There will come a time when you start reaching a plateau and you need to be creative to get pass it. One of the ways to do this is microloading.

Sometimes progressing your weights by 5 lbs can be too much at certain times but most places only have 2.5 lbs as their smallest plates (2.5 x 2 = 5 lbs duh). So we do some microloading to surpass plateaus with even smaller weight progression than 5 lbs.

In order to do some microloading we need to get ourselves some Fractional Plates. There are many ways to get one. There are commercial versions and then the homemade versions.

Going to show below how to get a cheap version by using steel washers which is what I use.

Where to get them: McMaster-Carr (

Product #: 91081A046

Amount to buy: 6

Cost: $11.10 Total + Shipping ($1.85/ea)

That is a FRACTION (pun intended) of the price if you buy the commercial type of Fractional Plates! They also fit perfectly on 2″ Olympic Barbells!

Below is what the washers look like:

McMaster-Carr Washer Dimensions

My 6 washers + chain to carry them with.

Fact: McMaster-Carr Washers DO NOT come in uniform thickness (as shown above) so their weight can vary slightly.

The 6 washers I bought have the following weights:

    • 0.60 lbs
    • 0.616 lbs x 2
    • 0.622 lbs x 2
    • 0.642 lbs
I just consider them all as 0.625 lbs each either way. The weight not being EXACTLY 0.625 lbs each is not a HUGE problem. I don’t think your body will notice the +0.017/-0.025 lbs difference.

Here’s how the poundages work out:

1 washer PER SIDE= 1.25 total pounds

2 washers PER SIDE= 2.5 total pounds

3 washers PER SIDE= 3.75 total pounds

4 washers PER SIDE= 5 pounds

That is why you only need 6 washers total.