Bumper plates: what they are and how to use them

Dischi bumper plate

Discs are the weights that are inserted at the ends of a barbell to increase the load lifted and there are two main types: steel discs and bumper plates.

Today we are going to find out how to choose the most suitable bumper discs for you, why you should prefer them to steel ones and what exercises you can do.

I’d say get started !

Characteristics of the discs

Bumper plates are discs designed for olympic barbells and are made up of an iron or steel core and a protective coating made of thick and resistant rubber.

Their particular structure makes them perfect for dropping them to the ground, during exercises in which there is great muscular effort, without damaging the floor or the barbell.

Steel discs, on the other hand, are created by pouring molten steel into a special mold and do not have any rubber parts.

This means that when you drop the barbell to the ground, it will be much louder and you risk breaking the lifting platform or the floor.

Both bumper plates and steel plates have their advantages and disadvantages, and having access to both will give you more variety in your workouts.

However, if you have to choose, we recommend bumper plates because they are more durable, practical and safer, especially for beginners.

The rubber is able to muffle the sound and the blow, avoiding not only ruining the floor but also hitting you and potentially hurting yourself.

If you’re just starting out, learning how to let go of the barbell is essential to know the correct movement to do when needed.

With bumper plates, you can learn smoothly and stay safe.

On the other hand, if you practice power exercises where you have to lift the maximum quickly, such as in CrossFit or weightlifting, these plates are perfect for you because you can safely let go of the weight.

Because of all these benefits, most gyms use bumper plates instead of steel plates. This also avoids causing a lot of noise when several people are exercising at the same time.

On the other hand, if you exercise at home, muffling the sound will certainly help you avoid problems with the neighbors. Plus, knowing that you won’t risk damaging the floor every time you let go of the weight will give you peace of mind.

Now that we know why bumper plates are the most suitable discs…

Disc characteristics

Which ones to choose ?

There are many aspects to analyze when looking for the right bumper plates for us, first of all the weight.

As you know the discs have different weights, so you will have to choose whether you prefer to lift light or heavier weights depending on the exercises you do, of course you can choose both.

Width is also important: narrower discs will allow you to fit more of it into the barbell and therefore load more weights.

Also look at the degree of bounce and choose bumper plates with a low level of bounce to prevent the clips from loosening and the weights from falling off.

It may seem trivial to you, but color is also an aspect to consider.

Having discs with different colors will allow you to locate the bumper disc of the correct weight faster and you will avoid wasting time.

Then check the size of the inner ring of the disc because it must fit snugly against the bar: if the disc is too wide, the weights will slip.

And always buy quality bumper plates, I recommend.

By saving on the price, you could risk buying discs that will break, or the excessive thinness and low quality of the rubber could cause an uneven load and unstable traction from the ground.

Having durable and reliable discs will make you feel comfortable and protected when you let go of the weight, safe in the knowledge that you won’t risk getting hurt or damaging the equipment.

Your safety and the safety of others is important.

Bumper plate exercises

As we said, these discs are perfect in case we have to drop the weight on the ground as can happen in the Snatch, Clean and Jerk and Deadlifts with considerable weights.

Let’s take a closer look at these movements.


The Snatch is a very complex CrossFit exercise, which allows you to improve your mobility, stability and body awareness, as well as strengthen your cardiovascular endurance.

The Snatch is made up of various movements that must be performed perfectly, which is why you will have to repeat the exercise over and over again before mastering it.

Start in a standing position, with your feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight, and your legs slightly bent.

Bend your knees and grab the barbell with a wide grip and make sure your shoulders are on top of the barbell or a little further forward.

Gaze forward, inhale and lift using your legs.

The snatch is not a deadlift, so you have to push with your lower body to lift the weight and extend your knees at the same time.

To perform the movement at its best, remember to distribute the weight over the entire foot and do not unbalance it forward on the toes or backwards on the heels.

Your arms should remain relaxed to allow the barbell to move freely upward.

If it can help, consider the Snatch as a jump without taking your feet off the ground.

As soon as you’ve extended your legs, quickly lower yourself into a squat and take the weight above your head as if it were an Overhead Squat.

Stabilize yourself, and only once you feel confident, stretch your knees and get to a standing position.

Bumper plate exercises

This was an explanation for you to understand the movement, but the first few times we recommend that you be followed by a personal trainer.

In complex exercises such as the snatch, executing everything perfectly is essential to avoid harming yourself or others.

Clean and Jerk

The Clean and Jerk is a functional workout that will involve multiple muscles such as the calf, triceps, trapezius, and also the abdominals.

You will increase your athletic ability and explosiveness as well as strengthen your core muscles and improve coordination.

To start, start from a standing position, with your legs slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart.

Now bend your knees and flex your torso forward, always keeping your back straight to avoid injury.

Grab the barbell and you’re ready to go.

Use your whole body to lift the weight off the ground and bring it above your knees, then higher at hip height.

At this point, push with your hips and lift the barbell towards the ceiling as you quickly descend into a half squat.

You’ll find yourself squat with the barbell resting on your shoulders in front of your neck.

Now lower your knees a few inches to create the spring effect that will help you bring the weight up and lift the barbell above your head while almost fully extending your knees.

It’s a complex movement, not suitable for those who are just starting out, but it will definitely complement your workouts once you get the hang of it.

When it comes to breathing, remember to inhale before lifting up the weight and exhale when you reach the peak of the movement.

Once you have mastered the exercise, you can also decide to perform some variations such as the Clean and Jerk with the kettlebell and alternate the stimuli in this way.


Finally, we have the deadlift called the Deadlift.

Also in this case we will involve many parts of the body such as the legs, the latissimus dorsi, the pectoralis major, the posterior deltoid and many others.

Of all the exercises, the Deadlift is the one that allows you to lift the most load of all. For this reason, having bumper plates will help you in case you can’t lift the weight, because it’s too heavy, and you’re forced to drop it.

Let’s see how to do it.

Always start standing as we have seen so far and place the barbell close to your body, making sure that it is above the middle of your foot.

Descend distributing the weight well over the entire sole and keep the elbow extended.

Grip the barbell with a grip at the same width as your shoulders while keeping your back straight.

Now that you’re in the right position, you can get started.

Look forward, inhale, tighten your abdomen muscles, and lift your weight while extending your knees, spine, and hips at the same time.

Then bring your pelvis further forward than your shoulders.

Hold the load for a few seconds with your hips and knees locked.

Finally, bring your weight back to the ground by moving your hips back and bending your knees. Once you return to the starting position, you can exhale and then start with a new repetition.


In this article, we have seen how bumper plates can increase your confidence during workouts and avoid damaging your equipment or the equipment of the gym where you train.

You also understood the difference between rubber and steel plates and what features to consider when choosing your bumper plates.

Finally, you have found some exercises that are perfect to do with them and that you will learn to master without any problems, with the right guidance and consistency.

All you have to do is start your training !



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