Weight plates are made for barbells — or so you thought.
Whether added to a barbell or on their own, weight plates are a great way to add resistance and increase the intensity of your routine.
Check out these 6 awesome weight plate exercises to get started.
1. Overhead Squat
Squats are one of the best exercises around, whether you use a barbell, dumbbells or a weight plate to get the weight. They’re an incredibly efficient way to work a large number of the muscle groups in your body, and they’re great for teaching your muscles to work together.
- To do an overhead squat with a weight plate, grasp the plate in your hands and press it over your head as you squat.
- Hold it tightly, and perform squats normally, keeping your arms straight over your head throughout the whole movement.
Keep good form throughout the exercise, maintaining a neutral spine and not allowing your hips to rotate forward as you go down. Make sure you protect your knees throughout the movement by keeping them in line with your feet but not allowing them to extend beyond your toes.
2. Reverse Lunge
The reverse lunge is another great exercise to add to your weight plate workout.
- Hold the weight against your chest with both arms.
- Step back with your right foot and lower with control into a lunge.
- At the bottom, push back up and return your right leg to meet the left.
- Repeat on the left side as well.
If you want to make your weight plate workout more challenging, push the plate out in front of you as you lower into the lunge. Keep your core tight throughout this motion. Adding the press will probably require you to use a lighter weight, so decide which muscles you want to prioritize, then do the appropriate variation.
3. Plate Push-Ups
Don’t let the previous two entries fool you into thinking that weight plate exercises are only good for lower body training. There are also a number of ways to train the rest of your body as well. For chest training, you can use a weight plate to check your form.
- Lay the weight plate on the ground under where you’ll be doing your push ups, then lower down until your chest touches the plate.
- This will help you make sure that you’re going low enough during your push-ups, instead of “cheating” and starting to come back up again too quickly.
Another way you can use a weight plate during your push-ups is to place the plate on your back. If you do this, make sure that you pay close attention to your form. Adding weight to a push-up makes it more challenging, and it can also increase your risk of injury if you do it improperly. Keep your back flat and your core engaged throughout the exercise to help protect your spine.
4. Front Plate Raise
If you want to work your shoulders but only have a weight plate, the front plate raise is a great exercise for you.
- Grasp the plate in both hands, holding it like you would a steering wheel (keep your hands at about 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock).
- Begin with the plate down by your waist, then lift it slowly up to shoulder level while you breathe out.
- Be careful to make sure that you’re doing this strength training exercise correctly.
- Don’t swing the weight, bend your arms, or arch your back.
- Remain in control as you lower the weight again.
5. Plank Plate Transfer
This unique core exercise uses much lighter plates than most of the exercises we’ve discussed so far.
- Begin in a plank with a small stack of weight plates on the ground near one of your shoulders.
- The plates should be no larger than 5 pounds each.
- Keeping your stomach tight and avoiding twisting, lift the arm nearest the pile of weights and move them to the other side, one at a time.
- Move into a one-armed plank again on the other side, and transfer the weight plates back using your other arm.
6. Alternating Weight Plate Reach
Another great weight plate exercise for the abdominals, this exercise engages your core. You’ll need two lightweight plates, two small towels, and a smooth floor.
- Get into a push-up position with a hand on top of each plate.
- Tighten your core and slide your right arm forward while you bend your left arm and lower yourself downward as though doing a push-up.
- Throughout the exercise, your hips and shoulders should both be parallel to the floor, and your body should make a straight line.
- Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.