When shopping for weight plates, one of the options that you have is calibrated or competition weight plates. For several reasons, some buy these rather than just standard weight plates. These plates are designed with competition environments, so many people feel they are a superior option. But why do people buy calibrated weight plates, and what benefits can they offer?
What Are Calibrated Weight Plates?
Calibrated weight plates are adjusted to be very precise. The idea is that they provide a specific weight, which is why calibrated plates are competition-grade weights. A calibrated weight plate must be within 0.25% or 10g accuracy (whichever is smaller). Calibrated weight plates are also usually thinner than other types of plates, producing more noise when used. They might be made from cast iron or solid steel, with cast iron plates vibrating less than steel.
Calibrated plates are typically different colours to demonstrate which weight they are. For example, a 25kg/55lb plate is red, while a 2.5kg/5.5lb plate is black. Although there are roughly equivalent weights in pounds, calibrated plates are made in kilograms.
The Benefits of Calibrated Plates
There are several great reasons to use calibrated plates, even if you're buying them for your home gym.
One reason you might buy calibrated plates is to provide an even weight distribution on a barbell. With non-calibrated weights, if you're putting one weight on each side, there might not be a noticeable difference in weight between each side. However, if you're loading multiple weights on each end, it could be much more noticeable. Depending on your weights, there could be a difference of several kilos between the different sides.
Using calibrated weights helps with this problem because each weight must be calibrated with greater accuracy. If you load three weights on each side of your barbell, the most each side could be off by is 30g. The more plates you have on the bar, the more important it can be to have calibrated plates so their weights are more accurate.
Better progress tracking
Knowing the exact weight of each of your weight plates also gives you a better knowledge of your progress and abilities. You know how much weight you're lifting down to a few grams. However, if your weights aren't calibrated, you could be lifting much less or more than you think you are. You can track your progress more accurately if you know you're lifting the amount you think you're lifting.
Another benefit of calibrated plates is their thickness. Calibrated weight plates are thinner, which is especially useful if lifting larger amounts of weight. You can fit more onto your barbell and keep the weight near the centre of the bar. This benefits less bend on the bar and less whip when squatting and deadlifting. Calibrated plates also have a smaller centre diameter. The plate can sit closer to the sleeve of the bar, which means it doesn't wobble when the bar is in motion.
Prepare for competition conditions
Naturally, if you want to lift weights competitively, you might decide that you will benefit from having competition plates at home. Calibrated plates aren't essential if you're setting up a home gym, and you might go for a cheaper option. However, calibrated plates can help you prepare for competitions by providing more accuracy and the feel of plates often used in competition conditions.
If you ever decide to sell your calibrated plates, they also have a great resale value. Calibrated weight plates are regarded as a very high standard, which means they're typically more expensive. However, that means you'll be able to get more of your money back if you choose to sell them later because they will hold their value well.
Offer Great Quality to Gym Members
If you're looking for the right weight plates for your commercial gym, calibrated ones can offer your customers something they won't get elsewhere. Not many standard gyms bother to kit their weight areas with calibrated plates, but you could provide your members with something extra. While they're not essential in your gym, they're durable and long-lasting, and some visitors will appreciate them.
Not everyone needs calibrated or competition weight plates, but they have some excellent benefits that make them a great choice.