How to Calculate How Much I'm Lifting

By Bill White

You’ll find barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells, the three types of free weights, in most gyms. You can find the weight listed in pounds on the ends of most dumbbells. Kettlebells add a “KG” to the figure listed on the side or bottom if the weight is not in pounds. Barbells usually require you to add plate weights to determine a total. With a few calculations you can find the barbell weight you are performing each repetition or the total amount of weight you lifted.


Step 1

Take as your baseline the weight of the bar without any plates added. Olympic-style bars are 45 pounds, while the bars connected to Smith machines usually only weigh 15 pounds. For barbells that are fixed like dumbbells, the weight will be listed on the end plate.

Step 2

Add the plates onto the bar. Typically the plates will begin at 2 1/2 pounds, followed by plates weighing 5, 10, 25, 35 and 45 pounds.

Step 3

Add the weight of the plates to the bar's weight to find your total.

Entire Workout

Step 1

Record the weight, repetitions and sets during your workout. Label the exercise that was performed as well.

Step 2

Enter the amount of weight lifted and multiply it by the number of repetitions. If you performed that exercise and weight for multiple sets then you can multiply this total by the number of sets. Example: Barbell bicep curls: 55 pounds, 2 sets, 12 repetitions. You multiply 2 x 55 x 12 and get 1,320 pounds as your total weight for this exercise.

Step 3

Add all the exercise totals together to get the total weight that you lifted for the entire workout.

About the Author

Bill White, a Presidential Fitness Award Winner, is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He has been a writer since 2007, contributing to various websites as a budget fitness trainer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio State University.

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