A Workout You Can Do With Just One Weight Plate — No Barbell Necessary

While you've likely seen people bench pressing or deadlifting with a weighted barbell at the gym, you don't necessarily need to wait until a bench or squat rack frees up to get a good workout. In fact, depending on your goals, you may only need one thing: a weight plate.

If you want to shake up your usual strength routine, all you need is a plate. (Image: Halfpoint Images/Moment/GettyImages)

This relatively inexpensive piece of equipment is not only easy to store and use, but it's more versatile than you might think. A weight plate can be used for strength training, endurance work, flexibility, balance and injury prevention.

Whether you're dragging and pushing plates for cardio, throwing plates outside to build explosive power or simply working on grip strength, introducing plates into your workout can add some variety to your routine. Check out this weight-plate workout and see for yourself. Just be sure to start with a lighter weight before you increase the resistance.

Weight-Plate Workout Warm-Up

For the following warm-up, all you need is one weight plate. At first, use the same weight plate for all five exercises, but as you get stronger, add heavier weights for some of the exercises. Perform this warm-up and workout for two to three rounds.

Move 1: Front Plate Raise

Proper form for a front plate raise. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Hold the plate from the sides and lowered in front of the body.
  2. Raise the plate overhead with the arms extended at the elbow.
  3. Lower under control.
  4. Repeat for two sets of 10 reps.

Move 2: Plate Truck Driver

Proper form for plate truck driver. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Hold the plate from the sides in front of the body with the elbows extended.
  2. Twist the plate to one side so that one hand is on top and the other on the bottom of the plate.
  3. Return to the start position and then twist in the opposite direction.
  4. Repeat for two sets of 20 turns.

Move 3: Plate Triceps Press

Proper form for plate tricep press. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Hold the plate overhead from the sides.
  2. Lower the plate behind the head, keeping the elbows high.
  3. Raise the plate back to the start position by extending the elbows.
  4. Repeat for two sets of 12 reps.

Move 4: Plate High Pull

Proper form for a plate high pull. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Hold the plate from the top and lowered in front of the body.
  2. Pull the plate up to chin height by raising the elbows higher than the hands. Pause and squeeze the shoulders.
  3. Lower the plate back down under control.
  4. Repeat for two sets of 15 reps.

Move 5: Plate Hip Twister

Proper form for plate hip twister. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Hold the plate from the sides and twist the chest and shoulders to one side while bringing the knee on that side forward.
  2. Quickly reverse the direction and switch the position of the feet.
  3. Repeat for two sets of 40 twists.

Full-Body Weight-Plate Workout

The four exercises of this main portion of the workout will hit almost every muscle in your body and improve flexibility in your shoulders, core and hips. These exercises are also designed to improve balance and coordination.

Since this workout demands weighted movements of both the arms and legs, start with a lighter plate and go heavier if you're comfortable after the first set — but maintain good form!

Move 1: Press and Step

Proper form for press and step exercise. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Stand with feet together and the plate at chest level with the elbows at your sides.
  2. Then, while keeping the head at the same height, simultaneously step the foot out in the direction you are moving while pressing the plate forward.
  3. Hold for one second and then move the other foot sideways to return to the original position.
  4. Repeat for three sets of 20 steps and presses.

Tip

You can use an open space and move in one direction for the whole set, or if space is limited, just move back and forth each step.

Move 2: Raise and Step

Proper form for raise and step. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Stand with feet together and the plate held at your shins with the elbows at your knees.
  2. Then, while keeping the head at the same height, simultaneously step the foot out in the direction you are moving while raising the plate overhead.
  3. Hold for one second, then move the other foot sideways to return to the original position.
  4. Repeat for three sets of 20 steps and raises.

Move 3: Front Lunge Walk

Proper form for front lunge walk. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Stand with the plate held at the chest with a forearm grip.
  2. Step forward with one foot and lower the back knee until it almost touches the ground.
  3. Hold the bottom position for one second, then step forward back to the original position.
  4. Then, lunge forward with the other leg.
  5. Repeat for three sets of 10 steps on each leg.

Move 4: Front Lunge and Twist

Proper form for front lunge and twist exercise. (Image: Martin Rooney)
  1. Stand with the plate held at chest height with your elbows close to your sides.
  2. Step forward with one foot and lower the back knee until it almost touches the ground.
  3. Twist the shoulders and plate in the direction of the front leg, contracting your core.
  4. Hold the bottom position for one second, then step forward back to the original position.
  5. Then lunge forward with the other leg and twist in that direction.
  6. Repeat for three sets of 10 steps and twists on each leg.
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