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Bumper Plates Explained

Bumper Plates  Explained

More than ever, bumper plates are being used by the best weightlifting champions in the world, Olympic and otherwise, to achieve top level performances with safety and practicality.

What is a Bumper Plate?

Bumper Plates, or just ‘bumpers’, are weight plates designed for 50mm (Olympic) barbells which you will find at all gyms, and are comprised of an iron or steel core and thick rubber protective coating. This allows them to be repeatedly dropped from overhead onto gym-tile flooring without getting damaged, and without harming the floor, the barbell, or others.

Adding to this, the SMAI Competition Bumper Plates also meet the colour and composition specifications set by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

Bumper Plates versus Iron Plates

Iron plates are the more traditional barbell plates you will find in many gyms, and the reason Charles Gaines coined the term “Pumping Iron” in reference to weightlifting.

Made simply by pouring molten iron into a circular shaping tool, they are used for many traditional bodybuilding workouts with the idea that the one performing the lift won’t bail out of it.

Dropping iron plates is incredibly loud and can cause the plates, the barbell, or the floor to break. For this reason, many commercial gyms are opting for bumper plates over iron.

While both plates have their pros and cons, it is often beneficial to have access to both for a variety of workouts. However, if you’re looking to go with one or the other for your home gym or even commercially, then bumper plates are more often the better choice given their durability, safety, and practicality.

Why use Bumper Plates?

Bumper plates are used by both beginners and professionals due to their safety, durability, and practicality. Athletes who are performing power-focused exercises which involve quickly lifting as much as they can, often seen in CrossFit and Olympic lifting movements, prefer bumpers as they are safe to drop after a lift.

In much the same way, bumpers are incredibly useful for beginners who may need to drop the weight to avoid strain or injury.

The thick rubber coating means that bumper plates are not only quiet when used, which is largely beneficial in busy or crowded gyms, but can be used anywhere in the gym where there is appropriate flooring.  

Competition Bumpers vs Standard Bumpers

While the SMAI HD Bumper Plates are high-quality, made from high-grade rubber with a weight variance of only 1%, the SMAI Competition plates are a considerable step up.

SMAI Competition Calibrated Olympic Bumper Plates are the highest quality bumper plates on the market, and have been designed and manufactured to be resilient, robust, and aesthetically appealing. Accurate to within 10 grams or less, these plates are manufactured with an IWF steel disc insert and are created with protective rubber flanges for easy pick-up and greater surface area for point-of-impact.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned weightlifting athlete, SMAI’s range of high-quality bumper plates may be the solution to your lifting needs.

Buying from SMAI

Recently celebrating 35-years in business, SMAI is an Australian owned company with a quality-first approach.

Our normal dispatch time is 1-2 business days with estimated delivery between 1-6 business days to major cities in Australia.

We also offer VIP pricing for wholesale customers, see Trade Pass for more information.


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