How Many Weight Plates Do I Need? (Minimum For Home Gym)

Weight plates are an important part of your setup, and without the right number and sizes, you can't work out properly. This can impact your routine and stop you from making gains. If you don't know where to start, don't worry, because in this guide we'll answer the question 'how many weight plates do I need?' 

Weights plates are used to load resistance onto a barbell. They come in all different shapes and sizes so that you adjust how much you’re lifting. It’s important you have enough weight so you can get the most from your workout and build your strength, but it’s also important that you have enough selection so you can load the bar appropriately for different exercises.

There are two main types of weight plate: pound based or kilogram based. Pound based plates are all measured in pounds and generally range from 2.5 pounds to 50 pounds. Kilogram based weights generally range from 1.25 kg to 25 kg. When you're buying a set of weights, it tends to be described as the total weight of the package, so 2 x 5 kg weight plates would be a 10 kg set.

You can also choose between bumper plates and cast-iron plates. Bumper plates are made from rubber and have a 2-inch hole, which will fit on Olympic barbells.

You can read more about the differences between Olympic vs standard barbells here.

These plates all have the same dimensions regardless of the weight and are well suited for exercises where the barbell hits the floor (particularly deadlifting). 

Cast-iron weights are all different sizes depending on the weight. The smaller the weight plate, the lighter it is, so you’ll have to fit different sized plates onto the barbell. These are cheaper and more common in home gyms. 

A standard set of pound weight plates contains: 

  • 2 x 45 lb. 
  • 2 x 35 lb. 
  • 2 x 25 lb. 
  • 2 x 10 lb. 
  • 4 x 5 lb. 
  • 2 x 2.5 lb. 

This, combined with the standard 45-pound bar, will give you a total of 300 pounds. This set is plenty for most standard lifters.

A standard set of kilogram weight plates will contain:  

  • 2 x 25 kg. 
  • 2 x 15 kg. 
  • 2 x 10 kg. 
  • 2 x 5 kg. 
  • 4 x 2.5 kg. 
  • 2 x 1 kg. 

With a standard 20kg bar on top, this gives you a total of 122kg, which is about 270 pounds and therefore a little bit lighter.

Weight Plates For Beginners 

If you’re a beginner, then you’ll be best with a standard set. This gives you a reasonable amount of resistance for all your key lifts, and a balanced range of weights so you can load different combinations onto the bar. The light weights will allow you to keep the bar light for isolation exercises (triceps and biceps), but there are also some heavier weights for compound exercises (squats and deadlifts).  

When you first start out, you'll find you're able to grow muscle quickly, so it's fine to have a higher gap between the plates because you can make big jumps. However, once you become more experienced, you should find that it’s smaller gains, and you need some lighter weight plates to add to your lifts 

Beginners will typically be better with cast-iron weights rather than bumper weight plates, which is good because they're cheaper anyway. You may benefit from having a couple of 1.25-pound plates too, but some standard sets will include them.

weight plates in a home gym

Weight Plates For Intermediate Users 

If you’re an intermediate lifter with some experience, you'll benefit from a slightly different setup. You need a heavier range of weights that match your fitness goals. If you can currently squat or deadlift 200 pounds but you want to get up over 300 pounds, then it’s worth buying a set of weight plates that will allow you to reach that goal.

You also want to start investing in a greater proportion of mid-range weight plates. As an intermediate, you'll find you aren't jumping up as quickly, and your improvements may only be 5 pounds at a time.

Having smaller weights will help you add these medium-weight plates on, so you keep improving, even if it’s small gains at a time. Intermediate lifters will generally be better with bumper weights that are larger and more durable. We’d recommend this breakdown:

  • 2 x 2.5 pounds 
  • 6 x 5 pounds 
  • 6 x 10 pounds 
  • 8 x 25 pounds 
  • 4 x 45 pounds 

Total weight: 475 pounds, plus the barbell 

Or in kilos: 

  • 2 x 1 kilograms 
  • 6 x 2.5 kilograms 
  • 6 x 5 kilograms 
  • 6 x 10 kilograms 
  • 2 x 15 kilograms 
  • 2 x 25 kilograms 

Total weight: 177 kilos, plus the barbell

Weight Plates For Advanced Users 

If you’re an advanced lifter, you need to think more carefully about your weight plates. You'll have a higher max lift, and you’ll need to have a heavier set of weights to accommodate it. If you’re at an elite level, you may need over 500 pounds worth of weight.

