Bumper Plates are the cornerstone of CrossFit training. Be it in a home garage gym, local Crossfit Box, or commercial gym, bumper plates are a must have.
As this sport of CrossFit continues to catch on, the assortment of gear available continues to grow as well. Some things you should be on the lookout for when outfitting your Affiliate or Home Gym. So, what should you know about bumper plates? Read on.
Let’s Dissect the Bumper Plate
- Rubber - Most bumper plates are made from either high density rubber or recycled rubber. The high density bumper like the York Bumper Plate has a smooth finish and is typically much harder and thinner than the recycled rubber bumper like the Hi Temp Bumper Plate which has a more rough appearance.
- Thickness - To maintain the same diameter, the thickness of the bumper plate changes with it’s weight. Normally, the thicker the plate, the heavier it is. The thickness of the plate also corresponds to it’s durability. Because bumper plates tend to be dropped over and over, the thicker plates will take the beating better. Many manufacturers do not warrant their 10lb or 15lb plates if they are the only plate on the bar sleeve.
- Hardness - The hardness of a bumper plate refers to how resistant it is to indentation or flex. The harder a bumper plate, the less rebound it has when dropped and the less protection it provides to your bar and whatever material is on your floor. Normally, the harder the bumper, the thinner the bumper. Harder, thinner bumpers certainly have their place in this sport as do softer, thicker bumpers.
- Harder Bumpers - this style of bumper usually means you can get more of them on the bar sleeve because they are thinner on average. Very good for Heavy Deadlift days. And the harder bumper bounces less so drops from overhead or in a crowded class are safer since the bar does not rebound as high.
- Softer Bumpers - the softer, recycled rubber bumper has it’s place, too. Especially for the lighter weight bumpers like the 10lb and 15lb. Since these plates are softer, they are also thicker which means more resiliency to dropping. The softer bumpers resist cracking and splitting the best, too.
- Diameter - Thankfully, most manufacturers have adopted what seems to be a standard for plate diameter. Most are manufactured between 17.25 and 17.5”. And that’s a good thing. Mixing and matching bumper plates on the bar is not normally an issue. All the bumpers that we stock fit all the bars we sell. No worries there.
- Collar - Several advances have been made in the design and materials of the bumper plate collar. The collar is the metal sleeve that protects the inside diameter of the bumper plate from the bar sleeve. The best advance made over these past few years is moving away from the brass collar [gold color] to a steel insert [silver/grey] Brass was found to be far too malleable as the collar would often get pounded out of it’s round shape. They stopped fitting on the bar sleeve well as the bar could ‘wiggle’ within the collar. [See below - Hi Temp left vs Troy VTX right]
- Chamfer - That’s a fancy word for beveled edge. Ever tried to pick a quarter up off a tile floor? Easy, right? [That would be a good birthday party game for my kids...gotta remember that one ;) ] Well, it’s darn near impossible. That’s because there is no chamfer on a quarter. Same idea with the bumper. The beveled edge is there to help you pick it up. Some bumpers are rounded at the edge and some have a 45 degree cut. Same deal.
Here are the three main types of bumpers that we offer. If you do not see the one you want, then let us know. We can get almost any brand that you may want.
Troy Bumper Plates - High Density Rubber and boasting one of the best inserts we've seen. The higher density means less bounce on concrete or rubber flooring. That results in less kickback in the event that you have to ditch the bar from overhead. The Troy VTX Bumpers have one of the thinnest 45lb plates on the market which also means more of them on the bar sleeve. That will come in handy on heavy Deadlift day. And...Troy just re-designed their 10lb plate to make it one of the toughest on the market. Equipped with a much larger hub, the 10lb bumper is much more resilient to repeated dropping.
Hi-Temp Bumper Plates - US Made of recycled rubber, these Bumper Plates are some of the most resilient bumpers made. Their lower density means a thicker plate and more rebound when dropped. And although you can't fit as many of these on the bar sleeve, their toughness is hard to match. Did we mention they are US made? That's a big win in our book!
York Bumper Plates - York has also jumped into the market with a fantastic bumper plate. It also is made of a higher density rubber which makes for less bounce and more bumpers on the bar during heavy deadlift days. We like what we see!
Need help deciding? Our Bumper Guide can help you decide. Get it here.