Congratulations on your decision to build a home gym. Yes, it costs quite a bit at first, and it requires research and work, but once you set everything up, you will love it. And, a home gym is a great investment, as it will not only save you those gym memberships you will no longer need but also time, gas and hassle. And there are other benefits too - you get to play your own music, and you can scream and bang weights all you like - it's your floor. :)
In this article, we will help you, trying to explain what to look for when buying weight plates, a home gym essential, so read on.
Standard vs. Olympic
The main difference between standard and Olympic weights is the size of the bar hole. Olympic weight plates have a 2-inch hole, while standard plates have a one-inch hole. That might seem irrelevant, but in reality, Olympic weights offer a plethora of benefits and are superior in every way.
The only people who should buy standard plates are beginners who are ultra-tight on the money. But, because you are not going to stay a beginner forever, and also because weights are a longterm investment, you should consider saving up extra and getting a set of Olympic weight plates.
Weight Plates Material
Plastic weights are an inexpensive gym equipment solution. The fact is that your muscles don't know the difference - they lift weight, and whether you are putting tension on them with chromed brand new plates, old rusty ones you got from a garage sale, plastic plates, or water bottles, they will grow, as long as there is enough progressive overload (and proper nutrition).
But there lies the first issue. Because plastic is light, weight plates made from it are much bigger and thicker. For that reason, you won't be able to put as much on your bar. Plastic weights are only suitable for complete beginners, or group classes (BodyPump) at the gym that focus more on weight loss and endurance, than on hypertrophy.
The second issue is longevity. Plastic is everything but a longterm solution. One hard drop on the floor and your plates are gone. Plastic weight sets are cheap, but they are simply inferior when compared to the old school iron, lead, steel or rubber plates.
Nowadays, everybody seems to be involved in CrossFit and powerlifting. These forms of exercising require maximal effort, to push your best continually. While it is nice to get a PR, that doesn't always happen, and you are forced to bail out and drop your barbell to the floor. That's where bumper plates jump in.
Bumper plates are designed to survive drops from greater heights than regular weights without getting damaged or ruining your floor. Bumper plates are made from solid rubber, and because of this, they are much safer to use, both for the floor and the athlete.
So yes, getting a bumper plate set is a good idea for a home gym, since you are less likely to injure yourself or ruin the floor, and the plates are much more durable.
They have two disadvantages. First one is the rubber density - they are thicker than iron/steel plates, which means you won't be able to load as much. But this only matters to the most advanced lifters. The second one is the price - they are a bit more expensive than regular plates. But in our opinion, they are well worth the money.
Getting plates in different colors for different weights is a good idea for beginners. That way, the injury risk is minimized, since you are not required to read the weight. Instead, you just match the plates by color. Still, if you are careful enough, which you should be since lifting weights carries risks, you will be just fine with unicolored plates.
Getting a barbell with a set of best weight plates in Dublin, Ireland is a great investment. While you could do a great workout only with dumbells, a barbell is a necessity if you want to push your strength and physique to another level. Squat, deadlift, military press, are so much better with a barbell. And if you perform only those three movements, and nothing else, you will get a great looking body. For that reason, you shouldn't hesitate. Get your weight plates set now, every serious (home) gym has one.