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Crumb rubber bumper plates at one point were probably the most popular style of bumper plate on the market. You could walk into just about any CrossFit gym and see (and smell) the crumb rubber.
Probably 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 those Hi-Temps.
In this Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates review, I’ll let you know why these are among the best available if you’re looking for a versatile, durable addition to your home gym.
Why You Should Trust Us
I’ve used every single one of the best bumper plates on the market. My team and I have researched more than 70 bumper plates and we personally used more than half of those. When it comes to the Rogue US MIL Spec plates, I ran them through the full Garage Gym Reviews testing methodology, spending months putting them through full workouts that included dropping them from overhead and cycling lifts with them.
Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates
The Rogue Fitness US MIL Spec Bumpers are Made in America from recycled crumb rubber, giving them superior durability for all-condition indoor/outdoor training with little to no change in the plates' texture and appearance over time. All weight increments measure the same 450mm (17.716") in total diameter—the same as standard competition plates—and they’re officially approved for use in the new U.S. Army Combat Fitness Test. The 50mm stainless steel insert in this design is recessed inward to prevent hub-to-hub collisions when multiple plates are loaded on a bar. This not only protects the stability of the insert, but prolongs the overall life of each plate. US MIL Spec Bumpers have an all-black finish with embossed Rogue branding and weight indications. The shore A durometer rating is approx. 80 and the weight tolerance is +/- 2% of the indicated measurement.
A Quick Look at the Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates
The Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates were designed initially for the Army Combat Fitness Test and have since been offered to the public. I’ve been using a set in my garage gym for the past year 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.
- If you do any sort of lifting outside, the Rogue MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers are currently one of the best options.
- Don’t be surprised if these plates give off an odor; while I didn’t experience it, many people do. It will lessen over time but can really hit your nose when you unbox these.
My Favorite Things
- Wonderful for outdoor lifting
- Priced affordably
- Quieter than other bumper plates
- Have a lot of bounce
- Might give off a rubber odor
- These plates are thicccc, aka not ideal for lifters who go really heavy
Are the Rogue MIL Spec Bumper Plates Worth It?
Rogue Fitness alone sells more than 20 varieties of bumper plates. Compound that with the hundreds of other companies selling bumpers, and it’s easy to see how you can get stuck deciding which to choose. Here’s a quick look at whom I think would benefit from the MIL Specs, and who might want a different kind of weight plate.
- Garage gym owners who also lift outside
- Anyone needing affordable plates
- People looking for a quieter option than, say, iron plates or competition bumper plates
Not Recommended For
- Anyone needing to load more than 405 pounds on a bar (these are WIDE plates)
- People who want to minimize bar whip
- Lifters who want color-coded plates
Rogue US MIL-Spec Crumb Rubber Bumper Plates Specs
|Material||Recycled crumb rubber|
|Weight Range||10-45 lbs|
|Weight Set Options||160, 190, 210, 230, 260, 350, 500, and 1,000 lbs|
|Diameter||450 mm (17.176 in)|
|Insert||50 mm stainless steel|
|10 lb Plate Width||1.4375 in|
|15 lb Plate Width||1.875 in|
|25 lb Plate Width||2.1875 in|
|35 lb Plate Width||3 in|
|45 lb Plate Width||3.56 in|
|Durometer (Bounce) Rating||80|
|Made in the USA||Yes|
Lifting With the Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates
Each time 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 typically use the Rogue Calibrated Powerlifting Plates.
However, If I’m doing anything outside, I use the Rogue US MIL Spec Bumpers.
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.
My favorite feature of the MIL Spec 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, like 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.
Loading the Barbell
Thanks to a stainless steel insert, these plates slide easily on and off a barbell. I can’t stress enough how much better a training session is when plates go on and off smoothly.
One thing you need to know about crumb bumper plates in general is that they are wide, especially compared to competition-style plates. For example, the 45-pound Rogue MIL Spec Bumper plate is more than 3.5 inches thick. That’s not a problem for 135-pound cleans or 225-pound deadlifts because the plates easily fit.
However, if you’re maxing out a heavy lift, consider that a typical Olympic barbell sleeve is around 16 inches. You’ll be able to get four 45-pound plates on each side with just a little room to spare for more. That’s 405 pounds with maybe room for one more plate.
Sure, it’s not too often that most of us will load up that much weight, but it’s still something to keep in mind when you’re considering how you’ll use these plates.
The other place where the size of these plates matters is bar whip. Due to their width, the plates might introduce additional whip to the bar. That can be a negative on movements like heavy squats and bench press reps (though it could be a positive for those who do Olympic weightlifting).
One distinct advantage of crumb bumper plates like these is that they tend to be quieter than other plates. It goes without saying that the MIL Specs won’t make as much noise as clanky iron plates. That’s true of any bumpers. But crumb rubber plates in particular make less noise than other bumper plates do.
