There are generally a few different options when it comes to Olympic weight sets.
Basic Bar and Metal Plates
This is a set that comes with a very basic Olympic bar and cheap metal plates. It’s what a lot of guys start with, but it limits your growth when you become stronger or want to do some Olympic weight lifting. The reason it limits you is because the bar won’t be strong enough to handle over 300 lbs without bending, and the sleeves won’t spin well enough to allow you to perform Olympic lifts. This type of set is generally best reserved for those on the smallest of budgets, or those that don’t know if they really want to workout at home and just want to give it a try for cheap.
Intermediate Bar and Bumper Plates
This is the set that we generally recommend most people to start with if they can afford it. An intermediate bar like the Rep Sabre bar and a set of economy black bumper plates will allow you to perform any weight lifting movement you can think of, and the bumper plates let you do that safely without risk of damaging your equipment or flooring.
Advanced Bar and Bumper Plates
If you start to take Olympic lifting seriously, the first step is getting the right bar. A true Olympic bar will have great whip and smooth sleeve spin to help you rotate your hands under the bar. It’s at this stage that you can consider moving to competition style bumper plates that will have more accurate weight ratings and increased durability, but it’s not necessary.