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How Bumper Plates can Boost your Garage Gym Workouts

By Richard McKay March 20, 2023 0 comments


A garage gym is a great way to get fit without paying for a traditional gym membership. But, if you're going to set up your own garage gym, you'll need to make sure you have the right equipment. One of the most important equipment pieces you'll need are bumper plates. 

 


Bumper plates are weightlifting plates that are encased in rubber or urethane, which help protect your floors and equipment. They come in a variety of sizes and weights and are super versatile meaning you can elevate your garage gym sessions by investing in just one piece of kit.


When choosing bumper plates for your garage gym, there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind. In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right bumper plates for your garage gym and how they can boost your current gym workout sessions.


What are Bumper Plates?


Bumper plates are weightlifting plates that are made of rubber or urethane. They have a steel or brass core in the middle, which helps to keep them durable and stable. Bumper plates are typically used in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and CrossFit. They are commonly used in these sports because they allow for a greater range of motion and provide more protection for athletes.


Bumper plates are available in a variety of weights, ranging from 5 kg to 25 kg. They are typically colour-coded, with each weight having its own distinct colour. For example, 10 kg bumper plates are typically red, while 15 kg plates are usually blue. 


This allows for more efficient weight plate changing and better symmetry and precision as you train and hone your skillset.

The benefits of using bumper plates include the following:

  • Greater range of motion: Bumper plates allow for a greater range of motion than metal plates, making them ideal for Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting.

  • More protection: Bumper plates offer more protection for the athletes, as they are less likely to cause injury if they are dropped.

  • Greater stability: Bumper plates are more stable than metal plates, thanks to their steel or brass core. 

  • More durable: Bumper plates are more durable than metal plates, as they are less likely to crack or break.

  • Reduced Noise: As they are constructed from rubber or urethane, bumper plates are less noisy than standard weight plates.  The materials used reduce the sound of heavy weight drops making it a less disruptive environment.

  • Precision: Most bumper plates have the same diameter which means overall continuity and consistency with barbells

Different Kinds of Bumper Plates


There are a few different types of bumper plates available on the market.  Let's take a look at a few of the most popular options:


Steel Plates


Steel plates are a type of weight plate that is most commonly used for general strength training. They are made from steel, which is a strong and inexpensive material. However, steel plates are not as smooth as other types of weight plates, and they can be quite noisy. Additionally, many training centres use alternative options because of this. 


Urethane Plates


Urethane-coated plates are routinely found in gyms because they emit less noise than their iron counterparts. Although bumper plates are the optimal choice for weightlifters, beginners may find urethane-coated plates more manageable. Not only are they quieter, but there is not a significant price difference between the two types of plates. When deciding between urethane-coated steel plates and Olympic bumper plates, always choose the latter; they are of higher quality and will last longer. Steel plates with a urethane coating may appeal to those just starting out, but they do not compare to Olympic-level weightlifting equipment.


Bumper Plates


Bumper plates are the top choice for Olympic weightlifters. They are made from a durable rubber compound that can withstand repeated dropping and have a standard diameter of 2 inch meaning they fit with Olympic barbells. 


Bumper plates come in different weight options and come are colour-coded for easy selection.   They are also less likely to chip or damage flooring than steel plates. Although bumper plates are more expensive than steel plates, they are a worthwhile investment as they will last for longer and offer more versatility.

 

 

Bumper plates were created in response to Olympic weightlifting. Because of the intensity and frequency of the lifts, steel plates can often damage flooring or be noisy enough to disturb other athletes working out. Rubber bumper plates solve these problems by providing a softer surface for the bar to land on and absorbing some of the noise. 


Bumper plates are available in a variety of sizes and weights, making them perfect for both training professionals and everyday workouts.

Recognise these four traits when shopping for bumper plates:

  1. Sliding: Plates should glide across the floor when being moved, with no resistance or catching. This is an indication of a well-made plate.

  2. Bouncing: A good bumper plate will have a little give to it, so that it can bounce back after being dropped. This prevents damage to the plate and makes it easier on your body.

  3. Durability: Bar drops and other impacts can cause damage to plates over time. Look for a plate that is made from a durable material, such as steel or rubber that can withstand repeated use. Inferior materials may crack or break under impact.

  4. Bending: Cheap bumper plates may bend or warp over time, making them unsafe to use. This is especially true of steel plates not coated with rubber or other protective material. Inspect the plate for any bends or warps before using it.

When shopping for bumper plates, always look for plates that meet this criteria. By investing in quality equipment, you can be sure that your weightlifting plates will last for many years to come.


Tips for Choosing the Right Bumper Plate


Bumper plates are a great addition to any workout routine, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. They’re perfect for doing Olympic lifts, powerlifting, or Crossfit exercises. But with so many different kinds of bumper plates on the market, how do you know which ones are right for you? Here are some tips to help you choose the right bumper plate for your workout.


