I find it hard to load and unload plates when the bar is on the ground for deadlift.

When the bar is on the rack, it's easy to put the 45 lbs on and off. But, when the bar is on the ground, it's very hard to hold the bar up with one hand, hold the 45 lbs plate in the other, and bend down and around and put the plate on. Bending to the bottom seems to ruin all my leverage and ability to use my back muscles to hold the plates. (The bars in my gym are nicked enough that the plates don't just slide - you have to work them on.)

When I'm done, getting them off is even harder, esp. as I'm already exhausted. Today I dropped the bar on my foot trying to do this!

What's the best way to get the plates on and off a bar on the ground for deadlifting?

4 Answers 4


This tip won't help for getting the first plate on, but for subsequent plates you can roll the bar-with-first-plate onto another plate (even a 5 or 10 will work) that's laying flat on the ground. This will give you just enough clearance to load on more plates without having to lift the bar.

As for that first plate, you might be able to just rest the plate on the ground and hold it in place while you slide the bar into it (as opposed to sliding the plate onto the bar). You'll still have to slide the other plate onto the bar, but leverage may help a bit since the other end of the bar is no longer resting on the ground.

  • Very helpful. I think it might be easier sitting too, no? Commented May 31, 2012 at 19:46

Have you thought about 25lb plates?

(As long as there's enough at your gym to go around)

They're easy to put on.
They give you a good warm-up weight.
They're a nice increment size for additional sets. (as well as pyramiding down)
They're smaller, so they give you a little more range of motion than a 45lb plate.


Personally I load up the first 45# plates in my squat rack and walk it over to my deadlift area. I'm not strong enough, and have enough other plates, for subsequent plates to be a large enough diameter to be troublesome to put on. But it's important to have a consistent and correct height in order to maintain correct form.

Deadlift jack

They make tools for this situation. A rolling ldeadlift loading jack is a specially-designed lever that lifts the bar just a little bit, and balances in that lifted position.

deadlift loading jack

Using it is as simple as a crowbar. Per West Cary Barbell:

Just hook it under the bar and pull backon the handle. Add your plates then raise the handle to put the par back on the ground.


After you get the two plates on either side which is easy you have the obstacle of the bar being heavier than 45 lb.

Have the plate in one hand and pull the bar up slightly slotting it through the hole. Then hold the end of the bar that has just came through the hole and pull upwards whilst slotting the plate on. You don't need to lift the whole thing too much but sometimes even a small upwards force can get rid of the resistance when putting the plates on. It is actually quite easy to lift just one side of the bar compared to deadlifting it anyway.

When unloading do something similar. Unload one side first, as the plates come off the bar they become easier to remove, I grab two at a time and jerk them a bit bearing in mind that the upward force neutralizes the friction. After one side is unloaded the other is easy because other bar touches the floor and the angle creates enough space for you to slide them off with no resistance.

I hope this is clear the rolling it on and off of weights idea is good. I think I have done it before but I prefer doing it this way it seems less fiddly and it works well for me so give it a try.

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