How Many Bumper Plates Fit On A Bar? (Explained)


Recently I’ve replaced my old iron plates with new bumper plates, and one of the differences I’ve noticed is the thickness dimension which reduces the number of plates you can load on the barbell. Today I will explain how many bumper plates you can fit on the bar, depending on the brand and plate size.

On average, the traditional Olympic size barbell has a 16.25″ sleeve length on each side and can fit between 8 to 30 bumper plates, depending on the plate’s weight and thickness. The thickness dimension of the bumper plates varies across different manufacturers and depends on the plate size and material being used.

I will also explain if all bumper plates fit Olympic bars, and if so, which one should you choose.

How Many Bumper Plates Fit On A Bar?

It goes without saying that bumper plates are designed to last longer and help prevent damage to equipment, walls, or floors, thanks to their resilient rubber coating material.

However, because they get very thick you cannot add as many plates to the barbell as the standard iron plates.

How many bumper plates fit on a bar? As a whole, you can fit anywhere between 10 to 30 bumper plates on the barbell, depending on the weight of the plate. If you’re using 45 lbs bumper plates, you can fit around 10 to 14 plates. On the other hand, if you’re using 25 lbs plates, you can fit 12 to 15 plates.

Thanks to the popularity of sports like powerlifting and CrossFit, there are over hundreds of companies that manufacture Olympic bumper plates and barbells.

Each of them uses different proprietary high-durable rubber materials with internal steel cores, which of course, will affect the plate thickness.

For example, the plates I used in my old gym were from the brand TechnoGym. They’re made of durable, heavy-duty urethane with a patented “no-bounce” system. This means they are not only extremely durable but also have a thinner profile that allows you to fit up to ten 45 lbs plates on the bar on each side.

On the other hand, traditional cast iron weight plates are much thinner (and cheaper), however, they are not designed to be thrown around.

As you can imagine, the main difference between the number of plates that can fit on the bar is down to plate thickness dimension.

What Is The Plate Thickness Dimension?

In short, the plate thickness dimension is the measure of how thick is the bumper plate. Most of the bumper plates have identical diameters, however, the thickness dimensions are not the same. On the other hand, iron plates has often the same thickness and are different in diameter.

Iron plates are ideal for powerlifters who want to add as much weight to the bar as possible.

On average, you can fit 20 to 28 iron plates on a barbell, depending on the weight and thickness dimensions. Some companies like REP fitness or York Barbell offer Olympic weight plates with the same thickness, regardless of their weight.

How Many Rogue Deep Dish Plates Fit On A Bar?

One of the most iconic iron plates made in the USA with the vintage-style look from the 1960s are Rogue’s Deep Dish Plates.

As a whole, the thickness of the classic rouge deep dish plates is 50mm, which means you can fit eight 45lbs plates on the standard 7-foot Olympic size barbell on each side. These classic cast iron plates have a higher surface area that helps minimize the damage when dropped.

You can learn more about rouge deep dish plates in this video review from Gluck’s Gym.

What Size Plates Fit An Olympic Bar?

In general, the size of the plates that fit an Olympic bar is 2.5 lbs, 5 lbs, 10 lbs, 25 lbs, 35 lbs, and 45 lbs. The diameter of the Olympic size plates is the same (2-inch center hole) but the thickness range from 1″ to 2.5″.

How big are bumper plates? As a general rule, the size of the bumper plates will be dependent on the type of the plate. Standard bumper plates that are commonly used in the gym have a 2″ diameter and width between 2.5″ to 3.8″. On the other hand, competition bumper plates use steel discs under a rubber surface, which reduces the thickness of the bar.

Are all bumper plates the same size? Overall, all bumper plates don’t have the same size. Bumper plates have a unified 450mm diameter, which is in line with the current IWF technical and competition rules and regulations. However, the thickness and material are not the same.

Please keep in mind there are over 16 different man-made rubbers that’s been currently used to manufacture bumper plates. Some of the most popular include:

  • Neoprene
  • Nitrile
  • Butyl
  • Silicone
  • Urethane

For example, bumper plates made of urethane are generally harder than standard rubber, which makes them the smallest while providing higher load-bearing capacity. This dramatically improves their durability and lifespan.

On average, the thickness of urethane bumper plates is between 2″ to 2.5″, which allows fitting anywhere from 6 to 8 plates on each end of the bar. Urethane bumper plates are extremely resistant to abrasion, cutting, and tearing, yet still, allow for controllable flexibility.

On the other hand, rubber bumper plates are thicker, with an average width between 3″ to 3.8″, which means you can fit between four to five 45lbs plates on each side.

Also, bumper plates made of natural rubber have a lower resistance to degradation, which means they can break down over time when stored in your basement or garage.

Do all bumper plates fit Olympic bars? In short, all bumper plates fit Olympic bars. Bumper plates are the type of Olympic plates that are either entirely made of rubber, or just use a rubber coating to minimize the damage to wooden platforms, floors, and rubber mats when dropped.

How Many 45 lb Bumper Plates Fit On A Bar?

In general, the number of 45lbs bumper plates that can fit on the bar will depend on the plate material, thickness, and the type of barbell. The length of the men’s Olympic barbell is 220cm, with a sleeve length of 41.5 cm. This can fit seven 45lbs bumper plates on each side, and nine 35lbs plates on each side.

On the other hand, the length of the women’s Olympic barbell is 201cm, with a sleeve length of 32 cm. This can fit five 45lbs bumper plates on each side, and seven 35lbs plates on each side.

Most of the barbells you can find in the gyms have a standard 220cm, which means their loaded sleeve length would match men’s Olympic barbells.

How many weights can a bar hold? On average, a standard 7-foot Olympic barbell can hold a maximum of ten 45lb iron plate weights on each side. However, the maximum weight capacity of high-quality barbells is between 500 to 750 kilograms before it starts to bend or break.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the number of bumper plates that can fit on the bar will be dependent on the plate size and material, as well as the size of the Olympic bar. If you want to add as much weight to the bar as you can, I recommend using iron plates.

These plates have lower durability but offer thinner width, which means you can load much more weight on the bar. On the other hand, a good alternative (slightly more expensive) is the bumper plates made of urethane.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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