The best bumper plates for Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and Functional Fitness Training. When you see people lifting at the CrossFit Games on ESPN, they have those oversized, bouncy rubber weight plates that are called "bumper plates". We have incredibly durable bumper plate sets here that are available in multiple weights and colors.
Bumper plates are a type of weight plate for Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit-style workouts and more. Unlike the common iron or steel metal weight plates or discs, bumper plates are made of almost 100% rubber or urethane, with a small metal "insert" in the center.
Why use bumper plates? In short, bumper plates are designed so that you can drop a barbell that is loaded with weight plates directly on the ground. If you did this with iron plates, you would risk damaging the ground, your barbell, and the plates themselves. With rubber bumper weights, the bar and plates will bounce harmlessly.
Okay, I get it. Bumper plates are for dropping. So why do all these CrossFitters only use bumper plates? Since so many movements in CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting involve getting the bar to the shoulders or overhead, many gyms (boxes) are outfitting mostly with bumper plates - and as the old saying goes, a ton of bricks weighs the same as a ton of feathers. There is no "penalty" for using rubber bumper plates instead of iron for squats, curls, or the like.
But come on, squats with bumper plates? You guys just want to look stronger. It's no secret that ours is a social media world. But there are actually benefits to squatting with bumper plates. First, if those are the weights you have, there are no other options. Second, bumper plates allow you to safely squat without a spotter. If you are using proper squat form, when you fail on a back squat, you will simply sink down to an "ass to grass" position. At this point, you shrug your shoulders, throwing the barbell and bumper plates backwards and your body forwards. Presto, saved!
Okay, fine. But I still think you're narcissistic. Fair enough. But one of the major complaints about bumper plates in the past was cost - and now bumpers are much more affordable. So you had to really spend a lot of money to outfit a gym with bumpers previously - and now you can do it on a budget.
Brands of Bumper Plates
Buy from our selection of incredibly durable bumper plates for CrossFit Olympic weightlifting and Powerlifting. Durable long lasting bumper plate sets here.
Fringe Sport: Fringe Sport bumper plates are manufactured to go toe to toe with any bumper plate on the market. They are constructed with virgin rubber formulated specifically for its durability, density and low bounce. Most importantly, they go through the most customer-focused manufacturing, quality control and shipping process in the industry. You can rest assured that you are getting the highest quality plates and we are taking the utmost care to ensure they arrive to you in pristine condition! Kilo and pound conversion are displayed on each plate.
Fringe Sport Competition: Level up your bumper plate game with the our Competition Plates. They are available in kilos and pounds. We wanted durable, affordable Olympic bumper plates for training, and that's exactly what these are.
Fringe Sport American-Made: These bumper plates are made in America from recycled rubber. They are a step above your average plate. Their durability is tested in Decatur, AL, going through 30,000 drops during a regular drop test. If you are looking for a recycled rubber plate, this is one that will not disappoint.
VTX: Troy VTX econ bumpers are considered some of the best in the industry- combining great quality bumpers with an unbeatable price. On top of that, a 1 year warranty against breakage gives each user peace of mind. Pair that high quality manufacturing with Fringe Sport's unbeatable service, and you get a one of a kind deal. Don't be fooled by the low price- these VTX bumper plates are used by affiliates throughout the US- and they are known for their high quality, low bounce, and outstanding durability.
Hi-Temp: Hi-Temp bumpers are constructed using a thick, less dense mix of rubber than many other bumper brands. This rubber mix results in a bumper that is a bit wider than many other brands. This additional width, combined with the forgiving low density of the rubber mix, results in a high-bounce bumper that resists cracking or "taco-ing".
What to look for in Bumper Plates?
Dead Bounce Bumper plates were meant to be dropped, in some cases (particularly after a PR) possibly even slammed. The rubber consistency of bumper plates is designed to withstand making forceful contact with the ground, but at different levels and in different ways. Dead-bounce bumper plates describe exactly what it sounds like, very little to no bounce off of the floor after being dropped. This is important because the less bouncing your plates do, the less bouncing your barbell will do, which will save your barbell collars and the center rings of the bumper plates from getting loose.
Center Ring The center rings on the bumper plate (what you slide your barbell collar through), can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as far as the amount of indentation they have compared to the rest of the plate (some bumper plates have rings that are flush with the plate which results in metal on metal contact when loading multiple plates and expedites the wear and tear process, while others are flanged to prevent metal on metal contact as well as make it easier to load the plates on the bar.) The way the rings are set into the plate can also differ which can be a determining factor in the life expectancy of the plate. When the rings become loose and fall out from multiple impacts with the ground and/or rattling on the barbell, the plate is pretty much dead as there is now way to set the rings back in. You want to find a bumper plate that has not only properly flanged center rings, but also a manufacturing process that sets the rings into the rubber plates as best as possible (which can be done with using rebar, glues, and several types of different bonding rubbers).
