What are Olympic Weight Plates?
When you go in most gyms, the free weights area will have a range of large black or brightly coloured round weight discs. These are Olympic weight plates - or possibly "bumper plates". They are designed to fit on to any Olympic bar.
Olympic plates have a 2” (or 50mm) diameter hole, meaning they snuggly fit an Olympic bar.
Types of Plates
Weight plates can come in a number of finishes including rubber, PU (polyurethane) or a cast iron. The advantage of both rubber and PU weight plates is that they protect floors, you get less noise and they are protected against rust.
Urethane plates, which are the most durable of all plates, have an anti-scratch property and also offer good grip.
"Bumper plates" can also be PU or rubber and are a good choice for heavy lifting techniques like clean and snatch where you need to drop them to the floor. If you do buy these, then it's also good to think about drop pads or weightlifting platforms.
So-called "Grip plates" are characterised by raised edges that allow them to be easily picked up wit the enhanced grip.
Finally economy plates are, as the name suggests, the cheapest plates you can get. They have less weight accuracy than other plates but they will still get the job done for you.
Ok so you want to invest in some Olympic weight plates to help you sort out your strength training. But have you considered how heavy they will be in your first floor flat? What about storing them? And what about buying a barbell that takes them?
Why not check out a few of the more pressing things you need to think about before spending hundreds of pounds on a 200kg weight set.
Buying an Olympic plate and barbell stand could be a good idea. Many will store up to 6 lots of full sized 450mm Olympic plates and 4 Olympic bars.
How Many Weight Plates will You Need?
This is really all about your expertise level. In a nutshell the more plates you have the wider the range of exercises you will be able to do.
If you are a beginner you may initially get away with just buying a pair of each Olympic weight sizes (1.25kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg, 25kg)
What Weights Should I Buy?
Plates comes in the seven sizes above (there are also what's called fractional plates - but we'll leave that for the moment).
Our advice would be to get a pair of each weight plate and then add to this as you progress. For example consider what you will be doing with them.
Generally for curls and triceps you will need the lower plates. For shoulder and bench presses you may need weights between 30kg and 100kg and for legs, from 50kg to 150kg perhaps.
Remember the Olympic bar will weigh either 15kg or 20kg (6ft or 7ft).
Lock Jaw/Muscle Clamp Collars
An essential, securing the plates on your bar is a must - even if you're only adding small weights. Collars and muscle clamps come in different guises including pring collars, lock jar, solid ring and muscle clamps.