You also want to consider the breakdown of weights. You’ll no longer need a lot of the smaller denominations, but you’ll benefit from having a lot of the heavier plates. This will allow you to load and unload the bar more easily without spending unnecessary time.

It's still worth having some lighter weights, so you can increase it in increments, but not as many. If you’re an advanced lifter, then you should really be using bumper plates, and we’d recommend this breakdown:  

  • 2 x 2.5 pounds 
  • 2 x 5 pounds 
  • 4 x 10 pounds 
  • 4 x 25 pounds 
  • 10 x 45 pounds 

Total weight: 605 pounds, plus the barbell.  

Or in kilos: 

  • 2 x 1 kilogram  
  • 2 x 2.5 kilogram 
  • 4 x 5 kilogram 
  • 2 x 10 kilogram 
  • 2 x 15 kilogram 
  • 10 x 25 kilogram 

Total weight: 327kg, plus the barbell 

You need 15-25 individual weight plates for a complete set. This should be enough for an effective full workout if you have enough variety. It's important to consider what you need for your home gym before committing to anything.  

If you’re performing high rep exercises, like a cross-fit workout, then you may need fewer heavy plates. If you’re focused on building strength, you need more heavy plates. Take all of this into account before you decide, and remember that you can always purchase extra weight plates separately to expand your collection.  

Related Article - CrossFit Vs Bodybuilding

How Many Weight Plates Do I Need

Considerations When Deciding How Many Weight Plates You Need

Figuring out which weight plates you need is just as important as choosing any other piece of gym equipment. If you get the wrong size or number of plates, it can make it more difficult to exercise properly and impact the functionality of your home gym.

Here are the key considerations to help you determine what you need: 

  • Experience Level 
    The more experienced you are, the more weight you’ll need. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need a higher number of weight plates; it just means that you’ll need more high denomination 25- and 50-pound plates. Beginners will be better off with the same overall number of plates but a wider spread of light and heavy weights.
  • Type Of Workout  
    Alongside your experience level, you also need to think about the types of workouts you'll be doing. For example, if you're focusing on cardio and flexibility, you probably only need light weights for high rep movements. On the other hand, if you're focusing on growing muscle and strength, you'll need more heavy plates. If you're going to be doing compound movements that engage large muscle groups, then you should make sure you’ve got more heavy weight plates so you can really challenge your body. If you're going to be switching between movements regularly, then you are better with higher denomination weight plates. This makes it easier to load and unload the bar without having to slide lots of smaller weights on and off. This will save you valuable time in your workout and make it more convenient.  
  • Space Available  
    Many home gyms need to be compact, and it's all about maximizing the space. If you buy a lot of weight plates, they're going to take up more room, and you need to consider how you can store them. If you have very limited space, you are better off with a smaller set with more heavy weight plates. 
  • Budget  
    Price is always a key consideration, and typically, the heavier the weight plate, the more it will cost, but if you buy large numbers of smaller weight plates, it can also push the price up. Buying too many weight plates that you can't even lift is just a waste of money, so you should consider exactly what you need. Sometimes getting a small number of individual weight plates is better value for money than a whole set, and if you're a beginner, you can potentially get away with buying fewer.
garage gym with equipment

Weight Plates For Home Gym FAQs 

What kind of weight plates should I buy? 

If you’re a beginner, you should look for a set of cast iron weight plates that allow you to customize the load of the bar. If you're a more experienced lifter or competing, then you should invest in bumper plates of varying sizes so you can start to lift heavier.

How many plates is 450 lbs? 

This is equivalent to 10 x 45-pound plates, but it can also be broken down in different denomination plates.  

How many 45lb plates fit on a bar? 

A standard bar will be able to fit and carry 2-4 plates on each side of the bar. Olympic bars are longer and stronger and will be able to fit a lot more plates.  

How much weight can you put on a 1-inch bar? 

This depends on the type, make, and model of bar that you're using. A standard 5–6-foot bar with a 1-inch diameter should be able to bear 200 pounds, and a 7 foot barbell with a 1 inch diameter should hold up to 350 pounds. You can get stronger and more durable bars that can hold up to 600 pounds, but these tend to be more expensive.


Conclusion

Having the right number, size, and weight of plates in your home gym is crucial. There's no one size fits all, but generally, you want a balanced set of 15-20 plates. Hopefully, this guide has helped provide some useful information, and you now have a better idea of what set you’ll need 

Last Updated on April 11, 2022