# Barbell says 20kg on each side. Am I lifting 20 or 40kg?

I'm not sure what the make of the weights is but here is a google image of them in the gym. It's not clear but hopefully someone can recognise the make

• Google streetview went into your gym? Jul 19, 2017 at 19:01
• @MisterEman22: Google streetview also includes some shops. So, why not? Jul 19, 2017 at 20:58
• Couldn't you just pick and discover all by yourself? 20kg is a lot of weight for not noticing the difference. Jul 19, 2017 at 20:59
• @Michael, A the pace he's curling, he should never miss a leg day to be in proportions. Jul 21, 2017 at 8:24

Typically on those types of barbells the number marked is for the entire object: both ends, and the bar itself.

That's different than separate plates and bars, where you need to figure in the weight of the bar and each plate weighs as much as it says on the side. 135lbs on a typical Olympic barbell is 45 for the bar, and a 45 plate on each side (45+45+45).

Again, the ones in your picture are more like dumbbells in that the weight indicated is for the entire object.

• This is the correct answer with one exception. The dumbells that allow you to add your own weights to each end (think mini-Olympic barbell). Other than that, the reason you see them on both end is to make finding which weight you are trying to choose easier. Could you imagine how frustrating it could be to need to check both ends on potentially 8 sides to find which weight you're lifting? Jul 19, 2017 at 19:14

The general rule of thumb is that for free weights, a weight that is designed to be used interchangeably will have its own weight indicated on it, whereas a weight that is fixed will represent the total weight of the object.

For non-free weights, a weight that is located on a stack in a machine will indicate the weight of itself and all the weights on top of it; that is to say, it is given a value that reflects the effort to lift it and the weights stacked atop it. However, if it is attached to a pulley system, the actual force needed to lift it will depend on the arrangement of pulleys and may be substantially less than the nominal weight.

There are of course exceptions (hopefully rare) to these rules.

Because the weights shown in the picture are of the fixed type--the bar is not detachable from the end weights--the weight indicated is the total object weight, including the bar. By contrast, a plate indicates the weight of the plate itself and not the bar that could be attached to it, since the bar can be nonstandard.

I won't discuss the apparent proliferation of fake plates that some lifters appear to be using when posting images and video on social media to give the impression of being stronger than world champion lifters.

• Pre-assembled barbells made from interchangeable components do exist and are probably the main exception. These often have an additional label but they don't always last Jul 20, 2017 at 7:57

As above are - fixed weights typically include the bar, free weights don't.

The best way to find out for a fact is to weigh it. Most gyms have a scale, follow these steps.

1. Weigh yourself on the gym scale.
2. Weigh yourself holding the barbell.
3. Subtract your weight from the combined and you have the mass of the barbell.

Typically the same type/make of barbell will follow the same pattern. So if you weigh 250lb, don't try weigh yourself with a 120lb barbell, just measure with a 30lb or similar to see if the bar is included or not.

You're lifting 50,because of 10kg added weight of BB

• Not on fixed weight barbells Aug 1, 2017 at 8:14