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  1. #1
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    Guess I'm Going To Need New Iron Sooner Than I Thought

    Years ago I bought a set of DP Challenger Orbitron bar and weights from a neighbor down the street for a whoppin' $10. In building the home gym after my gym closed its doors I'd thought they'd hold me for a while.

    I guess not. Three days ago I did two sets of Romanian Deadlifts with over half the weight in plates loaded and that wasn't particularly challenging. In fact: Not challenging at all. Last night, for a test, I quickly loaded-up all but the pair of 1kg plates and did three deadlifts. Wasn't difficult at all. So I added-up all the plates. 97 lbs. The 1 in. bar weighs very little.

    So it looks like it's going to be new iron sooner, rather than later. I'll exhaust these w/in the next month, easily.

    Now to decide to try to find what I want used or buy new. New and shiny is nice, but I can do used for about half the cost. I'm thinking 155 lbs. of plates (2 x 45, 2 x 25, 2 x 10, 4 x 5, and 2 x 2.5) plus the bar, 200 lbs total, should do me for now, and provide 5 lb. increments all the way up.

    I don't have a squat rack or a rack for the bench; so squats, chest presses, etc. are out. I'm wondering if I shouldn't get a curl bar instead of a straight Olympic bar? Easier on the joints for curls, right? Can you effectively do deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and front squats with a curl bar?
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  2. #2
    Multi-Platinum User radrd's Avatar
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    If you're a male of average build, you'll find that you deadlift more than 200 lbs very quickly. I'd get a 405 lbs set with bar and plates. You're going to want a 2" olympic general purpose training or power lifting bar. 28.5 mm or 29 mm diameter. You don't want a curl bar for anything other than bicep and tricep work.

    Bells of Steel seems to be a good bang for buck these days and is having sales, but Rogue is having their annual Matte Black Nov sale too and they would be my choice for made in USA. Titan, Rep Fitness, Fringe Sport, Strength Co, and American Barbell, are all other companies you can look at.
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  3. #3
    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    but Rogue is having their annual Matte Black Nov sale too and they would be my choice for made in USA.
    ^^^Defnitely this, I'm tempted to pick up a few more plates for the 5 for $5 shipping deal.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    Hi radrd. Thanks for the follow-up and info.

    I'm both space- and finance-limited at the moment. So, even buying used plates at $1/lb., 405 lbs. of plates is kind of out-of-the-question right now. I can always add more plates when I've made some space. At which point I'll certainly want a plate tree, too.

    I do like doing curls and reverse curls, so maybe I'll get both bars. Curl bars aren't expensive.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    Man, I would never have expected plates, of all things, to be so difficult. I've been researching my backside off on these things. (Sure wish I'd known, a week ago, I was gonna do this, because I could've gotten all the commercial gym plates I wanted for $1/lb.)

    So, reviewing radrd's suggestions and other stuff I've found...

    I believe I'd really prefer hand-grip plates for ease of handling and being easier to use, as single plates, for off the bar.

    Bells of Steel

    Their Mighty Grip plates look good, but are not machined, so bar fitness might be erratic. Their machined plates are not hand-grip.


    Rogue Fitness

    Has nothing that interests me.


    Titan Fitness

    LB Black Grip Plates look good, but few reviews. Free shipping. Fits budget.


    Rep Fitness

    Rubber Coated Olympic Plates look good. Free shipping. Fits budget. This may be my best bet from a known, reputable mfgr.


    Fringe Sport

    No grip plates.


    Strength Company

    No grip plates.


    American Barbell

    Looks good, but of stock on nearly all rubber grip plates.


    XMark

    After a lot of research I bought my weight bench from XMark. Very nice bench! Their plates look good, and are economical, but they don't specify tolerances and I've seen too many reports of rubber separation.


    Vulcan Strength

    Vulcan is where I bought my bar from. Their rubber-coated Olympic Weight Plates look good, but they don't appear to be applying their "Black November 10% Off" pricing to individual plates, and their smallest set is more than I need or want right now. Nor do they mention free shipping. So they may have priced themselves out of my budget.


