Bumper Plates: why are so many gyms making the switch?

crossfit, Fitness, Strength,

Bumper Plates: why are so many gyms making the switch?

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If you want fitness equipment which helps you to achieve new plateaus in fitness, you’ll benefit from learning about bumper plates. You might also notice that bumper plates are taking local gyms by storm, so what’s with the hype all of a sudden?

What are bumper plates, anyway?

Perhaps you’ve noticed brightly colored plates hanging out by the deadlifting section of your gym.

These are advanced pieces of fitness equipment that are popular choices with CrossFit fans and Olympic weightlifters. I say they are ‘advanced’ because most gyms are just now making the investment in bumper plates because more of their clients are into CrossFit, which uses the plates extensively.

Bumper plates are basically high density rubber weight plates (ranging from 10 lb to 55 lb or .5 kg to 25 kg) that have a bouncy quality. They have been around for decades, and got their start in the Olympic weightlifting field, but have broken into mainstream gyms in the last five years or so.

Some of the plates are solid rubber while others, like the competition bumper plates, have a metal core, surrounded with a strip of rubber.

Bumper Plates

What should you look for in a set of bumper plates?

The key to finding the best bumper plates for CrossFit and weightlifting is going for styles which are noted for their durability. You’re going to be dropping these bad boys on the ground over and over, unlike those old iron plates you probably grew up with.

The best plates will have a low bounce, bead-blasted discs, and will be made to IWF specs. In short, they should be tough and functional, since they’ll be subjected to large impact forces when in use.

Since ruggedness will vary based on the manufacturer, you should be looking for a trusted brand before you buy. It’s pretty easy to get the inside scoop on bumper plate manufacturers via a Google search, but just because something appears at the top, doesn’t mean it is the best. Instead, you may want to ask on weightlifting forums who the best manufacturers of bumper plates are, then check out the official websites of bumper plate manufacturers and also look for customer reviews. Vulcan bumper plates are quite popular, in our experience, and their 36 month warranty is the best in the business.

Depending on which brand you go with, once you’ve found a great product which earns rave reviews and which is created by a manufacturer with a strong and positive reputation, you’ll be ready to move forward and place an order.

How Are Bumper Plates Used?

These plates are normally crafted from solid rubber and they are designed to fit Olympic bars and are used in Olympic lifts.

The deadlift, the clean, clean and jerk, and snatch are all popular Olympic lifts where bumper plates are used as standard equipment. YouTube it and you will see that bumper plates are the only things that Olympic weightlifters use. So, assuming that they are the best powerlifters in the world, you can safely assume that bumper plates serve a functional purpose, they don’t just look cool.

You’ll also notice that all of the plates have a similar diameter, no matter how much they weigh. They will be the same diameter as the typical forty-five pound plates that are found at most gyms and they fit a standard bar.

Bumper plates were invented in order to help people train for competition lifts. They have advantages as you will be able to drop them onto lifting platforms without breaking things. In this manner, using them helps to protect other equipment and surfaces in the gym, not to mention allowing the lifter to execute safe lifts.

CrossFit also features Olympic weight-lifting moves, so these plates are used during a lot of CrossFit routines, along with other CrossFit fitness equipment, such as kettlebells. No doubt, the reason why so many gyms are using bumper plates is because more people are doing complex, heavy lifts rather than simply working their glamor muscles on the Nautilus machine.

If you are a gym owner, you can choose competition-style designs which feature color and are carefully crafted in order to have precise weights or go for the simpler bumper plates for training. Training bumper plates are usually black, are as accurately weighted as the competition models, but they also tend to be less pricey than the competition bumper plates.

While some people still buy iron plates which are not covered in rubber, hopefully this article helped you understand why others prefer bumper plates. Not only do they have a lower friction coefficient with the bar, but they are much gentler on flooring when dropped from overhead. And, hey, they also look really cool.

If you want to try bumper plates for your own home gym, you’ll find that a lot of places offer them for sale online and will ship to your door. Once you’ve tried these popular weight plates, you may wonder how you ever got along without them.


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