Bumper Plate Guide
If you are new to weightlifting, you may be wondering what bumper plates are and how they differ from other types of weight plates. Are they worth the extra investment from iron or steel plates? What should I look for when buying?
In this blog, we have collated answers to some of the most commonly asked questions to help you get started.
First off, what is a bumper plate, and how are they different from other plates?
A bumper plate is a type of weight plate that is made of high-density rubber, as opposed to iron or steel. One of the key features of bumper plates is their ability to absorb impact and reduce noise. This helps protect both the equipment and the floor when being dropped. The rubber construction allows them to be dropped from overhead when working out, unlike other plates made from iron or steel.
Bumper plates have a steel ring in the center of the plates to increase their durability. This insert is designed to fit an Olympic Barbell. Olympic barbells have a sleeve diameter of 50mm.
Pro tip: Make sure this ring is made from stainless steel rather than brass. A number of manufacturers switched to brass, however this proved too soft a material and caused durability issues with the plates. While most are now back on stainless steel, there are a number of companies that still have brass inserts.
Are bumper plates worth it?
Whether rubber bumper plates are worth it depends on your individual needs and goals. They are particularly useful in a home gym setting due to their ability to absorb impact and reduce noise. This will stop you from waking the neighbours if you are working out at unusual hours, while protecting your floors and equipment when performing deadlifts. They are essential if you will be performing any exercises that require you to drop the barbell from a height.
Bumper plates are generally more expensive than basic iron or steel plates. However, prices relative to other plates have been decreasing, and you can find cheap bumper plates that are only slightly more expensive than traditional iron plates. Check out our black bumper plates here for a quality budget bumper plate.
What is a competition bumper plate, and do I need them
over normal bumper plates?
A competition bumper plate is similar to a normal bumper plate, except it features a large stainless steel insert in the centre of the plate (which is much larger than the steel ring in a normal bumper plate). This helps to reinforce the plate and prevent it from warping over time, especially when the plates are being dropped frequently. The rest of the plate is made up of high-density rubber. Competition plates are thinner than a rubber bumper plate, allowing you to fit more weight onto the sleeve of the bar.
This stainless-steel insert means that competition bumper plates are a lot more expensive than traditional bumper plates. This can add up very quickly when you are buying a 100kg bumper plate set.
If you have the budget, competition plates are
nice, but not necessary unless you are very specialised in your training. We provide our normal bumper plates to commercial facilities around Australia, and durability is not an issue. Unless you will be consistently performing Olympic lifts at high frequencies, you probably won’t
notice a difference in durability.
What should I look for when buying bumper plates?
As with most products, look for brands with good reviews.
Without getting too technical, look at the quality of materials. Bumper plates are made of either natural (virgin) or recycled rubber. Virgin rubber has less of an odour, generally creates a thinner plate and allows for lower bounce. The flipside of this is that they are generally more expensive. Also look for a stainless steel insert rather than brass.
At Vulcan, our bumper plates are a special mix of both virgin and recycled rubber to create a plate that has most of the properties of a natural rubber bumper, but at an economical cost.
What is the difference between colour and black bumper plates? Why are colour more expensive?
At Vulcan, we have bumper plates for sale that are both black and colour. The colour bumper plates have a different rubber composition that makes them slightly more durable than our black bumper plates, and the manufacturing process is more costly. The colour plates also have purely cosmetic changes such as a raised embossed logo.
Both are good-quality bumper plates that are used in commercial facilities around Brisbane and Australia.
When should you use bumper plates?
Bumper weight plates can be used for all your barbell lifts, including the major compound exercises such as bench press, back-squats, and deadlifts. They are particularly useful during exercises where you may drop the weight from a height, such as deadlifts, snatches or clean and jerks.
What are the common sizes of bumper weight plates?
The common sizes of Olympic bumper plates are as follows:
- 5kg bumper plates
- 10kg bumper plates
- 15kg bumper plates
- 20kg bumper plates
- 25kg bumper plates
At Vulcan, we sell a 100kg bumper plate set consisting of 5-20kg bumper plate pairs, and a 150kg bumper plate set consisting of 5-25kg pairs, along with individual pairs.
Are bumper plates harder to deadlift with?
Bumper plates may feel slightly different than other types of weight plates, such as iron plates, when deadlifting, but this doesn’t
necessarily mean they are harder to use.
One of the main differences between bumper plates and iron plates is their size and thickness. Bumper plates are typically thicker than iron plates of the same weight, which means that the barbell will be positioned slightly higher off the ground when using bumper plates. This can affect your lifting mechanics, as you may need to adjust your stance or grip to accommodate the difference in height.
Additionally, because bumper plates are made of rubber they may compress slightly when you lift them off the ground. This can create a different feeling or sensation than lifting iron plates, which do not compress in the same way. However, this does not necessarily make bumper plates harder to use for deadlifting.
Ultimately, the choice of which type of weight plates to use for deadlifting is a matter of personal preference. Some lifters may prefer the feel of bumper plates, while others may prefer the feel of iron plates. The most important factor is to choose plates that allow you to lift with good form and technique, and that you feel comfortable using.
How do I clean bumper plates?
Bumper plates may arrive with a protective oil which helps prevent corrosion during storage and shipping. This coating should be washed off prior to use. To clean your bumper plates, follow these steps:
- Dip a soft brush or cloth into the solution and use it to scrub the bumper plates thoroughly, paying special attention to any areas with stubborn dirt or stains.
- Rinse the bumper plates with clean water to remove any soap residue.
- Dry the bumper plates with a clean towel or allow them to air dry
It is important to note that harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners, or rough scrubbers should not be used to clean bumper plates as they can damage the surface of the plates. Additionally, it is recommended to clean bumper plates regularly to prevent any build-up of dirt or sweat, which can damage the surface of the plates over time.
Can bumper plates be used on any barbell?
Bumper plates are designed to be used on Olympic Barbells that have a sleeve diameter of 50mm. A bumper plate will not be suitable for a standard barbell which has a sleeve width of 28mm.
What is the difference between bumper plates and Olympic plates?
Olympic plates refer to any type of plate that is designed to be used with Olympic-sized barbells. Olympic barbells have a sleeve has a diameter of 50mm, so the circular hole at the centre of an Olympic plate is slightly larger than this.
Bumper plates are a type of Olympic plate as they are designed to fit on an Olympic barbell. You can also get Olympic plates that are made of cast iron, steel, or plastic (as long as they fit on an Olympic barbell!).
Hopefully, you have found the above information useful! You can check out our range of bumper plates and Olympic plates here. We also offer a great range of bumper plate packages. You can check them out here.
If you would like to try our bumper plates out, come visit us in our Brisbane showroom. Alternatively, we have a 90 day love it or leave it policy and you we ship all over Australia.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us up on the live chat.