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December 12, 2021 9 min read

EDITS: Random text notes and edits in red throughout the article.

EDIT: It needs a lot of clarification.

EDIT: Please refrain from making definitive statements as everything regarding training in the fitness industry exists within a range that depends a lot on a persons specific capabilities. This is more of a general thing to remember regarding every article, not necessarily something specific to this one;.

 

Weight plates are some of the most common pieces of equipment in most gyms. They are mostly used in combination with barbells and so most people think of them for only one exercise: lifting.

But the simplicity of a weight plate makes it an incredibly flexible piece of equipment. Among other things, you can use it to build your endurance, boost your strength, and improve your balance.

We will look at ten of the best plate exercises for you to try in your next workout routine. But first, let’s think about your core.

Core Strength Training 

Your abdominals, obliques, and deep core muscles like the transverse abdominis are integral to all these exercises to increase your overall muscle gain.

Your core has even been considered by some experts as the basis for all of your weightlifting strength.

The workout we describe below will cause your core to work a lot harder than usual. If you are going to be doing a lot of reps, the tension in your deep inner-core muscles will be increased. Although some people train abs mostly with crunches or other similar exercises, the main jobs for your core are antiextension and antiflexion.

For example, when lifting a heavy plate, it can put a lot of stress on the internal structures and can sometimes cause injury. Working on antiextension exercises is a good way to help the muscles of your spine control these functional movements. Some examples of antiextension exercises are planks and reverse crunches. 

As for antiflexion, your spine tends to bend to the side with your shoulders, which can also lead to injuries. Some good types of antiflexion bending exercises for you to do in the gym as a beginner are side planks.

Hyperextension exercises can also be useful if you want to strengthen your back as well as your core. These exercises have most often been used during physical therapy to treat conditions that might have developed in the lower back, such as herniated disks.

Plate Exercise # 1: Plate Press

 

This exercise mainly targets the chest, but you will feel it in your arms and shoulders as well. The way you perform this movement is simple.

Just follow the step by step instructions below:

  1. Place your hands on the outside of the plate and push them in. 
  2. This forces you to take advantage of the flex at the top of the movement, which will help you keep your arms in an adducted position to hold onto the plate. 
  3. Start at the top of the movement with your arms extended, and lower the plate down in a controlled way to your chest. 
  4. While pushing your hands together on the plate, press the plate back to the top of the movement.
  5. Repeat for as many reps as you like. 

You can also superset this exercise with push-ups to make the chest portion of this workout a bit more intense. Simply do your reps with the plate press, and then roll over and start doing some push-ups as well. 

Plate Exercise # 2: Plate Push-Ups 

 

Instead of just regular push-ups, you can also do push-ups with plates. Especially when done as a superset with the plate press, this move is mostly for intermediate lifters and it really targets your shoulders, chest, abs, and arms.

  1. Start in a pushup position.
  2. Keep a plate under each hand, making sure the plates are in contact.
  3. Lower your chest and slide plates apart as you go.
  4. Aim for your nose to touch the ground. 
  5. Return to the starting position and slide the plates back together. 
  6. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Plate Exercise # 3: Plank Plate Switch 

 

Much like the previous exercise, this move is mostly for intermediate lifters and it really targets your shoulders, chest, abs, and obliques. You should obviously already be familiar with doing planks before you attempt them with plates.

  1. Start by doing a plank.
  2. Your fists should be at eye level.
  3. Your toes should be firmly on the ground. 
  4. Stack four to five weight plates together to your right. 
  5. Raise your left arm and grab each plate one by one, stacking them to your left. 
  6. Raise your right arm, grab each plate and stack them to your right. 
  7. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like, speeding up as you go. 

Plate Exercise # 4: Front Shoulder Plate Raise 

 

This move targets your shoulders, back, and abs. It is mostly for beginner to intermediate lifters.

  1. Grab a weight plate with both hands. 
  2. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding the plate with an inside grip and arms extended forward. 
  3. Keep your arms straight and slowly raise the plate overhead until your biceps touch your ears.
  4. Return to the starting position. 

Plate Exercise # 5: Lateral Plate Raise 

 

This move targets your deltoids, shoulders, and upper back. It is mostly for intermediate lifters.

  1. Stand with a straight torso and with feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Grab a plate with each hand and hold them to your sides.
  3. Raise the plates out from your sides as you bend your elbow slightly. 
  4. Stop when your arms are parallel to the floor. 
  5. Lower the plates slowly back to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Plate Exercise # 6: Chest Squeeze Press 

 

This move mostly targets your chest muscles (pecs), as well as your triceps and deltoids. It is mostly for intermediate to advanced lifters who already have quite a lot of experience with weight training.

  1. Hold and squeeze two plates together in between your hands and across your chest.
  2. Keep your shoulders down. 
  3. Extend your elbows as far as you can go away from the body at chest height. 
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Plate Exercise # 7: Overhead Plate Squat 

 

Also known as the overhead press, this move specifically targets your triceps, chest, abs, butt, and thighs. The full movement consists of taking the plate and holding it over your head. Even though you are mostly working your legs, you will feel a lot of upper body engagement too because you are holding the plate.

