What are Bumper Plates?
Bumper plates or bumpers are weightlifting plates that are Olympic-sized and are made of a thick layer of rubber. Unlike the common iron plates, bumper plates are made of almost 100% rubber or urethane, with a small metal inserted at the center. The rubber basically enables a loaded bar to be dropped safely without doing any damage to the plates, the platform used for lifting or the floor.
These bumper plates come in different weights where they are measured both in pounds and kilos according to one’s preferences. They also come in a variety of different colors that one can choose from but the common color is black. The plates have the same diameter even though they weigh differently. This enables the plates to have uniform pressure distributed uniformly on all the weights. Some plates are made of an iron core coated with rubber, while others are made with various types of rubber.
There are different types of bumper plates.
- Training bumper weight plates
- Rubber weight plates
- Technique bumper weight plates
- Competition bumper plates
- Fractional plates
- Powerlifting plates
Training Bumper Weight Plates
These plates are usually color-coded. They don’t meet the Olympics standard but are suitable for home and gym usage. They have the same diameter but vary in depth.
There are some companies such as Eleiko and Zhangkong that manufacture plates with specific dimensions for weightlifting competitions.
Rubber Weight Plates.
They have the same dimensions and shape as rubber plates but they are much more durable. This is because they have an extra layer of rubber coating which has urethane. Urethane helps in preventing damage of the floor making it more durable and prevent markings like the rubber plates. It doesn’t produce an unpleasant smell like other plates and it also has a grip which helps in lifting.
Technique bumper weight plates
These are made of a single piece of rubber without a metal ring inside. These plates usually come in light weights. They come in 2.5 and 5 kg weight with is suitable for beginners To Help in their techniques.
Competition Bumper Plates
These plates are incredibly accurate since they are manufactured in such a way that a 25kg plate only has a 25gram margin for error. This makes them more suitable for Olympic competitions as they minimize the load of work involved in confirming the approximate weight.
These are also known as incremental plates. They are available in 0.5kg, 1 kg, 1.5 kg, 2 kg, 2.5 kg and 5 kg discs. This makes them suitable for competition because one can be able to add any discs without removing the cuff and the grief. Any added weight stays intact.
Power Lifting Plates
They are thinner compared to the other plates and they are generally made of steel or a chromed metal. They are made thinner because they allow other weights to be added to the bar specifically in the powerlifting sport.
Bumper plates vary in the material used to make them. Below are examples of a few:
- Bumper plates with a steel or brass insert – Initially bumper plates used to have brass inserted into the plates. But over time it was realized that more and more customers were complaining about them not being durable. The brass could bend or break and therefore destroying the plates. This resulted in manufacturers starting to use steel inserts instead.
- Rubber bumper plates – These are plates made of rubber without the steel insert. There are those that are soft and others are hard.
- Soft rubber bumper plates – The softness of the rubber promotes durability and the lifespan of the plate. They have a higher bouncing capability and have a rough exterior. They are ideal to use outdoors where there is no mat or platform under the user.
- Hard rubber bumper plates – These plates have a better finish and are smooth on the surface. They may tend not to be as durable in comparison to those bumpers that have been mixed with recycled rubber which are even better in withstanding the wear and tear of the plates.
There are a number of manufacturers who deal with bumper plates.
Some of them are:
Titan Fitness bumper plates
These are excellent for any home gym. However, you should note that they are not supposed to be dropped or thrown on the floor recklessly.
Their features are:
- Very low bounce
- Extremely durable
- Olympic barbell size
- Available in 10lbs, 15lbs, 25lbs, 35lbs, and 45 lbs. The sizes come in 5 different colors, pairs and they are quieter than steel plates
Rage Olympic rubber bumpers
These are the strongest plates in the market.
Their features include:
- A17.5-inch diameter made to meet the Olympics standard.
- They have a 2 inch steel collar center that facilitates better control. It fits into all standard bars and racks.
- Made from a composition of Recycled rubber.
- Rage bumpers are available in 5 weights: 10lbs, 15lbs, 25lbs, 35lbs and 45lb. Sold individually.
- They are easy on your hands, safe on your floors and environmentally friendly.
Bumper Plates Buying Guide
Buying guide offers an overview of different available sizes of weighing plates that are offered by different manufacturers. The guide helps consumers know what types of weight plates are suitable for home use and those that would be preferable to be used commercially or outdoors.
Here we are going to discuss three types of weight discs to consider.
- Studio discs
- Olympic discs
- Standard discs
These are discs which are smaller in size, have handles and are brightly colored. Their advantage is that they can be moved easily and they don’t take up a lot of space which makes them suitable for home use. The diameter of the center is a 30 millimeter hole
These discs are larger than studio discs and are suitable for gym use. They have a two inch diameter center hole which is suitable for a gym setting.
They have a 1 inch diameter hole which is slightly smaller than the Olympic disc. This is suitable for a home gym.
Compared to the iron plates, they are safer to use even in cases where the lifter may fail to fully manage to lift the set off the ground it can be dropped without causing any injury to the lifter. The noise is muffled by the rubber when they bang against each other when moving them unlike the steel or iron ones.
When dropped accidentally, they don’t chip or crack like other weightlifting plates.
They have less bounce hence absorbing more shock.
- They are less expensive than new iron plates.
- When dropped accidentally, they don’t chip or crack the floor or spoil any equipment
- They don’t rust like iron plates.
- They don’t damage the barbells in any way.
- They are more durable compared to other plates.
- They can be quite costly compared to the types of weight lifting plates.
- Plates made of rubber mostly leave markings. Marking the walls, floors and even other equipment in the workout area.
- The plates tend to have an unpleasant smell that can be unbearable to some users.
- Most bumper plates are manufactured without grip to make it easier to lift them off the ground and to be able to place them in the weight rack with ease.
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Pricing Of The Bumper Plates
Bumper plates vary in prices. There are some that are sold in bulk thus making them cheaper that 4th hose that are sold in singular. The prices range from as low as 29$ for a bumper plate up-to 500$ for a whole rack of plates.
The conclusion of Bumper Plates
Bumper plates vary in quality. There are some that are made from recycled rubber which may make them cheaper, while others from high-quality material making them a bit expensive. Bumpers can be used to do a couple of exercises. They may seem to be pricier than other weight lifting plates, but in the long run they are much durable and may last a lifetime thus being cheap in the long run. They are the better option compared to other plates and are much safer to use. So if you are to buy weightlifting equipment, it would be recommendable that you give them a try. They will be worth your while. Before purchasing bumper plates, one should ensure the plates one is considering to buy would be suitable for the intended use, be it your own home gym or for a public commercial gym.
Scott Williams has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Apart from being an integral part of our research team, Scott Williams spends almost every single minute he can get in the gym. He has vast experience in matters supplements, diets, and workouts.