    Body Solid

    Don't know how I left these guys out. (Thanks, radrd!) I have a Body-Solid back hyperextension bench. (Actually drove five hours, round-trip, to get this particular back hyper bench.) It's a terrific bench.

    Their Gray Grip Olympic Plates are economical. Unclear if they're machined, but the 2% or better tolerance suggests they are. I actually like the gray hammertone finish for not having to worry about rubber smell or separation. Their Rubber Grip Olympic Plates also look good. Both products are within budget. Strong competitor to the Rep Fitness product.

    Unclear if shipping is free from Fitness Factory.


    Biggins Iron

    (I've no idea how I found this one.)

    Machined cast iron (±3%), e-coated, grip plates, 100% USA-made. Economical. But can find almost no reviews or comments on them anywhere. Amusing, non-PC logo on their "v1" plates


    Local sources

    I've about given up on this avenue. Most everything I'm seeing in FB Marketplace and Craigslist are cheap/economy home gym plates of questionable quality. The big box store stuff the same.
    Last edited by Michiganian; 11-20-2022 at 11:27 AM. Reason: additional info
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  6. #6
    Multi-Platinum User radrd's Avatar
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    For grip plates, you might check out Body-Solid. I used to have their iron plates and they were great. I sold them and upgraded to Intek Urethanes, but those are outside of your budget. I think you'd be happy with Body-Solid.

    https://www.fitnessfactory.com/brand...weight-plates/
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  7. #7
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    For grip plates, you might check out Body-Solid.
    Thanks for the lead, radrd! I don't know how I left those guys out.

    I also don't know why I discounted them. All I can say is Fitness Factory's manufacturer's product page is better than Body-Solid's own pages. Found two possibilities right off the bat. I've updated my previous post.

    I gotta say: Right now I'm leaning strongly towards the Body-Solid gray hammertone plates. I like simple
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  8. #8
    Registered User Greybird2's Avatar
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    I have 2 sets of BS colored rubber grip plates, and 1 set of the black rubber grip plates. The handles are great. I really like these plates.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    Thanks for the additional feedback, Greybird2!

    Right now it's down to Body-Solid vs. Rep Fitness, I think. I really like the BS hammertone plates, but I've nightmares about one of such plates hitting something and dinging or damaging it. I know the rubber-coated stuff isn't as safe as bumper plates, but they're probably a lot less likely to do damage than no "jacket" at all.

    I think I slightly prefer the Rep plates, but the BS plates will save me better than $50. That's 1/3 of the way toward a curl bar or a set of 35 lb. plates

    Only problem is: Fitness Factory is out-of-stock on 5 lb. plates. That means no 10 lb. increments.
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  10. #10
    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Greybird2 View Post
    I have 2 sets of BS colored rubber grip plates, and 1 set of the black rubber grip plates. The handles are great. I really like these plates.
    Had a set of these too, all black grip plates from Body Solid and they were really nicer than I expected. The REP Equalizers in urethane look awesome too, not and easy choice these days! Think I'll be sticking with my Rogue Deep Dish, when those plates are pushed together on a Barbell the precision is just mind boggling. Like each plate is the same size almost down to the millimeter.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    The REP Equalizers in urethane look awesome too, not and easy choice these days!
    They do, but they're quite a bit more expensive.

    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Think I'll be sticking with my Rogue Deep Dish, ...
    I've considered those and a couple other deep dish plates. They do look way cool But I really want the convenience and additional safety of grip handles and rubber or urethane coating, plus the ability of grip handle plates to do double-duty off-bar.

    I'm pretty certain I'm gonna pull the trigger on something today. I'm strongly leaning toward the Rep plates. I like their curl bar, too.

