Best Olympic Weight Plates

Olympic weight plates buyers guide

Olympic weight plates are not just heavy slabs of metal, they come in a range of types, shapes and sizes. Many of you may be thinking that if the weight of the plate is the same, why shouldn’t I just go for the cheapest weight plates?

Think of it like this, if you are going to be frequently using the weights to perform Olympic lifts, you will want a set of plates that are fully calibrated, wont damage the floor and are made of durable materials that can stand the test of time.

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What are the best Olympic weight plates?

Here we will take a look at our best Olympic weight plates from the hundreds of Olympic weight plate reviews that we have researched and analysed in great detail.

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What are Olympic weight plates?

To keep it simple, Olympic weight plates are used for resistance training to perform exercises such as squats, bench press, military press, deadlifts, bent over rows, curls and much more. They have two-inch (51mm) diameter holes and are usually secured onto an Olympic barbell. This is in comparison to standard weight plates that are only one-inch in diameter and used on standard barbells.

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What are the types of Olympic weight plates?

Not all Olympic weight plates are the same. They can come in different sizes and materials, each to serve a different purpose. Let’s take a brief look at the various types of Olympic plates.

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Competition bumper plates

Bumper plates are constructed from thick resilient rubber. You will probably recognise them as those big colourful plates that look heavier than they actually are.

They allow for the loading and dropping of barbells during Olympic lifts and compound exercises. Olympic lifters choose bumper plates over steel plates as they allow loaded barbells to be safely dropped without causing damage to the floor.

Bumpers plates are usually more expensive but are considered a necessity by some lifters for any overhead CrossFit or Olympic lift. On the other hand, steel weight plates are sufficient for basic barbell training routines.

Another one of the major factors that make bumper plates popular is that they do not make as much noise when dropped compared to steel plates. Virgin rubber will offer a denser slimmer plate with less bounce, whereas recycled rubber plates are cheaper but softer and bounce higher.

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Training plates

Training plates are bumper plates that have not been calibrated. If you have an interest in Olympic lifting, this is probably the type of plate you will be considering training at home with, unless you have the money for competition bumper plates.

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Technique plates

Technique plates provide a great way to practice lifting movements without overloading your body with heavy weights. This can be a good way to improve your form or rehabilitate following an injury. These plates have the same dimensions as competition plates but are lighter.

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Metal plates

Metal plates are the classic type that are primary used for power lifting exercises such as squats, bench press, deadlift, military press and bent over rows. They come in either steel or iron and are designed for building strength and muscle rather than perfecting Olympic lifts. You can shop around for metal plates with rubber coating if you are looking for extra floor protection.

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How to choose the best Olympic weight plates for you

With so many different Olympic weight plate sets to choose from, it can seem like an overwhelming task when shopping around. To help you find the best Olympic weight plates for your needs, here we will look at some of the key features to consider.

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As we have covered earlier in this Olympic plate guide, there are various types of plates that serve a different purpose. It is important to narrow down your search according to what you need the weights for, whether that is functional fitness, powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting.

If it is to prepare for a competition, you will be looking at technique plates and competition plates. For general fitness in your home gym, you will probably be fine with some budget metal plates.

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Size can refer to the actual dimensions of the weight plates as well as the overall weight. Olympic weight plate sets can range in terms of maximum load. Consider how much weight you plan on lifting now and in the future. This way, you can be sure to purchase plate sets that will have a sufficient amount of weight.

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You will want to check the quality of the materials used and any customer feedback from long term users. If you are going to invest in Olympic plates, you will want to ensure that they can withstand the test of time.

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A big part of your choice will depend on how much you have to spend. You can save yourself some time by narrowing down the Olympic weight plate sets to those that you can afford.

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Consider the brand of plates and how well known they are within the industry. Those that have been around longer and have more positive feedback, are likely to provide the best Olympic weight plates.

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Olympic weight plates are a must have for any serious lifter who wants to perform a variety of power lifting exercises. Adding a set of Olympic plates to your home gym alongside a good Olympic barbell gives you an excellent platform for increasing strength and building muscle.

Happy lifting!

Rich is an avid bodybuilder who has dedicated over 20 years of his life to the sport. He has a strong passion for health and fitness, living a clean lifestyle with a commitment to helping others educate themselves and fulfil their true potential.

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