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Bumper Plates: The Complete Buyer’s Guide

Any weight-training regimen that’s designed to help you build lots of strength and lots of mass is going to call for some form of free weights. All weight plates, including Olympic plates, traditional, and bumper plates offer tons of advantages including flexibility and versatility in exercises, effectively producing the results you want, and they’re often easily accessible. 

You can always find at least a few racks at your local gym, either assisted or unassisted, as well as at garage sales, retail stores, and even online. If you’re shopping for barbells and free-weight equipment, you’ll quickly notice the abundance of choices available to you. If you’re unsure what will work best for you, we have an entire buyer’s guide dedicated to helping you understand the uniquities and benefits of each.

What Is The Difference Between Traditional Plates And Bumper Plates? 

standard plates vs bumper plates - archon fitness - olympic bumper plates

If you’re on a budget you may be more interested in the traditional plates. These are typically made from iron, have no coating, and come in all different sizes. The larger the plate, the more it weighs, since more weight means more iron. Traditional plate sizes will vary based on the brand and how they decided to shape their iron. One band will have a different thickness, diameter, and shape than another brand. These preferences can be up to you when choosing what works best for your space and pocket. Since they’re made of pure metal, these plates make a lot of clangs and bangs and may not be the best idea for home gyms if you need to maintain a low noise level. 

iron will also rust over time. Most traditional plates have been painted, powder-coated, or somehow plated to preserve them, but over time they will still rust and corrode. 

Bumper plates on the other hand are a bit more expensive, but also more popular today. Unlike traditional iron plates, bumper plates can be dropped without damaging them or your floor. This is because they’re made with solid rubber with an iron hub in the center for easy racking and rubber protection. These plates are much quieter, easier to handle, and come in a variety of colors and styles. Bumper plates are designed for being dropped overhead, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your equipment. However, if you do plan on working out with bumper plates this way, you may still need some protection for your floors, and you should only do this at ground level. 

What Is The Difference Between Olympic Plates And Standard Bumper Plates? 

Olympic bar - olympic bar squats - barbell squats - barbell

Standard weight lifting bars have a shaft that is one inch in diameter on the ends to fit standard bumper plates with a one-inch diameter hole. Olympic bars and plates are two inches in diameter. They also have a slightly larger weight space than bumper plates. While standard bars come in one option, Olympic bars come in regular and women’s sizes. This is because women often have smaller hands. To help ensure a safe grip on the bar, they need a grip/shaft that is slightly smaller.

Another important difference between the two types is that Olympic bars are designed to carry a heavier weight, hence its name. Standard bars begin to flex badly with about 200 pounds. If you’re pressing anything more than 200, or if you plan to someday, you should invest in an Olympic bar. Olympic bars can only support Olympic plates because of the hole diameter, and you do not want to mix Olympic plates with a standard bar. When shopping for your bars and plates, pick a type and stick to it. 

Bumper Plate Shopping Options

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Now that you know the difference between the major plate and bar options available to you, you can make an educated decision on the best option for your goals. If you’re just starting your fitness journey, you may want to start with the standard barbell. If you’re an experienced weightlifter and trying to increase your weight, an Olympic bar may be best for you.

Once you’ve decided on a style of barbell and plate that is suitable for your needs, then you can dive into other details that might make or break your decision. The following are some of the most common attributes of plates that people review before making their purchase. 

Plate Weight and Size

As we mentioned previously, different brands may design their plates to have different sizes for different weights. Traditional plates will likely always be very large once you get into the heavier weights, so you’ll need to be very careful about using them. One of the most notable differences between bumper plates and traditional is the diameter size. With traditional plates, they increase in both thickness and diameter with weight, while bumper plates, maintain the same diameter and only the thickness changes.

Specialty Bumper Plates

There are also many specialty options that you may come across as you shop. One of the most popular specialty types is known as a wagon wheel. Their name is suitable since wagon wheels are often designed with a larger diameter. 

These are specially designed for deadlifting, as the diameter adds height and helps to get the bar further off the ground. This type of plate is best for facilitating deadlifts with a partial range of motion. Since they’re lifted off the ground, wagon wheels also make it easier to add more plates to your bar. No more need for a deadlift jack when you want to increase your weight. 

The Shape of the Bumper Plate

Plates don’t only come in a circle shape. While most traditional iron plates are circular, bumper plates can come in a variety of shapes including 8-sided and 12-sided plates. You do want to be extra careful on how you lower or place these down on the ground. Since these plates have corners, they can often move forward or backward. The safest option is a round plate, especially when using heavier, bulkier weights.

Another detail to note is the design of the sides of the plates. These elements and designs can help improve their functionality and usability for various exercises outside of barbells. Some bumper plates are designed with handles in the plate to help them be easier to move around and use for other workouts, such as halos, wall squats, and raises. Smaller weights don’t always require handles, but anything over 30 pounds should have a handle or handholds, a little lip around the outside of the plate. Plates that have a flat surface can look pretty cool but they are harder to grip, making loading and unloading from the bar very difficult and even dangerous. 

What Type of Plates Should You Buy?

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So which option should you invest in? Traditional iron plates are a staple. They have helped build some of the most renowned bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. They’re also more cost-effective. Even though they can rust and corrode, it only makes the weight look and feel grittier. If you are on a budget, stick to plain iron plates. 

But if you have a little extra wiggle room opt for either the Olympic or standard bumper plates. If you’re going to spend money on equipment, you want to make sure it’s quality. These plates are durable, long-lasting, and quiet. You don’t need to worry about smelly coatings, and the streamlined diameter size can be aesthetically pleasing to many, especially in a home gym. Bumper plates also come in a larger variety of colors and styles to give your home or commercial gym a more personalized look.

Either route you go, this equipment will help you build your body’s strength and endurance, and get you closer to your fitness goals. Whenever you’re using any type of fitness equipment, you should practice safety and situational awareness to prevent injury and damage to yourself and others. 

Get the Best Olympic and Standard Barbells and Bumper Plates From Archon Fitness

Archon Fitness - exercise equipment store - Bumper Plates

Whether for a home gym or commercial-use, quality fitness equipment is essential for doing the work, reaching benchmarks, and improving your body every day, one rep at a time. If you’re serious about your fitness, then you need to invest in equipment that’s just as serious about it too. Archon bumper plates are designed with high-quality rubber to provide a safe, minimal bounce. Our plates range from 10 pounds to 45 pounds and come in increasing weight sets of three, four, and five plate pairs.

We also offer HTR plates of various weights. These plates are engineered from recycled rubber. This option offers great quality while still allowing you to save money. These plates are tough enough to be perfect for home-gyms or commercial gyms. 

Archon Fitness equipment is designed with athletes in mind, to help you stay focused, stay engaged, and stay strong. All of our equipment is made to last, designed and created with high-quality materials, and carefully shipped straight to you. 

Order your Olympic or Standard barbells and bumper plates from Archon today by visiting our website. You can also check out all of our equipment in action by visiting the Archon Youtube channel.

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