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What Are Bumper Plates?

January 20, 2022 4 min read

What Are Bumper Plates

Bumper plates are quickly becoming more popular. 

As top Olympic athletes and professional weightlifters usebumper plates, it’s no surprise that they’re making their way into our home gyms.

Yet, what are bumper plates? Why are bumper plates so popular? Why’re bumper plates better than traditional iron plates?

In our must-read guide to bumper plates, we’ll help lift the mystery behind these popular weightlifting tools. Let’s lift off and find out why every serious home gym needs bumper plates.

The Difference Between Bumper Plates And Iron Plates

Thebest bumper plates are weight plates with an iron or steel inner core. You’ll find a thick protective rubber layer on the outside of these weight plates.

Since bumper plates have this protective rubber layer, they bounce or bump back a bit when you drop them. That’s where we get the name, bumper plate.

Typically these weight plates are excellent for Olympic weightlifting, traditional powerlifting, CrossFit and anyone with a home or garage gym. 

There used to be an intense debate of bumper plates vs steel plates. Yet, today the best weight plates are bumper plates since competitive weightlifters use them in a professional environment.

what is a bumper plate

Here are some more important reasons why the standard steel or iron plates are going out of fashion and why everyone chooses the more modern bumper plate.

The Hazards Of Using Standard Iron Plates

Charles Gaines is the inventor of the term “pumping iron”. Urban myth tells us that he came up with this term when referring to lifting old-fashioned iron weight plates. 

Since manufacturers made traditional iron plates by pouring molten iron into a circular cast, then shaping it, iron plates are heavy, rigid workout tools. 

When you use an iron plate, you’re not supposed to bail out of the lift as it can seriously harm you. 

Similarly, when you drop the iron weight on the floor, the brittle iron can crack, or the floor can get damaged.

Iron plates also make a tremendously loud bang when they hit the ground or the barbell. One can only imagine the racket iron plates made in a commercial gym.

For this reason, many gyms are now switching over to Olympic-style bumper plates.

The Benefits Of Using Bumper Plates

It’s perfectly safe for you to drop a bumper plate after or even during a lift. The thick rubber layer will make the weight bounce, dissipating a lot of the kinetic energy. 

The rubber coating will ensure that the floor doesn’t get damaged and the weight’s inner steel or iron core doesn’t crack. 

This durability means you’re getting a lot of value for money when buying bumper weights for your home gym. 

Bumper plates are also very quiet when dropped! So, they are an instant favourite in busy commercial gyms. It’s not just big commercial gyms that favour the bumper plate.

Why You need Bumper Plates In Your Home Gym

Bumper plates are excellent for your home gym, whether you’re a beginner or a professional weightlifter. 

Bumper plates offer better safety, durability and practicality than standard iron weights. So, they are far more accessible to various fitness enthusiasts than standard weights.

They are also perfect for anyone that wants to perform a power-focused exercise that involves quick lifts, such as those found in CrossFit and Olympic lifts. 

Even during a worst-case scenario wherein a lift fails without a spotter by your side, you can safely bail without damaging any of your expensive equipment or the floor.

Do I Need Bumper Plates For An Olympic Lift?

The general rule is that you need to use bumper plates when you’re doing Olympic lifts. The typical snatch and clean-and-jerk motions can damage standard weights. 

Bumper plates are far more durable and won’t damage the weights, the bar or your floor!

Do I Need Bumper Plates For A Deadlift?

Typically deadlifts are less extreme than Olympic lifts. Since a deadlift involves bringing the bar only up to your thigh, there’s less of a distance for the weight to fall.

But, suppose you plan on doing max deadlifts and letting go of the bar at the top instead of gently lowering it down. In that case, bumper plates with their rubber coating may be a better option.

While no strict rules prohibit standard iron weights, choosing bumper plates is the better option most often.

But, there’s a bit of a trick to choosing the perfect bumper plate for your routine and fitness goals. 

How To Find The Right Bumper Plates For You

what bumper plates are

At Factory Weights, we’ve learned quite a couple of things about bumper plates. So, if you’re planning on getting bumper plates for your gym, you’re in the right place.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when buying bumper plates for your gym.

A Low Bounce Is Better

Our Bumper plates at Factory Weights come with a special rubber coating that delivers a low or “dead” bounce. 

Simply put, this means that when you drop these weight plates, they won’t bounce all over the place, hitting you or your other equipment.

This rubber coating makes them perfect for working out in a small area, such as your garage or basement. 

Buy For Your Goals

Bumper plates come in all sizes, weights and even colours.

But, when looking for your bumper plates, it’s not just the styling that you have to consider. 

Our favourite advice is to look for bumper plates to help you achieve your weightlifting goals. 

Choose the weight plates you want to start with, and gradually increase the weight until you’re up to your desired weight goal. 


Bumper plates will protect you, your equipment and your flooring. They are far more durable, accessible and reliable than regular iron weights. 

Bumper plates are also available in various weights and colours so that you can choose the right bumper plate for you. 

If you liked reading about bumper plates, you might also enjoy reading about why are weight plates so expensive.

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