Can You Use Bumper Plates For Bench Press?

July 29, 2023

So, you have a home gym stocked with bumper plates and wondering if you should use them for the bench press? Or if you should drop more cash on another set of metal plates.

Using bumper plates for the bench press is fine and only limits the total weight you can load. However, premium bumper plates allow you to load 290 kg, far exceeding most people’s bench press capabilities.

But is there another case where avoiding bumper plates when bench pressing might be important?

Can You Use Bumper Plates For Bench Press?

You can use bumper plates for bench press; that is all I currently use, as that is what I have available. For home gym owners, owning bumper and iron plates is not space or cost-efficient. Instead, having one type of plate you use for all your training is better.

If you have more space and a bigger budget, then having both plate types is no issue. But if you only have bumper plates, then you’re safe to bench press with them.

Why Use Bumper Plates For Bench Press

Bumper Plates For Bench Press

The only reason to use bumper plates when bench pressing is if it’s the only type of plate available. However, there may be a use case if you want to avoid making a lot of noise with rattling iron plates.

For example, if you lived in a small apartment and turned your room into a home gym, you may not want to disturb your neighbors or roommates with loud rattling metal plates. So bumper plates make a good option here.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Bumper Plates For Bench Press

The first reason for not benching with bumper plates is being limited by load. If you use thick hi-temp bumper plates, you can only load up to approximately 160 kg. This is out of reach for many people, but if you’re a very strong bencher, you’ll need to use other Olympic plates.

The second reason is if you’re a competitive Powerlifter. The bench press feels much different when you have thick bumper plates than thin iron plates on the bar. This is further exacerbated if you use a non-Powerlifting barbell with more whip.

You may find you can lift more with bumper plates on these bars because the whip makes benching on a stiff bar with metal plates feel much heavier. This is not what you want building up to competition.


You can use bumper plates for the bench press, especially if you train at home and don’t have regular Olympic plates. Spending more money on plates just to bench press makes little sense. However, if you’re a competitive Powerlifter, benching with iron plates will give you the same feel as competition day.

About the Author

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your training.

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