Weight Plates
Last updated: 04/07/2020

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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.

Key Facts

  • 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 on the U.S. Market

The four 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.

Best Set of Weight Plates for Beginners

If you’re starting in the world of weight training and want an affordable set that will still allow you to perform a wide variety of exercises, Gold’s Gym’s 50-pound set is for you. With four 10-pound and two 5-pound Olympic grip plates, you can start low and work your way up. These cast-iron plates are durable and easy to handle, with a 2-inch hole diameter to fit Olympic bars. Get ready to get in shape!

Best Set of Bumper Plates

Designed for CrossFit, weightlifting, and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, this set of bumper plates comes with pairs of 45, 25, and 10-pound plates for a total of 160 pounds. Made from solid cast iron, they will fit any Olympic bar. These 100% rubber plates have a low bounce and are thick enough for durability but thin enough for you to put all the weight you need on your bar. They have a 1-year warranty.

Best Cast-Iron Weight Plates

Cast-iron plates are extremely durable and very affordable, and the ideal addition to your home gym. Yes4All’s models have a black paint coat to prevent rusting and a 1-inch center hole to use with standard barbells and dumbbells. This pair of 7.5-pound plates is also available in 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 pounds so you can pick those that best suit your needs or combine them. They come with an incredible 5-year warranty.

Best Olympic Weight Set (with Barbell)

Last but not least, this complete Olympic weight set by CAP Barbell has everything you need to reach your fitness goals – and you won’t need to purchase any other product. Why, you ask? Because the 300-pound set is delivered with a 7-foot Olympic bar ready to be used. It includes 2 x 45, 2 x 35, 2 x 25, 2 x 10, 4 x 5, and 2 x 2.5-pound weight plates. Besides, the barbell can support a maximum weight of 500 pounds.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Weight Plates

Weight training has become all the rage in recent years, both in gyms and for personal fitness, as it allows you to develop your strength and endurance. In fact, anyone who sticks with it over time will tell you about the incredible physical benefits that this type of training offers. In the section below, we have answered the most frequently asked questions about weight plates.

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Combined with a barbell, weight plates are all you need to do weight training.
(Source: Hxdbzxy: 35414292/ 123rf.com)

What are weight plates exactly?

Inserted into barbells, these pieces of fitness equipment are essential to any strength-loving athlete and an excellent option for working out at home. They are commonly used in a wide variety of training methods, from bodybuilding to Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit. This is why these accessories are such a good investment for your health.

How can I use my weight plates?

While training in combination with a barbell will help you create a comprehensive workout routine, exercising with the plates only also has various benefits; they are versatile and easy to store. You can carry out multiple exercises adapted to the weight of your plates and train your entire body. Here are two ways you can use your 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.
Felicity LuckeyAuthor of Great Minds Think Thin: Eclectic Weight Loss Motivation

“Discipline is the bridge between your bodybuilding goals and bodybuilding success.”

What types of weight plates are there?

When it comes to choosing your new weight plates, you can use one of two sets of classifying criteria. First of all, they are sorted by weight and outer diameter. Secondly, their purpose and manufacturing materials are used to organize weight plates. Let’s have a look at these different classifications:

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 American 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.
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The variety of size and weight of these plates makes them ideal for exercising any part of your body.
(Source: Jasper Aggergaard: KcPmKh9cWlk/ Unsplash.com)

What exercises can I do with weight plates?

They come in such a wide range of size and weight that they are perfect to work out any part of the body. You can lift them, throw them, or carry them to increase the intensity of exercises such as sit-ups or squats. Workout routines with weight plates aren’t simply possible; they are also very effective. Here is a list of some exercises you can perform:

  • 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?

Your best option is to purchase cast-iron plates if you want to avoid any unpleasant smell. Within this category of products, we recommend the basic or calibrated plates. In addition, this type of material prevents corrosion and guarantees greater durability. Their only real drawback is that you cannot use them in competitions.

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There are two types of fixing systems for placing the discs on the bar: regulatory and non-regulatory.
(Source: Katarzina Bialasiewicz: 45608036/ 123rf.com)

What collar should I buy for my weight plates?

You can find two types of anchoring systems to hold your plates on the barbell: regulatory and non-regulatory. The former won’t be worth buying unless you dedicate yourself to official competitions, as they have a much higher cost. This means that you should turn to non-regulatory collars:

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.

Increased durability.

Eye-catching designs.

More expensive

Buyer’s Guide

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.

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If you want to avoid any unpleasant smell, your best option is to purchase cast-iron plates.
(Source: Dolgachov: 35115904/ 123rf.com)

Barbell Compatibility

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.

Material

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.

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Did you know that the evolution of strength training equipment took off during the second half of the 19th century? Companies began to replace the uncomfortable solid iron balls attached to the bar with hollow spheres. These later evolved into detachable metal discs, before becoming the first weight plates as we know them.

Training Location

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.

Hole Diameter

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.

Summary

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.

If you found our guide on weight plates useful, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media so that your friends and family also know which plates are the right ones for them!

(Source of featured image: Alexsey Kurguzov: 57995845/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Avery Hilland Fitness & Nutrition Expert
Avery studied fitness and nutrition at college and currently works as a PE teacher at his local high school. Not only does he love to help out his students increase their fitness performance, but he also writes blogs about sports and fitness in his spare time.