If you’re after some simple, classic black plates to help you make regular, noticeable gains then these are certainly worth a look. Yes, they take up more real estate on the sleeve, but I don’t lift anywhere near enough for that to be a problem.
The heaviest plates have ridges on the inside of the center bore. However, if you’re not controlled in how you add and remove them, they can stick and scratch the shit out of the sleeve’s finish.
Not only have my Create Ohio Bar’s sleeves taken a bit of a beating, it can also make a helluva racket when putting them on and taking them off. Ultimately, while these are some of Rogue’s cheaper plates, they’re still representative of the company’s trademark high quality.
Prior to purchasing mine, I had noticed that some others have complained about the gloss black finish making these plates somewhat slippery. Plus, while the gloss finish is a little slick, the casting isn’t perfectly smooth.
As with most cast iron plates, the finish is a somewhat prone to chipping. Mine have some small chips, and rust has started to set in on these spots.
This really just adds to the aesthetic, and is not difficult to remedy with some touch up paint from the hardware store. However, to quote Rogue Fitness themselves, quality plates should be all about performance, and not winning beauty pageants.
There’s not a huge amount to say here: These plates are extremely well-made and absolutely do the job of being heavy and well-cast. Being steel plates, they’re best suited to controlled powerlifting as opposed to the more dynamic Olympic lifting.
Rogue’s Cast Iron Olympic Plates are awesome. You can get cheaper plates on Amazon, but these are definitely worth the money you’ll pay for them.
Simple, old-school design that looks badass Low weight tolerance Easy to grip, lift and carry Rogue IPF Calibrated Steel Powerlifting Plates Review bought something like 230 kilograms of the Rogue Calibrated Steel Plates back during the 2017 Black Friday sale, and aside from realizing almost immediately that I didn’t order quite enough weight I have been completely happy with this purchase.
I’ll cover all the specifications, make a case for why calibrated plates are worth considering, how much they cost compared to the competition, whether I think they’re worth the money, and then I’ll summarize them into a pros and cons list. Cast iron plates ; machine calibrated for accuracy.
Precise 50 mm collar opening (incompatible with cheap bars). Even a machined 25 kilogram discs that is guaranteed to be within 2% of stated weight can be off by up to 500 grams.
I could also mention that you can get more weight on the bar with calibrated plates because of how razor thin they are, but I personally do not know anyone that’s not currently prepping for the Arnold Strongman Classic that runs out of sleeve space with 1 wide steel plates. Here are the prices for all four major brands of calibrated plates ; for comparison purposes.
Calibrated Powerlifting Discs are a premium product, and as such they cost quite a bit more than cheap cast iron plates. The Rep Equalizers, and to a lesser extent the Rogues, are less enough per pound that some decent money would be saved on a large quantity of plates (say about 25%), but if you were eyeballing Troy or Ivanka, well that’s a pretty simple upgrade decision to go from 2% accuracy to 10 g accuracy for a few percent more money, or less in the case of Ivanka.
If money is tight buy some basic machined plates like the Rep Equalizers for $1.45 a pound. If you do not care about accuracy at all (which seems weird) or you don’t have more than a couple of hundred to drop on a set, you should look for used machined plates before you buy the cheap, box-store cast iron plates (which won’t be accurate at all).
At the end of the day, if you have the money to spend I think calibrated plates are worth the investment for your gym, but for most people’s purposes the machined discs will technically suffice. Know exactly what you’re lifting all the time, and with no imbalances from one side to the other like with box-store cast iron plates.
The sort of minor paint damage you can expect to see with frequent use. With lifts that require loading and unloading of the bar while it’s on the ground (deadlifts, basically), plates can be hard to get on or off the sleeve.
Expensive compared to generic cast iron plates. Calibrated plates won’t fit cheap bars, but I doubt this comes up often.
Matter of fact, I want to expand my collection, and will either do so with more Rogue plates, or the new Vulcan plates. You may not feel like you need calibrated plates and that’s totally acceptable, just don’t be overwhelmed by the price because they just are not that expensive compared to machined plates or competition bumpers.
Matter of fact, 140 kg of Rogue’s Training Bumpers sells for $6.53 per kilo shipped, while 140 kg of Rogue’s Calibrated Plates sells for exactly $1 less a pound shipped (to me in Texas), or $5.53 per kilo. Last Update: November 2018 (extensive rewrite to bring review current; added brands).
They’re designed to allow an athlete to safely drop a loaded Olympic bar from an overhead position (i.e. the snatch or the clean and jerk) without any risk of damaging the lifting platform, the bar, the or the plates themselves. Basic bumpers are more than adequate for a garage gym, but steel is probably better if no Olympic lifts are being performed.
Most basic bumper plates are black, but colored varieties do exist. The more expensive large-hub competition-style bumpers are almost always color coded, but they too can be found in black.
