If you’ve ever used a commercial gym before, you probably will have noticed that most commercial gyms nowadays, tend to have bumper plates as well as regular weight plates. Bumper plates are quickly becoming more popular than tri-grip plates and can be used for bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, Powerlifting, Strongman, and CrossFit. Bumper plates get their name because of the fact that they’re made from dense and durable rubber, as opposed to cast iron. They feature a steel collar in the centre, and come in a variety of different weights. Some bumper plates are all black, where coloured bumper plates use individual colours to depict the various weights. Most bumper plates can be found in weights of: 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg, and 25kg. But what makes these rubber plates so special when compared with regular weight plates? That’s what we’re going to look at right now.
Easier to grip – As you know, when you’re training in the gym and working up a sweat, the sweat and moisture on your hands can make it tricky for you to grip certain items. There are plenty of lifters out there, who have unfortunately found this out the hard way, by having a solid cast-iron 20kg weight plate slip out of their hands and land on their feet. Ouch! One key advantage over rubber bumper plates, that a lot of people fail to realise, is the fact that the rubber makes the plates easier to grip. Gripping a rubber bumper plate with sweaty and clammy hands is going to be much easier than gripping a metal plate with sweaty hands.
Protects the floor – If you’ve ever seen a big dude slam a heavy barbell down onto the ground after doing a set of heavy deadlifts, you’ll know how much noise it can make, and how much force it exerts. With enough weight, the entire gym can sometimes shake, and needless to say, this does the floor no good at all. Rubber bumper plates, however, are designed to be dropped from a height. Because they’re made from rubber, they bounce when they land, and cause no damage to the ground at all. Not only do they not damage the floor, but the plates themselves also sustain no damage.
More training options – There’s a reason why Olympic lifters use rubber bumper plates instead of hexagonal plates, or tri-grip cast-iron plates you see in gyms. The simple reason for this is the fact that they offer users more training options. Because of their design, they can be dropped from a height, so overhead Olympic lifts like snatches, clean and jerks, and clean and presses, can be performed safely with no issues. This also makes them safer, because if the weight is too heavy, the lifter can simply drop them rather than risk injury.
Quieter – As we mentioned earlier, when heavy barbells loaded up with cast-iron plates are slammed onto the ground, they don’t half make a lot of noise. Rubber bumper plates are much, much quieter when dropped from a height, so you won’t distract other gym members, and you won’t draw attention to yourself either.