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7 Reasons to Use Bumper Plates in Barbell Training

By Richard McKay March 06, 2023 0 comments

When it comes to strength training, there are many choices you can make regarding the equipment you use. You can use free weights, weight machines, or bumper plates. 

Bumper plates are a type of weightlifting equipment that is made to be dropped on the ground without damage. They are typically made of rubber or steel and have a raised lip around the edge to keep them from sliding off the barbell.

Getting the best results from your strength training workouts requires using the right equipment. And bumper plates are the perfect choice for many reasons. In this article, we will give you seven reasons why you should use rubber bumper plates in your training regime and how they can enhance your workouts.

What Are Bumper Plates?

Bumper plates are heavy, round plates with a central hole that is used for Olympic lifting, powerlifting, CrossFit-style workouts, and more. Unlike traditional iron or steel weight plates, bumper plates are made of durable rubber or urethane, with a steel insert in the centre. This construction allows them to be dropped from overhead without damage to the floor or equipment, which is why they are so popular in Crossfit gyms and other training facilities.

In addition to their durability, bumper plates offer a number of other benefits that make them an excellent choice for a wide variety of training programs. A bumper plate typically weighs between 12kg and 24kg, with the most popular sizes  being 12kg, 16kg and 20kg.

What Are Bumper Plates Used For?

If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a Crossfit gym, you’ve probably noticed the colourful bumper plates lining the walls. Bumper plates are thick, solid plates made of rubber or urethane that are used in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and Crossfit. They are designed to be dropped from overhead without damage to the floor or equipment, making them ideal for high-intensity workouts and repeated use in training.


Bumper plates are available in various sizes, colours and designs. The smaller sizes are typically used for women’s competitions, while the larger sizes are used for men’s competitions and training.

There are many benefits to using bumper plates, including the following:

  • Extremely durable and can withstand repeated dropping.

  • Have a low bounce, which allows for a safer lifting environment.

  • Protect the floor and equipment from damage.

  • Available in a variety of sizes and colors.

  • Sound Reduction - minimises noise from weight drops due to rubberised coating

Bumper plates are a great investment if you’re looking to take your weight training to the next level. They will help you build strength and power while protecting your body and the equipment.   Very user-friendly and comfortable to load and unload, barbell training with bumper plates is super efficient and drives results quicker.

Selecting the Right Bumper Plates

There are many factors to consider when selecting bumper plates for your home gym. You'll want to consider the type of material, the thickness of the plate, the weight capacity, and whether you want Olympic or standard-sized plates. Here are five main points to keep in mind when choosing bumper plates for your home gym.


1. Durability 

You'll want to choose a plate that can withstand bar drops and won't crack or chip easily. Look for a plate made of solid, durable rubber. Check the warranty and reviews before purchasing to get an idea of how long the plates will last. If you plan on using your bumper plates for Olympic weightlifting, make sure to choose a plate that is IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) certified. Great quality bumper plates will last you years, so it's worth investing in a good set.

2. Sliding 

You don't want your plates sliding around when you're lifting, so make sure to choose bumper plates with a good grip. A textured surface will help to keep the plates in place and prevent them from sliding during use.

Some plates also have a raised lip or collar, which can help to keep the weight distributed evenly on the plate and prevent sliding. Choose a plate that has a good grip and is easy to handle.

3. Bendability 

The last thing you want is a plate that bends or warps when you drop it. Look for a bumper plate that is made of solid, high-density rubber. This will help to prevent the plates from bending or breaking when dropped.

Some plates are also reinforced with a steel insert, which can help to add strength and prevent bending. Choose a durable plate that won't bend or warp when dropped.

4. Bounce 

You want your bumper plates to have a little bounce to them, as this will help protect your floor and equipment. Look for a plate that is made of soft, high-density rubber. This will help to absorb the impact when the plate is dropped.

5. Training requirements 

Consider the type of training you'll be doing with your bumper plates. If you plan on using them for Olympic weightlifting, make sure to choose a plate that is IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) certified.

Any quality bumper plate will suffice if you're looking for a plate to use for general strength training or Crossfit. Choose a plate that meets your training requirements and will also fit your barbell.

7 Reasons to Use Bumper Plates

Often, fitness lovers hear about bumper plates and think they are only for Olympic lifters. However, this is not the case. Bumper plates can actually be incredibly beneficial for people of all fitness levels and training types. Home gyms, small gyms, and large training facilities can all make use of bumper plates to improve safety and performance.

