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Weaker Deadlift Because of Rubber Weight Plates?

Hi all
I recently made myself a garage gym and i have been doing good progress with my (power)lifts. But my deadlift got 45lbs weaker all of a sudden when i started lifting in my own gym.
Few weeks ago I could deadlift 330lbs x 2 easy at my local gym where the weights are iron (Weak deadlift I know). But now i could barely get 264lbs off the floor without breaking my back at my own garage gym with the rubber weight plates. And 225lbs feels ridiculously heavy.

What should i do? Should i look for a new bar and weight plates for my own gym?

You should not worry about it and keep training with whatever you can do.


Did the gym bar actually weigh 330lbs? Or maybe your own bar didn’t weigh 264lbs?

I’ve pulled 308lbs x 7 one week earlier at a different gym before the 330lbs x 2 session at my local gym. Pulling with the rubber weight plates at my garage gym makes the deadlift feel more awkward and different. i’ve noticed with the rubber plates that getting them to break off the floor is alot more challenging compared to the iron weight plates. I deadlift conventional.

Just continue progressing with whichever it doesn’t matter what the weight is as long as it is improving.


Some companies make rubber plates that are smaller than normal plates so you may be doing a deficit deadlift. If that’s the case, you can put mats under them.

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-Check the diameter of the plates, most 45’s are about the same but not all of them.
-Weigh your bar, if it’s roughly 45lbs just reset your expectations, maybe the gym bar was light.
-Could your bar be thicker? This could make things feel heavier, especially if your grip is an issue.
-If none of that is true then your rubber plates are somehow adhering to the ground… are you in Phoenix where it’s too hot for commercial aircraft right now? If this is the case you’re probably going to have to get a fridge for the garage gym to keep the plates in, then just take them out at the last minute to load the bar.


The rubber plates are the same size compared to the iron plates, but they are alot wider.

Then if it was me, I would just do this.

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My bar weighs 45lbs, but the bar seems a little bit thicker than the local gym’s bars (thet weight 45lbs aswell), but my grip is my strong side, so that isn’t the case. The rubber plates are the same size as the iron plates, but they are wider. i’m starting to get a feel that the reason is behind the plate width, because it’s harder to get the slack out of the bar (load the hamstrings etc.) I’m from Finland, not hot in here.

Bar thickness isn’t just a grip issue, it’s a stiffness issue. You’re probably pulling with a much stiffer bar. That’s going to take its toll. It’s also just possible you were able to get into a better frame of mind training at a gym than in your own garage. Deadlifts are going to feel lighter if you’re in an aggressive place mentally. May take awhile for you to settle in and get your mental game right in your own place. In any event, just keep tugging, use a solid program and strength will come.

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I only owned iron plates when I first moved to my home gym. I was used to using rubber plates at the gym. At home, I dropped several pounds on my deadlift and swore it was because iron weights felt different than rubber plates.

It’s most likely what Ramo said.

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Yes, the bar is really stiff compared to the bar at the local gym. At the local gym I can pull with awesome speed because it isn’t so stiff and I can pull the slack out of the bar and load the hamstrings well.
Yeah mentality might play a role because i haven’t lifted max effort for 2 weeks due to bench press competition and being ill for one week. Honestly, my mentality was off during the few past days. I did the mistake of planning and thinking about my workout way too much in advance, which caused me stress and I felt tired when I tried to approach the bar.
When i go to the local gym i’m extremely focused and calm and once the lift is there i just go to town on it. Today i just crawled to my own gym thinking this and that and just thinking i’m going to pr with that poor mindset, i didn’t have the anger and the emotion today.

I really appreciate this reply I actually learned alot of these mistakes. Thanks alot!

My father always said a good mechanic blames his tools. The material doesn’t matter unless it’s Velcro. There could be a lot of factors in play as you’ve noted, but I’d be willing to bet a large sum of money that the physics of the lift haven’t changed due to plate material.

Keep pulling hard.

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I’m really starting to come to a conclusion, that theres nothing wrong with the plates, but the bar is so stiff i can’t pull the slack out of the bar and load my hamstrings. But I do got a firm grip on the technique of the deadlift and i have never experienced lower back pain during lifting until now.

I’m wondering if I should start saving up money for an actual deadlift barbell. I really don’t want to mess up my back. :confused:

Yeah the bar is a definite possibility. I’ve never trained with a dl bar, so power bar dl is all I know.

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No need. What you’re experiencing is the disadvantage of pulling only on a DL bar: over time, your setup and technique got sloppy where a DL bar allows it (starting position and tightness). A stiff bar is unforgiving, and if you aren’t locked into a tight setup it will pull you out of position at the start.

The advantage to training on a stiff bar is that when you transition to a DL bar, it feels much easier because you automatically get your starting position and tightness just right.


I don’t know if 300 lbs is enough to get a big advantage out of bar whip.


I’m pretty sure it isn’t, in the sense that the bar won’t bend much compared to 400+ lbs. However, the fact that the bar will bend some will still hide some issues with position and tightness, even in the high 200s.

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