Which Weight Plates Should I Buy? | MuscleSquad

icon Jan 11, 2023 - Chris Billingham

Which Weight Plates Should I Buy?

The invention of weight plates revolutionized bodybuilding and the world of athletics by making it easier for people to vary the resistance of their workouts and target specific muscle groups. Today, we have an abundance of choice and there is a variety of weight plates to choose from and the question is: which plate is right for you? 


When purchasing weight plates for your gym, there are several things you should consider:

Type of plate: Decide which type of plate is best for your needs, considering factors such as the type of exercises you will be doing, the amount of space you have available, and your budget. 

Weight: Consider the range of weights you will need for your workouts and choose a set of plates that includes a variety of sizes to allow for progression and variety in your training.

Price: Determine your budget for the weight plates and look for a set that fits within your price range. Keep in mind that high-quality weight plates may be more expensive upfront, but they will be a better investment overall due to their durability and performance.

Space: Measure the space where you will be storing the weight plates to ensure that you have enough room to accommodate your set. Consider the size and shape of the plates, as well as how they will be stored (on a rack, in a corner, etc.).

Different types of weight plates:

They usually fall into two camps, Standard (1 inch) and Olympic (2 inch) plates, and whether you buy a standard or and Olympic plate is usually determined by whether you have a standard barbell or an Olympic barbell. The key difference between the two types of plates is the sizing: Olympic weight plates are larger in diameter than standard weight plates, and they have a 2-inch hole in the centre to fit on an Olympic barbell. Standard weight plates have a 1-inch hole in the centre to fit on a standard barbell. They are both usually made of metal or rubber and can be used with a barbell or dumbbell. They also come in a variety of sizes and weights, ranging from 0.5 kg to 25 kg (in Europe).

Within these two categories sit the following subcategories…

Bumper plates

Bumper plates are made of rubber and are designed specifically for use with Olympic barbells. They are typically thicker than standard plates and have a higher rebound, which makes them ideal for use in powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting exercises. The total diameter of the plates is all the same, so when performing exercises like deadlifts you will always be lifting the barbell from the same distance of the floor.

Fractional plates

Fractional plates are small, lightweight plates that are used to add small increments of weight to a barbell or dumbbell. They come in weights as small as 0.25 kg or 0.5 kg and are often used by lifters who are trying to progress gradually and make small increases in their weights over time.

Cast iron plates

Cast iron plates are made of solid cast iron and are usually finished with a black enamel coating. They are exceptionally durable and are often preferred by lifters who are looking for a more traditional look and feel. The phrase ‘pumping iron’ came about because most gyms in the Golden Era of bodybuilding predominantly used some type of cast iron plates.

What are the benefits of bumper plates?

Safety: Bumper plates are made of rubber, which makes them much safer to use than metal plates, especially when you are dropping the barbell from an overhead position. This is because the rubber absorbs the impact and helps to protect the floor and the barbell from damage.

Noise reduction: Bumper plates are also much quieter than metal plates, which makes them ideal for use in a home gym or in a shared space where noise levels are a concern.

Durability: Bumper plates are very durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. They are resistant to rust and do not damage easily, which makes them a long-lasting investment for your home gym.

Versatility: Bumper plates can be used for a wide variety of exercises, including Olympic lifts, powerlifting exercises, and functional fitness workouts. They are also ideal for use in group fitness classes or in a commercial gym setting where the weights may need to be handled frequently.

Ease of use: Bumper plates are easy to grip and handle, and they have a higher rebound than metal plates, which makes them ideal for use in exercises like snatches and clean and jerks.

Tri-Grip Weight Plates?

One of our best-selling plates are the Tri-Grip weight plates, also known as "tri-grip Olympic plates," are weight plates that are designed with three grips or handles on the sides, which makes them easier to hold and handle when lifting, loading, and unloading the barbell. This design makes them popular in home gym settings and they are often used in commercial gyms where the weight plates need to be handled frequently. Another unique benefit is the tri grip handles allow them to also be used to perform exercises on their own, like shrugs, lateral raises, farmers walk, and halos etc.

We hope this guide has been helpful in demystifying the world of weight plates, if you need any advice when trying to decide what type of plate is right for you and your home gym, feel free to reach out to us on our live chat or via email: info@musclesquad.com

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