Weight plates and dumbbells

While the general public may have a mental image of deadlifters hurling their barbells through the floorboards with a guttural roar, the truth is less cartoonish. Olympic weightlifters and those who aspire to be them have to take better care of their equipment and facilities than that, even if they’re dropping lots of weight from shoulder height. 

Nobody wants to replace their equipment or gym flooring constantly. Bumper plates and other durable equipment can protect the gym and its equipment from damage, even if a weightlifter has to bail out of an attempt.

Please keep reading to learn everything you could need to know about bumper plates, from what they are to how to pick the best bumper plate for you. 

What is a Bumper Plate?

Bumper plates are weight plates constructed of high-density, long-lasting rubber. They fit on regular 2-inch (5-cm) barbells and generally have a steel inner core, although some versions use brass. They are built to take a battering, making them suitable for both beginners and pros.

Colorful weight plates on the rack

They’re ideal for Olympic lifting, powerlifting accessories, CrossFit, anybody with a garage gym, or those who want to do their lifting (without a spotter).

While they are typically slightly more expensive than all-cast iron plates, they have some distinct advantages when it comes to protecting the floors of your home or gym and being less noisy.

Bumper plates significantly lower noise levels compared to cast iron or steel weight plates, providing confidence for your next lift. These durable weight plates can be hurled, tossed, or dropped as you like, provided your floors can handle it. 

What Purpose Does a Bumper Plate Serve? 

Olympic weightlifting benefits greatly from bumper plates. They are prevalent among CrossFit enthusiasts and competitive weight lifters because of their dense rubber construction. They absorb impact when dropped from a height, safeguarding your floor, equipment, and, of course, your Olympic barbells.

Athletes who undertake power-focused workouts prefer bumpers because they are safe to drop after a lift.

Person holding black bumper plate

Similarly, bumpers are extremely handy for beginners who need to bail from a lift and know they can let the weighted bar fall to the ground. Beginners will also benefit from the ability to reduce the bar’s weight without sacrificing technique.

Iron plates are the more classic barbell plates seen in many gyms, and they are the reason Charles Gaines invented the phrase “Pumping Iron” to refer to weight lifting.

They are utilized for many classic bodybuilding and powerlifting activities and are made simply by pouring the molten iron into a circular molding tool. 

Iron plates are meant for lifters who don’t drop their barbells from a considerable height. Dropping iron plates is extremely noisy and can shatter the plates, barbell, or floor. As a result, many commercial gyms choose bumper plates over metal.

While both plates have advantages and disadvantages, it is generally advantageous to have access to both for various exercises. However, whether you’re searching for one or the other for your home gym or commercial use, bumper plates are frequently the superior option due to their longevity, safety, and practicality.


A Short History of Bumper Plates

According to Harvey Newton, the 1984 Olympics USA weightlifting coach, manufacturers began introducing rubber bumper plates in the 1960s. Soon after, a mix of steel and rubber-coated bumper plates began appearing in international weightlifting competitions. 

There were some complications with finding the right design, as some bumper plates separated during competitions. The rubber coating helped identify the weight of plates, leading to a color-coding system in place today.

When CrossFit was founded in 2000, the bumper plate was the plate of choice for a good reason. The bumper plate provides extra confidence and security in lifts like the clean and jerk, snatch, overhead squat, and others when the regular iron plate would not suffice. Repeatedly dumping iron plates on the floor would be bad for the plates, the barbell supporting them, and most likely the floor beneath.

What’s the Difference Between Bumper Plates and Competition Plates?

The IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) is the regulating body for weightlifting competitions. All equipment must adhere to universal and predefined requirements when conducting a sanctioned, competitive weightlifting event. Those criteria are fantastic for competition, but they don’t mean anything for your gym.

That indicates that training plates will be ideal for 99 percent of us. They are durable, and most competitive lifters train with them. Experts recommend saving money and purchasing the training version when purchasing bumper plates.

What’s the difference? The plates are created to the IWF’s requirements. Diameters, collar size, and weight are all included. Two, the IWF must confirm the weights.

Standard training plates manufactured by a reputable company will meet most of those requirements. We’ll go into some material and other changes, but training plates are what you’ll want for your garage gym.


What Kind of Bumper Plates Are There?

When shopping for bumper plates, you may come across the following weight plates:

  • Urethane or rubber - Coated weight plates with a thin rubber covering

  • Steel core - An iron or steel circular coated with other materials.

  • Hi-temp bumper plates - Less expensive and constructed from recyclable materials

  • Olympic weightlifting bumper plates are made exclusively for competitive bumpers.

  • Technique plates - Low weight and not intended to be dropped, used for instruction.

How to Use a Bumper Plate

Bumper plates are ideal for workouts including the snatch, clean and jerk, and the big deadlift, but lifters may also use them for bench presses and squats.

Girl doing squat with weight plate

Bumper plates are designed to bounce a little, but not a lot. So they’re not going to go flying across the gym. They can be used just like any other weight plate but can be dropped with a lower likelihood of damage.

Who Should Use Bumper Plates?


You need bumper plates whether you’re a casual or competitive weightlifter. You may drop them from above, eliminating the need to lower the bar following snatches or jerks carefully.

