Concrete Weights vs Iron Weights (Solved)

Concrete weights aren’t as durable as iron weights. Repeated drops create micro-tares and large cracks in concrete which isn’t the case with iron. Concrete weights are cheaper to make or purchase, however.

Have you ever tried to discuss the issue of concrete weights vs iron weights with your friends? It seems everybody favors iron weights such as dumbbells and weight plates. However, what do you do when you can’t find them in stock as things have been for the past couple of years? What about lifting on a budget? Since when did you have to be a millionaire to buy a few dumbbells to get in shape at home?

It seems the current pandemic has driven weight prices so high that many see home gyms as a luxury. In a way, it was always a luxury. But some people aren’t interested in building large gyms. They simply want to create a space to train with basic weights for basic exercises.

  • If you have the money – you buy iron weights
  • If you’re on a limited budget – you make concrete weights

We further explore the differences between these two materials and we also offer a few tips for those making concrete weights at home.

Concrete Weights vs Iron Weights

Concrete weights are cheaper to make than iron weights, but they aren’t as durable. While iron resists constant drops concrete is not made for large shocks. You should exercise caution when training with concrete weights specifically focusing on preventing dropping the weights.

There are plenty of people who are in shape and who only train with concrete weights. This is why it’s worth investigating this topic further in key differences.

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Concrete weights are mostly made at home

Concrete weights can hardly be purchased today. Most of them are made at home. Luckily there are great concrete plate molds you can buy and create as many weights as you want for the price of a good protein powder supplement.

Iron weights are good for all lifting

Iron weights are different from concrete weights through tensile strength. Even when dropped iron weights don’t chip or crack which makes them better in terms of durability as well as safety.

Concrete weights work best for a bodybuilding-style workout than cross-training

This leads us to the next big difference in applicability or usability. You can use concrete weights for biceps curls, bench presses, deadlifts, and a few other exercises with the condition of putting these weights down gently. You’re not going to perform a good snatch with iron weights as you can’t drop them without risks. These same applies to breaking personal records. There are reduced chances of progressive overload with concrete weights when doing squats, for example. You simply cannot drop the bar from shoulder height without cracking the concrete weight plates.

The pros of concrete weights

  • Concrete weights are cheap to make – around $20 per weight plate (with the mold)
  • You can make as many concrete weights as you want for a fully stacked home gym
  • If you weigh them properly the weight plates are going to be precisely where needed on a scale

The cons of concrete weights

  • Not as durable as iron weights, particularly after frequent dropping
  • Not best for overhead exercises due to cracks and safety concerns
  • Mostly limited to DIY projects

The pros of iron weights

  • Very durable – iron weights last for life
  • Durable even with frequent dropping
  • Excellent range of ready-made iron weights

The cons of iron weights

  • A high acquisition cost for almost any budget

How to make concrete weights at home

If you’re still looking to have money left in your bank account after reading these differences you’ve probably made up your mind to make your concrete weights. Here’s a short guide on how to do it properly.

What you need to make DIY concrete weights at home

  • Concrete weights molds
  • Cement
  • Water
  • Some type of silicone lubricant
  • 2” plumbing pipes
  • Fiberglass reinforcement
  • A large bucket and a shovel
  • Get some molds
  • Use high-strength concrete (ideally 8000PSI-rated)
  • 2” metal cylinders for weight plates

You can buy concrete weight molds at your local hardware store or online. It’s always worth working with good molds and accurately measuring their weight to make the perfect weights afterward.

Cement, particularly high-strength cement is going to work best. You can get it at Home Depot or online and practice creating the perfect mix.

Standard clean cold water is going to work wonders for your cement weights. You can add a bit of paint to color the water and weight plates to make them look more like iron weights.

Silicone lubricant is needed for your weight plate molds. This is going to prevent the concrete from sticking to the mold.

Standard 2” metal plumbing pipes are the best choice for your concrete weights to fit on an Olympic bar.

A large bucket and a shovel are needed to make the mortar. Make sure you follow the directions of the cement brand.

Pro tip – cement takes up to 28 days to cure. You should water your weights after taking them out of the mold daily. Cement absorbs water. However, this also adds more weight so make sure to add equal amounts of water on each weight plate.

Final words

Concrete weights aren’t as durable as iron weights, particularly with frequent dropping. However, they are at least three times cheaper than iron weights making them the ideal budget-friendly weights for home gyms.

Iron weights are made with higher precision and material that resists shocks and vibrations. The material is also safer as iron doesn’t chip away easily.

FAQ

Are concrete weights strong?

While concrete weights are strong-enough for basic exercises such as bench presses and biceps curls they don’t have the longevity of iron weights. You can increase concrete weights’ durability by putting them down gently after each exercise.

Are cement-filled dumbbells good?

Cement-filled dumbbells are good when there are no cracks in the concrete. You should stop using cement weights when you see small or large cracks on the weights,

Why are concrete weights bad?

Concrete weights aren’t particularly worse than iron weights, but they lack durability. Iron weights resist shocks such as those from dropping unlike concrete weights.