If you're reading this guide, it is probably because you like fitness or want to get in shape. However, it can be challenging to find the time to go to the gym while juggling work and family life. Or maybe you simply prefer training at home at your own pace. In any case, you will need a weight bar and weight plates.
Suitable for all types of athletes, this practical training set is a great start to achieve your fitness goals. From the professional preparing for a competition to a beginner discovering the world of bodybuilding, all use these accessories. In fact, weight plates could become your new training system. Keep reading to learn all about these handy fitness products.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Weight Plates
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Weight Plates
- 5 Buyer's Guide
- 6 Summary
- An Olympic set – Olympic bars, discs, and spring collars – will make your home gym the best place to build strength and develop your muscle mass. Plates come in a wide range of weights, so you need to determine the type of training you want to follow in order to choose the most suitable accessories.
- Also called Olympic plates, the plates that you place onto the bar can have weights and be made from various materials, the most common being metal and rubber. Their central hole measures approximately 2 inches in diameter, and they are secured to barbells by way of spring collars.
- Before you get your own weight plates, you should evaluate various key factors. These include their weight and size, compatibility with your barbell, the manufacturing material, and the diameter of the central hole. Throughout our guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about weight plates so you can make the best purchase possible.
Our Selection: The Best Weight Plates
The weight plate sets below are our very own selection of the best products currently available out there. All have received quality reviews and high ratings from athletes who have used them, and they should help you determine which are best for your needs. You will also learn a little bit more about the features and characteristics these fitness accessories offer, so pay close attention.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Weight Plates
What are weight plates exactly?
How can I use my weight plates?
- As a load: You can do bench press by taking a plate in both of your hands. Start in a lying position – on the floor or a bench – and raise the weight above you starting at your chest. To intensify your core workout, perform weighted sit-ups by holding a plate against your chest. You can also do lunges and squats to train your lower body.
- As a support: Stack up a few weight plates to create a bench that you can use to work on your legs. That way, you can do box jumps without buying another accessory.
What types of weight plates are there?
By weight and diameter
- Standard weight plates: The diameter of the largest plates cannot exceed 17.72 inches. The thickness will vary, but they remain thicker than plates used in competitions.
- Olympic weight plates: They have a weight inferior to 22.05 pounds and a diameter of less than 17.72 inches. The purpose of these plates is to increase the load progressively to avoid large weight jumps.
- Studio weight plates: Made of iron, the weights are equal or inferior to 11.02 pounds. They are designed to promote technical development and come in white or red color.
By manufacturing material
Metal plates: You use them for powerlifting (standard strength training) in which the bar does not fall to the ground, so rubber isn't needed. Here are the main types:
- Cast iron: These basic products are the most commonly found in home gyms.
- Machined cast iron: Their actual weight is more precise, but they are more expensive.
- With rubber cover: Commercial gyms often have these durable plates to avoid noise when the bar is dropped.
- Calibrated: These yellow, blue, or red regulatory products are thinner than those mentioned above.
Bumper plates: Used for CrossFit and weightlifting, they are entirely made of rubber. Like the metal plates, you can find various types on the market. They are the following:
- Basic: Their medium hardness gives them a standard bounce.
- Training standard: Softer than the model above, they have a higher bounce capacity.
- Competition standard: They are harder and have a more limited bounce.
What exercises can I do with weight plates?
- Overhead press. Keeping your arms stretched out, raise the plate over your head before lowering it slowly. You can do three sets of 20 repetitions.
- Plate turns. Hold the plate by the sides and at chest height. Spin sideways until one hand is up and the other down. Do 20 repetitions on each side.
- Triceps extension. Bend your forearms so that the plate is behind your head and your elbows pointing upwards. Repeat the exercise three times in sets of 12.
- Lunges. Step forward with one foot into a lunge position. Your back knee should almost come into contact with the ground. Hold the position for at least one second. Perform 10 lunges with each leg.
How can I prevent my plates from smelling bad?
What collar should I buy for my weight plates?
|Type of non-regulatory collar||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Spring collars||Very affordable|| Not very practical to change plates.
Low durability. They tend to oxidize easily.
They can leave marks on the barbell.
|Quick-release collars|| Their quick-release system allows you to change plates faster.
If you're on the hunt for a new set of weight plates, or if you have never owned any and want to get in shape, the following section details the criteria you need to evaluate before making your purchase. If you pay attention to them, we guarantee you will choose the right product. We will look at:
Weight & Size
Think about the weight range you want to train with before anything else. Plates come in many sizes, and your choice should be determined by the exercises you want to perform. In addition, make sure that the plates you buy have the same outer diameter so that the barbell remains leveled when on the floor.
This is another essential aspect because all weight plates and barbells aren't compatible. In that regard, you must be very careful that the plates you choose fit perfectly on the bar. If there is any space left, the weight could move during your workouts – which is very uncomfortable, believe us.
As you now know, most weight plates are made from cast iron because this hard and durable material makes them more compact. You can find products with an external rubber layer to protect your floor and dampen the noise when the bar hits the ground. Polyurethane plates are also available on the market, although they are more expensive and designed for official competitions.
Before choosing your set of weight plates, be sure to know whether you plan on training at home or outdoors, as well as the type of ground on which the weights will rest. If you always work out at home, for instance, round plates are convenient because they allow strength training in any environment and can be used on standard and Olympic barbells.
Regular weight plates typically have an opening diameter of 0.98-1.18 inches that will fit on standard barbells. In that regard, pay attention to the diameter specified by the manufacturer before making your purchase. You may also be interested in products whose opening is coated with polished steel, as this reduces friction and makes it easier to put the plates.
Weight plates are an essential accessory for anyone looking to practice weightlifting professionally or casually. This is the product for you if you want to perform your workout routine safely and efficiently. Add a quality barbell and a couple of spring collars to your purchase, and you will have everything you need to achieve your fitness goals.
Rubber-coated weight plates are ideal for protecting your floor and muffles the noise when you drop the barbell after each exercise. If you don't intend to compete, you won't need to buy a set that has all plates – including different weights – of the same size. However, these products are more comfortable to stack.
(Source of featured image: Alexsey Kurguzov: 57995845/ 123rf.com)