Where to buy barbell plates?
The best places to go for barbell plates are Rogue, Ivanko, and Eleiko for good quality. Used plates can be gotten on Craigslist or eBay.
What is your why
Why do you want to get stronger?
Why do you want to build muscle?
What happens when you do?
What happens if you don’t
These questions might seem trivial to you. They will make all the difference to your long term success and happiness. Sitting down and reflecting on why you get out of bed is one if the most impactful things you can do to increase productivity. Yet, most people don’t do it. This is how you most likely go about your day:
What do I want
How do I get it
Why do I want it
Almost everyone knows what they want. Fewer make a detailed plan on how to get it. Almost none reflect on why they want certain things. Something interesting happens when you flip the running order of these questions on their head:
Why do you want something
How do you get it
What needs to be done
This way you will focus most on your innermost desires. This will connect your thought and actions better and drive results. Try it some time and you will be surprised at what happens. If you want to know how this works on a psychological level read Daniel Kahneman's thinking fast and slow. Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle will change your life.
How many plates do you need ?
How many plates you need entirely depends on your use case. The two big different use cases are:
To get the right amount of plates for your Home gym use your deadlift as the guiding number. The deadlift is usually the lift where beginners can move the most weight. Whatever your one repetition maximum is multiply it by 1.25 and that is the amount of weight you get. To take my example:
Deadlift one rep max 190kg
190kg * 1.5 = 237.5kg let’s say 240 kg
That means I should get
4 red plates at 25 kg
4 blue plates at 20 kg
2 yellow plates at 15 kg
2 green plates at 10 kg
2 5kg plates
A set of fractional plates
With this, I have everything I need for the next five to ten years depending on how I progress. Getting all of them in one go gives me a better price per kilo due to discounts and lower shipping costs. This setup also gives me the opportunity to play around a little on the way up to 240kg. Of I get to a 240kg deadlift, 240lg squat and 180kg bench press I will be a very happy man.
For commercial use, a good rule of thumb is to have 100kg in plates per rack or free weight machine. Most people can lift this weight for reps with exception from the leg press. The plate combination would’ve
2 x 20kg
As a basic. Get some 2.5 and 1.25 to distribute in the room and the rest should take care of itself. Stay away from fractional plates in a commercial gym setting. Not a lot of people know how to use them properly and they often get stolen or lost.
Quality of plates
As with everything in life you get what you pay for. Plates can vary considerably from what is stated on the plate as weight. If you are not competing this is ok, however, if you want to break records and train competitively you have to make sure that the numbers are correct.
You can either weigh the plates you buy yourself. This is good when you are on a budget and get a lot of plates. Just have a very good weighing scale which is up for the task.
The other option is to get calibrated plates. The calibration usually happens at the end of the production process of the manufacturer. The plates are fully done up and weighed. The difference to the nominal weight is calibrated by putting a little weight in to adjust. This is usually only grams or even milligrams.
Bumper plates are the cheaper version compared to steel and competition plates. They are often made of hard rubber from old tires or similar compounds.
Bumper plates are ideal to be used outside and also hurt the floor or feet less when dropped on the ground. The fancier ones come with a dead drop, which means they bounce very little.
Very often commercial gyms stock more bumper plates than any other as they are the cheapest and most user-friendly type of plate.
The only downside with bumper plates is that they take up more space on the bar compared to steel and competition plates.
Steel plates are a bit more expensive than bumper plates. These are what you often find in home gyms.
Steel plates are very popular with powerlifters as they take up less space on the bar. Multiple plates also make a very satisfying sound when you lift. The clanging and banging of steel plates do give a certain raw vibe to lifting.
The disadvantages of steel plates are that they cannot be used outside and are also not great for being dropped from overhead.
Competition plates are hybrids of bumper and Steel plates. The outer ring is made of rubber while the inner ring is made of steel. As a result, they behave differently than bumper and steel plates when lifted. They react better to quick shifts of the weight. This makes them ideal for weightlifting purposes.
Competition plates are the highest quality you can get. This makes them more expensive than steel and bumper plates. They are also more prone to break as they are made of two different materials. While steel and bumper plates chip, competition plates usually shift at the seam between steel and rubber.
Craigslist and eBay
Craigslist is an option for the patient ones who want to save money. Set your account up for alarms of the items you are looking for and be quick when they come up. If you are willing to wait, get a lot of different plates and to compromise on quality this is a good way to go.
eBay operates very similarly. So if you love to bargain hunt go down this route.
Rogue fitness is an American company which makes all their plates in Columbus, Ohio. If you want your money to stay in the USA they are a great option.
To save money you can wist for the Black Friday sale which is big on Rogue or opt for the special pricing / Hundo pricing. This is not always available. Based on the time of year you might find plates from the CrossFit games or Arnold on sale.
Ivanko is a Russian supplier of plates. Before Rogue entered the scene they were the gold standard in steel plates. You would see Ivanko plates in many powerlifting meets. Still, one of the pricier options out there.
Eleiko is the European based gold standard for weightlifting equipment. You will usually find their plates at the Olympics for the weightlifting competitions and they have been doing it for decades. As with Ivanko and Rogue, these plates are branded and among the best. The price tag reflects this.
Where to buy barbell plates
If you have time, want to save money and don’t care much about looks go to craigslist and eBay and buy whatever you can grab. Weight is weight as long As it safely fits on your barbell. If you care about style, do not want to hunt down plates and have about 1.000 to spent on plates go for Ivanko, Eleiko or Rogue.