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The best strength workouts using just a weight plate

Sometimes, the best way to exercise is to pare back your equipment. And nothing succeeds as well as using a versatile weight plate

A weight plate is a very versatile equipment for strength training.
A weight plate is a very versatile equipment for strength training. (Unsplash)

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As our approach to fitness have changed over two years, the one thing we’ve finally managed to learn is that we don’t need a lot of equipment for resistance training. You should continue to apply this learning in the gym as well, to freshen up routine workouts that can get repetitive at times.

We focus on the weight plates, equipment that is easily available online and in every gym. With a wide range of weight options, starting at 1kg and going up to 25kg, these plates are very versatile. They’re perfect to put at the ends of bars to progressively add heavier loads. On the other hand, you can even use each plate individually for exercise and devise entire workouts with just a plate or two.In the interest of maintaining a full body focus, here are five exercises you can do with just plates that can add a lot to your training.

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Plate pick-ups: The plate pick-up is a full body exercise that makes you squat as low as it takes to touch the edge of the plate to the floor, and then lift it overhead while standing up. I tend to flip the plate with chest support while standing up to change the grip from thumb facing downwards (when touching the plate to the floor) to thumb shifting to under the plate before the overhead lift. The video above will give you an idea of how you can do the exercise, with the slight flip always an option. It is a great option to add to your push day warm-up routine as well.

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The Halo: Also doable with a kettlebell, the plate halo is exactly what it sounds like. But in this case, you will have to draw the imaginary halo over your head with the plate. Not only does the halo work the muscles, it also adds stability and rotational abilities to the shoulder. The pectorals, triceps, and deltoids will all get engaged in this effort and this is something one must add to every shoulder day. Lift the plate over your head, bring it down one side and take it past the other and overhead again, making a circular motion while maintaining the initial grip of holding the plate.

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Plate chest squeeze: Every chest exercise has the hands too far to isolate the pectoral muscles which run down the middle of the large muscle group. But when you squeeze a plate between the palms and push it forward, it “maximises pectoral involvement throughout isolating the chest muscles and minimising the usage of larger muscle groups like the lats, triceps, and shoulders; all of which assist in typical pressing movements,” according an article in You can do the exercise on a bench, in a bench press position, or while standing or sitting. The exercise is also known as the Svend Press.

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Plank plate switch/drag: Doing a static plank alone may not really be doing anything for your abs, which is why it is important to introduce new moves to the position. The plank plate drag is a great way to add more resistance to the plank, and helps mind-muscle coordination when done with the right form with minimal help from other muscles. The key to think you are dragging the plate from one hand towards the other using the core muscles rather than the arms.

Also Read: How to master the shoulder press for greater strength

The squat and reach: Another really good full-body exercise, this one requires you to hold a plate and either push it ahead of you or overhead while you perform a conventional squat. Pushing it ahead would act not only as an excellent counterbalance but also braces your core and keeps it activated during the course of doing the squat. Beginners can keep the plate pushed ahead during the entire exercise but pushing it away while squatting would mean you’re combining a squat with a pallof press, which is a great core exercise.

Pulasta Dhar is a football commentator and writer.

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