What Are Bumper Plates?

stack of bumper plates with barbell

When planning a home gym, you should consider free weights. And bumper plates are the very piece of equipment. They will level up your workout routine right away. Bumper plates are commonly used for powerlifting, weightlifting, CrossFit workouts, and more.

Modern manufacturers offer various weight plates to hit your personal needs. Common bumper plates set includes items that weigh 10lb, 25lb, 35lb, and 45lb. The set provides a range of resistance levels to perform an efficient full-body workout. Unlike other weight plate types, bumper plates have the same diameter. They are different in thickness, color, and construction.

Bumper Plate Structure

Unlike iron and steel weights, bumper plates are mostly made of rubber or urethane. Bumper plates come with a beveled edge for better gripping. That makes the gear easy to load and unload.

The inner filling is made of rubber that provides dead bounce. That’s a beneficial option for a home gym. Such weights are designed to drop them when weightlifting. The rubber makes the bounce safe. Besides, there’s sound isolation so you won’t disturb your neighbors.

Most bumper plates come with a steel insert that provides more durability. The metal piece in the center makes the gear easy to load on the barbell.

bumper plate structure chart

The Main Types of Weight Plates

There are three types of weight plates you should consider. These are competition plates, training plates, and technique plates. So what’s the difference?

colorful rubber weight plates on floor

Competition Plates

This is an expensive option that stands out with its high standards. They are designed for professional weightlifting. That’s why a beginner sportsman can avoid such gear. Competition plates are thin and quite durable. The main perk is that their stated weight is precise. So you can be sure what exact weight you’re about to work with.

man is powerlifting with bumper plates

Training Plates

That’s a common type for most commercial gyms. Training plates are great as home gym essentials. These are basic plates that are friendly to the budget. You can find a full range of standard weights. Good-quality training plates are precise in their stated weights like competition plates. The difference between competition plates and training plates is that the last option is not certified. And this aspect affects the price tag, of course.

man is loading barbell with weight plate

Technique Plates

As its name implies, technique plates are designed to hone your Olympic lifting skills. These are one-piece items made of solid plastic. The common weights are 5lb and 10lb bumper plates. Such gear is thin and relatively lightweight. The point is to train your Olympic lifts while still feeling some added weight on the barbell. Technique plates are pricey but a pair of them is enough to purchase.

Color-Coded Weight Plates

You may think that colorful weights are designed just to please the eye of the owner. Actually, that’s not the only reason. As bumper plates are the same in diameter, the color can help you to distinguish their weight quickly.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) sets the standards about the color range. All the Olympic weightlifting equipment must follow their specifications. And bumper plates are not an exception.

According to the IWF, the Olympic bumper plate color coding is the following:

  • Red – 55.1 lbs.
  • Blue – 44 lbs.
  • Yellow – 33 lbs.
  • Green – 22 lbs.
  • White – 11 lbs.
  • Red – 5.5 lbs.
  • Blue – 4.4 lbs.
  • Yellow – 3.3 lbs.
  • Green – 2.2 lbs.
  • White – 1.1 lbs.
Olympic bumper plate color coding chart

stack of iron weight plates

Bumper Plates vs Iron Plates

How about iron plates? This gear is suitable for a home gym too. Cast iron weights are great for bodybuilding workouts to lose weight and gain muscles. Such exercises require little weight drop so iron plates are ok with that. Beginner athletes can start with iron plates as they are less expensive. Advanced users can also use these weights in powerlifting training. But make sure you have solid gym flooring to protect the floor and equipment.

Most sportsmen tend to mix bumper and iron plates. And use them for different purposes. But if you’re on a budget, you may consider only one type. So what to choose? We’d recommend buying bumper plates as they are more durable and safe. They are designed to be dropped as the weights are hardy enough. Such gear brings less damage in case of hitting the ground. Besides, colorful discs are a superb addition to your home gym design.

How to Store Bumper Plates

vertical weight rack with barbells and plates

Vertical Plate Racks

It’s an excellent way to keep your barbells and weight plates in one spot. It takes about 4 square feet to store all the essentials. The stand holds up to 600 lbs of weight. That’s enough to store several barbells and a set of bumper plates.

The vertical plate rack is designed that way so you can store the bars vertically. The weight discs are placed on the horns. What a great solution for home and garage gyms.

squat stand loaded with colorful weight plates

Squat Station Weight Horns

Perhaps you don’t need to purchase extra gear to hand your plates. If you have a squat stand, it usually comes with horns on the sides. The horns will help you to store the discs off the ground. The weight horns are sold separately so you can buy them if your squat station has no plate holders.

Besides, the items are easy to store and organize. You can hang plates of the same weight on one horn. The discs are securely fixed to avoid tripping over them and accidental dropping.

weight tree rack loaded with discs

Weight Tree Racks

If there are no horn options at your gym, no probs. You can consider a weight tree rack. That’s a compact station with horns that is placed on the floor. It requires little space that is advantageous for a humble home gym. Weight tree racks are easily portable so you can set the gear close to the weightlifting zone.

The weight racks come in different designs. The most common are T-shape and triangular stands. The number of plate holders attached can vary as well.

woman is weightlifting with green plates

Enlightened Views on Bumper Plates

Bumper plates are top-notch home gym equipment. It features high durability and a solid build. The free weights can be used in a range of workouts. They add weight to the barbell to improve your strength training. Besides, you can perform some exercises using bumper plates only. Due to the rubber material used, they are easy to grip.

Bumper plates have the same diameter but they are different in colors. The color range helps to distinguish the weight quickly. There are different types of weight plates you may consider. Training plates are great for beginners. While competition plates are ideal for professional Olympic lifters. The discs are easy to store and maintain which is good for a home gym.

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