Bulldog Gear really raises the bar where weight plates are concerned with its Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates – ideal for the lifter who likes to mix things up.

A 20kg 7ft Olympic barbell and rubber bumper plates go together like chocolate and peanut butter. But there’s no point buying a high-quality barbell if you’re going to use any old plates with it. So I tested the Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates to see if they’re a perfect pairing for your barbell.

Men’s Fitness verdict

While not perfect for powerlifters, these Bulldog Gear bumper plates are an ideal choice for the hybrid athlete looking to improve strength, power and body conditioning.
  • Same diameter across the range
  • Robust rubber has a quality feel
  • Competitive price
  • Not an ideal design for powerlifting

Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates design

To see if the Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates (buy now) raise the bar in terms of quality bumper plates, I paired them with the company’s own Cerakote 20kg 7ft Olympic Barbell. Bulldog Gear sent two different weights of bumper plates – 20kg and 10kg – allowing me to test them using a variety of exercises. The 20kg pair are fairly thick, meaning you can’t fit many onto your barbell. But they’re not as thick as some competitors’ bumper plates.

The 10kg bumper plates are thinner, but with the same diameter and design as the 20kg pair. The 10kg have green markings; the 20kg pair have blue markings – both with black as the primary colour. These coloured markers around the circumference are a nice touch. It means that all bumper plates regardless of weight just look like black plates on a bar. This is unlike other brands, for example, where the entire plate is a different colour (typically a red plate for 25kg, blue for 20kg, yellow for 15kg, green for 10kg and white for 5kg – Bulldog Gear uses the same color codes, only more subtly). Or there’s the MiraFit Splash Bumper plates, for example, which are speckled with colour.   

A man lifting a barbell with rubber weight plates
Bulldog Gear’s bumper plates have a stealthy, understated design

The ‘hybrid’ in the name of these bumper plates means they fit somewhere between the bouncy, shock-absorbent plate you might use in an Olympic lifting competition and the steep plate you might use in a powerlifting competition. They’re essentially a stainless steel insert covered with a dense rubber. I’m no rubber expert, but whatever they’ve done with that rubber gives them a quality look and feel.

Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates build quality

Bulldog Gear suggests these rubber bumper plates are “the perfect solution for those looking for a high-quality, performance plate at a competitive price”. I’d tend to agree with that statement. They’re competitively priced with a design that suggests they cost more than they do. These plates also meet the IWF standard, giving you peace of mind that you’re lifting the exact weight on the label. You’d be surprised how far out the weight of some plates can be sometimes. So that’s a reassuring stamp of approval. 

When lifting and sliding these bumper plates onto your bar, you’ll notice their quality feel instantly. I don’t know how long the ‘dense virgin rubber’ lasts on these plates. I’d like to see them after a few years of aggressive use. But having put them through their paces over a few months of workouts they weren’t even starting to show any signs of wear and tear. 

Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates performance

For aesthetic and bodybuilding workouts, where triggering hypertrophy is the goal, I don’t tend to like rubber bumper plates. First, they just don’t feel right. Second, in some exercises where you can lift relatively heavy in that 8-15 rep range, some big guys won’t have enough space to get all their rubber bumper plates on there. It’s the same with these Hybrid 2.0 plates.

However, to Bulldog’s credit, these are thinner than many others. If you absolutely had to use rubber bumper plates for your bodybuilding-style training, then these would be the ones. Typically for this style of training you’ll be using more machines, too. I wouldn’t even attempt this with rubber bumper plates. That is, unless you want to be limited by just one or two plates per side – depending on the machine, of course. 

Rubber bumper weight plates on a barbell
The dense virgin rubber on these bumper plates looks like it will take some serious abuse

For strength-focused workouts for athletes or for powerlifting, you’ll have the same problem. Rubber bumper plates just aren’t typically designed for these styles of workouts. Unless you’re just starting out your journey into strength training, you’ll be massively limited if using rubber bumper plates in general – and for squats and deadlifts in particular. You might be fine with presses and rows, though. I don’t think Bulldog Gear intends for these rubber bumper plates to be used to break strength records, though. If that’s your main aim I’d suggest looking for a different style of Olympic plate. 

Metabolic conditioning and Crossfit-style workouts are where these plates shine. The clue is in the name, and what a good ‘hybrid’ all-rounder they are. They’re comfortable to use for barbell circuits, and if you’re the kind of lifter who throws your weights around then these are quiet enough when they bounce that you won’t have the gym police knocking on your door. For Olympic lifts and derivatives they fly through the air nicely and have a good overall feel to them. So whether it be metabolic conditioning or just power-focused workouts, the Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates work extremely well. 

Should you buy the Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates?

With Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates, you get exactly what it says on the tin – great all-rounder plates. Though you probably won’t want this style of Olympic plates if your goal is to compete as a powerlifter or strength athlete. For bodybuilding they can work well for some exercises, but if you’re big and jacked then you’ll outgrow these pretty quickly doing certain exercises.

If you’re a hybrid athlete, who wants to train for strength, power and aesthetics, as well as total body conditioning, then the Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates are one of the best options on the market. Try pairing them with the Bulldog Gear Cerakote 20kg 7ft Olympic Barbell for the ultimate combination of looks and versatility. 

Bulldog Gear Hybrid 2.0 Rubber Bumper Plates tech specs

Diameter450mm diameter (fit standard 50mm diameter bar sleeves) 
Thickness5kg – 27mm (white); 10kg – 46mm (green); 15kg – 61mm (yellow); 20kg – 72mm (blue); 25kg – 80mm (red);
MaterialsDense virgin rubber, stainless steel insert
FeaturesMarked in lb and kg; grip handles; meets IWF standard

Photography: Peter Black

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