Bounce matters, and the Rogue MIL Spec Bumpers are pretty bouncy. That’s just the nature of crumb rubber plates. Whether you are dropping them from overhead or cycling deadlifts, you’re going to see and feel that bounce. Some people really like that feeling, especially in a metcon where you’re trying to move fast.
On the durometer (which measures how hard rubber is), the MIL Specs register an 80. That’s not the softest score, but it’s definitely not the most rigid. (For comparison, the Rogue Echo Bumper Plates, which are our favorite rubber plates, have a durometer reading of 88, which gives more of a dead bounce.)
The bounce isn’t a dealbreaker for most of us, but something to keep in mind when you drop the bar.
From an aesthetics standpoint, the Rogue MIL Specs are hard to scuff or ding. However, you might find over time that small pieces of rubber fleck off the edges. I’m talking tiny pieces, not enough to significantly change the weight of the plate.
I use mine indoors and out, and I don’t have any issues with them.
However, we need to talk about 10-pound bumper plates. Pretty much any rubber 10-pound plate has potential to “taco,” or essentially fold in half, especially if you abuse it enough. You should never drop a barbell (20- or 15-kilo bar) that is loaded with just 10-pound rubber plates. That’s just asking for destruction.
The same goes for the Rogue MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates. Some customers online complain that the 10-pound plates aren’t durable. Of course they aren’t. My advice is that if you want a 10-pound plate that can take a beating, you need a urethane one. I really like the Titan Urethane Bumper Plates.
What Are The Rogue MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates Made Of?
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.
Now, the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers from Rogue are a bit different from other popular recycled rubber plates. The main difference is that they’re made to the requested specifications of the US Army, which implemented new fitness tests including a trap bar deadlift that uses 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.
Another aspect of the MIL Spec Bumper Plates I like is that they are 450 millimeters in diameter. This is the standard from the International Weightlifting Federation, but you won’t see this measurement on all bumpers (including the Hi-Temps). I know that 5 millimeters sounds small and negligible, but even that slight difference can cause issues with the bar bending.
Rogue US MIL Spec Crumb Bumper Plates vs. Rogue Hi-Temp Crumb Bumper Plates
The most often asked comparison to the Rogue US MIL Spec Crumb Plates are the Hi-Temps. First off, the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers have different dimensions than Hi-Temps. Let’s take the 45-pound plate as an example. The outside width of the Hi-Temps is 3.75 inches, while the MIL Spec Crumb 45-pound plate is 3.56 inches.
In terms of the diameter of the plates: Hi-Temps are 445 millimeters, and the MIL Spec Crumb Bumpers are 450 millimeters (IWF standard).
Another notable difference between the two is their Shore A durometer rating, which tells us how hard the rubber is and therefore how bouncy it will be. The durometer rating for the MIL Spec Crumb Bumper is 80, and the Hi-Temps have a 75. In my opinion, 80 is a better score, as plates with this rating 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.
Unboxing the Rogue US MIL Specs
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. That’s not to say that if you buy these you won’t notice a smell. I can’t promise that. But I didn’t have that experience.
Returns and Warranties
Rogue’s return policy is straightforward: You can only return unused items that are still in the original packaging.
The brand publishes warranties for some of its bumper plates, but we can’t find a written warranty anywhere for the MIL Specs specifically.
I will say that these are incredibly durable, and I nor anyone on my team has ever had an issue with Rogue if something is damaged for reasons we couldn’t control. Now, if you drop a 45-pound bar loaded with just 10-pound crumb rubber plates from overhead, you’re probably going to end up ruining your plates. So don’t do that.
As of this writing, on the Rogue website, the MIL Spec bumper plates have a 4.7/5 stars from more than 250 reviews.
Some common complaints we found included that the plates were oily and smelly (which wasn’t our experience, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen). And several people had concerns over how flimsy the 10-pound plates are.
One user on Rogue, named “Brocky,” echoed our sentiment about the 10-pound plates. (Again, if you’re going to drop a 10-pound plate, you need to get urethane plates.)
Final Verdict of Our Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates Review
Are these the best bumper plates on the market? No. But crumb rubber bumper plates do have a place in the lifting world. And if you’re going to go for a crumb rubber plate, then the Rogue MIL Spec is the way to go.
Rogue MIL Spec Bumper Plates Rating
Rogue MIL Spec Bumper Plates FAQs
What are Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates?
The Rogue MIL Spec Bumper Plates are high-temp crumb rubber plates. They are made of ground up old tires mixed with epoxy that is placed into a heated pressure mold. That is how all crumb rubber plates are made. However, the Rogue MIL Spec plates are actually made to U.S. Military specifications because they were first made to be used in the U.S. Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT).
What weights are Rogue US MIL Spec Bumper Plates?
The Rogue MIL Spec Bumper Plates come in 10-, 15-, 25-, 35- and 45-pound options.
Are crumb bumper plates good?
Crumb rubber bumper plates have their place among weight plates. They tend to be great in CrossFit gyms where barbells are dropped a lot. Crumb plates have more bounce than other bumper plates, and tend to be more affordable as well.
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