Weights – Vinyl or Cast Iron Weights? The winner is…

September 21, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug


It’s a new week people, and I thought I’d start off the week with a discussion that I had with a newbie gym goer over the weekend. Which weights should you buy for a home gym?

Vinyl plates or cast iron plates for your homegym weights routine?

Both have there pro’s and con’s, but lets look at each one to decide what will be best for you.

Vinyl weights


Just in case you don’t know what these are, they are concrete weights covered by a hard plastic material. If you are a newbie or just starting out with weight training, then this would be a good type of weights plate to start with. One very good reason to start with these beginner weights is so that you can practice on your form so that you can perform all weights exercises properly. That is actually a vital part of your training and where there is still much debate on what is the best way to lift weights. Read more about that here.

They are also the cheapest of the type of weights that you can buy, so if you are on a budget, then these could be great for you. Saying that, it would be good to have a short-term plan for using these weight plates. Why? Well… the problem with these concrete (sometimes sand) weights, is that over time they will break apart. You will inevitably be knocking, dropping and sometimes throwing these weights about every time you use them, and as the level of concrete decreases, so will the level of weight. So you’ll probably get a few years out of them before you will have to switch to…

Cast iron weights

If you are a bit more experienced with lifting weights and are dedicated to building a great home gym, then buying cast iron weights is the way to go. Once you own a set of cast iron weights, they’ll probably be with you for life. Unlike concrete weights, these will not break when they are bashed about and are extremely durable. This is one of the reasons that many gyms will use iron weights rather than concrete weights. But you must be careful with these weights, as dropping them on the floor, or even worse… on your foot, will cause some serious damage. So make sure you have had some experience with handling weights.

Another reason for buying these weights is that you can add more weight plates to a barbell/ dumbbell than concrete weights because they are smaller in size.

There has been some argument whether these weights feel heavier than concrete weights. Over time I can see why the iron weight would be heavier, but initially I think that iron weights are just denser, so they then seem heavier.

Go chrome

If you really want to give your home gym view a polished look, you could always go for chrome weights. They’ll give you all of the same benefits of owning cast iron weights but are nicer to look at. But do note that these are more expensive and can be a b**** to clean.

To conclude

For most of you reading this, I would suggest buying cast iron weights and if you are a beginner, just take it slow when using them. Yes… vinyl weights will cost less, but they simply will not stand the test of time, and when the concrete breaks apart, that will make your weightlifting workouts efforts very inconsistent.

Do you own a set of home weights? Cast iron or Vinyl weight plates?

See you in the comments.

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