As an experienced weightlifter, I’ve often pondered the value of bumper plates. These specialized weight plates, designed to be dropped without causing damage, are a staple in Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit. But are they a worthwhile investment for the average lifter?
The answer hinges on several factors, including your specific workout routine, where you lift, and your budget. For Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit enthusiasts, they’re a must-have, but for home or gym workouts, standard plates may suffice.
Why Use Bumper Plates?
What Makes Bumpers So Valuable?
One of the main reasons why bumper plates are so valuable is their durability. They are built to last and can withstand being dropped from overhead without sustaining any damage. This makes them ideal for exercises like deadlifts, cleans, and snatches, which involve dropping the weight from overhead.
Another advantage of bumper plates is that they are quieter than traditional weight plates. They don’t make as much noise when dropped, which is especially important if you live in an apartment or have neighbors who might be disturbed by the noise.
Benefits of Why Are Bumper Plates Worth it
The benefits of using bumper plates go beyond just their durability and quietness. Here are some of the other benefits of using bumper plates:
- Minimal Bounce: Bumper plates have a dead bounce, which means they don’t bounce around like traditional weight plates. This makes them ideal for exercises like deadlifts, cleans, and snatches, which involve dropping the weight from overhead.
- More Durable: Bumper plates are more durable than traditional weight plates because they are designed to be dropped from overhead. This means you won’t have to replace them as often as you would with traditional weight plates.
- Versatile: Bumper plates are versatile and can be used for various exercises, including deadlifts, cleans, snatches, and more.
- Safer: Bumper plates have a dead bounce, so they are safer than traditional weight plates. They are less likely to bounce around and cause injury.
- CrossFit: Bumper plates are an essential piece of equipment for CrossFit workouts, which often involve Olympic weightlifting movements like the snatch and clean and jerk.
What makes bumper plates different from other plates?
As someone who has used different types of weight plates, I can confidently say that bumper plates are unique in several ways. Here are some of the reasons why:
Dropping them won’t damage them easily
One of the most significant advantages of bumper plates is that they are designed to bounce when dropped.
This feature makes them ideal for weightlifters who want to perform Olympic lifts or other exercises that involve dropping weights.
Unlike other plates, bumper plates won’t crack or break when dropped, which means they are more durable and can last longer.
It is suitable for first-time weightlifters
Another advantage of bumper plates is that they are suitable for first-time weightlifters.
Since bumper plates are made of rubber, they are less intimidating than metal plates, which can be intimidating for beginners.
Additionally, bumper plates are available in smaller weights, so beginners can start with lighter weights and gradually increase their weight as they progress.
Compared to other plates, it is less expensive
If you are on a budget, bumper plates are an excellent choice for you. Compared to other plates, bumper plates are less expensive.
For example, a set of bumper plates may cost less than a set of metal plates. Additionally, bumper plates are more durable, saving you money in the long run.
A rubber coating protects plates and flooring
Bumper plates are coated with rubber, so they won’t damage the flooring or other equipment when dropped.
This feature is especially important if you work out at home or in a gym with a concrete floor.
Additionally, the rubber coating on the plates provides a better grip, which means you can lift more confidently.
Lifting will be less noisy
Another advantage of bumper plates is that they are less noisy than other plates. Since bumper plates are made of rubber, they don’t make as much noise when dropped.
You will especially benefit from this feature if you work out at home or in a gym with others.
There are color-coded weights to make it easier
Bumper plates are available in different colors, which makes it easier to identify the weight of each plate.
For example, a 10 kg bumper plate may be blue, while a 20 kg bumper plate may be red. This function will prove invaluable if you plan on exercising with a partner or a group.
Do Bumper Plates Cost a Lot?
The price of bumper plates can vary depending on a few factors, such as the brand, material, and weight. Generally, the heavier the plate, the more expensive it will be.
However, some affordable options exist if you’re on a budget.
