When you set up a home gym you’re probably going to need a rack of some sort, a bench, some barbells and dumbbells and then of course you’ll need weight plates. The ones I went for were Bodypower Rubber-Encased Tri-Grip Olympic Weight Plates and here’s my brief review of them.
What I Have
I think I bought a starter set back in 2016, although for the life of me I can’t remember, but I’ve certainly expanded the set with individual weights since. So now I have:
- 2 x 25kg
- 4 x 20kg
- 4 x 15kg
- 4 x 10kg
- 8 x 5kg
- 4 x 2.5kg
- 4 x 1.25kg
Which gives me a grand total of 285kg (627lbs) and that’ll easily be enough to handle my needs now that I’m 54 years old. Indeed, it would have been enough in my younger days when I was lifting far heavier.
Bear in Mind
It’s worth bearing in mind that rubber-encased weights are of a slightly larger diameter and they’re slightly thicker than weights without the rubber-encasing. With barbell work this is irrelevant but it’s a consideration for dumbbell work.
If I put 10kg rubber-encased weights on a dumbbell, I find they are sometimes a bit big and can come into contact with my forearm during certain exercises. This is not the case with 10kg weights that are not rubber-encased (although that sort of thing would kick in with 15kg standard weights).
It’s not a huge inconvenience but I have 8 x 5kg weights so I can use those rather than 4 x 10kg on exercises that prove troublesome.
Also remember you’ll need at least 4x any plate you want to use with dumbbells.
The Advantages of Rubber-Encasing
There are two advantages of rubber-encased weights. First of all they protect the weights a bit more and you should get a longer life out of them than you would with standard plates.
The most important advantage for me, though, is that they’re quieter. I live in an ten-apartment complex and I’m conscious of not disturbing my neighbours. I can’t remember the last time I dropped the bar but if I did so the sound would be deadened a bit by the rubber.
The main reason though is it’s quiet to load the plates. Two plates clank together when you slide one on next to the other and the rubber-encasing reduces the noise a bit.
If truth be told I probably wouldn’t disturb my neighbours too much with standard metal plates, but I thought I’d at least make the effort to be a bit quieter.
The Advantages of Tri-Grip
Having three triangular slots in the weight just makes them easier to handle and lift around. This comes into its own more with the heavier weights of course. You could easily live without Tri-Grip (and I’ve done so in many gyms) but it just makes things a little more comfortable.
I took some random weight plates and decided to weigh them. Of the heavier weights the two 25kg plates weighed 23.6 and 22.6Kg respectively, which is within an accuracy of 10%. The two 10kg plates weighed 8.8 and 10.2Kg respectively, which is within an accuracy of 12%.
However, I weighed these very unscientifically. I stepped on my bathroom scales both with and without the weight plate in my hand and noted the differences. My bathroom scales are fairly old and I’d hope a more accurate measuring method would prove better accuracy for these plates.
I could weigh the smaller plates a bit more accurately on a set of electronic scales. Two of the 5kg plates came in at 5.027 and 5.041kg respectively, which is within an accuracy of 0.82%. Two of the 1.25kg plates came in at 1.21 and 1.253Kg respectively, which is within an accuracy of 3.2%.
Make of that what you will but please bear in mind my ham-fisted measurement technique for the heavier plates.
These Bodypower Rubber-Encased Tri-Grip Weight Plates have served me well and stood up to over two years’ of workouts with barely a mark on them.
Even having pointed out the pitfalls of my measurement technique for the heavier plates, I worry a little that they’re 10 to 12% out. 5% is the maximum I’d like to see for non-competition plates.
Would I buy these again? Probably not. I’d certainly go Tri-Grip but probably not rubber-encased. I think I worried too much about noise in the apartment I live and that was probably unwarranted.
I wish Bodypower did 1Kg and 0.5Kg weights too but I had to go elsewhere for them.
Yet they’re still decent enough plates (assuming the inaccuracies are due to my measurement technique) and if you want a quieter workout they’ll probably be a fine addition to your workout equipment.