Dumbbells and barbells are the most common implements used for building strength. But, weighted plates are just as effective. Many weight training exercises just need to be tweaked slightly so that you can perform them while holding a weighted plate. Weighted plates typically come in weights of 2.5, 5, 10, 25 and 45 pounds. So for each exercise, you can use the one that will best challenge your muscles.
Benefits and Training
Do weight plate workouts two to three days per week and on nonconsecutive days. For each exercise, perform two to three sets of six to 12 repetitions. Working out with weighted plates will effectively build strength if you shoot for about six repetitions and as long as you use a weight that will fatigue your muscles during each set. You can focus on increasing muscle size if you complete closer to 12 repetitions per exercise. Working out with weighted plates will build your grip strength as you squeeze the plates during each exercise.
Upper Body Exercises
With a weighted plate, you can build strength in your chest, shoulders, back, biceps and triceps. Perform the chest press, which targets your chest and shoulders, by lying on your back and pressing a plate over your chest. Target your shoulders with the shoulder press, which can be completed by standing and pressing a weighted plate over your head. For your back, complete bent over rows. Stand and bend over at the waist with your back straight and pull the plate up towards your chest. For your biceps, hold a weighted plate down in front of your thighs and curl it up toward your shoulders. To do the overhead triceps extension, stand with the weighted plate over your head and then bend your elbows to move the plate behind your head.
Lower Body Exercises
You can effectively build strength and size in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves by using a weighted plate while doing the squat, the deadlift and the walking lunge. To perform the squat, hold a weighted plate and lower yourself into a squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor. For the deadlift, hold a weighted plate down at the front of your thighs and bend forward at the waist, lowering the weight down towards the floor. To perform walking lunges, hold the plate at your chest and take a large step forward with one foot. Lower your back knee down towards the floor and then push up off your back foot to bring your feet together again. On the next repetition, take a step forward with the opposite foot.
To develop your abs, obliques and lower back, do the seated twist, crunch and bridge thrust. For the seated twist, hold a weighted plate as you sit on the floor and recline your back. Pick your feet up off the floor so that you’re holding your body in a “V” position with your abdominals. Twist your shoulders to the left, then return to center and then twist to the right. For the crunch, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Hold a weighted plate over your chest with your arms fully extended. Crunch straight up towards the ceiling. For the bridge thrust, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold the weighted plate against your hips. Pick your hips up off the floor, raising them up as high as you can.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.