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Olympic Weight Sets

Browse our range of Olympic Weight Sets. Low prices and fast delivery on many items.
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Buyers guide to Olympic weight sets and packages

Buying Olympic weight plates

When looking to buy weight plates, you should check that you are ordering the right sized plates for the bar you are using. Standard plates will have a hole that is 1” in diameter whereas Olympic plates have a hole that is 2” in diameter. You may see some people refer to an Olympic plate as a standard Olympic plate – this can be confusing but they are also considered as Olympic plates. If you have an Olympic bar and you are looking to buy the weight plates separately then remember to buy plates with a 2” hole. You could also look to purchase an adapter to allow you to load Olympic plates onto a standard bar, if you so wished.

What material should you choose?

Olympic plates are available in a number of different materials. This really comes down to cost. Cast iron plates are generally the cheaper end of the market whereas rubber bumper plates are the more expensive end of the market. Steel plates sit somewhere in the middle and are a popular choice amongst British manufacturers. The nice thing about steel plates is that they can be powder coated and personalised (a specific design or logo can be printed onto them, for example). One thing you will want to consider when choosing the material for your weight plates is the intended use. If you are intending on using the weights on a hard floor such as wood or concrete then you will want bumper plates, or our more cost-effective rubber coated Olympic plates. Dropping cast iron or steel plates onto wood or concrete will likely damage the plates and/or the floor.

What does machined or milled mean?

This comes down to the manufacturing process and will also affect the price you pay. Olympic plates that have been machined or milled have a better tolerance to the intended weight and are 1 to 2% accurate to the given weight. Our steel weight plates have a tolerance of 1%. Plates that are not machined or milled have a tolerance of up to 5% so could be 5% heavier or 5% lighter. If you use the same weights each week and are progressively overloading in the normal way then this isn’t so much of a problem, however if you are looking for competition level weights then you will want these to be more accurate.

Handles on weight plates

Another option available to you is whether you want to choose weights with handles or simple flat plates. Handles are good for, well, handling the plates but due to the missing material at the position of the handles will need to be thicker in order to make up for any weight lost due to the handle cut-outs. Plates with handles are also more labour intensive at the manufacturing stage so will likely cost more than plates without handles.

Maintenance of weight plates

Something you need to consider when choosing the type of plates to buy is how you are going to store them. If you’re home gym is inside your property or an insulated garage then this isn’t so much of an issue as you can control the humidity of the environment more easily. If you store cast iron or steel plates in a colder, more humid environments (such as outdoors or in an uninsulated garage) then they will likely succumb to the laws of chemistry with the effect of water and oxygen around them and begin to rust. Fortunately, there is a solution – if you coat these types of weights with a finishing paint or powder coating then they will be resistant to harsher environments.

Buying an Olympic bar

Purchasing your weight plates is only the first part of your Olympic lifting set. You will also need an Olympic barbell. There are a few things you need to consider when looking at bars, that is whether you want a standard bar with a 1” diameter or an Olympic bar with a 2” diameter. For Olympic weight plates you will need an Olympic bar. Olympic bars can also be referred to as powerlifting bars (which may also have a 2” diameter) or a true Olympic bar. The main differences are the way these bars are built for their intended use. If you are a powerlifter looking to find a solution for deadlifts, squats, bench presses and other similar movements then the types of bars you want tend to be sturdier with rougher knurling for improved grip. If you are looking to buy a barbell for true Olympic lifting such as the snatch or the clean and jerk then the type of bar you want will have softer knurling so that you are less likely to tear your skin whilst transitioning between the movements of these lifts.

What is bar strength and why does it matter?

Bar strength, also known as yield strength, is the weight load that the bar can withstand without permanently bending. When bars are tested for yield strength, they are held on place whilst weight is adding to each side until the bar bends. In a real life situation, movements will be fluid and the bar will be under extra strain from momentum so you should always look for a bar that has a higher maximum load than you intend to use with it. Another measure of bar strength is known as tensile strength. This is the amount of force required to break the bar whilst pulling on it. This type of test is performed under dynamic conditions so is a lot more accurate.

Finishing options on a barbell

The finish of a barbell isn’t as important to consider as it is for the weight plates but you should be aware of a few items. Bare metal bars such as mild steel have a nicer feel and grip to them than coated bars but will require more looking after. If you have a bare metal barbell in a cold humid environment then it too will begin to rust, just like any bare metal would. There are a number of options for this. Coating the bar in zinc will make it much more resistant to rust. Due to the atomic make-up of zinc it is 30 times more resistant to rust than other metals such as iron or steel. Another option is to coat the bar in a chrome finish. This keeps the metallic shine whilst also protecting against rust. The downside to chrome is that it can be harder to grip than bare metal. Good quality chrome bars are still great for gripping.

Putting it all together

That’s exactly what we’ve done in this section of our website. If you are looking to build your own package then you can do so by choosing one of our Olympic barbells and selecting the weight plates you require but the barbell sets on this page are also great for most people.