Excerpt from History of Powerlifting, Weightlifting and Strength Training – Part Sixty-One
By Dr. Ken Leistner
It is always a pleasure and I enjoy helping to improve any type of training equipment. My wife Kathy and I have frequently been asked to design, prototype, or merely work with and improve the proposed or existing design of equipment. We take the requests seriously and it is invariably rewarding to know that our input helped to provide the lifting public with a “better” piece of training equipment. A recent request by IVANKO BARBELL COMPANY left us a bit giddy as we were given the rather direct instructions to “destroy these barbell plates.”
IVANKO has been developing an improved urethane coating for their plates with the express purpose of producing what the lifting public would consider “an indestructible training tool. “ Targeted for bumper plates that would be used for standard lifting purposes and exposure to general abuse in a hard core lifting facility, our specific test plates were Urethane OUEZ E-Z Lift Plates. We are very familiar with this model plate as our office facility and that of our one-on-one athletic training complex that services primarily high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, utilizes these “grip type plates” for all of the obvious reasons. We immediately set about our task, having one of our stronger athletes, a 6’ tall, 250 pound police officer, clean and jerk 297 pounds. With the bar loaded to the set weight and collars secured, we insured that the 45 pound test plates would take the full brunt of the impact by bringing the barbell to our testing load with smaller diameter plates, with only the larger Urethane OUEZ E-Z Lift Plate 45’s on the IVANKO OBX bar, hitting the platform. We should have noticed before our “even dozen” overhead drops and another two dozen “dumped deadlifts” with 407 that we had essentially destroyed our platform where the new Urethane coated plates had made contact. Our “indestructible” platform of 2 X 4’s stacked tightly together on end, covered with two layers of three-quarter-inch plywood and three-quarter-inch rubber was, as they say in our neighborhood, “craterized!” The plates were later taken outside and dropped repeatedly on the rim from waist height, onto the concrete street. Realizing that we were about to crack the municipally owned thoroughfare, the plates were given over to my partner Frank Savino at Gridiron Fitness for further assault.
As an adjunctive exercise meant to complement squats and deadlifts, one of the beautifully “Penn State Nittany Lion” engraved plates was hooked to a chain and rope and dragged around the municipal parking lot adjacent to the facility. After a week of dropping the plate numerous times on the rim and having it dragged across the lot, Frank reported that “This thing is indestructible.” I told him to “drag it behind Tom’s pickup truck” and our trusted trainer Tom Touhey did just that, dragging the plate up and down and then across the parking lot multiple times. Still not observing much damage, Frank took our massive 33 pound sledge hammer and smashed the plate one dozen times. “Finally,” he reported, “I made a dent” and literally, he made a dent and little more than that in the Urethane surface. Thus, after ten days of focused abuse, the only “dings” in the new Urethane surface were two in number, one near the hub and one close to the rim where the oversized sledge hammer was wielded by a powerful 280 pound athlete.
The development of new materials is interesting and in our specific encounter with IVANKO BARBELL COMPANY’S new plate covering, destructive fun. I am sure that further developments will be announced at the appropriate time but we are sold on the fact that this new product will absolutely stand the test of time and gym abuse.
For more information or to purchase Ivanko OUEZ Olympic Urethane Plates visit Ivanko-authorized dealer Ironcompany.com® at http://www.ironcompany.com/ivanko.aspx