from almost zero knurling (sp) on the bar to bloody hands.


I've noticed this, the last 3 gyms I've gone: One has hardcore metal 20s (as in plain on one side), the other had olympic style plates (thick rubber), my current gym has rubber but NOT designed for being dropped etc.

I'd say the metal feels most hardcore mentally, but the olympic style rubber ones just seemed to feel "nice" to lift with.

Maybe I'm crazy.

Think the one with Olympic style plates also had bars with better knurling... deadlifting just felt easier on the grip.


its funny that this came up. i trained in a different gym today and had to push press my last set of military presses (5/3/1) just to get above the prescribed reps. it was ass. the barbell was different from my usual gym. bastards.


Going from a 10kg bar to an olympic bar will really change the lifts, especially if the oplympic bars are longer than the 10kg bar.

I noticed differences when I changed gyms about two years ago. the bench at my current gym was softer and lower than my old gym and it felt really strange, like I was on decline or something.
Deadlifting your going to have changes in knurling and bar circumfrance.
Squat, again the bar length will have an impact and also the didstance of the rack from the wall/mirror you are facing can throw you off.
Of cause these are minor things which shouldnt make too much difference unless you are very experienced and moving BIG weight.

The biggest factor as others have said is probably a phycological thing of not being as comfortable in the new gym. Also if you have made other changes like moved house or changed your schedual you might just have a bit of stress and its not allowing you to train optimally.

Bottom line is that its normal and probably wont last more than a month IMO


In the encycolpedia of modern BB, Arnold has a section dedicated to this topic. He noticed the same thing and attributed it a psychological shift outside of your comfort zone. I've noticed the same thing, but I also find that after a while you adapt and it becomes the norm and a non-issue.


On the new Dave Henry video he mentions that machines are sometimes set up differently allowing for more or less weight, depending on year, make, model and how its setup etc....


I'm a member at 2 different gyms and definitely have this problem too so I make it a point to only do certain workouts at each gym to keep track of progress. I don't really like the thicker bars for some lifts so that throws me off too.

At an old gym there was 1 thick bar on the bench presses and I once overheard some guy saying how it was a 55lb bar, he looked like he knew what he was talking about and think he even said he weight it himself on the scale. Before this I always hated bench pressing that bar since it felt heavier so it just confirmed what I thought. This was still bothering me a week later so I took the bar in the bathroom to weight it myself, pretty much exactly 45lbs which still confuses me to this day since my new gym has similar bars.


The poundage of low/average quality plates isn't reliable at all. Plates and bars often are way lighter than their claimed poundage. It is not uncommon to find 20 kg (45 lbs) plates up to 2 kilos (5 lbs) and more lighter than their claimed poundage.
The flexibility of a bar also makes a difference how the weight feels in your hands or shoulders. A loaded flexible bar feels somewhat lighter than a rigid one with the same load.