How to Safely Hang Dumbbells From a Barbell

Photo: Beth Skwarecki
Photo: Beth Skwarecki

If you have a barbell but not quite enough plates, you’ve probably spent this quarantine hanging things off it in extremely sketchy ways. On social media I’ve seen people put weights in tote bags, hang water bottles off their barbell, and more. A lot of these DIY solutions are injuries waiting to happen, but recently I saw a clever solution from u/nachosun on Reddit.

This hack is a simple one: use figure-8 deadlift straps to hang dumbbells off your bar. I tried it, and can report it actually works, and it’s secure if you use appropriately sized dumbbells.

Photo: Beth Skwarecki

I’ll show you what I mean. This is a figure-8 deadlift strap. If you do strongman events or really heavy rack pulls, you probably already have a pair. They help you hold onto a bar even when a regular set of deadlift straps would come loose. But here, we’re using them in a different way.

Remove one end of an adjustable dumbbell, put one loop on the dumbbell handle, and then fold the strap over the bar. Now, you can put the other loop on the dumbbell, and reattach the plates on the dumbbell.

I do it this way, rather than slipping a small dumbbell through the loops, because you want it to be impossible for the dumbbell to slide out. When you do it this way, with adjustable dumbbells, you can make sure that the plates on the end of the dumbbell are too big to fit through the strap’s loop. That way, even if things shift while you’re lifting, you won’t suddenly lose the weight.

Even so, you’ll want to check that the dumbbell itself will not fall apart. This is one advantage of the screw type collars, because they may loosen but they’ll never fail suddenly. Remember, if you lose a weight off one end, not only might it fall on your toe while you’re squatting, it could cause the bar to teeter-totter the other direction and throw off your balance. Enjoy your lifting hacks responsibly.

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