Tell us about developing the latest IWF Competition Plates; why did Eleiko start this project?
At Eleiko, we are continuously working to improve our product range to achieve the highest quality and durability standards and give lifters the ultimate lifting experience. Our ambition was to redesign our current plates for improved longevity and performance, and we looked to the athlete community for inspiration and feedback.
Durable design is central to our development process, as is supporting athletes in achieving their strongest performances. We wanted to make something that could support the world's strongest athletes through a lifetime of lifting with the most durable plate on the market. As athletes get stronger, the new slimmer design ensures that there is always room for the next world record.
We went through a few different ideas and iterations. We ended up with a new way of constructing plates that drastically improved the durability and allowed for a slimmer profile. We also made changes to give more possibilities for customisation and improved the printing process.
What different approaches did you consider in making the most durable competition plate?
We looked at each element of the plate construction — the rubber, the printing technology, the surface treatments, and the hub design — evaluating each aspect to see how we could improve.
We started the project by looking at the rubber recipe, iterating on our proprietary blend and testing different versions to see how they performed. After much research and testing, our current SBR recipe outperformed any other recipes we tried. We already had the best one, so naturally, we kept that and turned our attention to other elements, namely the hub design and plate construction.
The connection between the rubber and the hub is a critical performance point for plates. We knew we could make a significant impact by innovations to that design. We also considered the plate handling and reconfigured the edge radius and groove to give lifters and loaders a better experience.
What is unique about the product construction?
In the new patented design construction, a floating ImpactDISC is set into the SBR rubber, distributing the impact force on the plates when the barbell is dropped after a lift. With less stress and compression to a concentrated point, there is less stress and wear on the area where the hub and rubber meet. By dispersing the force, we significantly increase durability and plate longevity. With the design change, we maximize its durability, while also extending its lifetime. Because of this, the warranty will double from our current design to 10 years.
Why is the slimmer profile significant?
In short, a slimmer plate allows the lifter to load more weight onto the bar. This is relevant for the world's strongest athletes today, especially in training with back squats, but it also futureproofs the equipment and supports athletes with record-setting lifts on the competition stage. The redesign increases the bar's load capacity, allowing an additional +20kg on top of current world records. The thickness for each plate is 35mm - 10 kg, 39mm - 15kg, 50mm - 20kg and 58mm – 25kg.
What is the new max load for both men and women?
While this would seem like a straightforward, easy to answer question, the truth is it's tricky. It depends on several factors, such as the collars being used and whether or not you are following the IWF loading schedule. Following the IWF loading schedule, the max load for the men's set up with the 20 kg bar is 293 kg, and for the women's set up with a 15 kg bar is 217 kg.
You can certainly load more if you are only using 25s, but again the width of the collar would play a factor here. The bars are made to withstand 1500 kg, so the sleeve length and plate and collar thickness are the limiting factors.
Weightlifting sets for men and women
How do the changes to the edge shape help lifters and loaders in training and competition?
The edge of the plate is more rounded and extends further to make it easier to pick up the plate from the platform or floor, and the grooved rim supports a firm grip for better handling.
What was the testing protocol for the IWF Competition Plates?
We have a drop machine specifically designed to stress and damage plates as quickly as possible. The plate is dropped from 2 meters a few times per minute. The new plate design achieved over 100,000 drops with zero functional damage; this is an impressive 20x improvement to our current plates.
How do the customisation options differ with this new plate?
The new IWF competition and training plates feature an entirely smooth surface that can be tailored with custom designs for competitions and training facilities. The raised lettering has been replaced with printed branding and weight markings. The new customisation possibilities give federations, organising committees and facilities more freedom in tailoring the plate design to showcase their events and programs.
The printing processes are now updated for improved durability and longer-lasting graphics. The full-size plates can be tailored with custom prints on the rubber and decals on the hubs. We also have the option to customise the Change Plates with decals so customers can have a fully tailored solution.
Outside of professional weightlifting, is this plate a good option for other customers?
As the name indicates, these plates were designed specifically for professional athletes and training facilities catering to weightlifters. However, these plates are also an excellent option for high-use facilities — anyone looking for incredible product durability or custom branding options from professional sports teams to university weight rooms and gym and fitness facilities.