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What’s the difference between Standard and Olympic Weight Plates?

June 18, 2023 4 min read

What’s the difference between Standard and Olympic Weight Plates?

As you add equipment to your home gym to make your fitness and strength training routine more challenging, you’ll soon reach a point when you’ll have to choose between Olympic weight plates and standard weight plates. This article will tell you all you need to know about the two different kinds of weights so that you can make the right choice for your home gym. 

Someone who is not clued in to weights might wonder what’s the big deal. If two plates have the same weight, why should anyone pay more for one? It’s a good question, and we will dig into this in some detail.

Choosing the right equipment is important not only for reaching your training goals but also to remain injury free.  

If you are a complete beginner, a total weight of 100 lb will suffice for the first one to three months. But if you are sweating it out regularly, this requirement may increase to 200 lb in just a few months!

Olympic and Standard Weights—the Basics

Standard weight plate bars are 25 mm (one inch) in diameter on the middle shaft and the ends. They are built to hold standard weight plates that have a 1”/25 mm diameter hole. Most standard bars have a limited weight capacity.

Olympic bars are 50 mm (one and 31/32 inches) in diameter. But while the ends of an Olympic bar are 50 mm in diameter, the center portion ranges from 28 mm to 32 mm. These bars can only take Olympic weight plates that are made with 2-inch diameter holes.

There are also specially made 25 mm bars for women.

Remember, there is no point trying to mix and match the two. If you buy standard plates, they are not going to fit Olympic bars.

On the face of it, standard weights look less intimidating than Olympic plates, and beginners gravitate towards them. That plus the affordability adds to their appeal.  

But if you are lifting for the long run, you’ll want to shift to Olympic weights sooner rather than later. Standard weights are arguably more suited to HIIT training classes and aerobics. 

Olympic and Standard Weights—the Differences 

Olympic bars are stronger

Because Olympic bars have twice the thickness of standard bars, they can tolerate a lot more weight before they start bending. Most top-quality bars return to their straight shape once you remove the weight. However, a bending bar leads to unwarranted movement making heavier lifts unnaturally difficult, which is obviously not desirable. 

Olympic plates are more adaptable

If you have the relevant adaptors, Olympic plates can be used on standard bars but the reverse is not true. So, if you have a range of weights to choose from rather than a single set, this is something to keep in mind.

The ‘Grip Plates’ advantage

Many Olympic weight plates come with convenient in-built handles known as ‘grip plates.’ This has two advantages: it makes the plates useful for exercises not involving the bar, and it’s easier to store and move the plates. Usually, you won’t find standard plates in the ‘grip style.’ Olympic weights are much more versatile. You can do many more exercises with them compared to standard weight plates.

For competition, Olympic is the way to go

This one is a no-brainer. If you are working towards weight lifting at a competition, you must go for Olympic bars and weights since these are the only ones used in competitions. If you want to compete with the best, you’ll quickly realize that pro lifters ignore standard weights and bars and train only with Olympic ones.

Managing the spin

The ends of Olympic bars typically revolve, independent of the bar. This helps in reducing torque when you are attempting power cleans, cleans and jerks, snatches or similar lifts where the weights have a tendency to spin. The revolving ends make for a smoother lift by allowing the bar to spin inside the weight. Most standard bars don’t come with this option, so they are prone to warping.

Size matters

The hole size of the 2-inch Olympic plates is double that of the 1-inch standard plates. This means if you take an Olympic plate and a standard plate of the same weight, the former will be slightly larger than the latter. Due to the added thickness, Olympic bars are more stable than standard bars, making plate loading safer and easier. Also, Olympic barbells are more durable than regular barbells. Olympic weights also tend to be precision-tested.

Let’s face it. Eventually you’d want to move on to heavier lifting and increase both the intensity and variety of your workouts. For this, Olympic weights are indispensable. But you can start with standard plates like the Virgin Rubber Grip Plate before making a transition to Olympic plates. On the other hand, if you want to keep your lifting regime light, you can use standard plates for a much longer period.

Where can I buy weight plates?

At MAGMA Fitness, we are passionate about providing our customers with top-quality fitness equipment to take their training sessions to the next level. Our weight training plates, including Olympic and standard weights, are the perfect solution to your fitness needs.

Whether you’re training at a home gym or a specialized fitness facility, our gym weight plates will give your practice a big boost. Our plates range in weight from 5 to 45 pounds to accommodate your fitness plan. 

MAGMA weight plates are available in 1- and 2-inch grip plates categories.

For instance, the MAGMA Virgin Rubber 2-inch Olympic Grip Plates are made of solid cast iron with a machined hole and a durable, black baked enamel finish. Each weight has grip holes that provide a secure grip and makes carrying these weights easy and efficient.  

We also have a selection of CAP Barbell weights that are available as individuals or pairs of sets for sale.

A leader in high-quality fitness products, MAGMA Fitness sells a whole range of high-quality fitness equipment including dumbbells, benches, weight plates and resistance bands. We offer excellent customer service and believe in building long-term relationships with our customers. 

Our products are available for shipping and warehouse pickup, with fast shipping.