One of the biggest, most common questions when building out your dream garage gym, whether you’re just starting out, or increasing your arsenal, is “how many bumper plates should I buy?”
This question is extremely relative, and a very important one to ask. If you’re just starting out in the fitness world, or just starting your garage gym as a fitness veteran, this is a crucial question to ask yourself and consider, because the answer varies greatly.
Let’s break down a few different scenarios, and what we recommend in each situation.
If you’re a fitness newbie
If you’re a brand new beginner in your fitness journey, we definitely recommend checking out some of our other blogs, like Barbells for Beginners, Rubber vs. Iron plates, How Strong Should You Be, and one of our installments on building a garage gym on a budget. These are a great place to start and make sure you’re building out the best set-up for you and your goals. We’ve also discussed programming, and why you should follow it, and that’s something to consider as well when designing and building out your first, or new, garage gym.
First, above anything, it’s important to consider your fitness level when purchasing your bumper plates. Surely, you’ve found a great barbell to work with, and considering your fitness level will not only allow you to push yourself and reach your current fitness goals, but save you money, space, and disappointment in leaving bumper plates to sit and collect dust. We’re trying to avoid that, Fringe Fam.
If you’re just starting out, consider your heaviest lift. How much weight can you lift? Maybe your strongest lift is a deadlift, and your current maximum weight for deadlift is 250lbs. The best place to start is to buy the set that matches your maximum weight, a 250lb set, and get your collection started there. Your maximum is likely a single rep, and therefore the pairs of plates in that set will cover the rest of your lifts (as they’re generally lower than a max deadlift). You could also consider adding a few extra pairs of larger and smaller-sized plates for maximum coverage, smaller jumps in weight, and to make loading easier, along with the gains you’ll make when you’re using your garage gym consistently.
If you’re a garage gym veteran
The same strategy as above should be applied. Consider your heaviest lift, and buy enough weight to cover that. Consider investing in a few larger and smaller plates, for smaller jumps in weight, lower-weight lifts, and ease of loading, along with the goals you'll reach for.
This strategy can and should be applied when building out your garage gym, because you’re more limited in space than a commercial gym with tons of plates, and you’re going to want to be able to use all the weight you have purchased instead of letting it sit in the corner collecting dust.
Overbuying bumper plates can not only drain your budget, but also some of your motivation in the gym because it can be discouraging to see weight sitting and collecting dust. Although you’re not behind in your fitness journey (ever!), it can certainly feel like it in that scenario.
Underbuying bumper plates can be equally frustrating. If you’ve bought less bumper plates than you need, you can halt your progress, getting underwhelming workouts out of your investment, and that’s something we want to help you avoid in your garage gym process.
It’s important to remember that when starting your garage gym journey, your max lift is easily just a starting point. If you know you’ve got goals when it comes to lifting more weight, and you want to turn your 300lb deadlift into 370lbs, consider investing in a solid 370lb set with a variety of plates, so you’re able to utilize the set well for your other lifts, too.
Here’s what you should really do
If you're still wondering, "how many bumper plates should I buy?" and if this wasn’t the answer you’re looking for, if you need some guidance and aren’t totally sure which set, and how many pairs, of bumper plates you should get for your garage gym, send us a message on our site, send us an email at email@example.com, or message us on Instagram. We can totally help - this is our wheelhouse! Let us help you find the right fit for you and your home gym, so you can get everything you want and more out of your garage gym space.
Have more questions? Send them our way! We’re happy to help and talk shop as well as answer any kind of questions you might have.
Get yourself a nice set of bumper plates, and then go lift heavy, lift happy :)