5 Tips for Maintaining Your Barbell

Your barbell is a key piece of any home gym setup. Whatever you put in while you’re building it, you’re gonna need a good barbell or even two if you want to see some serious progress. But not all barbells are alike.

A stiffer bar is great for something like deadlifting, while for working on your barbell snatch you’ll want something with a little more flexibility. If you’re going to be doing both regularly, you might want to have two different barbells. Not to mention the knurling pattern, bearing vs bushing, etc. But that’s a post for another time.

A good barbell is not a cheap investment, and it needs to be maintained well. Properly taken care of, your barbell should last you years — and only need replacing when you’re lifting so much you bend them in half. A gym would typically run through a barbell every couple years. At home, though, a good barbell properly taken care of could last your lifetime.

So here are 5 tips for taking care of your barbell:

1. Proper Storage

If you really want to be serious about barbell maintenance, then that means watching how you store your bar too. I know it sounds tired, but it can’t be stressed enough: you have to re-rack your weights. 

Well, since it’s your own gym you don’t actually have to re-rack them, but they can’t stay on the bar. Your barbell isn’t designed to withstand those heavy weights for a long amount of time. Even a little bit can warp it over time, severely limiting its lifespan.

The bar itself can be stored horizontally or vertically, though you shouldn’t leave them leaning against a wall. If you are storing them vertically, make sure to regularly rotate which sleeve is facing down. This will prevent oil from building up and possibly leaking out of one side.

Alphafit – Wall Mounted Horizontal Barbell Storage 6 bar – $195
NC Fitness – Barbell Wall Rack 8 bar – $100
Rogue Vertical Bar Hanger – $64

2. Wipe it down, Daily

There’s nothing quite as nice as that “like-new” shine you get on a clean and polished barbell. You can keep yours in good shape by making sure to wipe it down every time you use it. A simple once-over with antibacterial wipes at the end of your workout can make a big difference in how clean your barbell stays.

3. A Stiff Brush, Weekly

Antibacterial wipes won’t do much when it comes to chalk, or worse, dead skin, in the knurling of the bar. This can be really tough to clean out, especially if it starts to build up over time. A good, stiff nylon brush can help get that stuff out of there.

How much you use it changes depending on how much you use the bar. For regular use, at least once a week is recommended. The more you clean it, the easier it is to clean.

Bunnings – Tile and grout brush – $3.50
Amazon – Boardwalk 9008 Grout Brush, Nylon Bristles, – $3.74 USD

4. WD40, Monthly

Contrary to popular belief, stainless steel isn’t the best steel out there. When you have to regularly load a bar up with big weights, it needs to be made of sterner stuff.

Unfortunately, sterner stuff rusts. Even with an oxide coating, rust over time is something you have to worry about. A quick coat of oil or WD-40 is a good way to protect your bars against this.

For your personal bar, once or twice a month should be sufficient. Soak a rag and wipe your bar down before you put it away overnight. Wipe it down again before you use it next and you’re good to go.

Note: You can also use 3-in-1 oil (see tip no. 5)

Bunnings – WD40 – $7.45

5. Oil the Bearings, Monthly

Older barbells have little holes in the sleeves so you can squeeze some oil onto the bushings and bearings inside. Don’t use WD40. WD40 or others like it will dry out your bearings and attract dust and dirt. Oil will make sure your sleeves and bearings keep turning just the way they’re supposed to.

Bunnings – 3 in 1 multipurpose oil – $2.98

Knowing the difference between bearings and bushings can make a big difference in the kind of barbell you’re going to buy. Typically, barbells with bearings in the collar spin more smoothly, which can make a difference for olympic-style lifts. Bushings — which are essentially brass or copper sleeves that reduce friction in the barbell collar, tend to be cheaper, and thus not spin as freely. However they’re typically fine when you’re building a home gym or simply trying to get in a few more reps before you head to work.

Barbell maintenance is a lot like personal hygiene. It’s not always fun, but a little daily maintenance can make everything more fun for everyone later on. The right care performed regularly can keep your barbell in tip-top shape for years to come.

