Starting a home gym or garage gym?
Bumper plates will be your best bet.
Sure, iron plates are cheaper (and dirtier and uglier) – but in this article we’ll explain why bumper plates are the better choice.
This article is sort of tongue-in-cheek.
But there’s some truth to it as well.
Bumper Plates Are Bigger
Bumper plates are bigger (for the smaller sizes – like the 10kg, 15kg sizes).
Everybody wants to lift the big weight plates, not the little ones.
What’s more impressive? Hoisting two tiny 10kg iron plates or two MASSIVE 10kg bumper plates?
Bumper plates let you do that – without overloading the bar for the exercise at hand.
Think this is a joke? It’s not. Don’t you workout to feel better?
The mental confidence boost of heavy lifting is one of the perks of fitness.
So, go ahead and slap those 10Kg plates on – and feel good about yourself.
But, perhaps more importantly they put the bar at the correct height for exercises where the bar starts on the floor.
Like the deadlift, snatch, or clean and jerk.
Maybe you can deadlift enough such that only the biggest plates are an option – but bumper plates are a great way to get the bar at the right starting height and still have it light enough for a novice lifter or teenager.
Bumper Plates Make Significantly Less Noise
Bumper plates make less noise.
Bumper plates are all around quieter – because they are made from dense rubber.
it’s hard to show a picture of “quiet” – so here’s some plates instead.
Less noise can be an important factor for a home gym – it’s less annoyance to the rest of your family – or your neighbors.
Bumper Plates Give You More of a Grip Workout
They are harder to pick up.
Bumper plates don’t have any lip like the iron olympic plates do.
Combined with their greater width they are a bigger challenge to pick up – with one hand or two.
And that means more of a grip workout – and that is one of the big benefits of strength training.
Bumper Plates Give You More Exercise Variations
Oh – and I almost forgot – they bounce.
You are less likely to accidentally damage the floor with bumper plates.
That’s the whole reason they exist, of course. They are meant to be dropped from overhead when completing an Olympic lift like the snatch or clean and jerk.
But the practical benefit for you is you are less likely to accidentally damage the floor.
This also makes bumper plates a better option for more exercise variety.
Because with bumper plates you can do the clean and jerk or the snatch.
Can’t you do these with iron plates?
Yes, you can. But it’s a lot more fun with proper bumper plates.
Bumper Plates Look Cooler
Bumper plates look cool.
Yep, that matters.
With their bright color coding they are easy to distinguish from a distance, and they just look more exotic too.
Want to impress visitors with your home gym? Have some nicely colored bumper plates.
They also don’t rust and get dingy looking like iron plates – which is a big plus in humid environments.
You say looks don’t matter?
Then why are you working out?
Downsides to bumper plates
There are some downsides to bumper plates.
They are significantly more expensive than iron plates.
They can get dinged up pretty badly – scuff marks on the rubber (but they still look better than iron with all it’s rust, grime, and paint chips.)
You can’t fit as many on a bar, as compared to iron plates, because they just plain take up more room.
And, it’s hard to find decent bumper plates locally – you really need to order off the internet.
Bumper Plates – In Summary
But, even taking all those things into account – we think bumper plates are the best choice for your home or garage gym.
So that’s what we recommend.
What do you think about bumper plates vs iron plates?
Let us know in the comments.