If an olympic bar is in a rack where the rack is touching approximately where the arrows are in the following picture, how more much weight has to be added to one side before that side will fall to the ground if the other side isn't held?

enter image description here

I'm just looking for an approximate and practical number. By practical I mean that I wouldn't want to get close to the point where it is tipping either since removing a weight at that point might upset the balance. I have never removed more than 45 from one side at a time and I don't think my gym would appreciate any experimentation :-P

  • 1
    This a simple mechanics question: the bar will fall when the center of torque is outside the support point. I can't speak to the reddit diagram below, but Wikipedia or your entry-level physics text will show you how to calculate the moment arm very easily. Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


This is directly sourced from reddit, but its about 3x 45lb plates or approximately 60kg.

enter image description here

From a safety perspective, unrack no more than 2 plates per side... and always unrack your weights.

  • Hm... I might just use that example to calculate the tipping point for my own (non-standard) bar, so thanks for that.
    – user8119
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 6:24
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    This matches my own experience. I typically load one plate at a time on either side. Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 12:29
  • In my experience 2 will tip it. Real life beats any calculation.
    – Alex W
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 1:01
  • 1
    Ah yes, anecdote, the singular of data. Perhaps you should give that as an answer?
    – user2861
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 1:05
  • Had three plates on today, and the damn thing flipped. Made a huge ruckus. Fortunately there was no one in the room to see me look like an idiot.
    – Eric
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 3:31

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