1. Size Matters


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing bumper plates is size and weight options. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to choose lighter plates to get a feel for the exercises and gradually build up your strength. As you get stronger, you can add more weight by adding additional plates or switching to heavier ones.  Weights usually start at 5kg right up to 25kg and can be purchased in pairs or sets.


2. Think About Your Workout Routine


Another factor to consider is what kind of workout routine you’re going to be doing. If you’re planning on doing mostly Olympic lifts, you’ll want to choose bumper plates with stainless steel inserts in the centre (although most Bumpers will feature this). 


This will help protect the barbell from damage as you drop it during your lifts. However, if you’re mostly going to be doing powerlifting or Crossfit exercises, then any type of bumper plate will be a good option.


3. Choose the Right Material


Bumper plates are typically made from one of three materials: rubber, urethane, or steel. Rubber is the most common type of material used because it’s affordable and durable. Urethane is a more expensive option, but it doesn’t bounce as much as rubber, which can be important for some exercises. 


Steel is the least common type of material used but it doesn’t bounce at all, which can be beneficial for certain exercises.  It really comes down to personal preference and the type of training you are doing which will determine the best material option to go for.


4. Consider Your Budget


Of course, your budget is one of the most important factors to consider. Bumper plates can vary widely depending on the size, material, and brand. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to choose a cheaper option so that you can see if bumper plate workouts are right for you. As you get more experience, you can invest in higher-quality bumper plates if you want to. 


Good quality rubber bumper plates are affordable and have the longest lifespan.


5. Read Online Reviews


Finally, one of the best ways to choose the right bumper plate is to read online reviews. There are a variety of websites and forums where people share their opinions on different products. This can be a great way to get an unbiased opinion on a product before you buy it. 


Exercises You Can Do with Bumper Plates


Olympic barbells are not just for professional weightlifters; a muscle-building workout routine can be done in the comfort of your own home or garage gym with a few well-chosen pieces of equipment. Bumper plates are one such piece of equipment that can offer a versatile workout for people of all fitness levels.  

 


Try these Bumper Plate exercises in your Garage sessions for a full-body workout.


1. Deadlifts


Deadlifts are a great exercise for building strength in your back and legs. To do this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and place the barbell in front of you. Bend down and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, keeping your arms shoulder-width apart. Lift the barbell up, keeping your back straight and your core engaged. Lower the barbell back down to the ground and repeat.


2. Snatch


The snatch is a compound exercise that works the entire body. It is an explosive movement that starts with the barbell on the ground and ends with it overhead. Start standing over the bar with your feet hip-width apart to perform the snatch. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, keeping your arms straight. Bend your knees and hips to lower yourself into a squatting position, then explosively stand up, pulling the barbell up overhead as you do. Lower the barbell back down to the ground and repeat.


3. Clean and Jerk


The clean and jerk is another compound exercise that works the entire body. It also starts with the barbell on the ground but ends with it locked out overhead—similar to the snatch. Start standing over the bar with your feet hip-width apart to perform the clean and jerk. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, keeping your arms straight. Bend your knees and hips to lower yourself into a squatting position, then explosively stand up, pulling the barbell up to your shoulders (the "clean" part). From there, dip your knees slightly and drive up explosively, pressing the barbell overhead (the "jerk" part). Lower the barbell back down to your shoulders, then back down to the ground before repeating. 


4. Overhead Squat


The overhead squat is a variation of the traditional squat that adds an element of shoulder stability by holding a weight overhead throughout the entire movement. To perform an overhead squat, start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and a weight held overhead (either with both hands or just one). Keeping your core engaged, bend at your hips and knees to lower yourself into a squatting position, then press back up to standing. Repeat for reps before lowering the weight back down to starting position. 


5. Push Press 


The push press is similar to a shoulder press but uses momentum from a dip to help drive the weight overhead—allowing you to lift more than you could if you were just pressing from standing still. To perform a push press, start by standing tall with feet hip-width apart and weight held at shoulder level (either with both hands or just one). Dip slightly at your knees, then quickly extend them to generate momentum, using that momentum to drive the weight overhead until your arms are fully extended. Reverse the motion back down to starting position and repeat for reps.


6 . Thrusters 


Thrusters are compound exercises that combine a front squat with an overhead press—making them perfect for working for multiple muscle groups at once! To perform thrusters, start by standing tall with feet hip-width apart and holding a weight at shoulder level (either with both hands or just one). Bend your knees and hips simultaneously to lower yourself into a squatting position, then quickly stand back up as you press the weight overhead until your arms are fully extended above you. Return back down into a squatting position before repeating for reps.

 


Final Thoughts


Bumper Plates are the ideal weight-training tool for explosive garage workouts. Rubber bumper plates are typically the most efficient type for working out in Garage and home gyms because they reduce noise and minimise disruption to surrounding areas.  With so many workout options to choose from, bumper plates allow you to add volume, scale and variety to your garage training regime while being affordable and simple to use.  They are also suitable for all levels of fitness and can be adapted to accommodate both training competitors and weight-training enthusiasts alike.


You may also be interested in reading:

Why a Squat Rack is one of the most Valuable Additions to your Home Gym




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