Why Do Olympic Weight Plates Have Colors?

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Look good in 2019 with the Rogue Color Kg Training 2.0 Plates - high quality bumper plates for training in the garage or home gym. IWF standard color coding is used. Color code is Red = 25 kg, Blue = 20 Kg, Yellow = 15kg, and Green = 10kg

The Olympic bumper plates used in competition weightlifting are colorful – and this is no accident.

This isn’t just so they look nice – these colors serve a useful purpose.

The colors allow someone to quickly and easily visually identify the amount of weight loaded on the bar.

Who sets the standards for these colors? The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) sets the specifications and rules for the equipment used in all Olympic weightlifting competition. The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) requires a similar color code.

And this is where we get the weight plate color coding required by the IWF:The Olympic bumper plates used in competition weightlifting are colorful – and this is no accident.  This isn’t just so they look nice – these colors serve a useful purpose.  The colors allow someone to quickly and easily visually identify the amount of weight loaded on the bar. Find out more about the IWF mandated color coding required on Olympic bumper plates used in competition.

  • Red = 25 kg (55.1 lbs)
  • Blue = 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Yellow = 15 kg (33 lbs)
  • Green = 10 kg (22 lbs)
  • White = 5 kg (11 lbs)
  • Red = 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs)
  • Blue = 2 kg (4.4 lbs)
  • Yellow = 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)
  • Green = 1 kg (2.2 lbs)
  • White = 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs)

How accurate are these weights? The plates used in competition are expensive – because they are high quality – but also because they are calibrated. It’s not uncommon for a competition bumper plate to be +/- 15 grams (0.5 oz) of the claimed weight.

Training plates and economy bumper plates could be significantly off from the rating.

Want to find out more about bumper plates?

In addition to the colors required, the IWF specifies the competition Olympic plates 10 kilograms and heavier must be 450 mm (18 inches) in diameter.

Do you need the proper color coding for gym use?

No, not really. But it does look nice, and it helps ensure you are loading the bar accurately.

Many manufacturers including Rogue Fitness, Fringe Sport, Eleiko, and Uesaka make these products.

What are Olympic Bumper Plates Made Out Of?

How are these plates colored? Is it paint?

No – that would wear off quickly.

Most Olympic Bumper Plates are made from very dense rubber.

The color is part of the rubber itself.

Some are also made from urethane – which is a polymer substance that provides similar performance – but is far more durable (and expensive).

American Barbell is the first company to manufacture a urethane bumper plate. These bumpers are exceptionally durable and have a very low bounce. We use premium German urethane to ensure the highest quality and bright, vibrant color. All markings & logos are color molded into the bumper creating an excellent look and long lasting performance. The 140MM hard chrome hub is a solid one-piece construction and has a chamfer for easy bar loading and reduced bar sleeve wear.

Fringe Sport Donut Bumper Plates

Here’s something a bit ridiculous.

Fringe Sport sells DONUT BUMPER PLATES.

Fringe Sport Donut Bumper Plates - Doughnuts or Donuts?  Either way these are the most unique 10 lb Olympic Bumper Plates you can buy.

Sold as a pair. Each bumper plate is 10 lbs and made from polyurethane with a steel center ring featuring hard chrome plating surface.

Get’em while they are hot.

(These are actual legitimate bumper plates.)

Fringe Sport Donut Bumper Plates
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How to calculate the weight of a fully loaded barbell?

When calculating the fully loaded weight of a barbell – don’t forget that an Olympic bar typically weighs 20 Kg (15 kg for a women’s bar) and the collars (which ensure the plates don’t come off – and are required in competition) weigh 2.5 kg each.

A women’s Olympic bar weighs less than a men’s bar because the shaft is smaller in diameter (typically 25 mm vs 28-29mm) and it is shorter, with less loadable sleeve length.

Find out more about Olympic Barbell specs and options in our Olympic Barbell guide.

What about pounds?

The IWF and IPF require the use of plates in kilogram denominations. But you can buy Olympic plates in pounds as well. For those the color coding is typically as follows:

The Olympic bumper plates used in competition weightlifting are colorful – and this is no accident.  This isn’t just so they look nice – these colors serve a useful purpose.  The colors allow someone to quickly and easily visually identify the amount of weight loaded on the bar. find out more about the color coding used on Olympic sized weight plates often used in competition (Pounds).A Rogue Fitness calibrated steel plate.  The blue color denotes that this is a 45 pound (45 lbs) plate - which is also labeled as such
  • Red = 55 Lbs (24.9 kg)
  • Blue = 45 lbs (20.4 kg)
  • Yellow = 35 lbs (15.88 kg)
  • Green = 25 lbs (11.34 kg)
  • White = 10 lbs (4.54 kg)
  • Blue = 5 lbs (2.27 kg)
  • Green = 2.5 lbs (1.13 kg)
  • White = 1.25 lb (.57 kg)

References

Photo & Image Credits

  • All Rogue Fitness product imagery is property of Rogue Fitness, and provided by Rogue Fitness.
  • Fringe Sport Donut Bumper Plates photos are property of Fringe Sport. We are a Fringe Sport affiliate, so if you order those, we’ll receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
  • American Barbell bumper plate photos are property of American Barbell. We are an American Barbell affiliate, so if you order those, we’ll receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
  • Other imagery is provided by the product manufacturers.


Olympic Weight Plates from Eleiko

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