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The Rogue US MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates were designed initially for the ACFT Army Fitness Test and have since been offered to the public. I’ve been using a set in my garage gym for the past two months both inside and outside for squats, clean and jerks, snatches, deadlifts, and more and they still look like new. Although crumb rubber bumpers have their quirks, these are among the best available.
The most notable crumb rubber bumper plate in existence is the Hi-Temp Bumper Plate. We’ve used and reviewed these many times over the years and really only love one thing about them–their durability. The US MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates from Rogue Fitness is essentially an upgraded version of Hi-Temps. They have a more traditional outside diameter at 450MM making them work well with other plates on an Olympic barbell or powerlifting barbell while being just as durable as any other recycled crumb rubber bumper plate.
Rogue Fitness sells many different varieties of bumper plates...and that’s one company. Compound that with the hundreds of other companies selling bumpers and you can have paralysis deciding which to choose. So, before we get too far into the review, I want to highlight who I think the US MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates are for.
You can see all of our recommendations in our guide on the best bumper plates here.
Who I recommend the Rogue MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates for
Who I don’t recommend the Rogue MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates for
The US MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates from Rogue Fitness are made of recycled tire rubber. Yes, the same tires that are on your car are what make up these and practically all other crumb rubber bumper plates.
The process to create crumb bumper plates requires used tires to be ground up to a rather fine material, combined with epoxy, and then poured into a heated pressure mold. After some time, out pops a beautiful crumb rubber bumper plate with some extra material that is then trimmed down and packaged to your home gym to take years of abuse.
The MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers from Rogue are a bit different than Hi-Temps and other popular recycled rubber plates. The main difference is that they’re made to the requested specifications of the US Army who implemented new fitness tests including a trap bar deadlift that utilizes crumb bumper plates. In order to win the contract, Rogue Fitness redesigned the Crumb Bumper Plates with the help of Hi-Temp (I would assume as they’re both made in Alabama) to be within the proper guidelines.
The only other material that makes up the MIL Spec Crumb Bumper is the stainless steel insert that is recessed to prevent metal-to-metal contact when multiple plates are on the barbell (a very small, yet smart detail.) Stainless steel is used because it resists corrosion the best as we’ve seen with barbells over the years.
Each training session that I head out to my garage gym to punish my mind and body I’m faced with the very real first world problem of deciding what weight plates to use. If I’m benching, I typically grab the Rogue Deep Dish Plates. If I’m squatting heavy, I’ll use the Rogue Calibrated Powerlifting Plates or Kabuki Strength Iron Plates. However, If I’m doing anything outside, I use the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers. Check out the best weighted bench for benchers here.
I’ve used Hi-Temp Bumpers in various settings for over a decade. In fact, my first workout at a CrossFit Affiliate in 2012 was done using Hi-Temps and the reason the gym used them is that they took an absolute beating and they were rather affordable.
Although I like Hi-Temps, there’s no question that the US MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates are better. There aren’t many differences and the price is the exact same, but what has been changed are improvements over the originals.
The first thing I noticed when unboxing the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers was the lack of smell and oil. This may be a one-off, but whenever I’ve gotten Hi-Temps in the past, they often have a used tire smell similar to horse stall mats that we recommend for home gym flooring.
The MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers had no such smell and no oily residue. This smell often goes away after a few weeks, but it was still nice to not see.
When pulling the bumpers out of the cardboard box that features a big picture of the state of Alabama to indicate where they’re made, there’s was another improvement I noticed–the width. The MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers are all thinner than Hi-Temps. It may not be dramatic, but they are all thinner which allows the trainee to put more weight on the bar (this is a common critique of Hi-Temps.)
Placing them on the bar, they slide smoothly thanks to the stainless steel insert that is embedded to help keep it in place instead of popping out over time.
Many are probably like me in that you use what you have on hand. In my first garage gym, I had four different types of bumper plates as they were just what I could find on Craigslist. This forced me to place all different types of plates on the bar to build up to my heavier sets. The issue is that many cheaper bumper plates aren’t built to IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) specs.
For instance, Hi-Temps are 445MM in diameter. The IWF standard is 450MM. This sounds minor, but it can cause issues with your bar bending. Thankfully, Rogue corrected this issue with the US MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers and made them 450MM which also, as previously stated, made them thinner.
My favorite feature of the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers is being able to take them out to my driveway and lift without the worry of damaging my bar, plates, or concrete. Crumb bumpers obviously work inside, but they truly shine in the dirt, grass, concrete, and other elements. I’ve heard of people leaving their plates outside in the rain and sun for years without any issues as they’re literally just old tires.
There are other bumpers warrantied to be used outside. One that I really like is the Vulcan Strength Alpha Plates. These have color coordination and have proved to be extremely durable. Another are the REP Sport Bumper Plates that I’ve liked training with so far, but I still need more time to judge the durability.
If you do any sort of lifting outside, the Rogue MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers are currently the best option.
The most often asked comparison to the Rogue US MIL Spec Crumb Plates are the Hi-Temps. Although we’ve discussed many of the differences, I’d like to summarize them here.
First off, the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers have different dimensions than Hi-Temps. Let’s take the 45 LB plate as an example. The outside width of the Hi-Temps is 3.75” while the MIL Spec Crumb 45 LB plate is 3.56.”
In terms of the diameter of the plates. Hi-Temps are 445MM and the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers are 450MM.
Another notable difference between the two is their Shore A Durometer Ratings. The Durometer tells us how hard the rubber is and therefore how bouncy it will be. The Shore A Durometer for the MIL Spec Crumb Bumper is 80 and then 75 for Hi-Temps. 80 is a better score in my opinion as they will be less unwieldy when dropping a bar from overhead.
Lastly, the new MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers have an inset hub that should prove to stay in longer than the Hi-Temps as it’s protected from having metal-to-metal contact with other bumpers.
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