Step Up to the Plate
Before even lifting a barbell, you’ve started to sweat hauling over the weight plates. So why not give those hefty disks center stage?
FORGET DEADLIFTS. Just loading and unloading a barbell is a workout unto itself. So it stands to reason that those heavy hunks of rubber or metal will give you a fullbody workout, no bar required.
Playing with plates has some unique advantages. For example, climbers (and guitar players) will benefit from the increased finger strength that gripping the flat weights requires. Plus, holding the sides of a plate positions your hands about shoulder-width apart, which is great for activating your arms during overhead moves. Unlike a kettlebell or a dumbbell, a plate is easy to hug to your chest for squats and weighted good mornings. And the equipment is in abundance—just about every gym has them.
Jeb Stuart Johnston, a strength and conditioning coach in Brooklyn, designed this eight-move AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) strength and endurance workout. Grab two plates, a light and a heavy, set a timer for 20 minutes, and perform 10 reps of each move (except number 8) before going on to the next. Do as many rounds as you can before the buzzer. Record the number of rounds you finish, and try to beat it next time.
For poundage, start with a 25- and a 45-pound plate. It’s OK to lighten the load, but Johnston warns against going heavier. The goal is to move quickly through the circuit, which gives you an added dose of cardio.
As a bonus, unlike lifting barbells, you can clean up your area in just one trip to the racks.