Top 5 Home Gym Packages for 2019

So your New Year’s resolution is to get fitter or you want to get some extra training in before the 2019 CrossFit Open (21 Feb to 25 Mar) but you don’t have the time or would just rather work out at home? Here are our Top 5 Home Gym Equipment packages to help you get set up with your own home gym .

A home or garage gym gives you the flexibility to work out whenever you want and saves you the travel time which can often be one of those “excuses” that stop us from getting to the gym in the first place (“I just got home from work and I’m tired”, “There’s too much traffic” or “It’s raining”).

When I first had my kids, time and money was short and I found it difficult to get to a gym. I mean how could I justify to my wife who just spent the whole day looking after the kids, that I was going to spend an extra 1.5 hrs at the gym after work?

A home gym (or in my case a work gym) allowed me to get my workouts done during my lunch break. I signed up for the programming from Raw Strength and Conditioning who train Crossfit Games athletes James Newbury and Brent Fikowski and slowly built up my home gym with both new and second hand gear.

My Home (Work) Gym

Side Note

Having now joined a CrossFit box, I have to add this side note. There are some real benefits of joining a gym that has good coaches and a great community. Meeting like minded people that both inspire and help you on your journey to be fitter, stronger, better is great motivation to keep you going and push harder. Great coaching can also help you reach your limits whilst maintaining good technique.

But I still like the flexibility of having my own workout space. So here is…

Our Top 5 Home Gym Equipment Packages for 2019

Our Top 5 Home Gym Equipment Packages are based on:

  • Usefulness – Does the package include enough equipment for you to complete a wide range of workouts (CrossFit, power lifting, gymnastics, etc)?
  • Quality – Entry or competition level equipment.
  • Value for money – Does the package provide a good range of quality gear at an affordable cost?

5. Alpha Fit – RX Pack – $1,518

AlphaFit – RX Pack
https://www.alphafit.com.au/20kg-rx-pack

Package includes:

  • Endure barbell
  • 150 kg set of Endure black bumper plates
  • 24kg Competition steel kettlebell
  • 20lbs Wall ball
  • Pair of Lock Jaw collars

Usefulness – A basic kit with enough gear for basic Crossfit style workouts. A pull up bar would make this package more useful and without a rack, strength training (squats, presses, etc) will be difficult.

Quality – AlphaFit is a trusted, quality brand. More than enough for a home gym.

Value for Money – As one of the cheapest packages currently available, the AlphaFit Rx Pack is great value if your looking for just the basics and don’t have a lot of room.

4. NC Fitness – Power Rack Full Starter Pack – $1,510

NC Fitness – Power Rack Full Starter Pack
https://www.ncfitnessgear.com.au/product/power-rack-full-starter-pack/

Package includes:

  • Half rack
  • 150 kg set of standard bumper plates
  • Performance series bright hard chrome barbell
  • Pair of collars

Usefulness – A half rack is a great piece of gear for a home gym. With a pull up bar and relatively small footprint, it increases the range of workouts you can perform. Coupled with the 150 kg worth of bumper plates, you can do several basic WODs and strength training.

Quality – NC Fitness is a trusted, quality brand. More than enough for a home gym.

Value for Money – As one of the cheapest packages currently available, the Power Rack Full Starter Pack is great value with the range of workouts you can do and the quality of the gear.

3. Again Faster – Fitness Pack – $1,650

Again Faster – Fitness Pack
https://www.againfaster.com.au/home-gym-package-fitness

Package includes:

  • Evolution barbell
  • 150 kg set of Camo V2 bumper plates
  • Ab mat
  • Team speed rope
  • 3-in-1 plyo box
  • 24kg Team kettlebell
  • 20lbs Wall ball
  • Pair of Muscle Clamps

Usefulness – Another basic kit similar to the AlphaFit RX pack. However the addition of the plyo box, and speed rope give this package a bit more flexibility. Again it would be better if it included a pull up bar and rack for strength training.

Quality – Again Faster is one of the top brands in the market supplying many boxes and competitions around Australia. You won’t go wrong with gear from Again Faster.

Value for Money – The Again Faster Fitness Pack is great value with the range of workouts you can do and the quality of the gear.