Here’s a breakdown of the average cost of bumper plates based on the type of material:
- Rubber bumper plates: These are the most common type of bumper plates made of solid rubber. They can range in price from $1.75 to $2.25 per pound.
- Crumb bumper plates: These are made of recycled rubber and can be slightly cheaper than rubber bumper plates. They typically cost between $1.83 and $2.10 per pound.
- Urethane bumper plates: These are the most expensive type of bumper plates made of hard, durable material. They can cost anywhere from $2.15 to $3.10 per pound.
It’s worth noting that while bumper plates may seem expensive compared to traditional iron plates, they have some advantages that make them worth the investment.
They’re much safer to use, as they won’t damage your floors or equipment if you drop them. They also have a bit of bounce to them, which can help you lift heavier weights and reduce the risk of injury.
Types of Bumper Plates
When it comes to bumper plates, there are mainly two types: rubber plates and competition plates. Both types of plates are designed to be dropped from overhead, but they have different features that make them suitable for different purposes.
Rubber plates are the most common bumper type in most gyms. They are made of recycled rubber and have a steel or iron core.
Rubber plates are available in different sizes and colors, making it easy to identify the weight of the plate.
They also have a durometer rating between 70 and 95, which denotes the hardness of the plate. The higher the rating, the harder the plate, and the less it bounces.
Rubber plates are great for general weightlifting and powerlifting. They are also suitable for home gyms as they are affordable and durable.
However, they are not ideal for Olympic weightlifting as they tend to bounce more than competition plates.
Competition plates are designed for Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting competitions.
They are made of high-quality materials and have a low bounce rate. Competition plates are available in different sizes and colors and are calibrated to meet the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) standards.
Competition plates are more expensive than rubber plates but worth the investment if you are serious about Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting. They are also suitable for home gyms as they are durable and have a low bounce rate.
Other Types of Bumper Plates
Apart from rubber and competition plates, other types of bumper plates are available in the market. These include:
- Iron plates: These are made of cast iron and have a rubber coating. They are more durable than rubber plates but tend to rust over time.
- Recycled rubber plates: These are made of recycled rubber and have a lower durometer rating than regular rubber plates. They are more affordable than other types of bumper plates, but they tend to wear out faster.
- Training bumper plates: These are designed for general weightlifting and powerlifting. They are more affordable than competition plates but tend to bounce more.
- Crumb bumper plates: These are made of small rubber pieces compressed together. They are more affordable than other types of bumper plates, but they tend to wear out faster.
Which Bumper Plates are Best?
When choosing bumper plates, it’s essential to consider factors such as durability, steel inserts, virgin rubber coating, and high durometer ratings.
Prices can vary, so it’s crucial to consider your budget, intended use, and personal preferences when deciding which bumper plates to purchase.
Some of the best bumper plates on the market include:
- Best Overall Bumper Plates: REP Black Bumper Plates.
- Best Urethane Bumper Plates: Vulcan Urethane Bumper Plates.
- Best Competition Bumper Plates: Rogue KG Black Training Bumper Plates.
- Best Budget Bumper Plates: Fringe Sport MilSpec Bumper Plates.
- Most Versatile Bumper Plates: Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates.
- Best Color Bumper Plates: Rogue Fleck Bumper Plates.
Where can I buy bumpers?
When I was looking to buy bumper plates, I found that there were several options available. Here are a few places where you can buy bumper plates:
- Online retailers: Online retailers like Amazon, Rogue, and Fringe Sport offer a wide variety of bumper plates. You can easily compare prices and read reviews from other customers before purchasing. However, you may have to pay for shipping, and it can be difficult to judge the quality of the plates before buying.
- Local sporting goods stores: Many sporting goods stores carry bumper plates, and you can often see and feel the plates before buying. However, the selection may be limited, and the prices may be higher than online retailers.
- Second-hand marketplaces: Websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can be good places to find used bumper plates. You can often find good deals, but you’ll need to carefully inspect the plates before buying to ensure they’re in good condition.
Are Cheap Bumper Plates Worth It?
