One of the biggest problems with working with weaker clients or in exercises that require less weight (such as dumbbell curls, lateral raises, rotator cuff training, etc.) is that it’s very hard to make progress with conventional dumbbell increments. I might be able to do 15 reps with a pair of 20lb dumbbells, but might be lucky to get 5 or 6 with 25lbs. Think about it – if I bench press 225lbs and add 5lbs, that’s only an increase of about 2%. But if I add 5lbs to 20lbs, that’s an increase of 25%! Would you progress right from 225 to 280lbs? Not likely.
Enter PlateMates. PlateMates are small magnetic weights that come in small increments – 5/8lb, 1.25lb, and 2.5lb. They simply stick onto the ends of iron or metal dumbbells or barbells (they won’t work on rubber-coated dumbbells, however) to make the appropriate weight increase.
At AST, we have 6 pairs of 1.25lb plates that we use, so in our original example of using 20lbs, I can then progress to 21.25 (1 PlateMate on one side) to 22.5 (1 PlateMate on each side) to 23.75 (2 on one side, 1 on the other) before progressing up to 25lbs, giving that many more chances for improvement. This is an example of what Charles Poliquin calls the “Kaizen principle,” essentially meaning “progress any way you can.”
They can be found on Amazon for about $40 or less per pair, and they make an incredibly handy tool. Even if you work out at a commercial facility, you can just throw a pair or two in your gym bag and use them when they’re needed.
Retail: $28.95 for a pair of 1.25lbs from Amazon