2. Again Faster – Intensity Pack – $2,883

Package includes:

  • Team barbell 2.0
  • 150 kg set of Camo V2 bumper plates
  • Ab mat
  • Team speed rope
  • 3-in-1 plyo box
  • 24kg Team kettlebell
  • 20lbs Wall ball
  • Squat stand
  • Flat bench
  • GHD v4
  • Pair of Muscle Clamps

Usefulness – The addition of the squat stand, flat bench and GHD make this a good package for medium to advanced workouts and the ability to do 70-80% of WODs as well as strength training.

Quality – Again Faster is one of the top brands in the market supplying many boxes and competitions around Australia. You won’t go wrong with gear from Again Faster.

Value for Money – To be honest, there aren’t a lot of retailers that sell packages with such wide a range of gear. For the amount of gear included and from a quality brand such as Again Faster, the Again Faster Intensity Pack is great value.

1. Again Faster – Competitor Pack – $3,510

Again Faster – Competitor Pack
https://www.againfaster.com.au/home-gym-package-competitor

Package includes:

  • Team barbell 2.0
  • 210 kg set of Camo V2 bumper plates
  • Ab mat
  • Team speed rope
  • 3-in-1 plyo box
  • 24kg Team kettlebell
  • 20lbs Wall ball
  • Squat stand
  • Flat bench
  • GHD v4
  • Home pull up bar v2.0
  • 1.25in wooden rings and straps
  • Pair of Muscle Clamps

Usefulness – This package will enable you to do 90% of Crossfit style workouts and has enough weights to keep even an advanced lifter busy. Provided you have somewhere high enough to mount the rings and the pull up bar, this package gives you pretty much everything you need . Not many, if any, other retailers put together a package like this.

Quality – Again Faster is one of the top brands in the market supplying many boxes and competitions around Australia. You won’t go wrong with gear from Again Faster.

Value for Money – With the quality and range of gear included, its no surprise that Again Faster has taken out the top 3 spots.

To help show the value for money you can get with these packages, here is the cost of a similar package from an entry level brand. Gym and Fitness stock ForceUSA gear. Their equipment is reasonable for a home gym but compared with the brands in our Top 5 which are used in CrossFit competitions and boxes around Australia, they are simply not on the same level.

A Force USA package including barbell, 150kg set of bumper plates, bench and power rack will cost you about $2,500. This is not far off from the Again Faster Intensity pack which includes a lot more equipment and better quality. Although a pull up bar and bench (which the ForceUSA pack includes) is arguably more useful than a GHD, for the price difference, I’d choose the Again Faster pack.

Final Word

With all the home gym equipment packages in our Top 5, keep in mind shipping costs which can be very expensive. It will be cheaper overall if you can select a package from a retailer that is located in your state or city so you can pick it the gear yourself.

To help you with this, we will soon be launching the Fitgear database where you will be able to search, compare and buy gym gear from quality retailers from around Australia.

  • Search for gym gear from retailers located in your state to avoid shipping fees.
  • Compare prices from different retailers. It may be cheaper to put together your own package from different stores especially if they are local.

Lastly, if you’re stuck for ideas for your home gym check out Rogue’s online gallery for some inspiration.

What is the Best Garage Gym Package?


The Essentials

Garage gym packages range from a simple bumper plate and bar set to a fully equipped, $15k ultimate home gym. But what are the essential bits of gear that are a must have in any garage gym package? Looking at the benchmark CrossFit workouts (or WODs), the equipment you’d need to be able to complete these workouts as prescribed are:

  • Olympic barbell (15kg for female / 20kg for male)
  • Bumper plates (recommend pairs of 1.25kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg at least)
  • Rower (Concept2 is the only way to go)
  • Wall ball (6kg for female / 9kg for male)
  • Pull up bar
  • Skipping rope
  • Gymnastic rings
  • Rack (for bench press)
  • Kettlebells (1 pood, 1.5 pood, 2 pood depending on WOD and male/female Rx)
  • Plyo box (3-in-1)
  • Collars
  • Flat bench

Rogue Warrior Package

FitGear Top 5

Based on the essential gear listed above, here is the FitGear Top 5 Garage Gym Packages available in Australia. The Top 5 are based on not the amount of gear they include, but rather:

  • Usefulness – Does the included gear enable you to complete a wide range of workouts, whether it be CrossFit, power lifting, gymnastics, etc?
  • Value for money – Most people are not going to be able to afford a $15k ultimate garage gym package. So does the package provide a good range of gear at an affordable cost?
  • Quality of the gear supplied.

