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Are All Weight Plates the Same Size?

One question that we’ve come across when dealing with people new to the weightlifting scene is, “Are all weight plates the same size?”  This question typically comes from people looking to purchase a barbell and some weight plates but aren’t quite sure what’s right for them. That’s only natural.  The fact is that there are many different types of weight plates to choose from.  Having an understanding of the different types will make purchasing the right set much easier.  In this article, we’ll go over some of the various types of weight plates and their sizing.

Olympic Versus Standard Weight Plates

Before buying a set of weight plates, you should first know the diameter of your weightlifting bar.  The reason for this is that Olympic discs have a two-inch diameter hole whereas Standard discs only have a one-inch diameter hole.  Knowing whether your weightlifting bar is Olympic or Standard will be imperative to purchasing a set of weight plates that are compatible.  Standard setups are normally sold for home gym use, whereas Olympic setups are found in commercial and competitive gyms.

Studio Discs

There is also a type of weight plates known as Studio discs which have a 1.18 inch or 30mm centre hole.  Studio discs are normally used in group exercise classes, are coated in rubber and have handholds to allow for use without a bar.  There are specialized Studio weight bars made specifically for Studio discs.

Various Types of Olympic Weight Plates

  • There is a wide range of Olympic weight plates that each have a specific function in the weightlifting repertoire. 
  • Rubber weight plates are composed of cast iron but have a rubber coating to prevent damage to the floor. 
  • Technique bumper plates are similar but are actually composed completely of rubber.  They are made for Olympic style lifting and allow the lifter to drop them from full height without causing damage to the floor.
  • Training bumper plates are also composed of rubber, but they may have varying thicknesses as compared with the more expensive Technique bumper plates.
  • Competition bumper plates come at a higher cost due to the accuracy of their weight.  Because they’re used in competitions, official rules require that they are accurate in weight to at least 0.1%. 
  • Fractional plates are also known as Incremental plates and allow lifters to add small amount of weight to their bars.  Fractional plates typically come in weights ranging from 0.5kg to 5kg.
  • Powerlifting plates are not as thick as other Olympic weight plates which allow the weights to be placed closer to the lifter’s centre of gravity.  This reduces the amount of bounce that occurs during lifting.

Now that you know that all weight plates are not the same size, you can start shopping for what is best for you. To get started, download this month’s promotions to save.