# Thread: Combining steel and bumper plates?

1. Member
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## Combining steel and bumper plates?

I purchased the equipment to setup a home gym a couple years ago and have been slowly working through the novice program (a skiing injury and sleepless nights due to my daughter being born slowed my progress). Anyhow, I'm now ready to add power cleans to my routine, and I'm considering what additional equipment I need to buy. I already have two 4'x6' rubber horse stall mats, but the weight plates I currently have are all iron. My question is, if I buy two 25lb bumper plates, would it damage my barbell to use the iron plates as I increase the load, or do I need to plan to use only bumper plates? Obviously, putting a 2.5lb iron plate on isn't going to do anything, but what about the 25lb plates I have (i.e., 45lb bar + 2x 25lb rubber + 2x 25lb iron = 145lb)? If I essentially have to replace my existing set of weights with bumpers, that essentially means I made a several hundred dollar mistake buying the iron plates I have. SS:BBT3 describes a means of doing power cleans if bumper plates aren't available. Should I essentially be doing this if I were to add the 25lb iron plates?

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I'm not sure why you need to make any changes at all...

See this classic: The Iron Plate Problem with Mark Rippetoe - YouTube

3. Member
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Originally Posted by Jason Donaldson
I'm not sure why you need to make any changes at all...

See this classic: The Iron Plate Problem with Mark Rippetoe - YouTube
Thanks! I had not seen that video. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something in the book, or possibly reading too much into it.

On page 191, SS:BBT3 says, "When the movement is correct from the jumping position, from below the knees, and from the mid-shin, you're ready for the next phase of the teaching method. Load the bar with regulation-diameter plates that are light enough to clean from the top – not so heavy that there is a problem with the weight at all, but heavy enough that the bar is perceptively heavier. For most guys in a well-equipped gym, this will be the bar and 10 kg bumper plates. Kids and women will need lighter plastic training plates."

Similarly, on pages 219-220, it says, "After the clean is racked and recovered, the bar must be dropped safely without destroying you or your equipment. The method used here will depend on the equipment. If a platform and bumper plates are available, as they should be, the vast can be dropped from the racked position in a controlled manner. … If bumper plates are not available, the task becomes harder. The bar must be released from the rack and caught at the hang, and then lowered to the floor, to prevent damage to the barbell and the floor. This is actually the way all cleans and snatches were dropped before bumper plates were widely available, so it can be done, believe it or not. But it can be tricky, since it really hurts to actually drop the bat right on the thighs. You have to release the bar but retain enough grip on it to be able to slow it down before it hits your thighs. It is decelerated with the traps, using a movement that is the opposite of the shrug used during the jump. The bar needs to stop here under control before being lowered on down to the floor. And if metal plates are used, it would be prudent to use rubber mats to protect the floor. But really, get some bumper plates. They are important enough to consider necessary."

I do have blocks of wood that raise the bar with my 25lb plates up to regulation height for my warmup sets on the deadlift. I suppose I could use them to accomplish the task described in the first quote above. Nonetheless, it does seem like the book is saying I should really view bumper plates as "important enough to consider necessary", but the video you shared seems to consider it ridiculous that anyone would consider bumper plates necessary for the clean. Am I missing something here? If I can avoid buying bumper plates at all, that'd be great!

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The movement shown in that video is awkward and obnoxious, especially when doing any significant weight. But it can be done. Try it and see. If you don't find it obnoxious, you aren't required to use bumper plates.

You don't need to buy a full set of bumper plates: a single set such that the impact of the bar on the floor can be entirely absorbed by the bumpers will be sufficient: iron plates on the bar above the floor will not be damaged or damage the barbell if dropped.

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Originally Posted by Maybach
The movement shown in that video is awkward and obnoxious, especially when doing any significant weight. But it can be done. Try it and see. If you don't find it obnoxious, you aren't required to use bumper plates.

You don't need to buy a full set of bumper plates: a single set such that the impact of the bar on the floor can be entirely absorbed by the bumpers will be sufficient: iron plates on the bar above the floor will not be damaged or damage the barbell if dropped.

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If you're able to pull off blocks for now, the weight should be light enough that catching it and setting it down is not a big deal. I wouldn't bother getting 25s but you could get a pair of 35s or 45s which would allow you to load over 200 assuming you have a full set of iron change plates. 35s are basically useless except, if you anticipate learning to power snatch, catching even a light snatch at the thighs can be hard on the elbows and other joints, so having the option to drop it would be helpful. And it may take a some time to get up to a 135lb-plus snatch if you've never done it before.

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