Here are our Top 5


 No. 5:

Again Faster – 1 Athlete Essential  

Price: $1,782

Again Faster - 1 Athlete Essential

Again Faster – 1 Athlete Essential

This package will enable you to do 90% of CrossFit benchmark WODs. Combine that with the quality gear you get from Again Faster at a price less than $2000 is what make this a value for money kit. There isn’t a whole lot in it (which is why it takes our No 5 spot), but it does give you the ‘essentials’.

Contains:

  • AbMat
  • 2x AF 5kg Bumper Plates
  • 2x AF 10kg Bumper Plates
  • 2x AF 15kg Bumper Places
  • 2x AF 20kg Bumper Plates
  • FIG Spec Gym Rings
  • Flat Bench
  • 16kg Kettlebell
  • 24kg Kettlebell
  • Squat Stand
  • 24in plyo box
  • Speed Rope (Revolution)
  • 2x Spring Collars
  • Team Barbell 20kg

 No. 4:

Iron Edge “Andrew/Leah” S4H Home Gym

Price: $6,354

Iron Edge - Andrew/Leah S4H Home Gym
Iron Edge – Andrew/Leah S4H Home Gym

An expensive package for sure. However this package will enable you to do 90% of CrossFit benchmark WODs PLUS a bit more. A torsonator, slosh ball, power bands and a pull up rope are just some of extras that will give you a greater choice of exercises for your workout. Plus, we really like the new Assault Rack Deluxe 3.0. Combine that with the quality, Australian made gear you get from Iron Edge and this would make a very nice home gym. However at over $6k, the high cost is prohibitive for most.

 Contains:

  • 1 x Super-Mini 41″ Power Band (Yellow)
  • 1 x Small 41″ Power Band (Red)
  • 1 x Mini 41″ Power Band (Orange)
  • 1 x 12kg Pro Grade Kettlebell
  • 1 x 16kg Pro Grade Kettlebell
  • 1 x 20kg Pro Grade Kettlebell
  • 1 x Power Rings
  • 2 x 5kg Rubber Weight Plate
  • 1 x Aqua Bag – Bullet (Red)
  • 2 x 2.5kg Rubber Weight Plate
  • 1 x Slosh Ball – Medium (Blue)
  • 1 x Pull-Up Rope – Original
  • 1 x Torsonator – Sleeve
  • 2 x 1.25kg Rubber Weight Plate
  • 2 x 25kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 2 x 20kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 2 x 15kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 2 x 10kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 1 x Massage Ball 
  • 1 x Full Rumble Roller – Extra Firm
  • 1 x Abdominal Mat
  • 1 x Power Bag with Handles – Original
  • 1 x 3-in-1 Plyometric Box
  • 1 x Iron Edge Interval Timer
  • 1 x Lock Jaw Elite Collar (Pair)
  • 1 x Speed Rope – Elite
  • 1 x 20kg Hardened Chrome Barbell (Bearing)
  • 1 x Thera Cane
  • 1 x 20lb Dynamax Ball 14″
  • 1 x Enduro Rope – 15m
  • 1 x 15kg Dead Ball
  • 1 x 25kg Dead Ball
  • 1 x 35kg Dead Ball
  • 1 x Assault Rack Deluxe 3.0 – Multi Grip

No. 3:

Muscle Driver AU – Elite Pack

Price: $2,499 (male) / $2,439 (female)

The Muscle Driver Elite Pack will enable you to do 80% of CrossFit benchmark WODs but in style. No economy gear here (well except for the squat rack, which is called the Econ Squat Rack). For $2.5k you get elite Pendlay bumpers, pro grade kettlebell and even the MDUSA “No Limits” Programmable Interval Timer – better than what you’d fine at some CrossFit boxes. The Pendlay NexGen HD bar is also pretty good (Made in the USA). For premium gear at less than $3k, this package takes our No. 3 spot.

