A plate load machine is a weight lifting machine that combines the features of traditional weight machines with the free-range motion of free weights. Plateloaded machines first became popular in the 1980s. These machines are designed with a large frame. The frame includes a standard barbell where the weights are held. On the plate load machine, the weights are loaded onto a barbell. The load of the weight on the barbell is customized for each person. This is different from a traditional weight machine where weights are stacked together permanently and a pin is used to select weight. The barbells typically are designed to hold a range of weights, allowing for lifters to customize their load from light to heavy.
A major appeal of the plate load machine is that it creates an environment that is very similar to lifting free weights, yet it is much safer. When it comes to lifting free weights, individuals can injury themselves by dropping a weight on their foot or by having incorrect form injure a muscle, tendon or ligament. The plate load machines offer the same benefits as free weights, yet provide an environment that forces lifters to complete the lift with correct bio-mechanic form.