Gym Etiquette: How to Load a Barbell

If you were hosting an exchange student at an NBA game, you wouldn’t let him be the only person to leave his hat on during the National Anthem, right? Similarly, you’d hope your golfer friends wouldn’t let you unknowingly step in the path of someone else’s put, right?

Unwritten rules and social norms need to be shared and upheld by the collective community. 

That said, there are a litany of unwritten gym rules that exist for reasons of both safety and etiquette. What I’m here to share with you today is the unwritten rules of how to load a barbell. 

It’s simple. Barbells are to be loaded as follows:

  1. Heaviest plates loaded first from inside moving to lightest on the outside
  2. in the most economical manner possible. 

‘Step 1’ is cut and dry. If you’ve got 45s, 25s, and 10s on the bar. The 45s are loaded first closest to the collar. The 25s and 10s are loaded thereafter in that order. ‘Step 2’ is commonly mistaken. Using two pairs of 25s to add 50lbs to each side of the bar is frowned upon, whereas a 45 and 5 on each side will do better. 

This has a number of reasons including (but not limited to) better safe keeping of plates, expeditious barbell math, and orderly gym vibes. Plus, it looks bad when you’ve got four 10lbs plates on each side of your bar while your classmates are in need of a pair. 

See you in the gym!

5/6/22 WOD


Strict Press (4×11)

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:

20 Overhead Tricep Extensions
Max Dips

Then, every 3:00 for 5 rounds, complete the following:

5 Hang Cleans
15 Push-ups


2-Position Pause Sumo Deadlift

Complete 4 rounds for quality of:

8 Snatch Grip RDL
20 Stir the Pot (ea) 

Then, complete 3 rounds for time:

30 Wall Balls (20/14)
400m Run