 Contains:

  • 1 x 20kg HD Bar
  • 1 x 20kg Coloured Elite Pair
  • 1 x 15kg Coloured Elite Pair
  • 1 x 10kg Coloured Elite Pair
  • 1 x 24KB Pro Grade Kettlebell
  • 1 x 20lb Rage Ball
  • 1 x Chalk
  • 1 x Wooden Gym Rings
  • 1 x MDAus Econ Squat Rack
  • 1 x Speed Rope
  • 1 x Spring Collars
  • 1 x No Limits Timer
  • 1 x Wall Mounted Pull up System

No. 2:

Iron Edge – “Extreme” S4H Home Gym

Price: $8,629

Iron Edge - Extreme S4H Home Gym
Iron Edge – Extreme S4H Home Gym

The Iron Edge Extreme S4H Home Gym will enable you to do 99% of CrossFit benchmark WODs. The only thing it’s missing are gymnastic rings and a flat bench (I suppose you could lie on the plyo box). But you do get a Concept2 rower, premium bumper plates and pro grade kettlebells, among other things. The Iron Cage is also a favorite of ours. It is the most expensive in our Top 5 (over $8k) but it does have pretty much the best of everything.

 Contains:

  • 1 x 20lb Dynamax Ball 14″
  • 1 x Power Rope – Nylon Casing Regular
  • 1 x Iron Cage 2.0 – Single
  • 1 x 24kg Pro Grade Kettlebell
  • 2 x Small 41″ Power Band (Red)
  • 2 x 1 x Mini 41″ Power Band (Orange)
  • 2 x 1 x Super-Mini 41″ Power Band (Yellow)
  • 1 x Iron Edge Interval Timer
  • 1 x Massage Ball
  • 2 x 25kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 2 x 20kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 2 x 15kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 2 x 10kg Premium Bumper Plate
  • 1 x Lock Jaw Pro Collar (Pair)
  • 2 x 2.5kg Rubber Weight Plate
  • 2 x 1.25kg Rubber Weight Plate
  • 2 x 5kg Rubber Weight Plate
  • 1 x Chalk Bowl
  • 1 x 15kg Dead Ball
  • 1 x C2 Model D Rower
  • 1 x 12kg Dead Ball
  • 1 x Speed Rope – Elite
  • 1 x Full Rumble Roller – Original Density
  • 1 x 20kg Premium Olympic Barbell (Bearing)
  • 1 x 3-in-1 Plyometric Box
  • 1 x 16kg Pro Grade Kettlebell
  • 1 x 8 Pack Weightlifting Chalk

No. 1:

Again Faster – 1 Athelete Platinum

Price: $2,699

Again Faster - 1 Athlete Plainum
Again Faster – 1 Athlete Platinum

The Again Faster Platinum Package takes our No. 1 spot because it ticks all the right boxes in our opinion. The quality of the equipment is excellent, the price is reasonable and you get a wide range of equipment without any non-essential gear that are usually not used very often. The gear provided in this package will allow you to do 95% of CrossFit benchmark WODs, missing only the wall ball and rower. The icing on the cake is the GHD, which on their own already cost $659. So overall, a great package to get a full workout at home and our recommendation.

Contains:

  • AbMat
  • 2x AF 5kg Bumper Plates
  • 2x AF 10kg Bumper Plates
  • 2x AF 15kg Bumper Places
  • 2x AF 20kg Bumper Plates
  • FIG Spec Gym Rings
  • Flat Bench
  • 16kg Kettlebell
  • 24kg Kettlebell
  • Squat Stand
  • Puzzle Plyo Cube 20, 24, 30in
  • Speed Rope (Revolution)
  • Muscle Clamps
  • Team Barbell 20kg
  • AF GHD
  • Home Pullup Bar
  • 2x 15kg Rubber Hex Dumbbells
  • 2x 20kg Rubber Hex Dumbbells

The FitGear Garage Gym Package

So we’ve seen some of best garage gym packages currently available in Australia. The question remains, is it worth buying a pre-made package or is it better to pick the best gear from each store to create your own? How much would such a package cost compared with others available?

