Bumper plates are not required for performing deadlifts. That said, they are highly recommended. Bumper plates are good for deadlifts because they are the same diameter, regardless of weight. This allows you to deadlift with the bar at the optimal height even at lower weights. You can use iron plates to deadlift, provided you lift carefully to prevent damage to the floor, lifting platform, and weights. If you are using small-diameter iron weights, set them on blocks to achieve the correct height for deadlifts and prevent injury.
Why Are Bumper Plates Good for Deadlifts?
Bumper plates are the best choice for deadlifts because every bumper plate, no matter how much it weighs, is the same diameter. This means that the barbell will be 8.75 inches (22 cm) from the floor even if you are lifting with weight plates under 45 pounds (20 kilos) on the barbell. This is important because starting a deadlift lower than this height can lead to poor form and injury. When using iron weights, plates under 45 pounds are smaller in diameter, making it a bad idea to perform deadlifts with them unless you elevate the weights.
- Bumper plates are the same diameter, regardless of weight. This leads to safe form regardless of the amount of weight on the bar.
- You are very unlikely to damage bumper plates from dropping the barbell during a deadlift.
- Bumper plates are less likely to damage the floor or lifting platform than iron weights.
- Deadlifting with bumper plates is much quieter than using iron weights.
Bumper plates are also far more durable than iron plates. If for any reason you drop a bar loaded with bumper plates during your deadlift, the rubber plates are meant to absorb this impact, including hard surfaces like concrete. On the other hand, iron plates can chip or break when dropped. Also, iron plates are far more likely to damage the floor than bumper plates. If you’re working out in a commercial or home gym where noise levels are a concern, bumper plates lead to a much quieter lift compared to the clanking of iron plates.
Is Deadlifting With Bumper Plates Easier?
Whether you’re deadlifting a barbell loaded with iron plates or rubber bumper plates, you’re still moving the same amount of weight. So, no, deadlifting with bumper plates does not make the exercise easier. It does however make the exercise simpler. Here’s why:
- No blocks required: You can deadlift lower weights for warm-ups or your main exercise without using something to elevate the weights.
- Deadlift without fear: Although you should always control the descent of your deadlift, with bumper plates you don’t have to worry about damaging the plates or floor by setting down the bar too quickly after a rep.
So, while bumper plates make it so you can focus on the exercise without worrying about extra equipment or damaging your plates, they won’t make the actual lift easier to perform. Heavy weight is heavy weight, regardless of whether the weight plate is rubber or iron.
Can You Use Iron Plates for Deadlifts?
You can safely and effectively deadlift with iron plates. In fact, many powerlifters and professionals deadlift using only iron plates. If you are deadlifting with iron plates, just make sure to elevate weights that are smaller in diameter than 45-pound plates. A bar loaded with 10-pound or 25-pound plates should be prepared with blocks, bricks, or another riser underneath the weights. This will raise the barbell to the optimal height for a safe deadlift.
- Iron plates are perfectly acceptable to use for deadlifts.
- When you deadlift with iron plates smaller than 45 pounds, put a block underneath the weights on each end to raise the barbell height at least 8.75 inches (22 cm) off the ground.
- Make sure to lift on top of heavy-duty rubber mats or a lifting platform to prevent the iron plates from damaging the floor.
- Carefully set the bar down each rep, to prevent damage to the floor and the weights, as well as to reduce noise.
When deadlifting with iron plates it’s essential to use these rubber mats or a lifting platform. This will keep the weights from damaging the floor and vice-versa. You will also have to carefully control the weight as you set the bar down. Dropping a barbell loaded with iron weights too quickly can create an extremely loud noise or even crack a plate.
Can You Use Regular Plates with Bumper Plates?
You can load both iron weights and bumper plates on the same barbell. If there simply aren’t enough bumper plates to achieve the weight you want to lift, mix bumper plates and iron plates. The bumper plates will still provide the benefits of increasing durability and reducing noise when mixed with iron.
- It’s OK to mix iron plates and bumper plates on the same barbell.
- You can even combine large-diameter bumper plates with small-diameter iron plates.
- If you are mixing large bumper plates with small iron plates, make sure to use at least one 45-pound bumper plate one each side. Thinner bumper plates may crack if they are forced to carry the load of small iron plates.
It’s also alright to load a bar with large bumper plates and a few smaller-diameter iron plates. Just make sure not to overload the bar if you are using light bumper plates. For instance, putting a skinny 10-pound bumper plate on the barbell, followed by a 25-pound iron plate is a bad idea. The impact of setting down that heavier weight will strain the thin bumper plate and may crack it. Put at least one 45-pound bumper plate on the barbell before adding small-diameter iron weights.
Can You Deadlift With Normal Weights?
Because deadlifts move the weights a relatively short distance from the floor and the weighted barbell is not purposefully dropped at the end of the exercise, you can use iron plates for deadlifts. However, if you do drop the bar at the top of a rep or set it down hard, be prepared that there may be damage to the floor or the iron plates. This is why bumper plates are the preferred choice for deadlifts.
- You can perform deadlifts without using bumper plates if you are careful.
- Bumper plates make deadlifts safer because you can drop the weighted bar if need be.
- When lifting with small-diameter iron plates, be certain to place the weights on top of blocks to elevate them to standard height.
You should not deadlift a barbell from the floor if it is loaded with small-diameter iron plates, such as 25s, 10s, or smaller. The barbell should start at the height of a 45-pound plate, regardless of how much weight has been loaded on. If you are lifting with lower weight, place blocks under the weights so you can start each deadlift from the appropriate height.