What Are Fake Weights?
If you are someone who goes to the gym to lift weights and doesn’t really pay much attention to the fitness trainers and models who are constantly posting selfies on Instagram , Facebook and Twitter, you may not be aware of the whole concept of fake weights.
Indeed I have to admit that I hadn’t really come across them until recently, so let me explain what they actually are first of all.
Fake weight plates are basically designed to look exactly the same as genuine weight plates, but are significantly lighter so that people can lift them a lot easier.
Who Uses Fake Weights?
In this age of social media where physical appearance is so important, fake weights are increasingly being used by bodybuilders, fitness models and personal trainers.
Hardcore bodybuilders and fitness trainers tend to use them to post impressive-looking videos of themselves lifting huge amounts of weight in the gym in order to get more people talking about them and to gain a lot more followers on YouTube and Instagram, for example.
More followers generally leads to more revenue, whether it’s an increase in ad revenue, improved sponsorship deals or an increase in the number of clients that they are able to attract.
Fitness models, on the other hand, are more likely to use fake weights when they are doing photoshoots because they can be used to make them appear a lot stronger, and are obviously easier to lift and easier to move around if they are shooting for several hours.
Finally, they are often used in TV shows and movies because it is a lot easier to shoot a scene with light weights than it is with genuinely heavy weights, particularly if it requires multiple takes.
There have been a few controversies in 2017 that first alerted me to the fact that people were possibly using fake weights.
First of all, a few well-known fitness experts on YouTube have suggested that Brad Castleberry is using fake weights in some of his ‘world-record’ lifts that he has posted online, and may also be assisted by a spotter in some of his lifts:
Brad is a very popular bodybuilder on social media with over 750,000 Instagram followers at the time of writing, and he is clearly an exceptionally strong and muscular guy.
However some of his lifts are hard for people to accept, particularly as he never competes in any powerlifting events to post some official lifts, which is why many people accuse him of using fake barbell weights, or at least a combination of real and fake weight plates in his videos.
I don’t know whether he is or not, but if he is 100% genuine, he should be competing in powerlifting and strongman events in order to make the most of his talents.
It’s not just men who have been accused of using fake barbell weights either because the Brazilian fitness model Gracyanne Barbosa has also been accused of using them in order to build her following on Instagram.
Here is one such video that questions the validity of her achievements after she appeared to be squatting 495 pounds for 10 reps:
How To Spot Fake Weights
If you ever find yourself watching a workout video on Instagram or YouTube, for example, and questioning the validity of the lifts, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for:
Lifting extremely heavy weights that are close to your personal best will take a lot out of you. You will pant a lot, your face may turn red and you probably won’t be able to do many reps. So if someone is making it look fairly easy lifting huge weights, it is natural to be suspicious of the weights that they claim to be lifting.
Appearance Of The Weights
It is generally the case that gyms will use the same type of weight plates on all of their machines. So if you notice that the plates are different to the ones on some of the other machines, they may well be using fake weights.
If you have ever squatted with several hundred pounds on your shoulders, you will probably have noticed that the bar will often bend slightly under the strain of all this weight. Therefore it is deeply suspicious if the bar remains straight throughout their insanely heavy lifts.
Comparisons With Experienced Lifters
Another way to determine whether someone is potentially using fake barbell weights is to compare their lifts to some of the professional powerlifters and strength athletes. If an Instagrammer is lifting the same amount of weight as a powerlifter, they may well be faking it.
Where Do People Buy Fake Weights?
You may be wondering where some of these people buy fake barbell weights to begin with because it is not something that you are ever likely to see whenever you go shopping.
However if you do a quick search online, you will soon come across fakeweights.com, who sell lightweight dumbbells, barbells and weight plates that look just like the real thing.
There are also companies who supply props to the film and TV industries, such as Prop Hire and Deliver, for example, who hire out dummy weight sets.
So they are not hard to find if people really want to use them.
Why They Are Bad For The Fitness Industry
The fitness industry has enough problems already with fake and ineffective supplements, the overabundance of self-appointed fitness coaches on social media and the worrying pressure young people are put under to achieve perfect bodies in order to keep up with their peers and famous celebrities in the media.
Therefore it is quite concerning to see people on social media using fake weights to show off their achievements because impressionable people could attempt to lift similar weights themselves with real weights, and end up getting injured as a result.
It could also encourage people to turn to steroids if they feel that they will never be able to lift this amount of weight themselves or achieve the same physique.
So although they are very beneficial for photoshoots and movies, for example, they are not exactly going to improve the reputation of the fitness industry if people are choosing to use them purely to deceive people, gain more followers and stand out from the crowd.