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This Weight Plate Workout Goes Beyond the Barbell

Try this unconventional plate workout, which adds variety and grip training to your routine.

by goldsgym

You’ve probably used weight plates in your workout before — but not like this.

Typically, they’re attached to a barbell or dumbbell to adjust resistance. But weight plates can be used for so much more — even as a free weight.

Here’s why a weight plate workout is worth a try:

  • It helps with grip training. Unlike when you hold a barbell, which requires you to roll your wrists slightly to make your hands grip a straight line, holding a weight plate puts your hands in a more natural position. That position, combined with the fact that you’re using your fingers more to hold the weight, can help build grip strength.
  • It can add a spark to your workout. Adding something new to your workout toolbox gives variety and offers a different stimulus. Your body adapts to well-worn workouts, but new challenges keep your body in a ready state and increase workout effectiveness.
  • It can be useful when a full line of equipment isn’t available. If the gym is busy or you’re in a pinch, just grab a plate and complete an entire workout with minimum extra time or equipment.

Our flexible plate workout

“You can do any exercise in the gym if you get creative with the weight plate,” says Gold’s Gym Fitness Expert Andy Coggan. “You don’t need dumbbells or kettlebells to get started.”

As always, the amount of weight you use and the number of reps you do depend on your goals.

“If you haven’t been in the gym in some time, start lighter and go with more reps to develop neuromuscular coordination and stamina,” Coggan says.

When you begin using just plates to work out, you can use lighter plates to train your grip or even just your bodyweight to practice the movements.

“Creativity is your only real limitation,” Coggan says. Weight plate training “is a form of resistance training, so anything you want to add weight to and safely hold is fair game.”

Use a weighted plate and basic movements for this total body workout. Try two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise and increase the amounts as your stamina and recovery improve.


Hold the plate at chest level or overhead. Lower your body with your hips back and your knees above your feet.


Lie on your back, holding the plate firmly, and push the plate off your chest.


Hold the plate on one side. Supporting yourself with one hand, bend over and pull the plate toward your chest. Switch sides after finishing your reps.


Hold the plate overhead. Step forward and drop your back knee until it almost touches the ground. Alternate steps.


This is a suitcase-style deadlift that challenges your grip. Hold the plate to the side of your body with one hand, with your other hand empty. With the plate hanging down, squat down. Keep your back flat and chest up. Squat until the plate touches the ground and then slowly stand again. The motion is similar to picking up and putting down a suitcase. Switch hands after reps.


Hold the plate against your torso with both hands, and twist to the side. You can hold the plate farther away from your body to adjust difficulty.


Do sit-ups on the ground while holding the plate overhead.

Ready for more? Try these full-body moves from Gold’s Gym experts.
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What started out in 1965 as a small gym in Venice Beach, California has since become the most well-known and traditional fitness company in the world – Gold’s Gym. Over the last 55 years, Gold’s Gym has developed into a global brand with over 600 locations spanning 6 continents. Bodybuilding greats such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu worked out at the original Gold’s Gym, which went on to become the most legendary gym in the world. In the fitness industry, the brand enjoys cult status and universal appeal with 96% aided brand awareness. In 2020, the RSG Group acquired Gold’s Gym and integrated the brand into its portfolio, making it the global leader in the fitness sector.

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