T Nation

Bumper Plates Question

For all you Oly lifters out there:

I’m looking at putting a home gym together, but the budget is very tight so I need to choose equipment very carefully. I’ve recently started performing O-lifts regularly and don’t want for this to stop due to lack of bumper plates. Unfortunately these cost a lot and would break the budget very quickly, so I was wondering how many bumper plates does one need to drop the bar safely on to a platform?

For example, if I had a single large diameter 20 or 25 kg bumper plate each side and the other plates were smaller diameter 10,5,2.5 etc kg regular iron plates which would not hit the ground, is this OK?

The only concern I would have with doing this is that by adding the smaller plates the inertia of these plates would continue as the larger bumpers hit the ground, flexing the ends of the bar excessively as the small plates continued to fall without resistance and concentrating the full force of the drop where the single bumper plates hit the ground. Alternatively, by using the normal all-bumper plate setup the impact is absorbed over a wider area, distributing the stress on the bar a lot more.

As I have just started the O-lifts it will be a while before I will need more than two of the large bumper plates each side as I would rather practise technique first and get it right. Then I can add more bumpers when I can afford them and have progressed to using a higher load.

Thoughts/suggestions? What do you use at your home gyms for O-lifts?



I would recommend you get the composite bumpers like York or Chapman. They are wider than the competition versions and can handle more change being dropped with them, especially the 25kgs. I wouldn’t worry about the smaller plates damaging the bars too much. I was in the same situation when I started and if anything, the hole in the smaller plates became bigger after months of continuous work.

You didn’t say what your budget is, nevertheless, the cheapest bumper plates I have found are at:


I’ve been afraid to look at the cost of shipping but will be ordering a set in the coming weeks.

Check out Ironcompany.com. I purchased some Kraiburg composite bumper plates there six months ago, and they are perfect for my garage gym. I got the 308 pound set for $599, but I could have gotten away with the 260 lb set. Shipping is FREE!
You can also purchase them separately.

I have noticed no problems when I use metal change plates (which I sometimes do when I am making small weight changes quickly).

I also got some great rubber mats there to use a platform.

You might want to call the head of the PE department at a nearby highschool and ask if they have any older bumber plates you could buy. They may just give them to you.

If you have enough rubber on the platform, you could use iron plates. I seem to remember from one of your previous posts that headroom was an issue in your garage, though.

Using just one bumper each side would probably be OK until you get pretty good. With C&J you can control the weight a bit more on the way down, so the snatch weight is the real issue. Up to 100 kg will probably be fine.

Imported plates are expensive due to freight costs. Try

PS, if you’re really serious about getting into the Oly lifts, maybe you should join a club. You’re in Sydney, aren’t you? Check out this page
for a list of clubs in NSW.