Don't turn your nose up at the 1.25kg and 2.5kg weight plates. Too many times people that I've trained will look at them and think they are pathetic weights to add. Those are the weights that will allow you to progress. Progression is what will make you strong and bust through personal bests, get stronger, healthier and achieve.
We've all been there, I'm sure of it. You've finally loaded up the big plates. Time to high five everyone in the gym! You look across to the bar, arms folded, and congratulate yourself. Time to get heavier. You look to the weight storage. Bah, no way are you adding a measly couple of 1.25kgs or 2.5kgs to the bar. Let's add 5kgs each side, at the minimum. Next minute you're shouting help and stuck under the bar. That was stupid. At least you might go viral on YouTube for such a monumental fail though.
Patience is a virtue
Gains in strength don't happen that fast. I've written about this before here. You'll need those smaller weights in order to progress, you can't expect massive jumps in strength. However, If you are starting lifting for the first time, you can expect quick gains, every week, maybe even every workout. Just don't get used to this though. Eventually you will slow down in your progress, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Eventually you'll meet the term 'diminishing returns'. An elite level powerlifter will probably increase in their lifts a couple of KG every year or so. But that's the difference between world records. You may not be at that level yet, so you can expect slightly quicker gains than that, even if you are a more advanced lifter.
Some gyms will even have smaller increments than the 1.25kgs (refer to this blog post's picture). If you find you plateau and still want to stay in the same rep and set scheme, these smaller increments will come in very handy. Also, if you are working off percentages, the small fractional plates can take you closer to your true percentages, instead of having to round up or down to the nearest 2.5.
Weights add up... and quickly!
Adding 1.25kg each side to a 20kg bar over a 12 week period means you'll finish that cycle with a 30kg increase. Make sure your form stays true throughout, and already that's 50kg you're lifting. Doesn't seem so small now. So chuck those weights on and give them the respect they deserve.
Thanks for reading!