When building your home gym, it is easy to pick the equipment you want. Most people focused on free-weight exercises will definitely choose from a selection of fitness racks before looking into the more complicated items, like weight plates. While it doesn’t seem like purchasing weight plates would be too complex, the whole process can get a bit confusing when you figure in current lifting and future lifting abilities. After all, you want various weight sizes to ensure the most effective, versatile, and balanced setup.
How Much Do You Want To Be Able To Lift?
What is your current weight lifting goal? Most beginners are not too sure of where they want to be in the future and are more focused on where they currently are. However, you need to plan ahead to ensure you can increase the weight incrementally. Weight lifting is about slow changes for significant gains; trying to jump from 90 lbs. to 110 lbs. or more is too much change too quickly.
Quick jumps can lead to injury and muscle strain, actually backpedaling your progress. Therefore, whatever weights you choose, whether weight plates or bumper plates, it is crucial to know where you want to be. For a beginner, a set with a total weight of 331 lbs. is an excellent starting point. To ensure you give yourself the best chance for slow and balanced growth, a weight set of this size should include:
- Two one-pound weights
- Two two-and-a-half-pound weights
- Two five-pound weights
- Four 10-pound weights
- Two 25-pound weights
- Four 45-pound weights
- One 44-pound bar
Weight Plates Vs Bumper Plates
As you begin looking for weights for your power rack or home gym setup, you will likely come across two weight types: iron plates and bumper plates. Iron plates are traditional and typical of old-school bodybuilder gyms and establishments. The primary benefits of these plates are mobility and long-term investment. Iron plates have built-in handholds, and with care and maintenance, these plates will last for years. Iron plates are best for bodybuilding workouts, those exercises where you do not need to worry about bailing out from too much weight or exhaustion.
Bumper plates alternatively are designed for abuse. These plates are rubber coated with a steel core. Ideal for power-focused exercises, bumper plates are designed to be lifted and dropped from overhead. If you like to focus on overhead squats or other exercises, bumper plates are likely the confidence boost you need.
Because of the rubber coating, bumper plates are also ideal for outdoor or garage gyms. The rubber acts as a protective coating against the elements; however, you still want to be careful of UV damage. You also do not want to leave them outside in extreme weather.
When purchasing weight plates, you need to decide how much you want to lift and the style of lifting you plan to do. A set, including the bar, that provides options for up to 331 lbs. is a decent set for beginners. However, if you are more experienced, you might want to consult with a home gym professional.