Yesterday I wrote about why a barbell should be the fourth addition to your home gym.
Bumper plates follow the barbell purchase; you can’t really use a barbell without also buying weights to put on it.
The Value of Bumper Plates
When you’re shopping for weights to put on a barbell (“plates”), you have three options: iron, bumper, and competition plates.
Iron plates are the thinnest option, making them the best option if you deadlift seriously heavy weight. Traditional bumper plates can only hold around 465-lbs before you run out of room on the barbell sleeve. So if you’re a competitive powerlifter or strongman, these are the logical purchase.
Bumper plates* are the thickest option, but I believe are the most valuable for home-gym athletes. Bumper plates are designed to be dropped to the ground from overhead, unlike iron plates. Not only will bumper plates last you (almost) forever, but they’re also designed to protect the life of a barbell. If you plan to do any snatches or power cleans, you should choose bumper plates over the iron plates.
*If you buy your bumper plates from Rogue Fitness (which I recommend), you have three options: Hi-Temp, Spec, and HG. Without going into too much detail, I recommend the spec bumper plate because it’s thinner by a 1/4-inch from the other two, yet just as durable. If you just want style points, however, go with the HG plate. They look the best in my opinion.
Competition plates are the hybrid option. They are a 1/2-inch bigger than the iron plate but a full 1-inch thinner than the spec bumper plate. These are also designed to withstand dropping weight from overhead. Additionally, each weight comes in different colors–which makes it the best looking plate.
The downside to competition plates is that they won’t last as long as the traditional bumper plate. My experience has shown that you can expect about 10 years on a bumper plate. They also are twice the price of a normal plate.
Buy the spec bumper plates and you will never have to buy more. They’re made from recycled tires and can withstand just about anything. To put this in perspective, I’ve replaced maybe 50 different HG bumper plates at RxFIT and 0 hi-temp/spec plates.
For starters, you want roughly 245-lbs worth of plates. 245-lbs is just a nice number that includes a pair of 45’s, 35’s, 25’s, 10’s, 5’s, and 2.5’s. Plus, you never want to run out of bumper plates (that’s a pet peeve for most gym goers).
I’m challenging you right now to workout 50 days in-a-row. Here is your workout for today.
Day 16 (of 50)
40-30-20-10 reps of…
*400 m run between each round
Other Articles in this Series
The Home Gym Series
The Home Gym: Dumbbells
The Home Gym: Gymnastic Rings
The Home Gym: Rower
The Home Gym: Barbell