Yes, better-quality plates are worth paying for.
No, buy the cheapest set because the difference in quality, accuracy etc. is minimal or not important.
After receiving a small but unexpected bonus from work, I'm seriously considering setting up a small home gym. The commercial gym near to me is pretty poor, with no power rack and very few free weights (can't deadlift or squat, and can't bench without a spotter, which isn't ideal as I train alone).
I'm just working out some prices, and I'm in a dilemma. The bare minimum I think I want is a power rack, a bench, a straight bar and some plates. I've more or less decided on the rack and bench, but I don't know whether to go for a cheap set of weights, or to pay a bit more for better quality. On the one hand, a weight is a weight and my muscles don't care about the brand of plates etc., and the cheap set would either save me money or let me buy some "nice-to-have's" (e.g. a pair of dumbbell handles etc.). On the other hand, better quality plates will be more accurate and therefore safer when doing near-maximal weights, plus the set I looked at has a stronger bar and rubber-coated plates (which would save the floor at my home).
Does anyone have an opinion on whether it's worth paying a bit extra for quality when it comes to plates and bar, or is it just throwing money away?
When I started getting all of my stuff together, I was rather set on getting all cast-iron weight, it's something around a dollar per pound. I ended up with vinyl merely because it worked out to be about 33 cents per pound. I would say just buy whatever weight is the cheapest, then pickup a good bar and other things.
Keep in mind, if you have the money to blow after calculating cost for bench, bar, dumbells, rack, etc...go ahead and get the better weights?
Last edited by DarrenEff; 07-06-2004 at 10:31 AM.
The weight between plates can fluctuate. How much? I'm not too sure, up to maybe a pound or so on a 45 maybe even more. This can add up if you are a heavy lifter, but if you are not competing in powerlifting or some other event it doesn't really matter, as you are only after progressive resistance.
Powerlifters can get screwed by this if they are hitting lifts that may be a pound or two over a record, and then when they get to a meet they can't lift as much because their weight set was less.
But to buy calibrated weights is really expensive. A calibrated set of elieko (sp?) can be upwards of a few dollars a pound. They are probably some of the best weights though, as they are one peice.
Even Ivanko weights that have been calibrated are expensive, but they add a lead bar to calibrate, which can fall out from what I've heard through time.
Regular Ivanko weights are even expensive though not calibrated. I'd say just get some run of the mill olympic plates and you'll be fine.
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would "stay away from plastic/concrete weights" be too obvious? Iron can be had for $.50 a pound
id focus on gettin a good bar and equipment, to me weight is weight (unless you need to record the weight you move for pro reasons).
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Thanks for the opinions so far. I probably should have said that even the "cheap" weights I'm looking at are cast iron olympic plates; the more expensive ones are rubber coated and probably a bit more accurate. They're certainly not up to Eleiko / Ivanko standards though.
The only concern I had was if the weights varied amongst themselves. I don't much care if all the 45-pound plates are actually 44 or whatever; I would care if one was 44 and another 46 though, as it's possible the differences could result in an uneven load on the bar (only by a few pounds, but that could be enough on a near-limit exercise).
I'm tending to agree that it's probably not worth the extra money for the better plates, though I may buy the better bar (the cheaper one doesn't look very well knurled, and I don't know how it would stand up to deadlifting once I get past 400). Only remaining problem is that the more expensive plates look so damn sexy .
Check out a local used sports store, you can get good deals there as well. I have been building my gym for years now and have used the cheapest crap all teh way up to Ivanko and can honestly say teh weights don't matter. Hell look at Mike Katz (sp) in pumping iron he worked out in his garage with what we could consider junk. I personally prefer regular old satmped olympic plates. Our local sports store sells them for 1/2 off the second one on occasion, last time they did i bought 900lbs to go with my new sled. Just make sure the plates are flat and watch out for the 300lb sets because many of those I have seen the plates are warped. SG1
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