*Note: This list is based on prices for male standard weights. Prices would be lower for female standard weights. It also does not include the cost of shipping from different suppliers/stores. 

Here is the FitGear Garage Gym Package where we’ve selected our favorite gear. This package will allow you to do 99% of ALL CrossFit WODs:

Item                                                                           Store                          Price

  • 1 x Concept 2 Rower                                        Concept2                    $1,298.00 
  • Free Standing Single Cell Package                  Aussie Strength          $2,950.00
          • 2 x 5kg Bumper Plates  
          • 2 x 10kg Bumper Plates 
          • 2 x 15kg Bumper Plates 
          • 2 x 20kg Bumper Plates 
          • 2 x 25kg Bumper Plates 
          • 1 x 20kg Premium Olympic Bar
          • Lock Jaw Collars 
          • Single Cell Cross Rig     
  • 2 x 2.5kg Weight Plates                                  Gym and Fitness          $12.00
  • 2 x 1.25kg Weight Plates                                Gym and Fitness          $6.00 
  • 1 x Wooden Gymnastic Rings                         MDAUS                        $119.00 
  • 1 x 16kg Kettlebell Pro Grade                         SPS Gear                    $70.00 
  • 1 x 24kg Kettlebell Pro Grade                         SPS Gear                    $90.00 
  • 1 x 32kg Kettlebell Pro Grade                         SPS Gear                    $110.00 
  • 1 x 9kg Wall Ball Commando Steve                Amart All Sports           $99.00 
  • GHD                                                               Again Faster                $659.00 
  • Flat Bench                                                     Again Faster                $179.00 
  • Climbing Rope – Gibson Polyplus                  Again Faster                $178.00
  • Speed Rope                                                  WOD Life                     $30.00 (approx)
  • 3-in-1 Wooden Plyo Box                                NC Fitness                   $120.00 

Total Price: $5,910.00 

What do you think?

Bumper Plate Price Guide


For those looking to set up their own home gym for CrossFit or power lifting, bumper plates are probably the first thing on your list to get. For most, competition level plates are too expensive for a home gym so standard/economy plates are the way to go. Here is a quick price comparison of some of the entry level bumper plates currently on the market. These have been ranked in order of price. For the purpose of this price comparison, I’ll be comparing the price of one 20kg bumper plate as a standard.

To get more info about a particular brand, click on the picture to go the store’s website.

1. Standard Bumper Plate by IronEdge$75.00 (normally $105.00)

IronEdge Standard Bumper Plate

2. Coloured Bumper Plate by NC Fitness$84.00

NC Fitness Coloured Bumper

3. Black Rubber Bumper Plate by Whitelabel Fitness$85.80

Whitelabel Fitness Black Rubber Bumper Plate

4. SPS Black/Coloured Bumper Plate by SPS Gear$90.00 

SPS Bumper Plate (also comes in black)

5. Coloured Rubber Bumper Plate by Whitelabel Fitness$91.30

Whitelabel Fitness Coloured Rubber Bumper Plate

6. AF Bumper Plate by Again Faster$94.50

AF Bumper Plates

7. Olympic Bumper Black by Renouf Fitness Equipment$99.00

Renouf Black Bumper Plate

8. Econ V2 by Pendlay (MuscleDriver AU)$100.00

Penlay
Econ V2 Pendlay Bumper Plate

Note: Pendlays are also sold at Gym and Fitness and BeFit (SA)

9. Black Series Bumper Plate by IronEdge$110.00

IronEdge Black Series

10. Olympic Bumper Coloured by Renouf Fitness Equipment$119.00

Renouf Coloured Bumper Plate

11. AF Hitemp by Again Faster$137.50

AF BP 25kg
Again Faster HiTemp Bumper Plates

12. G2 Black Bumper Plate by Garage Gym (Aussie Strength) – $150

G2
G2 Bumper Plate (AussieStrength)

Hope this helps you in your search for bumper plates.

