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Weightlifting is an intense exercise intended to achieve improved muscularity and physique. Some benefits of adding weights to your training include burning body fat, strengthening bones, avoiding injuries, and enhancing overall heart health.
But some people like to exempt themselves from bearing the heaviness of real barbels and dumbbells. You may have seen online videos of ordinary netizens and influencers who can lift hefty weights effortlessly. Then you wonder how they managed to shift all that weight without uttering a single grunt of effort.
The simple answer? Fake weights. These are replicas manufactured to look exactly the same as their authentic counterparts. However, they are significantly lighter and easier to lift. Even someone who has never lifted a weight in their life might simply do it with these.
Read more to know everything there is about these sham weights.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Fake Weights Exist?
- What Are Fake Weights Made Of?
- How to Tell If Weights Are Fake? What Are the Signs?
- Who Are the Fitness Influencers Most Famous for Using Fake Weights?
- How Heavy Are Fake Weights Really?
Why Do Fake Weights Exist?
Given that fake weights don’t contribute anything to one’s health and body composition, you might wonder why some people still use them.
Below are some of the top reasons why fake weights exist and why others may resort to using them:
1. For Photoshoots
Fake weights are commonly utilized by weight lifters, models, amateurs, and professionals all over the world during pictorials. Dummy weights are preferred since it’ll be too laborious to repeatedly hoist actual weights throughout the photo shoot. Fake weights are considerably easier to handle and work well for a long photo shoot.
2. For Clout and Wider Social Media Base
Some weightlifters have amassed larger fan bases and viewers worldwide by uploading videos of themselves carrying absurdly heavy loads without effort. They may look like they have superpowers, but in reality, they switch to dummy weights.
Influencers may sometimes turn to these items to spare themselves the exhaustion and strain of real weightlifting. With fake weights, these personalities can create amusing feats and performances with barbells and dumbbells that make for great content.
This social media marketing tactic is vital to obtain more attention and followers on platforms like YouTube and Instagram. More earnings come with a more extensive fan base from many sources like advertising, sponsorships, and new businesses.
3. As Props in Live Shows and Entertainment
Fake weight items have long been utilized as entertainment in the circus and professional wrestling. Actors won’t be able to perform well if they’re to be held back by actual weights.
These can also be found in strongman competitions and wrestling shows. Dummy weights are thrown at the competitors for added effect and entertainment. Real weights, even one kilogram cast iron ones, can seriously injure a person. Thus, fake weights are the ideal options.
What Are Fake Weights Made Of?
The composition of fake weights may vary depending on the supplier and shops that are marketing them. Typically, counterfeit weights are composed of solid plastic or Styrofoam. These materials create the illusion of fake weights being sturdy while also lightweight.
In contrast, genuine weight plates are flat, heavy objects often made of cast iron attached to barbells or dumbbells to increase the bar’s overall weight for strength training.
How to Tell If Weights Are Fake? What Are the Signs?
Spotting fake weights, especially in online videos, can be challenging. It’s difficult for anyone to tell the difference at a glance because of how closely the counterfeit plates mimic the original ones.
It’s hard to tell authentic plates from fraudulent ones without holding them. However, there can still be visual cues and signs that can help you discern which weights are fake or legit.
Here are some ways how to tell whether weights are fake:
1. The bodybuilder’s appearance, gestures, and facial expressions.
Almost anyone can be fooled by someone using fake weights. But if you pay great attention to the lifter’s appearance and reactions, you can identify a fake from a real one.
Carrying hefty weights can turn people’s faces crimson because of the surge of blood needed to exert force. It also pays to verify whether weightlifters are using the standard safety equipment such as elbow and knee supports.
2. The plates look different from the others.
In the context of gyms, it is easier to notice whether someone is using fake weights or not just by examining the appearance of the plates. They might be using counterfeit weights if the plates don’t match the rest of the plates in the gym. It’s because most gyms have standard and uniform pieces of exercise machinery.
3. Use physics for weightlifting.
Real weights will bend the way they should. To distinguish fake ones, examine the bar slack and path and the eccentric section of the lift on particular exercises.
For example, the bar of the barbell should flex to support the weight of the plates if there is a large amount of weight on them. If the barbells don’t flex at all and are stiff as a marble, then they can be phony.
Another red flag that the weights are fake is if they bounce up too much after being set down. Real weights don’t bounce wildly when dropped because they’re made of solid materials like iron or steel.
4. Check appropriate effort and exertion.
See if the weightlifter is putting in the appropriate effort to lift a certain weight.
Who Are the Fitness Influencers Most Famous for Using Fake Weights?
Several controversies have unfolded involving some internet personalities who allegedly use phony weights to impress their audience base and gain more popularity.
Below are some of the common names who are allegedly using fake weights for their benefit:
1. Brad Castleberry
To begin, several prominent fitness personalities on YouTube have speculated that Brad Castleberry may have used sandbags or a spotter for some of the “world-record” lifts he has shown online.
Many have accused him of using false barbell weights or at least a blend of real and fake weight plates in his videos because many of his lifts are difficult to accept. These experts know that Brad is not very experienced in weightlifting. He has never competed in any powerlifting contests to be able to record the lifts he proclaims to make.
Over 750,000 people follow Brad on Instagram, attesting to his popularity among bodybuilding enthusiasts.
2. Sylvester Stallone
Hollywood celebrities aren’t exempted from this scandal. Actor Sylvester Stallone has also been accused of using phony weights from his workout video with over five million views on Instagram.
On June 7th, Stallone posted the original clip, where he is seen straining and groaning as he does what appears to be a “front raise” with a 45lb (20kg) weight in each hand. Many fitness gurus on YouTube have cast doubt on whether or not those are real weights Stallone is lifting.
A YouTuber named Simon Miller claims he initially thought Stallone was simply being funny. Scott Herman, another YouTuber, also raises the possibility that Stallone’s video might be a PR hoax.
3. Gracyanne Barbosa
The fake weight controversies are also not exclusive to men alone. A female Brazilian fitness model, Gracyanne Barbosa, has also been tagged for using bogus barbell weights to boost her Instagram followings.
Many questioned her abilities when she uploaded a video showing how she seemed to squat ten reps on 495 pounds without much effort. Among them is a youtube channel titled Nick’s Strength and Power, which criticized Gracyanne’s lack of visible effort to do an otherwise extremely difficult workout.
How Heavy Are Fake Weights Really?
Despite the convincing similarities in their appearances, fake and real weights have zero resemblance when it comes to poundage. A fake 45-pound plate and 20-kilogram dumbbell each weigh no more than four or two pounds, respectively.
As a result, counterfeit weights typically weigh less than ten percent of their real-life counterparts.
This post discussed a comprehensive background on fake weights and why they exist in the market. There are both advantages and disadvantages involved in using them. However, many critics are pressed on the misuse of fake weights and their damage to the fitness industry.
There is already an alarming amount of pressure on young people to have flawless bodies to keep up with their peers, prominent celebrities in the media, and a plethora of self-appointed fitness coaches on social media.
Without proper scrutiny, today’s social media can obscure reality. It’s very alarming to see people on social media using phony weights to show off their successes. They can set unrealistic expectations for impressionable people who might try to lift real weights and end up with serious injuries.