Guide to buying weight plates: Bumper plates vs Olympic plates

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So you’ve decided to set up your own home gym? You may have already started to buy home gym equipment. However, when it comes to weight plates it’s not completely straightforward with so many different options to choose from. Should you go for bumper plates vs Olympic plates? What are the differences? 

Here at HyGYM we have both bumper plates and Olympic tri-grip plates, as you can see here. If you’d like to find out more about bumper plates and Olympic tri-grip plates, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on below for our complete guide to buying weight plates.

Why do I need weight plates?

The first thing you may ask yourself is “why do I need plates anyway?” Well, the answer to this is simpler than you may think. Ask yourself a different question: “what are my workout aims and what do I need to help me accomplish them?” If your answer had anything to do with strength training, muscle growth or practical fitness, then you will need weight plates. 

Plates, whether they are bumper plates or Olympic tri-grip plates, are central to most people’s strength workouts for good reason. Simply put, lifting heavy things makes you stronger, and you can’t get much heavier than a barbell stacked with plates. However, as previously mentioned, there are two kinds of weight plates: Olympic and bumper. Here we will outline the differences and which may suit you better.  

What is a bumper plate? 

The last time you walked into a gym did you notice all those plates lying around coloured like heavy skittles? Those are called bumper plates. 

The standard weight for all your lifting needs. Bumper plates are steel plates surrounded by a rubber layer. This layer protects them and whatever they are landing on from too much impact damage and sound. 

Generally speaking, a bumper plate is used for beginners and your average gym-goer. They are great because of that layer of rubber protecting them, and the fact that they do not crack when dropped. They are very popular with CrossFit due to their safety and durability. Bumper plates can also be put through a great deal of punishment. 

Bumper plates also usually come in a variety of pretty colours, which is nice. 

What is an Olympic tri-grip plate?

An Olympic tri-grip plate is that classic plate you have all seen being hauled around by bodybuilders and people who are very serious about their weight lifting. They have a tri-grip design, allowing you to make quick weight changes. 

They have a very classic look to them and hold a nostalgic quality that is hard to replicate. In addition to this, they are easier to grip and often have different weight distribution. Often an Olympic plate is slimmer, and so more can be stacked on a barbell. Overall it is a product much more aimed at those with significant weight training experience.  

If you’re looking to purchase an Olympic tri-grip plate, note that the cast iron version is not suitable for dropping. Only the rubber-coated version can be dropped. Here at HyGym our range includes the Olympic rubber coated tri-plate, which allows for an easier grip and has the added benefit of protection with the rubber coat. It also has the design and weight of an Olympic plate for any powerlifters out there.

Olympic bumper plates

Bumper Plates vs Olympic Plates: The Key Points

Bumper platesGreat for power-based exercises. If you want to do quick, sharp movements that require firing the plate off the ground or moving them around at speed, then Bumper plates are your perfect fit.
They are also ideal for activities like CrossFit where you need to use a plate or weight in a very versatile way. 
Bumper plates are extremely durable and will last a very long time if handled correctly. 
Olympic iron platesA classic look and feel. This may seem minor but psychological boosts are often as important as anything physiological.
They often come in a heavier weight. Due to the fact that they are generally used by more experienced lifters, iron plates very often come in heavier weights. You can, however, still get very heavy bumper weights.
They have a better grip due to their gritty nature and the fact that they (usually) don’t come with a plastic or rubber over layer.
They are a long-term investment. Similar to a bumper plate, iron plates do not tend to degrade very much over time. They can be used for a lifetime if they’re not left to rust outside or get exposed to similar environmental damage. 
They are often slimmer and can therefore can be stacked to a greater degree. 

How many weight plates should I get?

So now that you know the differences between bumper plates and Olympic tri-grip plates, and you have decided which one to go for, you now need to know how many would be suitable. As a standard (regardless of what type you are buying), you will want to get a varied set of plates. This is so that you have as many options with your workout as possible. 

You will also want to consider what kind of barbell to use for your workout and what weight it should be. For a starter, it would be recommended to get 2 x 5KG, 2 x 10KG, 2 x 15KG, 2 x 20KG, 2 x 25KG and a barbell. This variety will allow you to perform to your best potential.

We hope that this guide to buying weight plates has uncovered the differences between bumper plates and Olympic tri-grip plates and helped you to decide on the best options for your home gym. Deciding on the best option for you comes down to your weight training experience and goals. 

At HyGYM we offer a range of bumper plates and rubber-coat Olympic tri-grip plates and if you’re getting your home gym set-up, have a look at our great value home gym bundles. Our bumper bundles all come with a 6ft barbell and barbell collars to ensure your weights don’t fall off while you’re lifting. Everything you could ever need for your workout we supply, check out our range here

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