Can You Mix Bumper Plates With Regular Plates? Why You Can (and Should!)

Written by — Tonya

If you’re into lifting weights, then you know that bumper plates are a must-have. They’re essential for Olympic lifts and perfect for dropping weight after a lift.

The only problem is that bumper plates can be expensive. So once you invest in some, it’s natural to wonder if you can mix them with regular plates.

In this blog post, we’ll answer that question and give tips on how to mix bumper plates with regular plates.

Is it okay to mix bumper and iron plates?

While bumper and regular iron plates serve the same basic function, there are some important differences to be aware of before mixing them.

Bumper plates are made of rubber or urethane, with a metal core in the center. They’re designed to be dropped, which makes them ideal for Olympic lifts.

In contrast, regular iron plates are not meant to be dropped, as they can easily chip or break. A combination of iron plates will also destroy a floor if it is not done properly.

For these reasons, keeping bumper and regular plates separate is generally best.

Nevertheless, if you are careful and mix bumper plates only with iron plates that are smaller in diameter, you should be fine.

You will also find that bumper plates bounce and absorb shock, whereas regular iron plates will not do the same. However, you should be able to use both types of plates without any problems.

How to mix iron and bumper plates

There is no doubt that bumper plates are an essential part of a weightlifting regime, but many people are unaware of how to properly mix iron and bumper plates.

Bumper plates are designed to protect your flooring when dropped from overhead, which is why they have a larger diameter than traditional metal plates.

To keep your flooring and barbells in good condition, mix your bumper plates with smaller diameter iron plates when loading your barbells.

For example, if you have a bumper plate weighing two 45 lbs, your iron plates should not be more than two 45 lbs. You should mix your bumper plates with smaller diameter iron plates that cannot weigh more than 35 lbs.

Start by loading the bumper plates onto the barbell sleeve, followed by the smaller iron plates.

Make sure to load the largest plates towards the middle of the barbell, with the plates getting smaller as you progress closer to the end of the bar.

This will help to protect your flooring and equipment from damage.

Will mixing metal and bumper plates shorten the bar’s lifespan?

It is important to note that mixing bumper plates with traditional iron plates will not damage your barbell, but it will shorten the lifespan of your bumper plates.

Bumper plates are designed to be dropped from above, which puts a lot of stress on the plate. When mixed with smaller diameter iron plates, this stress is spread out over a larger surface area, reducing the force exerted on any point of the plate.

While this may not seem like a big deal, over time, this will cause your bumper plates to wear out and require more frequent replacement.

So, while mixing bumper plates with regular iron plates is perfectly safe for your equipment, it is important to keep in mind that it will shorten the lifespan of your bumper plates.

Does deadlifting with iron plates destroy bumper plates?

Most people believe that deadlifting with iron plates will damage their bumper plates. However, this isn’t always the case.

While it is true that iron plates can cause wear and tear on bumper plates, this damage is usually minimal.

Furthermore, the right bumper plates, such as the Werksan or Rogue, are designed to withstand a significant amount of weight, so they are unlikely to be damaged by a few heavy lifts.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to deadlift with metal plates is up to the individual lifter; however, if you are concerned about damaging your equipment, it may be best to stick with bumper plates.

What if the iron plates are smaller?

If you have a bumper plate that weighs 55lb plus iron plates that weigh 25lb and below, the bumper will wear out much faster. This is because it takes twice as much force on every drop and the weight is not as evenly distributed.

Nevertheless, if you are careful and only combine bumper plates with regular steel plates that are smaller in diameter, you shouldn’t have any issues.

When loading your barbell, you should start with the largest plates and work your way down to the smallest plates. This will help to protect your flooring and equipment from damage.

When lifting, does mixing bumper plates with metal plates prevent proper rotation?

The diameter of the bar matters more than the width when it comes to rotation. If you have a 55lb plate and 35lb cast iron plates on either side, it shouldn’t damage the bar or prevent proper rotation.

The only thing that could happen is if the weight is unbalanced, then it might cause some issues with rotational movement. Other than that, there’s no harm in using different weights on either side of the bar.


There are many benefits to mixing bumper plates with regular plates. For one, this can significantly lower the cost of your workout routine.

Bumper plates tend to be much more expensive than iron plates, so by mixing the two, you can still get the benefits of bumper plates without breaking the bank.

Additionally, this can also provide a more versatile workout routine. You can mix and match exercises to target different muscle groups by having both types of plates available. This can help to keep your routine fresh and prevent boredom.

Finally, by combining iron and bumper plates, you can take advantage of the best of both worlds – the durability and strength of iron plates combined with the shock absorption and safety of bumper plates.

This is a great way to get a well-rounded workout without sacrificing either quality or cost.