There are several types and styles of weight plates available on the market. Two major types are the standard one-inch size and the Olympic two-inch size. The standard one-inch size is suitable for light home use and is more budget friendly. There is really no major difference between types and brands. This article will be primarily geared towards the Olympic style plates.
Within the Olympic two-inch size plates, there are lots of options to choose from. The two-inch refers to the diameter of the hole. in the center of the plate. If you’ve ever watched an Olympic weightlifting competition you’ll notice that all the plates are the same diameter and come in a variety of colors. The colors indicate the different weights used in Olympic lifting. These are also what’s known as bumper plates. Bumper plates are designed to be dropped from an overhead height onto a gym mat or floor without causing damage. The other style is the standard two-inch weight room plate. These come in a variety of colors, shapes, and styles. The biggest difference you should concern yourself with when it comes to the two-inch standard plate is the finish or coating on the plates. The style recommended by fitprofree.com is the rubber coated plates. They typically have hand grips making them easier to load and unload.
A word of caution, if these are dropped from any heights above knee level they can cause some serious damage to floors. This is why it’s important to take into consideration what you plan on doing with your barbell set. If you plan on performing Crossfit or Olympic style lifts and will possibly be dropping the weights, you might want to invest in at least one bumper plate for each side.
When using only one bumper plate on each side you must take care not load more weight with the smaller plates than you have with the bumper plates. For example, if you load a 10 kg bumper plate on each side you cannot add larger than 25lb iron plates on each side. You have to imagine where the brunt of the force is going when you drop the weights. Too much impact on the bumper plate and you are likely to cause damage. For explosive lifts, you are typically only lifting half of your one rep maximum so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
I recommend skipping the bumper plate and just getting a good set of rubber coated cast iron plates, at least for now. Unless you’re aiming for the Olympic Games the majority of the exercises you do you will be in complete control of the weights. Should you decide later you want to start doing more Olympic or Crossfit style training you can then look for some quality bumper plates and gym mats.
As stated above I recommend a set of rubber coated iron plates with handles. You can also build up the set slowly by buying individual weights. Unless you plan on hosting a weightlifting competition, you don’t have to break the bank on a set of precision engineered plates.
For at home use I recommend the Body Solid Rubber Grip Olympic Set
A great set of plates for getting a job done. The easy to grip handles and an integrated metal sleeve make for a quick and smooth weight change. These will certainly do a good job rounding out your home gym.
According to Amazon.com
Body Solid Rubber Grip Olympic Sets are designed using state-of-the-art technology, surpassing all others in quality, accuracy, reliability, and price. Quad-grip design guarantees safer and easier performance than any other plate on the market.
- Encased in durable, heavy-duty rubber to prevent scuffing or damage to equipment, walls or floors.
- Impact-resistant, these Olympic Plates will not split, crack or peel.
- Impervious to rusting, chipping, flaking or losing their color.
- Integrated metal sleeve provides a smooth, secure fit onto any Olympic bar.
- Heavy lifting has never been easier or safer.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,137,502 under license from Iron Grip Barbell Company, Inc.
The plates come in three available weight sets; 255lbs, 355lbs, and 455lbs. When first starting out you can get the small set and then buy additional separate plates HERE as your strength improves. They can be a bit pricey but if you consider the number of exercises you can do by having a barbell set it certainly makes it worth the purchase. Especially if your goal is gaining strength.
To address some of the negative reviews found on Amazon.com many people complain about the plastic smell the plates emit. This is certainly due to the manufacturing process. It’s recommended to wash the plates thoroughly in pine sol before bringing them inside. I personally recommend leaving them outside in the sun for a day or two after washing to help dissipate the smell. If this still doesn’t work you can try soaking the in a water/pine sol solution for a couple hours.
I read another review about there being a slight wobble in the plates after they are loaded onto a barbell. As a safety precaution, you should always use a sleeve collar when lifting. Even if you are just doing a quick set of curls it only takes one plate to drop and damage the floor or worse break a toe. With a sleeve collar, you not only stay safe but it should eliminate any wobble in the plates. You can pick up a sleeve collar HERE.
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