The 10 Best Exercises to Do with a Weight Plate

Photo credit: Srdjanns74 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Srdjanns74 - Getty Images

Far more than just a shiny accessory for your barbell, weight plates are a versatile training tool in their own right. Plates with a three-grip design are ideal for solo use, or you can opt for one without a comfy handle. Your grip will be forced to work harder, strengthening the muscles of your lower arms: a major limiting factor in many other exercises. What’s more, as many of these moves are front-loaded, they’ll give your core a tougher challenge, too.

Each of these moves requires minimal space, so they’re good for the days when the gym’s unexpectedly busy – or if you just fancy a bit of social distancing from the sweaty hordes gathered around the squat racks. Better still, invest in your own plate for an alternative to your usual kettlebells and dumbbells.

Start with a 10kg plate, then scale up or down if you’re breezing/wheezing through it. Do three sets of 8-10 reps of each move or 6-8 for the Aleknas and bridge pull-overs. Let’s serve up some strength.

Squat Reach

Compound movements are a great way to warm up your entire body, though this weighted reach is still testing. Begin with the plate by your chest and sink into a squat, pushing the plate out in front.


The next round? More squats, of course. As you stand, press the weight above your head to really work your shoulders, then lower back down to the ground, keeping your heels on the floor.

Reverse Lunge

From a standing position, lunge back with your right leg and twist to your left. The added screw will tighten up your core stability. Push up to stand and repeat on the other side, for 5 reps in each direction.


Functional muscle requires dynamic motion and these halos are devilish for your shoulders. Hold the plate with bent arms and lift it around your head. After about 30 secs of work, switch direction.

Overhead Squat

Legs recovered? Let’s try again. Press the plate overhead, then squat to 90 degrees, arms straight, torso upright. Push back up to stand. Bear in mind what we said about not going too heavy, too soon…

Shoulder Raise

Hold the plate at your waist, core locked. Moving only your arms, keeping them straight throughout, lift it up above your head. Keep your torso still to isolate your shoulders. Lower slowly, with control.


This one’s named after a Lithuanian discus athlete (some trivia for you). Lie down with your knees tucked and the plate on your shins. Extend your legs forward and your arms back to finish in a hollow hold.

Bridge Pull-over

Afters come courtesy of your chest and lats. Lying down on the floor, put your shoulders into a bridge position, then tense your abs to bring the weight plate towards your quads. Nicely done.


Take the weight off your feet and drop into a weighted press-up with the plate on your back – you might need a buddy to assist. Bracing your core, lower your chest until you’re just off the ground. Push back up.

Truck Driver

Looks silly, works brilliantly. Take things home by holding the weight directly out in front of you, core braced and arms locked out. Rotate the plate right, then 180 degrees to the left for 30 secs. Then take a load off.

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