Bumper plates are really only needed for the Olympic lifts where the bar is dropped from the hips, the rack position, and/or overhead. Normal strength training or powerlifting that consists of the squat, deadlift, various presses, and the row do not require bumper plates.
Many people prefer to use bumper plates for the deadlift because they greatly reduce noise and vibration, but when using basic bumpers for this purpose there are weight limitations because of how thick rubber plates can be. Even if you just prefer bumper plates over cast iron for general strength training (that is, not CrossFit/Olympic lifting), you still have to consider pricing.
Of course, it never hurts to do a search for used bumpers in your area (Craigslist, for instance). At the end of the day, for Olympic lifts you’ll want bumpers.
They choose these because they are quieter, a bit cleaner and more professional looking than old school iron, and they’re easier and safer to move around the gym. They are definitely not intended to be dropped from overhead like a bumper plate is, so they are useless for CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting.
Because of that and the fact that they aren’t really any cheaper, there really is no need for this style of plate in a personal gym. That is, they won’t smash through your foundation or crack and chip if you accidentally drop them.
Consider that if you cannot safely drop a 45-lb steel plate while just transporting it to and from the bar without having to worry about what it would do to your floor, you obviously cannot safely drop a bar loaded with steel plates from an overhead position, or ditch it the bar in a failed squat or power clean. With so many athletes becoming interested in the Olympic lifts again (thanks to CrossFit), it makes sense to just go for the bumper plates initially so that those lifts are an option for you down the road, even if your fitness level or current workout doesn’t necessitate them right away.
When you drop that bar from even a couple inches above the ground or rack, it’s obnoxious as hell. Just briefly, one other option for Olympic training purposes are technique plates.
If you’re new to the Olympic lifts, these allow you to get your form down with very little added weight but still have the feeling of plates on the bar. Following that you will find suggestions on where to buy each brand/style based on best price, cost of shipping, and availability.
In most cases you simply buy the brand you prefer direct from the manufacturer for the best pricing. I removed any mention of Troy VAX due to some serious complaints about them cracking and showing very early signs of insert separation, and I also removed Pend lay/MEDUSA as they are no longer in business.
No one is making you buy any brand I discuss here, but I do strongly suggest that you research any off-brand plate thoroughly. They are a little on the thick side but if you are not expecting to put more than 400-pounds on the bar it won’t matter.
Many equipment vendors offer HI-Temps, but Rogue tends to have the best prices on them, may offer you free shipping (depending on your location), and they maintain a very reliable inventory. Alphas have durable, hooked inserts that stay put, low bounce, low odor, and are just a hell of a reliable bumper at a great price.
Not only does Vulcan have very competitive prices on sets, they have the most innovative basic bumpers currently on the market. A new rubber compound is also used that helps to eliminate the common warping and bending of the smaller plates.
Pricing on the Vulcan Strength bumpers great too, and free shipping is available as well. FringeS port Bumper Plates are an acceptable alternative to the Vulcan's, as they have all the same durability features like the improved rubber compound and the anchored insert.
Rogue HG Bumper Plates used to make up the bulk of my collection before I switched to kilograms, and I was generally very happy with them. I wasn’t a huge fan of the 10- and 15-lb plates, but they’re fine if you don’t use them alone on the bar regularly.
These plates are fine for home use, but for equipping a CrossFit box or Olympic center, the hooked insert style of bumpers (like the Vulcan's or FringeS ports) will last longer. American Barbell Sport bumpers are essentially the same as Rogue His.
AB Sports are also available in IWF colors and in kilograms; which is uncommon. Competition discs like the Rogue Olympic plates are thinner, more durable, and significantly more expensive than basic bumpers.
These plates have but one purpose, and that’s for Only lifting on a professional level. In some cases there can be minor discrepancies with the SHORE rating, but it’s not even worth thinking about.
When it comes down to it, the extra durability and reliability of comp plates versus standard bumper plates is going to be meaningless in a standard garage setting, especially after you factor in price. You’ll need to buy your bumper plates in sets to get to the lower end of these pricing windows, and the bigger the better.
Buying in pairs is not a very economical way to gather a bumper plate collection. These are rarely in stock, but the prices just blow away Vulcan, Rogue and the other guys when they are.
Indoor/Outdoor use, 30% quieter, slim profile, anchored stainless inserts, low odor, and more. Pretty much the same deal as the basic black Sport bumpers from above, only in kilograms and in colors.
Urethane has a dead bounce, and the new Pro models (American Barbell/Vulcan) are very durable. Generally sold in kilograms, but Rogue offers pounds for the CrossFit Games.
I realize that there are a ton of other brands and places to buy bumper plates, and I considered literally dozens of alternatives. I dare say that 90% of home and garage gym owners will find exactly what they need either at Rogue, Vulcan, Rep, FringeS port, or maybe even on Craigslist.