 


 

DISCLAIMER:

FitGear – The Gym Gear Guide takes no responsibility for the accuracy of these prices. These are the prices as of the 12 June 2014 and are subject to change at the retailer’s discretion. The information provided here is as a guide only. For up-to-date prices, please visit the retailer specified.

Bumper Plate Guide


What are bumper plates and what are the differences between all the different types of bumper plates on the market? The cost of a 20kg bumper plate can vary from $80 for a basic entry level plate to $320 for elite competition plates. So how do you decide what is best for you?

Again Faster Competition Bumper Plates

What are bumper plates?

It would probably be good at this point to first explain what are bumper plates and why you might need them. The standard weight plates you would find at a commercial gym are made from cast iron. Some are rubber coated to protect them from rusting. If you were to drop these weights onto the floor, these plates would likely crack and the floor would probably end up with a bit of a dent. Bumper plates on the other hand, are made from rubber and are designed to be dropped without breaking.

Bumper plates are traditionally used by Olympic lifters performing lifts such as the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch. These lifts end with the bar and weights above your head. When performing a heavy Clean and Jerk or Snatch, it is not possible nor safe to gently lower the bar to the floor. The safest way is to simply drop the weight. Bumper plates are also all the same diameter (450mm) regardless of their weight.

What are the different types of Bumper Plates?

There are two main types of bumper plates – Economy and Elite or Competition grade. The main differences between them are:

  • the size and material of the solid steel insert,
  • the type of rubber used in their manufacture, and
  • overall build quality and durability.

IronEdge Black Series Bumper Plate

Entry level plates (also called Economy or Standard plates) have a smaller steel insert, usually made from stainless steel. Competition grade plates on their other hand, have a larger diameter steel insert made from zinc coated steel or nickel chromium. The larger insert and stronger steel alloy make competition grade plates much more durable and capable of withstanding repeated drops without coming loose.

SPS Competition Bumper Plate

Competition grade plates are made from a higher quality virgin rubber whilst entry level plates may be made from recycled rubber or contain other additives. The type and quality of rubber used affects the amount of ‘bounce’ the bumper plate has. The better the quality, the lower the bounce making it safer and easier to control when dropped. Better quality rubber is also more resistant to indentation and damage.

What are the differences between stores/brands?

Probably not much in my opinion. Economy bumpers are almost all made in China with the only difference I can really tell is the embossing design on the side of the plates. Similarly for the competition grade plates. However, this is provided you are buying from a reputable retailer. Some may be coloured in accordance with IWF standards to represent the different weights. Others may be plain black. Generally plain black plates are cheaper.

The retailers listed in the Top 10 of our store directory supply their competition grade plates to CrossFit competitions and commercial gyms. Hence you can be more certain of the quality of their bumper plates.

So what is best for you?

If you are looking for bumper plates for your home gym, then economy plates are more than sufficient. IronEdge recommend their standard bumper plates for “athletes that require bumper plates that aren’t going to be recklessly dropped from overhead or abused on a daily basis”. These are perfect for Power lifters, or those that Olympic lift without the need to dump the plates from overhead on each lift.

If you are equipping a commercial gym as a Personal Trainer or CrossFit box, I would recommend investing in premium or competition grade plates. Particularly for the lower weight plates (5kg, 10kg), as they do not last long when dropped on a daily basis. Iron Edge recommends their competition grade plates “if you are completing workouts ‘to time’ (particularly with low weights on the bar ie. 2 x 10kg plates)” as they will have a far greater lifespan for this type of usage.

Our recommendation:

Pendlay Econ V2 Bumper Plates

At FitGear we recommend the Pendlay Econ V2 plates. They are supplied by MuscleDriver Australia which are a very reputable brand originating in the USA. They have a smooth, almost glossy finish compared with other entry level bumper plates and they are very reasonably priced. They “feel” like a high quality bumper plate.

5kg – $40

10kg – $65

15kg – $80

20kg – $100

25kg – $115

The other nice thing about the Pendlays is that they are stocked by local stores, which means you can save on shipping costs. In South Australia, you can find Pendlays at Gym and Fitness and BeFit. MuscleDriver is also currently having a promotion on their Pendlay Econ V2s offering free shipping to all main Australian capital cities.