    ETA: Just pulled the trigger on 105 lbs. of Rep rubber-coated grip plates and a curl bar. I know 105 lbs. + 45 lbs. for the bar doesn't seem like much to most of y'all, but my quads are still hurting from deadlifting a mere 55 lbs. day-before-yesterday - lol. I figure this'll hold me for a month or two, at which point I'll buy a pair of 45 lb. plates.
    Last edited by Michiganian; 11-21-2022 at 09:22 AM. Reason: add'l info
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  12. #12
    Multi-Platinum User radrd's Avatar
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    Bells of Steel has been running 45 min flash sales on their 25/35/45 lb mighty grip plates at $1/lb. One ends shortly but I'm guessing they'll do this again a couple more times between now and Mon. You might want to get on their email list.
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  13. #13
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    Thanks for the lead, radrd, but I think I'll be good for now, and I think I really want to stick with rubber-coated plates. Even once I get the area cleared-out, my workout space is still gonna be kind of tight, so dropping a plate or banging one into something, and I'm not so hubristic as to believe I won't , means odds are good it'll on to or into another piece of equipment.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Had a set of these too, all black grip plates from Body Solid and they were really nicer than I expected. The REP Equalizers in urethane look awesome too, not and easy choice these days! Think I'll be sticking with my Rogue Deep Dish, when those plates are pushed together on a Barbell the precision is just mind boggling. Like each plate is the same size almost down to the millimeter.
    Didn't you have all Equalizers at one time? If I was getting steel, Those Rogue deep dish would be the ones. Nice price too.
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    checkout www.dumbbellbuddy.com

    They've got a huge selection, and free shipping on all plates.
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  16. #16
    Registered User Michiganian's Avatar
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    So I just made a difficult decision

    My wife and I are kind of out of the whole "Christmas gift-giving" thing. For several years now we've been inclined to "If we want or need it, we buy it." By the time Christmas came around we'd find ourselves having a make stuff up to put under the tree. One year we finally decided that didn't make any sense at all.

    This year, though, my wife sent me a "for under the tree" email. Of course that got me to wondering what we could put under the tree for me. Couldn't think of anything I really wanted or needed.

    Then I thought about my incoming Rep Fitness order. There's a curl bar in that order. I curl bar I'm anxiously looking forward to, but I don't actually need per se. (I'll have my Vulcan Olympic bar and my pair of Hoit adjustable DBs.)

    So I decided the Rep curl bar is going under the tree
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    Originally Posted by Michiganian View Post
    Man, I would never have expected plates, of all things, to be so difficult. I've been researching my backside off on these things. (Sure wish I'd known, a week ago, I was gonna do this, because I could've gotten all the commercial gym plates I wanted for $1/lb.)

    So, reviewing radrd's suggestions and other stuff I've found...

    I believe I'd really prefer hand-grip plates for ease of handling and being easier to use, as single plates, for off the bar.

    Bells of Steel

    Their Mighty Grip plates look good, but are not machined, so bar fitness might be erratic. Their machined plates are not hand-grip.


    Rogue Fitness

    Has nothing that interests me.


    Titan Fitness

    LB Black Grip Plates look good, but few reviews. Free shipping. Fits budget.


    Rep Fitness

    Rubber Coated Olympic Plates look good. Free shipping. Fits budget. This may be my best bet from a known, reputable mfgr.


    Fringe Sport

    No grip plates.


    Strength Company

    No grip plates.


    American Barbell

    Looks good, but of stock on nearly all rubber grip plates.


    XMark

    After a lot of research I bought my weight bench from XMark. Very nice bench! Their plates look good, and are economical, but they don't specify tolerances and I've seen too many reports of rubber separation.


    Vulcan Strength

    Vulcan is where I bought my bar from. Their rubber-coated Olympic Weight Plates look good, but they don't appear to be applying their "Black November 10% Off" pricing to individual plates, and their smallest set is more than I need or want right now. Nor do they mention free shipping. So they may have priced themselves out of my budget.


    Body Solid

    Don't know how I left these guys out. (Thanks, radrd!) I have a Body-Solid back hyperextension bench. (Actually drove five hours, round-trip, to get this particular back hyper bench.) It's a terrific bench.

