I'm not really sure what is worse, struggling to take plates on and off of a barbell when you're tired or watching others struggle. This seems to be one of those annoying tidbits about going to the gym that's frustrating for everyone involved or spectating. But it doesn't have to be and you don't need special equipment or 2.5 pound plates. There's just a little trick to it that gets you going.
When you're placing weights on a bar or taking plates off there are just a few key points that will make your life a whole lot easier.
Keep your hands on the sides of the plates, not the top or bottom.
This is the root of most people's frustration. When you try to move the weights from the top or bottom, the plate tilts and the lip of the inside of the weight catches on the barbell and stops everything from sliding nice and easy. So keep your hands on the sides of the weights. Maybe ever so slightly lower than the middle of the plate.
Pull the weights on or off the bar whenever possible.
When you're trying to push weights onto or off of a barbell, you tend to run into the same problem of catching the lip of the plate on the barbell. Instead position yourself so that you can pull plate toward yourself. This way its easier to maintain a grip on the plate after it comes off the end of the barbell too.
Lift a little and Pull quickly.
Since you're already placing your hands on the sides of the plates and pulling them toward you as previously described, this should be a cinch. Just pull quickly and hard. Kinda like that magician table cloth trick. If you do it fast things just happen more easily. Additionally, if you lift the plate slightly as you pull back you shouldn't have to deal with friction of the plates on the floor.
Spend More Time Lifting Less Time Cleaning
There you have it. Now you're set to save yourself some time and frustration in the weightroom. Nothing magic here, but if you take a moment to think about how you go about moving plates you can get it done a lot faster. It will be a lot less frustrating for all of us and I won't feel the urge to come over and say "Just let me do it!" Happy Lifting.