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Old 10-08-2010, 02:03 PM   #1
William F. Burgess
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The difference between rubber bumper and "real" training plates

What are they exactly? I see the rubber bumpers are solid rubber except for the small metal insert, which, to my dismay seems to rattle loose with time.

When looking at vids from Catalyst as well as other Oly lifting gyms it it obvious the plates they use are not all rubber. You can hear metal to metal sound in the plates. These plates are much more expensive(look at Werksan Training Plates) I imagine the construction must be quite high tech. Usually it seems these plates are always used with some sort of special platform.

Then there are the Hampton bumper plates. Not all rubber, just around the outsides. These can't be as quality as the above mentioned plates, as they are cheap and crude looking. They still bounce though.

Can anyone explain in detail what the differences are, especially the construction of a "true" training plate? Also, could these plates be used on a harder surface like you see being done sometimes with solid rubber bumpers? Do you always need some sort of platform with these?

Last edited by William F. Burgess; 10-08-2010 at 02:16 PM..
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Old 10-08-2010, 04:24 PM   #2
Casey Raiford
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

The really expensive plates are competition grade, accurate to within 10 grams of stated weight and meet IWF specifications. They're also extremely dense and as a result have very little bounce and are narrower so you can fit more on a bar. Finally, with proper use they will last a very, very long time.

The medium range ones (with the small metal insert) are general purpose consumer grade utility plates. The inserts come loose over time, they bounce a pretty good bit and they can be off as much as a few pounds from weight.

Then there are the recycled tire plates. They're really wide, they bounce like CRAZY...but they're relatively cheap.

The rubber rimmed metal plates aren't something I have experience with and can't really speak to.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:36 PM   #3
Todd Rehm
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

They're called "bumper plates" because when they first came into use they were metal discs with a rubber 2-inch or so rubber bumper around them.

Like in the pictures I'm trying to attach.

You'll see this style of plate in old pictures of olympic lifting.

Over the years, because of manufacturing costs and new markets, the bumper plate has evolved into what we now see as (1) competition or competition-style bumper plates with a core metal disc and rubber bumper; and (2) full-rubber plates with a metal insert.

The competition plates, as a previous poster mentioned, are expected to be within strict tolerances to the IWF standards. They also tend to take up less weight on the bar.

Can you imagine loading Kendrick Farris's bar with 460+ pounds worth of those thick Kraiburg 45s?

It's also worth mentioning Mav-rik bumper plates which contain a solid metal core encased in rubber. All mav-rik bumpers I've ever seen are the same width regardless of weight.

I've seen pictures of the Hampton plates but never lifted or handled them. But I wouldn't necessarily dismiss them as garbage. If you're lifting heavy-enough weights that room on the sleeve becomes an issue, you might be well-served by the Hamptons as I'd guess they're probably less wide than the all-rubber ones. I'd think of them as more of a classically-styled bumper plate.

There are also some three-spoke metal center with rubber rim bumper plates from York that I'd like to try out some day.

As for the metal-on-metal sound you mentioned, I'm not sure you wouldn't hear that with rubber plates as they do have a metal insert and the sound you hear is the bar sleeves on the metal of the plates. It's just that most CFers won't have the technique that produces the audible cue.

I was watching someone, I think Glenn Pendlay, who talked about coaches using that sound as a diagnostic tool.
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:19 PM   #4
Casey Raiford
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

Excellent post, thanks for the info.
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
Pete Nadeau
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

Good explanation for the youngsters or those who never went to a gym in the 60's and 70's.
Haven't see those plates in years, just like the deep dish plates York used to make; I'm getting old
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:57 PM   #6
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

Quote:
I've seen pictures of the Hampton plates but never lifted or handled them. But I wouldn't necessarily dismiss them as garbage.
Having owned a set once upon a time, I would indeed be tempted to dismiss them. The hubs are entirely too thin and have a sloppy fit. Thus they wobble and scratch the sleeves as they slide about on an angle. They also flaked paint all over my gym, especially the yellow bumpers which had yellow PAINTED rubber. Yeah, that didn't last.
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:35 PM   #7
William F. Burgess
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

Thanks for all the responses!