Power Rack Guide


A friend of mine recently asked me about where to buy a power rack. It was difficult to give him just one answer because it depended on many different factors – budget and space to name a few. So here is my quick guide on power racks to give you an idea of prices and the different range you can get. Then at the end, I’ll give you my recommendation.

There are basically 3 different types of power racks you could get. All can do the basics (squats, pullups, bench press)

  1. Half rack
  2. Power rack 
  3. Cross Rig

1. Half Rack

$770 (+ shipping) – NC Fitness

This is one of the best value half racks that I have seen. It comes with every thing you need (spotting arms, j-hooks and even band pegs). Cons about half racks are that the footprint is very large. In terms of floor space they require, they take up the same if not more floor space than a full power rack. Pros – they are generally cheaper than a similar quality power rack.

A very similar half rack by ForceUSA is sold by Gym and Fitness (click here) which has a couple of stores around Australia (Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast). So you can save on shipping by buying from them directly.

The cheapest half rack I have seen is from SPS Gear.

$450 (+ shipping) – SPS Gear

Although it is much cheaper than the one from NC Fitness, you can tell from the image that the posts are thinner (so not as sturdy), and the J-hook and spotting arms are not as good quality. However, SPS Gear is a good brand, it’s lightweight and much cheaper.

2. Power Rack

There is a huge range when it comes to power racks ranging in price from $300 to $3000. As with anything, you get what you pay for. At the cheaper end, the spotting arms have cheap rubber coatings that peel off under weight, the j-hooks/spotting arms are hard to adjust and you wouldn’t trust putting dropping more than 100kg on it. At the other end of the spectrum, a good power rack will give you confidence no matter what exercise you’re doing on it.

Here are some examples from the low, middle and top end of the range.

Low End - Thin base and posts. Cheap finish.
$399 – Gym and Fitness

Mid Range - Wider base for stability, thicker posts. Generally appears more sturdy.
$895 – BeFit

Top End - Comes with all the bells and whistles.
$2,500 – Aussie Strength

To be honest, I’d avoid all of them. The cheaper ones will leave you wishing you had something better. They are not as sturdy and the pull up bars are generally quite low. So its hard to do pull ups properly. The expensive ones are really expensive. For that amount of money I’d rather get a cross rig. If I didn’t have that kind of money to spend, I’d get a half rack. A half rack from a reputable store/brand will be better quality, you can do all the same exercises with them and they will likely be cheaper.

3. CrossRig / Infinity System / Matrix

Different stores/brands have a different name for it. Rogue calls theirs the Infinity Rig, Iron Edge call theirs the Matrix. Generally, they are known as the Cross Rig They are a rack system that you bolt into the ground and/or wall. They are fully expandable and and you can buy various attachments for them (J-hooks, spotting arms, different types of pull up bars, etc). They are used by CrossFit boxes around the world. Definitely the most versatile option of all three.

$5,360 – Matrix 2.0 from Iron Edge

A basic 2 post, wall mounted rig will cost you from around $500 (not including j-hooks, etc).

$525 – NC Fitness

A basic 4-post, free standing rig will set you back around $1000 (not including j-hooks etc). From there the price goes up as you expand the rig and add more accessories to it. At the FitGear gym we use this one from Aussie Strength.

$1,450 – AussieStrength

Overall CrossRigs are great. They are versatile, very sturdy and they can grow with you. But they are tall. You need to have a space with a tall ceiling to use it. Also you need to be able to bolt it to a concrete floor and/or to a wall. So if you’re in a rental property, probably not an option.


Our Recommendation:

If you’re on a budget, a half rack is definitely the way to go. However, if you have the money to spend, enough space and you are serious about your training, at FitGear we definitely recommend the CrossRig. They are sturdy (provided you buy from a reputable store), versatile (you can do pretty much anything with it), they grow with you and most importantly you will never be left with the feeling that you wish you bought something else.

 

Welcome to FitGear!


FitGear – The Gym Gear Guide is a product comparison guide for gym and fitness gear from around Australia. Our database of gear is growing every day and our mission is to help you find the gear you’re looking for at the best price.

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