  1. Start in a squat position and make sure your back is straight. 
  2. When re-assuming standing position, raise the plate overhead. 
  3. Bring the plate as close to your body as you can while moving it over your head.
  4. Hold the plate and bring your arms up and over your head.
  5. Once you have the plate in that top position, squat down as low as you can
  6. Return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Plate Exercise # 8: Squat Reach 

 

This move is for beginner to intermediate lifters, and it targets your triceps, thighs, abs, butt, and lower back. The squat reach can help you experience less pain on a daily basis. Never hyperextend your lower back when doing this exercise. This can place too much strain on your back and on your lower body, which can lead to injury. 

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and the weight plate close to your chest. 
  2. Squat down and drive your weight into your heels.
  3. Keep your knees bent behind your toes and thrust the weight plate forward with your arms extended and parallel to the ground. 
  4. Rise from your squat and pull the weight plate back to your chest.
  5. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Plate Exercise # 9: Side Bend 

 

This move particularly targets your triceps, abs, butt, thighs, and lower back. It is a fairly simple exercise that can be perfect for beginner to intermediate lifters.

  1. Stand in an upright position. 
  2. Hold a plate with your left hand and hold your waist with your right hand. 
  3. Bend your waist to the left as far as you can. 
  4. Hold for one to two seconds. 
  5. Go back to the starting position and change hands.

Plate Exercise # 10: Single-Arm Plate Row  

 

This move mostly works your biceps, triceps, and upper arms in general. Once you complete one side for this exercise, switch hands and repeat the same number of repetitions on the other side. 

  1. Rest one hand on a bench and place your fingers through the middle of the plate. 
  2. Pull through your elbow as high as you can.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Alternative Exercise # 1: Plate Curl 

 

Never go all the way down to the point where your elbows move backwards with this movement. Always keep them in front of your hips to keep constant tension on the biceps as you perform your repetitions. If you want to make this exercise more intense, you can always use more weight by using multiple plates as you perform the movement. 

  1. Grab the plate on both sides, with your elbows elevated and in front of your hips. 
  2. Curl the weight up while flexing and squeezing your biceps as hard as you can.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the exercise as many times as you like

Alternative Exercise # 2: Plate Triceps Extension 

 

Again, if you want to make this exercise a little more intense, take another plate, stack it up, and perform the same range of motion. 

  1. Hold the plate and bring your arms up and over your head. 
  2. Lower the weight behind you all the way down before extending back to the top. 
  3. Flex and squeeze your triceps as hard as you can at the top of the movement. 

Alternative Exercise # 3: Plate Crunch 

 

Crunches are especially effective for your abs and they can lead to great improvements in your core strength when you do them with plates. The movement is much the same as it would be for regular crunches.

  1. Lie on the floor in the crunch position, while holding the plate over your head. 
  2. Extend your arms up and over your head. 
  3. As soon as you get to the top of the movement, control the weight on the way back down and let your lower back touch the ground first. 
  4. Before your second crunch, allow your shoulder blades to touch the ground too. 

Alternative Exercise # 4: Plate Plank

 

When doing this movement, always maintain proper form. This means more than just going on your toes and your elbows and holding that position. You should almost be pulling your toes in, pulling your elbows towards your toes, and flexing your core as hard as you can at the same time. 

  1. Place a plate on your lower back.
  2. Bring your toes to your elbows and your elbows to your toes.
  3. Squeeze your core as hard as you can.
  4. Hold the position for as long as you can. 

Full Body Home Workout [The entire article is written for gym equipment and then pivots to a home workout? This is confusing. Plates are found in gyms, not often homes]

You can use all these exercises to create a total-body home workout. If you complete three to five rounds of up to twenty reps per exercise, we guarantee that you will really be feeling the burn. It's recommended to do each exercise one after the other. As soon as you finish your reps for the first exercise, move onto the next exercise as quickly as possible, taking no longer than thirty seconds of rest between exercises. 

Complete one round, and then rest for about a minute before your next round. Remember that for something like the single-arm plate row, you have to do about twenty reps per side. With something like the plank, there are no reps but you should put as much weight as you can on your back and hold it for as long as you can. 

Also, you may not be able to use any free weights at all with some movements such as the squats or planks. Just using your bodyweight can be enough as you are beginning. Try to use as much weight as you can, but if you get tired or start to fatigue, reduce the weight immediately.

Planks and squats come with the risk of injury to your back or to your shoulders. Always warm up properly before you start and learn the proper form for all of the weight plate exercises long before you actually start doing them.

An intense full body workout in a home gym does not have to be complicated, and you don't really need a whole lot of sophisticated machines or even any dumbbells or kettlebells. One plate is all you need to complete an extremely effective cardio workout, which will probably leave you feeling sore for many days afterwards.

Getting Deeper Into Plates

Movements with plates are some of the best exercises you can do to improve your cardiovascular function, respiratory efficiency, muscular bulk and definition, articulation and mobility of joints, coordination, and endurance. [Strong statement about bulky plates, is this true?] When you are doing plate work for the first time, your mental health has a big part to play too as you get used to some of the movements. [<--What?]

These types of exercises have allowed bodybuilders and even amateurs to add plenty of impressive muscles to their bodies. Plates can have a tremendous anabolic effect on all of your muscle groups.

For maximum effect, always follow a comprehensive nutrition plan combined with a useful supplement like the Hyperbolic Stack Advanced Pump for Endurance & Recovery to build muscle.

If you are concerned about weight loss and you are trying to burn fat at the same time, you might prefer to try the Whey ISO Shredded Stack Fat Loss with Whey Isolate Protein and Aminos. Using a supplement like this can work well when you eat a nutritious diet and use proper weightlifting form. [RE-WRITE or DELETE]