Numerous questions often arise when comparing weightlifting equipment, including quality standards, pricing, durability and warranty information.
FAQ: What should I look for in a quality weightlifting bar?
Answer: It's important to know the age and strength of your athletes as well as your bar's intended use. Our certified powerlifting bars are much different than our Certified Olympic weightlifting bars. Although many bars look alike, not all bars perform alike. A quality powerlifting bar should be stiff and show minimal sway with Oscillation with heavy loads. Quality Olympic weightlifting bars should have the ability to bend and recover as well as the desired and consistent rotational movement needed with Olympic style movements. All bars should be safe, durable, low maintenance and deliver consistent performance.
A lot of bars look good in a catalog. The true test is the reputation they earn over a sustained period of heavy use. An example of this is the fact that our competition and training bars have been used at the Olympic Training Center since 1996 with no bar failures and no maintenance. Many purchasers are tempted to buy the least expensive bar they can find. They soon realize, after purchasing several replacement bars, they could have saved money by purchasing a quality Olympic bar from the start.
FAQ: I have heard a lot about PSI ratings on weightlifting bars. Should I look for a certain standard or number when purchasing a bar?
Answer: A number of manufacturers that do not have IWF or IPF certified bars often make the claims about how high of a PSI rating their bars are. This information is basically useless. PSI stands for "per square inch" and is used in measurements such as pressure tolerance in metal fatigue tolerance testing. There is no universal standard measurement of PSI to determine a bars safety or performance. Many manufacturers would have you believe that the high the PSI rating the better and safer the bar. High PSI ratings do not necessarily tell you important information on the yield and recoverability of a bar with repeated use on refraction and return to true straightness. More important, PSI ratings often do not correlate to the tested point of vulnerability on a weightlifting bar. You don't want to test the strongest point on a bar, you want to test the weakest (i.e. middle of the bar vs. the inside connection point of the sleeve) and see how that weakest point will hold up under repeated use. Again, knowing your bars' intended use is important and knowing how long that bar will hold up under repeated use.
A powerlifting bar is "stiffer" than an Olympic weightlifting bar, due to the performance desires of that sport. The "stiffness" of a bar is largely controlled by the thickness or diameter of the bar. This is why the diameter of a powerlifting bar is usually greater than that of an Olympic weightlifting bar.
FAQ: Is the spin or rotation of an Olympic bar something that is important to look at when purchasing an Olympic weightlifting bar?
Answer: This is a little bit of a trick question. Spin or rotation is controlled largely by the internal engineering components of each bar. Needle bearing systems are often used incorporated. The number of needle bearing points will often determine the speed of a rotation of pivot point. Our certified competition and training bars use both bearing technology as well as a patented "dry metal" rotation system. This gives a consistent and controlled rotational feel to the bar. It also allows our bars to work with no maintenance on the internal movement components.
Determining purchasing an $800 Olympic bar by spinning it is much like purchasing a car by kicking the tires. The debate over which system is best is much like debating which car company is better. If you're a Ford guy you will like Fords. If you're a Dodge guy you will probably like Dodges. A better standard is looking for an IWF certified bar. All the IWF certified barbell companies have quality bars you can trust. Don't be fooled by those companies that claim they have bars that have met IWF certified standards - it's not true.
FAQ: I've purchased some "less expensive" bumper plates in the past and they lasted about six months before they began to fall apart. What assurance do I have that?
Answer: This is a question we hear a lot. The simple answer is our warranty. Most of our bumper plates have a 5 YEAR WARRANTY. This is perhaps the best in the industry. But perhaps the better proof is looking a the customers we have served and the reputation or plates have earned. Some of our plates are still in daily use after 12-15 years of service.
Customers are amazed that with proper cleaning, the plates look brand new. We want your facility not only to look good on day one, but for years to come.
FAQ: I've heard some information on durometer measurements and their impact on selecting bumper plates. Could you explain?
Answer: Durometer measurements are used in the manufacturing process of the rubber portion of the bumper plate. Rubber durometer measurements are done on a 0-100 scale. For practical purposes these range from 30-90. The lower the number the softer and the higher the number the harder. for a bumper plate, the best range is about 78-80. If a bumper plate is too low on it's durometer is becomes like a bouncing rubber ball. If it above 80 it become rock hard and can potentially damage platforms as well as being very loud when it is dropped.
Just remember that the durometer measurement is like Goldie Locks and the porridge - not too hot, not too cold, just right.
FAQ: I'm thinking about getting custom lettering done with my bumper plates, is there anything I should be aware of?
Answer: We were one of the first companies that began to offer custom lettering on bumper plates. To be honest, we made a lot of mistakes in trying to come up with a system that is unique to the needs of lettering on rubber surfaces.
Bumper plates have a couple of unique challenges that you don't encounter with lettering systems on urethane style plates. The first is the material itself. The rubber used in bumper plates is somewhat of a "live" material. There are gases that are constantly emitted out of the rubber making it a challenge for any material to effectively bond to the surface. Secondly is the movement and use of the bumper plates does not make it conducive for post application lettering systems? As a bumper plate is dropped, the rubber moves in all three X/Y/Z directional planes. The lettering material must be able to absorb these forces or it will crack. This is one of the big differences in doing lettering on urethane plates vs. bumper plates. Since urethane plates are not designed to be dropped, you do not encounter the challenges of movement distortion of surface materials.
This is why silk screening or traditional paint color infills do not last. With our lasering method we use a special dye solution that allows movement with the rubber as it displaces. We are the only company using this process with our lasering system.
In addition, we have recently developed a new system call "rubber infusion lettering" (RIL). This unique, patent pending system, allows us to infuse color rubber lettering or logo into the rubber mold at the time the bumper plate is made. This is the best permanent fix or solution to lettering on bumper plates. Since the rubber is part of the plate, it cannot rub off, peal, or fade. This system will revolutionize how lettering is done on bumper plates.