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     Fitness Tips For 8/12/2009

Weight Lifting Fractional Plates     

What are fractional plates? Generally, they are barbell and 
dumbbell plates that weigh less than one pound. 

If you add less than 1% to your previous successful lift,
your body cannot detect a difference in the weight, and 
the lift will go without fail. Additionally, the possibility 
of injury is virtually eliminated. The only conditional 
requirements are proper recuperation and nutrition between 

In practice, this means that with any weight over 100 pounds, 
we cannot tell the difference of one additional pound. The 
bar is unquestionably heavier. We simply cannot detect it. 

How are fractional plates properly used? For the sake of 
example, say your current bench is stuck at 225 lbs, and 
that you work it twice a week. One percent is 2.25 lbs. 
Be conservative and add only one pound each workout. If 
you are patient and hold the course, you will be lifting 
104lbs more over the next injury-free year.  And you are 
now benching 329.

The second year you add a conservative, one pound a week. 
At the end of that year your new bench will be will be 381. 
It is highly unlikely you could match this gain unless you 
are a novice, a comeback veteran, or were previously working 
very far below your current ability. 
The conservative one pound a week' approach and expectation 
is probably more realistic for several reasons. It allows for 
contingencies such as illness, personal and work pressures that 
interfere with your planned workout schedule. It fits a 
heavy/light schedule, if that is your preference. Additionally, 
one pound a week allows you to build inertia that will not be
denied until you get very close to your potential. So, there 
are several good reasons to proceed in "baby steps". They 
ensure you will always move forward.

The key to using fractional plates is patience. This is a 
journey you can't speed up. As soon as you get greedy for 5 
and 10lb jumps again, progress stops all together. 

Stick with the program. 

Where could you be in five years?

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