1. Safer for Olympic Lifts

Olympic barbells are designed to be used with bumper plates. The added weight of bumper plates helps to stabilise the bar and protect it from damage. This is especially important when performing lifts such as the clean and jerk, which require a lot of explosive power.

Additionally, using bumper plates can help to reduce the risk of injury. Bumper plates are designed to absorb the impact of a dropped barbell, which can protect your joints and muscles from the sudden jolt. If you are new to Olympic lifting or are working with heavier weights, bumper plates are a great option to help improve your safety.

2. Enhanced Durability

Another benefit of using bumper plates is that they are designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Bumper plates are made from durable materials such as rubber or urethane, which can help to extend their lifespan.

In contrast, standard weight plates are typically made from cast iron. While cast iron plates are more affordable but also more susceptible to damage. Bumper plates are a great option for gyms or individuals who want to invest in long-lasting weightlifting equipment.

3. Increased Grip

If you have ever worked with standard-weight plates, you know that they can be difficult to grip. The smooth surface of cast iron plates can make it hard to keep a firm hold, especially when your hands are sweaty. This can lead to dropped weights and an increased risk of injury.

Bumper plates have a textured surface that helps to improve your grip. This can be especially beneficial when performing lifts that require a lot of grip strength, such as the deadlift. The added grip can help you to maintain control of the barbell and reduce the risk of injury.

While the regular price may be higher, bumper plates are a great option for those who want to invest in their safety and performance.

4. More forgiving on your floor

Bumper plates are also more forgiving on your floor than their iron counterparts. The soft rubber surface helps to reduce noise and protect your floor from damage.

If you have ever dropped an iron plate, you know that it can make a loud noise and leave behind a nasty dent. Bumper plates are a great option for those who want to avoid damage to their floors and maintain a quiet environment.

5. Reduced noise

Clanging and banging weights can be disruptive, especially if you are trying to focus on your workout. Bumper plates are designed to minimise noise, which can help you to stay focused on your training.

The soft rubber surface helps to absorb the impact of a dropped barbell, which reduces the amount of noise. This can be beneficial for small gyms or home gyms where space is limited, and noise levels need to be kept to a minimum.

6. Offer Versatility for Different Exercises

Bumper plates can be used for a variety of different exercises, not just Olympic lifts. The added weight can be beneficial for strength training exercises such as squats and presses. Bumper plates can also be used for conditioning workouts and Crossfit-style workouts.

The versatility of bumper plates makes them a great option for gyms or individuals who want to expand their Weightlifting regime.

7. More Colour Options

If you are looking for a weightlifting plate that is more than just functional, bumper plates offer a variety of colour options. Bumper plates are available in a wide range of designs, which can help to add some personality to your workout.

From bright colours to more subdued hues, there is a bumper plate to match your style. This can be a great way to add some fun and flair to your workout routine.

Bumper Plates FAQs

What is the point of bumper plates?

Bumper plates are weightlifting plates made of soft materials like rubber or urethane with a metal core. They are designed to be dropped from overhead without damage to the equipment or the floor.

Are bumper plates better than regular plates?

Bumper plates are not necessarily better than regular weightlifting plates, but they offer some advantages. For one, they allow you to drop the weights from overhead without damaging the equipment or floor. Additionally, bumper plates provide a more forgiving surface if you miss a lift.

Is it worth buying bumper plates?

If you are serious about weightlifting, then bumper plates are a worthwhile investment. They offer a number of advantages that can help you improve your lifts and avoid injuries. Additionally, bumper plates last longer than regular plates and can be used in a variety of training exercises.

When should I use bumper plates?

Bumper plates should be used when you are performing lifts that involve dropping the weights from overhead. This includes exercises like the snatch, clean and jerk, and push press. Additionally, bumper plates can be used in training exercises that simulate these lifts.


Are bumper plates safe?

Bumper plates are safe to use as long as you follow proper lifting techniques. When using bumper plates, be sure to keep your hands and fingers away from the holes in the plate. Additionally, always use a weightlifting platform or mat when dropping weights to protect your floor.


Final Thoughts

If you're still not convinced that bumper plates are worth the investment, consider this: in addition to their many practical benefits, bumper plates can also help improve your mental game. Lifting heavy weights is as much a psychological challenge as it is a physical one, and having the right equipment can make all the difference. 

So if you're serious about taking your training to the next level, don't overlook the importance of bumper plates.  Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use bumper plates is up to you. But they're worth considering if you're looking to get the most out of your lifting sessions. 

You may also be interesting in reading:

How to Build Strength with Kettlebells

What is Olympic Weight Training

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