Powerlifter weightlifting


Bumper plates will also help you if you conduct CrossFit training at home. High-rep deadlifts, cleansers, and lifters may perform snatches, jerks, thrusters, and overhead squats without needing to set the bar down when you’re worn out gently.

The bumper plates will also protect your flooring if the bar slides out of your grip or if you have to drop it abruptly in the middle of a lift attempt.

Apartment Residents Lifting Weights

Bumper plates’ thick rubber serves to take a beating and reduce noise. Bumper plates will not only protect your flooring, but they will also be less disruptive if you drop the barbell.

How to Care for Your Bumper Plates

Bumper plates are made to resist the impact of Olympic lifts; consequently, they can survive the most significant punishment in-home gym settings. However, correctly maintaining a bumper plate is not difficult. Bumper plates are pretty easy to clean and, for the most part, rust-resistant.

To protect bumper plates, keep them adequately kept away from moisture or excessive sunlight. Warm water and a towel are ideal for cleaning your bumper plates, while WD-40 will keep the inner ring from rusting.

Wipe your bumper plates twice a month and store them properly for easy maintenance.

Related Article: Barbell Storage 101

Why Might a Bumper Plate Break?

Most manufactured bumper plates are relatively durable. The majority of bumper plates are produced from either recycled or virgin rubber. Both varieties are usually long-lasting and withstand repeated usage. Most bumper plate manufacturers are typically blamed for broken and damaged bumper plates, even though this is not always the case.

The continual collision of bumper plates on a hard surface will eventually cause failure, resulting in fractured plates. Most of the time, the problem may be traced back to improper platform construction or incorrect flooring. Bumper plates will ultimately break if sufficient force reduction and vibration reduction are not implemented.

How to Select the Right Bumper Plates For You

When searching for bumper plates, there are various variables to consider, including:

  • Weight: Bumper plates come in multiple weights, so decide if you want to lift heavier or lighter or if you want the option to do both.

  • Width: If you’re going to lift heavy, seek thinner bumper plates to permit additional plates on the bar.

  • Bounce: Consider purchasing low-bounce bumper plates to keep your plates or barbell collars from loosening and perhaps tumbling off (also referred to as dead bounce).

  • Color: It’s handy to have bumper plates color-coded by weight if you’re working out in a group or moving swiftly.

  • Value: Regardless of budget, pick bumper plates that are sturdy and dependable. After all, there is a distinction between an affordable and a cheaply constructed choice.

  • Sliding: The inner steel ring of the bumper should fit snugly against the bar’s sleeve. If the rings are too broad, the weights will slip.

  • Bend: Ten-pound weights are well-known for being thin and delicate. Poor rubber quality and excessive slimness will bend the plates, resulting in an uneven load and an unstable pull off the ground. 

  • Durability: Cracking is the most common danger to bumpers. Poor-quality plates will break at the inner ring, causing the bar to be unbalanced while lying on the floor. Bumper plates are continuously dropped, becoming gluttons for pain.

  • Bounce: They must bounce correctly, more like a bunny hop than a Jack-in-the-box exploding in your face.

Where to Buy Bumper Plates UK

Our Eco Bumper is constructed entirely of recycled rubber. The rubber is made from recycled car and truck tyres, so it’s a no-brainer if you want to boost your environmental credentials.

Eco Olympic Bumper Weight Plate Pairs

As a result, the green bumper plates are thicker than the speckled and black bumper plates, and they have a little larger bounce, making them ideal for Olympic weightlifting.

Our Speckled Plates have a dense virgin rubber wrap around a strong metal core. These bumpers are smaller than the Eco bumpers, allowing you to put more weight on your barbell and making them suitable for big lifts.


Bumper Plate Pros and Cons



Bumper plates are particularly robust since they are designed to endure the impact of being dropped regularly. Even with frequent use, high-quality bumper plates may survive for years.

Noise Reduction

When the bar is lowered, the inserts produce less noise due to the thick rubber surrounding them. This subtlety makes them an excellent alternative for lifters who share a home or live in an apartment complex.



Bumper plates are often more expensive owing to the time necessary to manufacture them.

Less Weight Fits on the Bar

Because of the thick rubber covering that surrounds them, bumper plates are broader than metal plates. Somebody who can lift a significant amount of weight will struggle with bumper plates because their size restricts the number of plates that can fit on the bar.

  • Bumper plates are weight plates constructed of high-density, long-lasting rubber.

  • When CrossFit was founded in 2000, the bumper plate was the plate of choice.

  • Bumper plates are frequently the superior option due to their longevity, safety, and practicality.

  • They can be used just like any other weight plate but can be dropped with a lower likelihood of damage. 

  • To protect bumper plates, keep them adequately kept away from moisture or excessive sunlight. 

  • Consider weight, width, bounce, color, and value when purchasing bumper plates.


A bumper plate’s purpose is to protect you, your barbell, your floors, and your plates from harm during weightlifting when the metal bar is in danger of being dropped. Bumper plates shouldn’t ricochet into your walls due to their low, dead bounce because they are covered with rubber. 

Whatever type of lifting you perform, whether Olympic or Crossfit, you may lift with confidence in your bar and bumper plates while keeping your gear, floors, and walls intact.