Loading and Unloading a Barbell

May 08, 2020 | John Paul Catanzaro

unloading a barbell after doing deadlifts

Do you know what the #1 injury in the gym is?

It’s a weight dropping on your foot. Don’t let it happen!

Here’s the right way to load and unload a bar when squatting or benching.

There’s a risk involved with any weight training exercise and deadlifts are no exception. You may get through your work sets unscathed, but the danger is not over. So many people get injured just unloading the bar!

There’s a right and wrong way to do it. I’ve seen all types of contortions with this practice, from lifting the end of the bar with one hand and trying to pull the plate off with the other hand, to standing outside of the bar and reaching way forward to try to pull the plate off. Those are two common ways of doing it and they’re both wrong!

The right way to do it is to straddle the bar as shown in the video below, and then slide the plate forward keeping it within your base of support. You’ll notice that the plate never goes past my toes. Keep the spine in a neutral position and bend from the knees as much as possible.

Another way people get injured that has nothing to do with exercise execution involves getting in and out of position before the exercise even begins and right after it’s done! Tomorrow I’ll show you a classic example.