Friday, March 30, 2012

Big Ones and Little Ones

I mentioned a while ago that I was planning on getting some new plates. Well, they are here.

Before now we only had some cheap no name plates from play it again sports to use. Some were used the others were the black painted ones the perpetually deposit paint chips all around. We only had enough weight to load the bar up to 150 pounds. Better than nothing but not enough for squats and deadlifts. Now we have enough weight to load the bar to 424 pounds and even 433 if the wooden spacer plates and the spring clamps are included.

The smaller plates from play it again sports were all made is China. I don't like that. It bothers me every time I put the 25 pounders on. My new plates are used, the spoils of gym remodeling in the Chicago area. Both Ivanko and York are American companies. I like that, and the quality American manufacturing shows. 

One of the most annoying things that happens during a deadlift with cheaply made plates is the flopping around that goes on due to over-sized or egg-shaped holes. Bars are made to nice and round and any plates that are to be used in pulls off the floor should have circular holes to receive the bar with minimal gap between the plate and bar. Look at this Ivanko plate - Rogue bar match up. Nice!
You've probable noticed the tiny steel plates. Those are flat washers ordered through Grainger Industrial Supply (they weigh about 0.5 pounds each). They are small and when your Bench or Pressing numbers get high enough the 5 pound jumps afforded by the smallest standard plates (2.5 pounds) might be too much. This is particularly true for female trainees who just don't have the upper body muscle mass that grows fast. Half pound plates will allow us to make small 1 pound jumps and continue progressing.
In this post you saw our homemade gym equipment. You might have been a bit skeptical about the wooden bench, and rightfully so. If the bench fails during a heavy attempt you and your spotter are not going to react fast enough and you will be pinned. Possibly resulting in serious injury or worse. One thing you may not know is most of those cheap metal benches at Walmart, or whatever your local sporting goods store is, are only rated to hold 300 pounds. I put enough 2x4's in this bench to make it exceedingly strong, and certainly superior to the cheap, imported, toy-like metal benches.
The above photo (cute I know) demonstrates that this bench will serve me well. That is a 200 pound man and 425 pounds of iron resting comfortably on that bench. No creaks or any sign of failure were observed.

Now you might be wondering "what is a guy like you gonna do with 425 pounds?" Right now not too much but that is changing. My squat is moving up slowly due to my ankle and my deadlift is at 270 pounds as of this writing and going up about 20 pounds per week. Soon the progress will slow to 10 pounds every 2 weeks but by this time next year I may be looking for another pair of vintage 45s. Don't limit your goals ahead of time. Equip yourself to succeed and don't let anything get it the way. 
Happy lifting. 


  1. WOW Brian! I didn't know you were into body building! Uncle D pressed 280# when he was 17 years old. I bet he couldn't press 180 now -- you will have to talk to him about this one day. BTW how is the ankle doing?

    1. Thanks for reading. I really do enjoy lifting weights but I have to clarify. My intent is not to become a body builder or even become like a body builder. I think most of them are highly narcissistic. I am just trying to get strong and keep my body alive and functional well into old age.
      My ankle is no good, but I guess it could be worse. I will put a post up soon detailing its sad history and sorry current state.