While it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest bumper plates available, it is important to consider the quality and durability of the product.
Cheap bumper plates are often made with lower-quality materials, which can lead to cracking, chipping, and warping over time. This not only affects the performance of the plates but can also pose a safety risk.
Another issue with cheap bumper plates is their accuracy in terms of weight. Cheaper plates may have a higher margin of error, which can throw off your lifts and hinder your progress. This is especially important for those training for competitions or having specific weightlifting goals.
However, this does not mean that all cheap bumper plates are of poor quality. Some budget-friendly options offer decent performance and durability. It is important to do your research and read reviews before making a purchase.
Cons of Bumper Plates
When it comes to bumper plates, there are some cons to consider. While they can be a great addition to any home gym, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase.
Here are some of the cons of bumper plates:
The cons of cheap bumpers
One of the biggest cons of bumper plates is that they can be expensive. While they are worth the investment for serious lifters, they may not be the best choice for those on a budget. Cheap bumper plates may be tempting, but they often come with their own set of problems.
For example, cheap bumper plates may rust easily, which can be a safety hazard. They may also make more noise when dropped, which can be a problem if you live in an apartment or have neighbors who are sensitive to noise.
In addition, cheap bumper plates may not be as durable as more expensive options, which can be a problem if you plan to use them for deadlifts, bench press, or power clean exercises.
What to Consider When Buying a Bumper Plate
When looking for bumper plates, there are a few things to bear in mind. I’ve been using bumper plates for a long time and can attest to the importance of getting the right ones for your needs. Here are a few essential points to remember:
Weight tolerance is one of the most important factors to consider when buying bumper plates.
Bumper plates are available in a range of weights, from 10 pounds to 55 pounds or more.
Choosing plates that are accurate to their stated weight is important, as this will affect your lifting performance.
Another important factor to consider is the width of the bumper plates.
The width of the plates will affect how much weight you can fit on the barbell, as well as how much space you need to store the plates.
To ensure a proper fit, measure your barbell and storage space before buying bumper plates.
Bumper plates are known for their bounce, which makes them ideal for Olympic lifts like snatches and clean and jerks.
However, the amount of bounce can vary between different types of bumper plates.
If you’re planning to use bumper plates for powerlifting or other types of lifting, you may want to choose plates with less bounce.
Stainless Steel Inserts
Stainless steel inserts are another important consideration when buying bumper plates.
These inserts help to protect the plates from damage when they’re dropped, and they also help to keep the plates securely on the barbell.
Make sure to choose plates with high-quality stainless steel inserts for maximum durability.
If you plan to use your bumper plates for competitive lifting, choosing plates that meet IWF standards is important.
These standards ensure uniform sizing and weight accuracy, which is essential for competitive lifting.
Look for plates marked as “IWF certified” to ensure they meet these standards.
Based on my experience and after researching and analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of bumper plates, here are my thoughts on whether they are worth it:
- Versatility: Bumper plates are more versatile than steel weights, as they can be used for a variety of exercises and movements.
- Durability: The rubber coating on bumper plates protects both the plates and the floor from damage, making them a durable option for lifting.
- Safety: Bumper plates allow for safer lifting, as they can be dropped without causing damage or injury.
- Noise Reduction: Bumper plates are quieter than steel plates, making them a great option for home gyms or shared spaces.
- Cost: Bumper plates are generally more expensive than steel plates, which may be a deterrent for some lifters.
- Size: Bumper plates are larger in diameter than steel plates, which may make it difficult to fit as many plates on a barbell.
- Hardness: Bumper plates have a durometer rating between 70 and 95, which may make them harder than some lifters are used to.
Overall, whether bumper plates are worth it or not depends on the individual lifter’s needs and budget.
If you are looking for a versatile, durable, and safe option for lifting, and have the budget to afford them, then bumper plates are definitely worth it.
However, if cost is a concern or you prefer the feel of steel plates, then they may not be the best option for you.