    Their Gray Grip Olympic Plates are economical. Unclear if they're machined, but the 2% or better tolerance suggests they are. I actually like the gray hammertone finish for not having to worry about rubber smell or separation. Their Rubber Grip Olympic Plates also look good. Both products are within budget. Strong competitor to the Rep Fitness product.

    Unclear if shipping is free from Fitness Factory.


    Biggins Iron

    (I've no idea how I found this one.)

    Machined cast iron (±3%), e-coated, grip plates, 100% USA-made. Economical. But can find almost no reviews or comments on them anywhere. Amusing, non-PC logo on their "v1" plates


    Local sources

    I've about given up on this avenue. Most everything I'm seeing in FB Marketplace and Craigslist are cheap/economy home gym plates of questionable quality. The big box store stuff the same.
    There's also the iron version of Rep's Equalizer plates as well which are cheaper than their rubber grip plates (if you go with Rep, be sure to sign up to their loyalty program which gives you points rewards towards future discounts with each purchase)...on the subject of Body-Solid's grip plates, if you go that route contact Matt Hunt at Fitness Factory he's excellent to deal with and might give you a small additional discount.
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    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Greybird2 View Post
    Didn't you have all Equalizers at one time? If I was getting steel, Those Rogue deep dish would be the ones. Nice price too.
    Yes sir, took advantage of the market and upgraded to 'Made in USA' with little to no loss. Overall very happy with the decision, the only issue I've encountered is potentially maxing out the weight horns on my belt squat. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm up over 500lbs now for reps and there is VERY little room left to add weight. In the future I might buy some of the skinnier Rogue 55lb plates just to use on the belt squat machine. Also, if I could do it all over I wouldn't have bought the 100lb deep dish, thought they would be practical for the belt squat but turns out I couldn't have used the extra 45's more.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Yes sir, took advantage of the market and upgraded to 'Made in USA' with little to no loss. Overall very happy with the decision, the only issue I've encountered is potentially maxing out the weight horns on my belt squat. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm up over 500lbs now for reps and there is VERY little room left to add weight. In the future I might buy some of the skinnier Rogue 55lb plates just to use on the belt squat machine. Also, if I could do it all over I wouldn't have bought the 100lb deep dish, thought they would be practical for the belt squat but turns out I couldn't have used the extra 45's more.
    It's hard to argue with that! The Rogue DD plates are awesome...USA plates, got the classic look and "Clang" sound and look extremely badass on a bar (in my case, the AB Elite PB in stainless steel).
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    Originally Posted by Deep-Voiced-One View Post
    It's hard to argue with that! The Rogue DD plates are awesome...USA plates, got the classic look and "Clang" sound and look extremely badass on a bar (in my case, the AB Elite PB in stainless steel).
    Absolutely! I'm still impressed everytime I load up the Barbell or belt squat with how incredibly uniform they are. Precision at its finest, I'm hoping to pickup more DD's as well. With any luck in the future they'll be the next vintage York DD going for $1200 a pair haha.
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    Good to know on the Rogue Deep Dish. Been eyeing those for a future gym refresh.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Absolutely! I'm still impressed everytime I load up the Barbell or belt squat with how incredibly uniform they are. Precision at its finest, I'm hoping to pickup more DD's as well. With any luck in the future they'll be the next vintage York DD going for $1200 a pair haha.
    Lets hope, I've been contemplating selling off my defunct Ivanko O2Bs for more Rogue DD's.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Yes sir, took advantage of the market and upgraded to 'Made in USA' with little to no loss. Overall very happy with the decision, the only issue I've encountered is potentially maxing out the weight horns on my belt squat. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm up over 500lbs now for reps and there is VERY little room left to add weight. In the future I might buy some of the skinnier Rogue 55lb plates just to use on the belt squat machine. Also, if I could do it all over I wouldn't have bought the 100lb deep dish, thought they would be practical for the belt squat but turns out I couldn't have used the extra 45's more.
    Does your belt squat have square weight horns? If so, I would bet Edge could make you an extension to hold a couple more plates. Smaller square stock to fit inside with the same original square stock as an extension..
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