Some people say “weight is weight,” but I kinda disagree.
Sure, the point in all this lifting stuff is to load up weight and lift it repeatedly, and you can certainly get strong regardless…
But not all weight is created equal.
There are, among others, different sizes, different materials, different bounces, and different weight tolerances.
All of these variables have an impact to some degree on performance.
Not to mention different aesthetics, which we all know is important for those Instagram gains.
So no, weight is not just weight, quite literally in some cases.
With that, let's talk about some of the best bumper plates currently on the market…
Rogue Competition Bumpers
Before jumping into the review, I think it's important to note that competition bumpers are not necessary in many cases.
If you like bumpers, however, and anything on the following list resonates with you, then you should consider purchasing competition bumpers:
- Weight Tolerance is important to you – You're either a competitive lifter or just someone who demands that your plates have a very tight tolerance.
- Weight Capacity is important to you – Bumpers are thicker than iron, and some bumpers are thicker than others. With Hi-Temps for instance, you'll be limited to basically 405 pounds on the bar. Competition bumpers have a thinner profile, which means you can load more weight (over 600 pounds) on the bar.
- Dead bounce is important to you – Sick of chasing your barbell off the platform, or having your deadlift bar path thrown off? Competition bumpers have very little bounce.
- Durability is important to you – Competition bumpers are extremely durable. While I wouldn't recommend outfitting an entire CrossFit box and slinging them thousands of times daily (stick to Hi-Temps for that), they are built to handle a lot of abuse.
- Olympic Weightlifting is important to you – If you're into general fitness, CrossFit, or powerlifting, there are other options out there that may be more cost efficient. That's not to say the Rogue competition bumpers aren't great for all of those though, because they absolutely are. I like to powerlift personally, and I use/love these plates. That said, these plates are ideal for olympic weightlifting. In fact, they are being used by the USA Olympic Weightlifting team inside and outside of competitions.
- Sexy Plates are important to you – Lets face it, competition bumpers are sexy as hell. If there was a bumper plate magazine, they would be the centerfold… the ‘platemate' if you will.
Ok, moving right along then…
The Rogue competition bumpers are a higher-end offering in the competition bumper plate market. The quality is noticeably strong and the price point, while expensive compared to other bumper plate styles, is far less than the Eleikos and Uesakas of the world.
What you're getting is a very high-performing plate that will stand the test of time while looking beautiful the entire way.
So basically Christie Brinkley.
Rogue Competition Bumpers = Christie Brinkley.
That's logic right there.
Anyway, let's break this review down.
When you get down to it, accuracy/weight tolerance is one of the most important qualities a plate can have. It can be the difference between hitting a big PR and bailing because the weight isn't evenly distributed. I don't know about you, but that's one variable I simply won't accept in my training. I already have to account for me loading the damn barbell accurately. If I miss a lift because I put a 10 lb change plate on one side and a 5 lb change plate on the other, shame on me.
Yes, I've done that, and I bet you have too.
Face it, folks… gym math is hard.
That's why I trust the manufacturers to produce a place that is highly accurate. For when I do actually load the bar correctly, I don't have to worry about anything but my form, my feels, and what my Instagram followers think of my completely mediocre abilities.
I'm happy to say that the Rogue competition bumpers are extremely accurate. I have weighed each of mine and they were all right on the nose.
Your plate's, dare I say it… girth, is an important distinction when making your purchasing decision. The thickness essentially affects three things:
1.) How much weight you can load onto the bar.
2.) How much space your plates take up on or in your plate storage.
3.) How awkward it is to move around.
Have a look at the following chart, which highlights the differences between some of the more popular bumper plates available. You will notice that the Rogue competition bumpers offer some of the thinnest profiles around.
So basically you get to load more weight, save room in your space, and avoid some slight annoyance when moving the plates.
Nobody likes chasing an errant barbell around the platform. One of the leading causes of such an unfortunate circumstance is bouncy plates.
You can tell a lot about a plate's quality by its durometer rating, which measures the hardness of the plate's material. I briefly mentioned this in my Ultimate Guide to Building a Powerlifting Home Gym article, but the higher the number (max of 100), the lower the bounce. The Rogue competition bumpers have a durometer rating of 94, meaning the bounce is very low… consistently low in fact. Compare this rating to the ~75 that traditional Hi-Temp/crumb bumpers offer, and it's easy to see the difference.
There's a reason world class weightlifters lift with dead-bounce plates. They just perform better.
While we're talking about durometer ratings, it should be mentioned that there is a direct correlation between durability and that rating. A higher durometer rating indicates a higher-density rubber, which increases the life of the bumper. A lower rating means the bumper is more susceptible to breaking down over time.
In conjunction with their high durometer rating, the Rogue competition bumpers (and other similar comp plate manufacturers) use steel disc inserts, which adds to the overall durability profile of the plates. The inserts are further secured with a 6-bolt locking system. I have not experienced the slightest amount of loosening in these bolts, nor have I heard of many issues elsewhere. Rest assured that if they do happen to become loose though, you can simply tighten them down with an Allen wrench.
Another aspect that I think makes a lot of sense in the durability department is that Rogue has created a raised rubber flange on the outer band of the disc insert. This prevents the steel discs from hitting/rubbing against each other when loaded on a bar, sitting on storage, etc…
Unless you're dropping your comp plates off the third floor balcony, running them over with your vehicle, or otherwise mistreating them, they will remain in excellent condition for a very long time.
I've been using my comp plates 4-5 days a week consistently for over a year and they perform exactly as they did out of the box.
My goodness these plates look awesome.
The color scheme is of course consistent with IWF guidelines as you would expect with comp bumpers. The plates have a matte finish, but with enough sheen to really make the colors pop. They are very vibrant and, quite frankly, beautiful (remember, Christie Brinkley).
The steel disc inserts are chrome-plated, which also creates a more polished look. Most competitors at lower price points offer zinc-plated, which still looks badass, but not as cool as the chrome in my opinion.
The raised lettering produces a really nice effect and just looks like a high-end finish. Several lower priced competitors do not offer raised lettering, but rather just painted lettering. The contrasting white lettering further makes the plates pop.
The raised lip on the outer edge of the rubber frames the plate nicely and also provides a convenient way to grab the plates more easily.
All in all, I think the Rogue competition bumpers are some of, if not the best looking bumper plates on the market.
Rogue Competition Bumpers – Pros and Cons
- These bumpers are extremely accurate in weight with a very tight tolerance.
- They have a very thin profile for bumpers, meaning you can load up more weight, save space, and move them more easily.
- With one of the highest durometer ratings available, you're working with a very low bounce.
- Built to be extremely durable, these plates have a very long life expectancy.
- Their intelligent design reduces metal-on-metal contact.
- A raised lip around the border makes gripping the plates easier.
- Aesthetically, they are top of the line, with great color, raised and easy to read lettering, and a beautiful chrome-plated steel insert.
- Competition plates aren't cheap, and the Rogue competition bumpers are no exception. You get what you pay for; however, which is a very high quality plate. Rogue does typically put these on sale through ‘Hundo Pricing' on Black Friday. When combined with free shipping, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars depending on how much weight you purchase.
- The packaging could be slightly improved. The staples Rogue uses to secure the box may leave a small indent in the rubber. This is a very rare issue from what I understand, and not one of major concern.
When you boil it all down, the pros far outweigh than cons. The reality is there just aren't that many drawbacks with these plates. They're expensive, but that's to be expected if you're looking to enter into the competition market.
Overall, these are an extremely solid choice that I would recommend without hesitation.
If you have any questions on these plates or comp plates in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own these plates and want to chime in on your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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The bar is loaded,