I should mention that based on the Werksan website, there is a difference between "training" and "competition" plates. At over 3000 bucks for a 190 kg set I think I will pass on the competition set.

When it comes to what Werksan calls "training" plates and "rubber bumper" plates/sets there is a dilemma. For the training plates, they have a 187 kg colored training set with IWF cert. plates(prob. the +/- 10 grams accuracy mentioned) for $2099, a 187 kg economy colored set(no IWF cert.) for $1839 and a Black economy set for $1695. All of these come with the more high quality Werkan training barbell(over $800 by its self)

For the rubber bumpers, they have a 175 kg high school training set for $816. This comes with the econ. barbell(about $200 by its self)

Almost seems for the durability plus better barbell, paying over double for a set might be worth it. I was really shocked to see rubber bumpers less than 2 years old already cracking and metal inserts coming loose. Sounds like the training plates will last a lot longer. I never got a reply as to whether these can be dropped on, say a cement floor with 3/4" rubber mat only, or if they require a proper platform.
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:59 PM   #8
James R. Climer
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

I would like to make a distinction between the recycled rubber bumper and the virgin rubber bumper. I own a mix of both and the recycled rubber bounces about twice as high as the virgin.

This is a very impotant difference when dropping from overhead and you
are about spent from max exertion/ hyperventilation.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:03 PM   #9
Keith Miller
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

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Originally Posted by William F. Burgess View Post
Thanks for all the responses!

I should mention that based on the Werksan website, there is a difference between "training" and "competition" plates. At over 3000 bucks for a 190 kg set I think I will pass on the competition set.

When it comes to what Werksan calls "training" plates and "rubber bumper" plates/sets there is a dilemma. For the training plates, they have a 187 kg colored training set with IWF cert. plates(prob. the +/- 10 grams accuracy mentioned) for $2099, a 187 kg economy colored set(no IWF cert.) for $1839 and a Black economy set for $1695. All of these come with the more high quality Werkan training barbell(over $800 by its self)

For the rubber bumpers, they have a 175 kg high school training set for $816. This comes with the econ. barbell(about $200 by its self)

Almost seems for the durability plus better barbell, paying over double for a set might be worth it. I was really shocked to see rubber bumpers less than 2 years old already cracking and metal inserts coming loose. Sounds like the training plates will last a lot longer. I never got a reply as to whether these can be dropped on, say a cement floor with 3/4" rubber mat only, or if they require a proper platform.
I you are going to get what you are calling "training" plates, I would lift on a platform with at least on layer of wood and one layer of rubber matting. This will protect both your plates and barbell, and will protect your floor. Because the training plate is more dense, more force will be dispersed into the floor when the loaded barbell lands.

However, if you get the bumpers, you could (although I would not recommend it) drop it on concrete or just rubber mats without causing as much damage. Either way, I would use at least rubber matting and seriously consider a platform. Just my .02
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:25 PM   #10
William F. Burgess
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Re: The difference between rubber bumper and "real" olympic training plates

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Originally Posted by Keith Miller View Post
I you are going to get what you are calling "training" plates, I would lift on a platform with at least on layer of wood and one layer of rubber matting. This will protect both your plates and barbell, and will protect your floor. Because the training plate is more dense, more force will be dispersed into the floor when the loaded barbell lands.

However, if you get the bumpers, you could (although I would not recommend it) drop it on concrete or just rubber mats without causing as much damage. Either way, I would use at least rubber matting and seriously consider a platform. Just my .02
Yeah I was thinking for a platform, to make the homemade one. Two 4x8 sheets 3/4" ply running one way, then two more the other way, then one cabinet finish ply running the same way as the bottom but centered with two 2x8 strips 3/4" rubber mats on the sides. That way the plates at least land on one pad + 2 sheets ply.

I should ask Werksan if they would sell the training sets with the econ bar and subtract the price. Then the difference in plate price seems small.

Last edited by William F. Burgess; 10-09-2010 at 02:29 PM..
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