Thickness The nice thing about metal plates is that you can load hundreds of pounds on each side without worrying about running out of room. The story is the complete opposite with most bumper plates. Since bumpers have to be able to withstand impact with the floor, and because they are made out of rubber, they are naturally thicker and take up more surface area on the bar, resulting in less loadable weight. Still, some manufacturers take this into account and purposefully make their heavier plates with the least amount of surface area possible to allow for more weight on the bar. With lighter plates you want to actually look for more surface area (especially on 10 and 15lb bumpers) to insure that they won’t “taco” or fold over when dropped.
Why Invest in Color Bumper Plates
Training to Compete There is something to be said for practicing like you play, and in that sense when you lift on colored bumpers you feel like a real weightlifter and in some way it gives you even more purpose during training.
Knowing Weight Conversions Knowing weight conversions of plates via colors is invaluable when training with other weightlifters at different gyms or in training halls at competitions. Especially if you are training primarily at a CrossFit box where everything is in pounds, if you can use colored bumpers then at least you will know that when you grab a blue bumper plate, whether its 45lbs or 20kgs, the weight will be about the same.
Look Like a Badass / Feel Like a Badass Colored plates look cool. When you watch any of the top lifters at national or world meets, or bigger CrossFit events - everyone is lifting or working out on colored bumpers. Kind of like wearing the same shoes as your favorite athletes, training on colored bumper plates brings you one step closer to being and feeling elite.
What are Technique Plates?
Tech plates are the predecessors to bumper plates. Before the technology and engineering existed to make high quality (light) weight plates from rubber (bumper plates), tech plates were the answer to hold a barbell at proper IWF height to start your first pull for the clean or snatch (or the deadlift for that matter).
So, tech plates are weight plates constructed of plastic that have a 17-18" diameter (there is a bit of variation between brands). They typically are not made in weights higher than 25#/10kg- in fact, we have never been asked for tech plates in weights higher than 10#/5kg.
While they absorb the impact of a drop, they don't bounce like bumpers do- and they tend to be loud on the drop. Durability of tech plates is a strong point, but don't believe anyone who claims they're unbreakable. I've seen them break- although it takes quite a few (thousand) drops.
When to Use Technique Plates and When to Use Bumpers?
If you want to load a bar as light as possible, but still have a lifter start their pull from the correct height, use 5# tech plates.
In every other situation, use bumper plates.
Tech plates are more expensive than bumpers, they are louder when the bar is dropped, and with today's top notch bumper plates (ahem, OneFitWonder), the durability gap is way smaller than before.
Bumper Plate F.A.Q.
What is a bumper plate?
A bumper plate is a weight plate for Olympic bars that is made almost entirely of rubber (with a steel or brass collar in the middle that accepts an Olympic bar).
Why bumper plates?
The "end state" of the Olympic lifts is overhead or at the shoulder. Many lifters drop the weights from overhead. Since bumper plates are almost entirely rubber, being dumped from the shoulder or overhead will not damage the weights, bar, floor, bystanders, the lifter, etc...
Bumper plates are also great for garage gym use- the rubber construction is much quieter than traditional metal construction.
What does durometer mean?
Durometer is a measure of hardness of a material. It ranges from 0-100, and the higher the rating the harder the material, and the higher the material's resistance to indentation. Anything above 65 is acceptable for bumper plates. Our plates are considered to be excellent.
Why do different weight bumper plates have different durometer readings?
In general, the lighter bumper plates have a higher durometer reading because they need to be more rigid to withstand the stress of being dropped. Heavier plates have more surface area to distribute the stress, so they do not need to be as hard.
Why are the ten pound bumpers narrower than all the rest?
The ten pound bumper plates are purposefully 5mm narrower than the other bumper plates so that when you have 10's loaded on the bar, plus other bumpers, the 10 pound plates impact the ground a split second later than the other bumpers. Since the 10 pound plates have the least surface area and are thus the weakest bumpers, this saves stress on your 10 pounders!
My bumpers smell. Do you carry bumpers that don't smell?
Sometimes the bumpers smell due to the way that they are made. It isn't permanent. The best remedy is to let them air out in the sun for about 5 days.
My bumpers are greasy? How can I get the grease off?
The bumpers are greased as a part of the manufacturing process. Sometimes the factory doesn't clean the plates well enough.
Here's what we do to de-grease these bad boys:
We wash the bumpers about 3 times, with paper towels, soap, and water. If that doesn't work, then we use a de-greaser spray that can be purchased at a local home improvement store.
Can I drop the 10 pound bumpers like I see my favorite athletes do?
Drop away. We are confident that our 10 pound bumper plates can handle the abuse, and they are backed by our fully comprehensive warranty for 1 year just in case.