Updated at: 02-08-2023 - By: Matt Roberts

Ever wondered how the pros at your gym effortlessly rack up weights on their barbell?

This blog post demystifies the art of barbell weight calculation, equipping you with basic arithmetic tricks and useful tools like a Barbell Racking Calculator to precisely measure your loads.

Ready to lift smarter? Let’s dive right in!

Understanding Barbell Weight Calculation

Adding the weight of plates to the weight of the bar

Learning how to accurately calculate weight on a barbell is fundamental for any gym-goer.

A big part of this process involves adding the weight of plates to that of the bar itself.

  1. Start by confirming the standard weight of your barbell. Typically, Olympic bars used in gyms weigh 45 pounds or 20 kilograms, while other multi-purpose barbells designed for powerlifting typically weigh around 44 pounds or 20 kilograms.
  2. Carefully select and add your chosen weights on each side of the barbell. Remember that these plates come in different sizes and weights, so choose according to your strength level and workout goals.
  3. Calculate the combined weight of the plates you’ve added onto each side of the barbell. This may involve some simple mathematical calculation if you’re using multiple plates with different weights.
  4. Add up the total mass from all your chosen plates to get their cumulative weight.
  5. Once you’ve determined this figure, add it to the known weight of your barbell.
  6. The resulting number will give you an accurate measurement of your overall loaded barbell’s weight.

Using basic arithmetic to calculate the total barbell weight

To calculate the total weight on a barbell, you can use basic arithmetic. First, determine the weight of the plates you want to add to each side of the bar.

For example, if you want to add two 10-pound plates and one 5-pound plate on each side, that would be a total of (2 x 10) + (1 x 5) = 25 pounds added per side.

Next, find out the weight of the bar itself. Most gym bars weigh around 45 pounds or 20 kilograms. So in this case, we add another 45 pounds for the bar.

Finally, you simply add up these two weights: weight of plates + weight of bar. In our example it would be: (25 + 25) + (45) = total barbell weight of 95 pounds.

Using a Barbell Racking Calculator

To calculate the weight on a barbell, you can use a convenient tool called a barbell racking calculator.

This nifty device takes the guesswork out of figuring out how many weight plate pairs you need on each side of the bar.

  1. Start by inputting the weight of the bar into the calculator. The standard weight for most gym barbells is 45 pounds or 20 kilograms.
  2. Next, enter your desired total weight. Let’s say you want to lift 225 pounds or 100 kilograms in total.
  3. The calculator will then determine how many weight plate pairs you need to add on each side of the bar to reach your desired weight. It will provide clear instructions on which plates to use and where to position them.
  4. Once you have the calculations, simply load up the recommended plates onto the bar according to the instructions provided by the calculator.

Number of weight plate pairs needed on each side

To make the process of calculating the weight on a barbell even easier, you can use a handy tool called a weight plate barbell racking calculator.

This online calculator takes into account the weight of the bar and the desired total weight you want to lift.

By inputting these values, it will automatically determine how many pairs of weight plates you need to place on each side of the bar.

This eliminates the need for manual calculations and ensures that you have an accurate distribution of weights for your workout.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, using a barbell racking calculator can save you time and effort in determining your optimal lifting load.

Barbell Weight and Size Chart

Most common bar weight is 20kg (44lbs)

The most common weight for a barbell used in gyms is 20kg, which is equivalent to 44lbs. This standard weight ensures consistency across various exercises and allows athletes to accurately calculate the total weight they are lifting.

Whether you’re deadlifting, bench pressing, or performing other barbell exercises, knowing that the bar itself weighs 20kg can help you determine your progress and set goals for increasing strength.

Keep in mind that different types of barbells may have unique grip patterns and handle dimensions, so it’s always beneficial to familiarize yourself with the specific equipment you’ll be using at your gym.

Different handle dimensions for different grip preferences

Barbells come in various handle dimensions to cater to different grip preferences. These handles are designed to provide a comfortable and secure grip while performing exercises.

Some individuals may prefer a thicker handle for added stability and increased wrist strength, while others might opt for a thinner handle for better control during lifts.

The length of the shaft can also vary, allowing lifters with larger hands or longer arms to have sufficient space to hold the bar comfortably.

So whether you’re a fan of the classic Olympic barbell or prefer specialized powerlifting bars, there’s always an option that suits your gripping needs.


In conclusion, calculating the weight on a barbell is a simple process that involves adding the weight of the plates to the weight of the bar.

By using a barbell racking calculator, you can easily determine how many weight plate pairs are needed on each side for your desired total weight.

Remember to consider the standard weight of the bar and any specific grip preferences when calculating your ideal workout load.

With these tips and tools, you’ll be able to confidently calculate and lift weights on your barbell at the gym!