As I’ve spoken of in my training log, my wife and I are a few weeks away from settling on a house, at which time my dream of a garage gym will be realized. I’ve made my choices for squat stands, barbell, and now I’m trying to settle on the right selection of plates.
I train mostly with squats and deadlifts, but also want something that will accommodate the Olympic lifts, as I’ve at least somewhat considered the possibility of one day competing as a Masters weightlifter (for some reason, I feel more aligned with the sport of weightlifting than the sport of powerlifting). That, and protection for our garage floors, means I’ll be buying all bumper plates. I’ll also add that buying American-made is a personal preference, so at this time I am not considering imported plates.
Until a few days ago, I was planning on purchasing a pile of Rogue Hi-Temps, but then Hi-Temp released their own competition-style plate made from recycled vulcanized rubber with a heavy steel insert.
Hi-Temp Recycled Rubber Plates: I’m very familiar with these, having used them for a lot of my training at the CrossFit box for the last six months. Pros: they’re American made, well priced, and supposed to be virtually indestructible. Cons: they’re super wide, so you can’t load more than 405 with their standard Hi-Temps…although there is a (partial) solution with their “Gorilla” bumpers, an extra-dense vulcanized rubber plate that weighs 65 pounds but similar size to the standard 45’s. I’d be able to get the mid-500’s on the bar with the help of some Gorilla plates. Con #2 is that they have a slightly smaller diameter at 17.5" (444mm) than most standard bumper plates (450mm), so if I later acquired a different style bumper plates there would probably be a size mismatch.
Hi-Temp Competition-Style Plates: these are a new addition. Pros would include the ability to fit a bit more weight on the bar (could accommodate at least 585 with all bumpers, which would be nice) and a total diameter of 448mm, much closer to other IWF standard plates at 450mm. They’re a little more expensive, but the price is close enough that I wouldn’t rule it out. The main “con” is that the Competition-Style Hi-Temp is brand new and there are no reviews on it, so I have no idea whether to trust them (whereas the standard Hi-Temp has been around and battle-tested for some time). I don’t want to buy a pile of these only to find out that Hi-Temp’s first foray into making a Competition-Style plate comes with a steel insert that tends to rattle its way loose with repeated use. I don’t really intend on a lot of high-rep work or frequently dropping the bar, but still, the bar is occasionally going to hit the floor with 400+ pounds on it.
I think what this really comes down to is durability. The standard Hi-Temps have a reputation as being virtually indestructible, and the aforementioned combination of Gorillas and regular Hi-Temps should serve me quite well. Until a few days ago, I was perfectly happy going with that, but the recent release of Hi-Temp’s Competition-Style bumper made me wonder about the possibility for an American-made Competition-Style bumper, and now I’m debating a little bit.
Any thoughts from folks who own the competition-style plates with a steel insert? How have they held up over time? Happy to hear any thoughts.