Share the wealth I always say.  I’ve compiled a list of things that help my workout be a little easier.  Obviously in a workout the goal isn’t to make things easier, but certainly limiting the amount of unracking and excess energy expenditure OUTSIDE of weight lifting is beneficial.  For example, when you’re deadlifting above two plates, unracking weights can be exhausting and the only benefit is maybe some added grip strength.  Overall, it’s detracting for the muscles you’re truly trying to work. Without further ado, here’s a list of the top gym tricks that will make you look like you live in the gym.

1.) Put a weight under your deadlift stack.

This is probably the most used trick in the book.  This trick is particularly useful to the deadlifting scenario mentioned in the introduction.  All the weights are level with one another so when you’re unracking the weights you have the friction of your weights dragging against the
ground unless you pick up the entire side.   To get rid of this friction you can slide a 2.5 or 5lb weight underneath the inner most weight (closest to where you grip the bar).  Maybe slide isn’t the right word here….lay one down on the ground and ROLL the bar onto the weight.

Here’s a picture or two to explain:

In this picture I didn’t do a very good job of putting the weight on the INNER most section as I instructed above merely so I could show you the process.  This gives you the lift you need to easily slide off those 45 lb + plates you’ve been repping.

2.) Excalibur’s Bar

Pairing this with the first trick makes you look like a serious gym pro.  I call this one Excalibur’s bar because it looks like you’re pulling Arthur’s sword from the stone.  Essentially, you unrack one entire side of the weight using the tactic mentioned above.  Instead of repeating on the other side you just grab the entire of the bar and push it towards the ceiling so you can just slide off the other weight into a nice little stack.

For a more accurate representation of what this feels like: http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view5/3743185/sword-in-the-stone-o.gif

3.) Lifting with Ear Plugs

This was a gym trick inspired by a comment from Natural Pro Ryan Doris.  Instead of working out with headphones and music blasting….try lifting with some ear plugs.  You’re be able to tune everyone out and really focus on that mind-muscle connection.  Welcome to workout Zen.

4.) Micro-loading with Clips

Does your routine require you to go up in increments of .5, 1, or 2.5? Don’t want to spend money on micro plates and/or lug them around in your gym back? Then use some clips to micro load your workouts. You can usually look up their weight’s online or guestimate by comparing them against labelled weights. This is incredibly helpful when a 5lb jump for a particular lift is just too much. Micro Load clips

5.) Heel Plates

Can’t afford a pair of expensive Romaleos (Click for Amazon Link)  or another raised heel squat shoe?  Here’s a slightly more dangerous, but affordable solution.  Set some 5/10lb plates (flatter the better) on the ground.  When you go to squat, set your heels on the edge of the plate.  This will give you heel lift and allow you to get a lot deeper in your squat without destroying your knees. WARNING – This is not appropriate for Max Lifts or heavy weight.  If the weight flips up or you lose your balance this could quickly become dangerous and I would not advise using them.