Gym Bumper Plates Buying Guide: Sizes, Uses, and Benefits

Whether you’re building a home gym or setting up a commercial gym, weights are a hugely popular and effective way to work out. The problem is, like with most things, there’s so much to choose from. Unless you’re an experienced lifter or gym owner, it can be tough to make the right decision, especially with gym bumper plates. 

Unfortunately, buying all the weights isn’t usually an option. With so many options to choose from, you want to find the weights that are perfect for your facility and fitness goals. To help you make the best decision for you, we’ve put together a buying guide so you know what to expect when buying gym bumpers plates and how they can step up your next workout. 

In this article:

  • Gym Bumper Plates: Everything You Need to Know
  • The Best Exercises for Olympic Rubber Bumper Plates
  • The Benefits of Using Olympic Rubber Bumper Plates

Gym Bumper Plates: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re considering buying weight plates, it’s a good idea to understand the different discs you have available. You have three disc sizes:

  • Olympic discs - a standard size in the fitness industry with a 50mm diameter centre hole. 
  • Standard discs - only have a 25mm diameter hole. Standard discs will not fit an Olympic bar. 
  • Studio discs - used in group exercise classes like Les Mills. Discs are rubber coated with a small 30mm centre hole. 

So, what are Olympic bumper plates?

Olympic rubber bumper plates are a type of weight that you use with Olympic barbells. They are made of dense rubber with a steel circle in the middle. Olympic bumper plates are perfect for deadlifting, CrossFit, strength training and Olympic weightlifting. A major benefit of Olympic rubber plates is that you can do a variety of exercises, so they offer good workout flexibility. This makes them ideal for a range of environments, from an outdoor garden gym to a commercial studio.  

Bumper plates made from a solid rubber material are great for absorbing impact to protect the weight bar and the floor as well as reduce noise when dropping weights to the floor. The steel ring in the centre of the weight plate helps to protect your bar, making your equipment last for longer. 

The rubber construction of the weight plates increases shock absorption helping to protect your bars and floor when training. The reason that they are a popular option in strength training in comparison to steel plates is that they are safer to drop repeatedly. They also tend to be quieter than steel plates and don’t rattle together when lifted or make a lot of noise when dropped on the floor.  

The Best Exercises for Olympic Rubber Bumper Plates 

Bumper plates are Olympic size and come in a range of weights similar to cast iron strength training plates. They usually come in a standard black colour, but you can get them in a variety of colours. When looking for new Olympic bumper plates, you should look out for the following characteristics: 

  • Durability - low-quality plates will crack more easily when dropped frequently. If your plate starts to crack around the steel centre, it may cause imbalances. 
  • Bounce - the plates should have a slight bounce to them. 
  • Slide - the weights should slide easily on and off the barbell, but there shouldn’t be a lot of movement. Too much movement will cause the weights to slide during exercise. 
  • Bend - poor build quality and slimness may bend the plates. The correct weight will offer a balanced and reliable fitness experience. 

Whether you’re looking to source new kit for your commercial gym or upgrade your home set-up, weights are an essential piece of equipment. Free weights exercises can deliver a challenging and effective workout that burns calories, adds muscle definition, and build strength. 

Bumper plates are suitable for a variety of exercises such as:

  • Olympic lifting moves like clean, snatch and jerk 
  • Powerlifting 
  • Deadlifts 
  • Functional training 
  • Strength and conditioning 

When using Olympic bumper plates, correct technique is essential. Poor form could result in injury both to yourself and to the floor. If you’re just starting with weight lifting, it’s a good idea to seek out advice from a personal trainer or coach to learn the correct technique. One thing to remember is that if you’re going to drop your plates on the floor, you need to install suitable rubber gym flooring for free weights.  

The Benefits of Using Olympic Rubber Bumper Plates

There are several benefits of using Olympic rubber bumper plates compared to other plates. Here are five reasons why you should consider adding Olympic plates to your workout arsenal.  

Stable and Versatile 

Rubber plates offer workout versatility as they are suitable for different training styles and exercises. Generally, Olympic weights feel much more stable on the bar. You can also use the weights without the bar for bootcamp style training as well as core exercises. With different weight increments available, you can buy the size that suits your workout style and fitness abilities. 

Hold Greater Total Weight 

Olympic weightlifting bars tend to hold a greater amount of weight. Some power racks can fit the 7ft Olympic bar instead of the standard 5ft or 6ft bar. If you’re looking to lift some serious weight, then Olympic bars and plates are ideal as they have the potential to hold more weight than your standard bar. 

Long-Lasting and Durable 

Good quality Olympic rubber plates provide an extra layer of protection for safety and longevity. With free weights and weight lifting, you frequently drop weight to the floor. Rubber plates tend to be much more durable and less susceptible to marks and general cosmetic damage. The plates will also not mark your floor and other gym equipment. 

Maximises Your Workout 

With today’s busy world, squeezing in an effective workout can be hard. Resistance training is an efficient way to burn fat without spending hours at the gym. When you target different muscles at the same as you do with weight lifting and strength training, it helps to build muscle and maximise your workout. 

Shock Absorbent and Safe 

Rubber plates are safer compared to other materials. Due to the solid rubber construction, you can drop them safely from overhead with little risk to the bar, floor, and weights platform. With good shock absorption, they are ideal for heavy lifting and deadlifting. If the weights are too heavy for the user, they can drop them to floor safely. 

Weights are an essential part of any gym. The most important thing to do before you buy any weight lifting equipment is to figure out who will be using the equipment and what they will be doing. For example, at a commercial gym, you would probably need a variety of weight sizes to cater to your membership base. Whereas, if you’re kitting out a home gym, you will need to match your weights to both your current abilities and your goals. 


Good gym bumper plates use high-quality rubber that will stand the test of time. With robust materials and quick and straightforward plate loading, bumper plates offer a safe way to maximise your workout. Whether you’re creating a home gym, commercial gym or setting up a fitness training program, Olympic bumper plates can handle repeated dropping at an Olympic lifting standard. When choosing the right equipment for your gym, always look for high-quality materials that are safe and purpose-built. 

September 20, 2020 — Richard McKay