Which weight plates are right for your strength training regimen?

Discs and barbells go together like peanut butter and jelly: one seems incomplete without the other. When you’re building your strength training space, you can heal these partners in crime for the sake of how You he wants to train. While the differences between barbells are more well-defined, choosing between a set of iron weight plates or bumper plates can be a harder conundrum to decipher.

Sure, both options hit on the aesthetics of building muscle, and there’s a lot of training potential in either case. Understanding the differences between these essential fitness tools, however, can help you select the best possible training setup for your needs.

weight training plate

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What are iron plates?

Iron weights are that classic style most associated with strength training and the inspiration behind that gym favorite phrase of “pumping iron.” Also known as cast iron plates, these profiles are plain in nature and typically feature a black or gray coloring. Some brands may offer plates with a thin rubber or plastic coating for durability, but the classic bare metal look is pretty standard.

You can find iron plates in loads ranging from 2.5 to 100 pounds, with 5, 10, 25, 35, and 45 being the most common. Iron plates are typically thinner than bumper plates which can allow you to load some impressive numbers onto a barbell for Truly serious PRs. Also, iron plates vary in diameter based on their weight. A 25-pound plate will be smaller than, say, a 45-pound plate.

There are many brands offering high-quality iron-on silhouettes, and it’s worth investing in a name you know. Cheaper plates can have a tendency to differ from their total printed weight, anywhere from 5 to 10 percent, so if you want your lifts to be as accurate as possible, choose more recognizable labels.

medicine balls, kettlebells and a variety of weight training equipment on a rack

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What are bumper plates?

Bumper plates consist of a steel or iron core encapsulated by a thick layer of high-density rubber or urethane. This durable exterior is designed to absorb shock caused by the loaded barbell being dropped from a specific height, helping to preserve the integrity of the equipment while limiting the abuse that takes place on the home gym floor. The quality of your bumper plate material often determines how much rebound your barbell will experience, with harder options like virgin rubber and urethane being the most sound deadening.

The thick trim on the bumper plates also lends itself to more colorful setups. You can typically find bumpers available in a classic black or a color-coded look designed to represent competitor standards. Some brands go even further with customization, offering skid plates with crumbled patterns or other designs to give each elevator a fresh, lively vibe.

Bumper plates are commonly available in loads ranging from 10 to 55 pounds. Regardless of total weight, each bumper plate in a set has the same diameter, typically 17 to 18 inches. Because of this more uniform configuration, heavier bumper plates are thicker than their iron counterparts, meaning you may run out of rocker sleeve space if your work totals exceed a certain number.

Which Weight Plate Should You Use?

Bumper plates are excellent for Olympic lifts and CrossFit.

Some strength training disciplines require you to drop the bar after a given lift to help maintain your confidence and form. For exercises like the snatch or the clean and jerk, bumper plates will be the better option due to the more durable trick. Rubber or urethane is much better able to withstand a drop from a height than an iron plate, and the enhanced shock absorption may be even better at preserving floors.

That said, not all bumper plates will exhibit the same durability. Unlike iron plates which crack when broken, bumper plates bend and buckle under excessive stress. This failure is more common with thinner, lighter weight plates, so if your working sets only require 10lbs per side, try to control your weights to the ground rather than carelessly dropping them.

Iron plates are great for powerlifting and general fitness.

If your workouts don’t require you to literally throw weight around, you can get by with iron plates. Exercises like the back squat, bench press, and machine-based modes don’t require the weights to make contact with the ground, so it’s not entirely necessary to have a platform with shock-absorbing qualities. Even when it comes to deadlifts, you can still get away with iron plates, as long as you’re controlling the weight back to its starting position once you lock in your rep. It’s still wise, however, to perform iron-plated deadlifts atop an affluent flooring system or platform to keep your abode as protected as possible.

Another benefit of iron plates is the more weight you can carry. The thinner composition allows for totals in excess of 405 pounds, typically the maximum capacity achievable when lifting with thicker bumpers. That’s why most powerlifters opt for iron plates, as well as a tougher, grittier aesthetic, of course.

marshall 111002 brad gillingham, a world champion powerlifter, trains in a garage converted into a heavyweight gym with other power lifters in this photo gillingham engages in the squat lifting over 400 lbs of weight in a training set

Given their thinner construction which ensures a higher total weight across the entire bar, iron plates are a favorite among the powerlifting community.

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The bumpers are quieter and keep loud training sessions at bay.

While there is something to be said about the “clang and bang” during a workout session, all that noise can be unwanted in your home gym, especially if you have kids napping upstairs, a partner who works from home which facilitates calls or close neighbors who prefer the serenity of a quiet street. In these scenarios, consider opting for bumpers. The composition of the rubber makes some noise when dropped, but is nowhere near the volume of an iron-laden barbell of similar weight dropped from the same height.

The uniform diameter of the bumper plates also lends itself to this less audible training setup. Each platter sits flush with the next when loaded and locked into place, so there’s no room for smaller weights to jostle and rattle during the motion.

Iron plates are ideal for athletes on a budget.

Because of their simpler design, less intricate construction, and more subtle makeup, iron plates are generally less expensive than bumper plates. These savings can be great for athletes looking to save a few coins for other home gym essentials, as well as budding enthusiasts just starting their own personal training paradise.

While this style of plate is easier on your wallet, they do require a little more TLC. For one thing, iron plates are more susceptible to rust, so it’s best to store them in a dry environment and clean them if you notice any moisture buildup. Also, an erroneous drop or two isn’t a big deal, but if you regularly bang the barbells after a completed set, your weights can start to break and crumble more than more expensive bumpers.

muscular man exercising at home in the driveway

Bumper plates can be excellent for home gyms given their better durability against drops and less noisy makeup.

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Can you use both weight plates at the same time?

The best of both worlds is possible – you can reap the benefits of Both bumpers and iron plates by combining forces through the rocker arm sleeve. For example, you can pick up two sets of 45-pound bumper plates and then build your total working weight with lighter, smaller iron plates like 35, 25, 10, and 5. This gives your tumbled weight totals that point. of durable, floor-saving contact through the fenders, and you still have enough room through the sleeve to chase higher totals.

Notable weight plate brands to consider

While the instinct to go with the cheapest options available may be tempting, this can open the door for unwanted weight changes in the less durable (and rubbery-smelling) iron plates or bumper plates. As is the case with other strength training necessities, weight plates are often a sort of “you get what you pay for” deal. Considering how much you’ll be using them, however, investing in quality will quickly pay for itself.

There are a number of useful brands to consider when compiling your own home weight rack, but three that have caught our attention over many years in the discipline include Fitness Titan, Faster again AND Fitness representation. For even more options, be sure to read our complete guide to the best weight discs.

Fitness Titan

Titan Fitness 45 lbs. Single cast iron Olympic plate

Fitness Titan

Titan Fitness 45 lbs. Economical full color bumper plate

Faster again

Pair of Even Faster 45 Pound Cast Iron Griddles

Faster again

Pair of even faster 45lb Evolution bumper plates


Rep Fitness Singles 45 lbs. Old School Iron Plate

Fitness representation

Pair of Pinnacle Rep Fitness Plates 45 lbs

#weight #plates #strength #training #regimen
Image Source : www.gearpatrol.com

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