Having a variety of weight plates in your home gym setup means having the ability to progress through your training. Many people only spend enough money to get the weights they know they can currently lift, but that does not allow for growth, which is what any lifter is after.
You want to purchase a set of iron or bumper plates that progresses through weight classes gradually. You do not want to only focus on buying 45 lbs. Plates because the steps do not allow for incremental growth, making it more challenging, if not impossible to progress.
While big transitions are often possible for people just starting out, the average person, once making some progress, will not see massive gains in short periods. Therefore, filling your fitness racks with a variety of plates is the best solution for a home gym.
Determining a Good Beginner Set
Plates come in many weights, from ¼ lb. to 100 lbs. — if you prefer kilograms, they come in weights between ⅛ kg and 25 kg. You will not need every increment, to begin with. In fact, most beginners can start with six weight steps: 1lb, 2.5 lbs., 5 lbs., 10 lbs., 25 lbs., and 45 lbs. You should buy at least two weights for each step and four for 10 lbs. And 45 lbs. With the weight of the bar being 44 lbs. a set of this size allows you to lift up to 331 lbs.
As you build more experience and gains, you will want to buy the smaller steps for plates. The reason being, as you progress, you will not make as large of gains, so weights of ¼ lb. will help you move incrementally to heavier reps.
Progress and Bar Efficiency Determine Weight Set
Many beginners focus on the present, meaning what they can lift now. While you do want a set of plates that enable you to lift your current max, you also want a set that allows for progress and growth. Focusing only on the present leaves no room for the future and can set you up for failure early on.
Purchasing only what you can lift, means that you are not using the bar efficiently. If you only buy what you can lift, you are not allowing for variety in your setup. Imagine that you can lift 331 pounds. You will need to place all 16 plates from the above suggestion on your bar every time you want to exercise. However, you could place about half that using 45 lbs. plates and smaller.
The number of weights and the sizes you get depend on your current ability. If you are a beginner, you can use beggar steps, like the recommendation above. If you are more advanced, you should focus on adding smaller incremental steps as well.
Everyone will progress at their own pace, but you need to make sure you give yourself the opportunity to make progress effectively and efficiently. If you are struggling to determine the number of weights you should buy, consider talking to an expert from a local home gym supplier.