Competition Plates - Questions

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Steve Freides, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    I have been looking carefully at the plates used in various competitions, and have noticed the following - please correct as needed:

    1. Olympic Lifting meets use what I own, which are fairly fat 25 kg plates.

    2. Powerlifting meets use very thin plates.

    I assume that each is chosen because it is the most difficult and therefore offers the least competitive advantage to any lifter.


  2. Chrisdavisjr

    Chrisdavisjr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Steve Freides The impression I got was that thinner steel plates are used for powerlifting primarily so they can load more weight onto the sleeves (see Eleiko's 435kg/957lb powerlifting weight package to see what I mean).

    Oly lifting plates are bouncier as the bar needs to be dropped from height. This makes them thicker by necessity, however the weights used in Oly lifting are significantly lower than those used for the power lifts (at a serious competitive level at least; I know there are people out there who can snatch more than I can deadlift).

    You could use thicker Olympic-style plates for PL meets but it would limit how much weight you could fit on the bar. This isn't really a problem until you start getting to some seriously heavy weights so it depends on the ability of the competitors.

    For some reason, Paralympic Powerlifting uses bouncy, Olympic-style plates rather than steel PL plates. I suspect this is purely for aesthetic reasons as the only lift in Paralympic powerlifting is the bench press and there's no reason you'd need bouncy plates for this (unless it goes horribly wrong).
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  3. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    I see it like @Chrisdavisjr .

    The thick plates are rubber, they tolerate being thrown around, and the floor or the platform tolerates them being thrown around, better than steel plates.

    I've been shopping for plates for my home gym, and I looked at the typical rubber plates, called bumper plates, and it looks like I can't fit enough weight on the bar with them. So unless I want to mix plates, I should only get metal plates.

    In IPF competitions they always have to use as big plates as possible. For example, if you're going from 65kg to 105kg, you can't just slap another pair of 20kg plates on the bar - you have to unload the 20kg pair, replace it with a 25kg pair, and then add a 15kg pair and locks.

    I suppose there could be a theoretical advantage for deadlifts if one were to load the bar so that the heaviest load would be on the far ends of the bar, you would get more whip and less range of motion that way. But that would take a lot of plates and a very big weight and it's not applicable in competition, so it's all useless speculation.

    When mixing plates it's always a good idea to check the plate diameter is the same. And still, it may be that some of the plates take a bigger beating when hitting the floor than the other plates. But for home use I wouldn't worry about it.
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    I confess I'm disappointed to have figured this out _after_ I bought the thicker plates. I'd rather have what they use at PL meets - that was my goal. Perhaps I'll sell what I got and get some of the others.


  5. Chrisdavisjr

    Chrisdavisjr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I think you made the better choice, personally. After all, you can do both the powerlifts and Olympic lifts with bumper plates but you can't practise Oly lifts with steel PL plates (unless you have a seriously heavy-duty platform).

    If you're actually looking to hold some PL meets, then maybe it's worth investing but the steel plates are rather expensive. It is your choice of course. if I had the money, I'd probably invest in steel PL plates for no other reason than because I think they're beautiful (the chromed Ivanko PL comp plates in particular).

    I suppose any motorcycle will get you from A to B but there's still a reason why people pay top dollar for a Harley Davidson.
  6. Carl in Dover

    Carl in Dover Triple-Digit Post Count

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
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  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @Carl in Dover, I'm using the same bar and the same plates - USAPL uses that bar but not those plates, at least not at the Philly meet we were both at recently - they use the skinny metals plates.

  8. Carl in Dover

    Carl in Dover Triple-Digit Post Count

    @Steve Freides are correct in that my plates were not the the same type/brand as the Philly Veterans Day meet, but they do meet the requirements of the USA POWERLIFTING TECHNICAL RULES, p.13-14. Including "Rubber or rubber covered discs are acceptable provided there is a minimum of 10cm from the outside of the collars to the end of the bar, for spotter grip outside of the discs.

    Carl in Dover
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  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @Carl in Dover, thank you. I am aware they're legal, but what I'm interested in doing is duplicating competition conditions as much as possible and, for that, I need the skinny plates.

    Would you agree?

  10. Carl in Dover

    Carl in Dover Triple-Digit Post Count

    Oh yeah, definately duplicate match actual conditions as much as possible. I lift in a room with a crawlspace so mine are perfect for me. If I remember correctly your training area is basement level, so a set of Eleiko /Titex would be an awesome addition!

    BTW...are you copying this post to Santa? LOL(y)

    Carl in Dover
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