8 One Plate Exercises That Build Muscle

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The vast amount of fitness information available to us now can sometimes be overwhelming. Enter the phrases “How to Lose Weight” or “How to Build Muscle” into our best friend Google and you will be presented with thousands upon thousands of blogs, articles, and videos telling you which way is the ‘best’ way to reach your goals.

Hey, that may even be how you found your way to reading this article.

Related: 10 Best Cable Exercises for Building Muscle

Sometimes this bombardment of information can be overwhelming. Which one do you choose? Which one is the best? Which one is going to get you the results you want the fastest? This information overload can keep you from forgetting that the simplest recipes for success can produce the biggest results.

When it comes to exercise, simplicity can be the best way for someone to get their fitness journey started. Rather than rifling through hundreds of workout routines with exercises you’ve never done before, a beginning exercise program should be something that is relatively simple and includes exercises that are efficient, yet easy to perform.

So, what’s simpler than you, yourself, and one weighted plate? These 8 exercises cut through the information overload and get you working towards strengthening and conditioning your body through combining simple, effective movements with one, easy to use piece of equipment.

8 Plate-Only Exercises

Perform all of these exercises with the weighted plate you feel comfortable using, from 2.5 lbs to 45 pounds. Choose the weight appropriate for your strength level.

#1 – Chest Press

The plate chest press movement can be performed lying flat on the ground, on a flat bench, on an incline bench, or on a Bosu ball for added difficult. Lie down on your surface, gripping the plate on each side with your palms facing each other, and rest the plate on your chest.

Push the plate straight up above you without locking your elbows out at the top so you are keeping constant tension upon your pectoral muscle group through the entirety of the movement.

#2 – Svend Press

The Svend Press is a unique, pump-inducing press movement that can be performed on its own or used as a superset exercise within your routine. This movement is performed by placing one or two plates in between your hands while standing and keeping your core tight.

With your fingertips pointing out in front of you, hold the plate near your chest, push your arms out directly in front of you, and flex your chest as you push the weight out and away. Again, like with the chest press, focus on keeping the tension on your chest through both the eccentric and concentric portion of the movement.

Building a fuller chest using the Svend press.

#3 – Single Leg Deadlift

While standing, grab a plate and hold it close to your chest. Push the weight out in front of you as if you were doing a standing chest press and keep the weight out in front of you with a slight bend in your elbows.

Lower the plate down in front of your planted foot as you simultaneously raise your back leg off the ground until your torso and leg are parallel with the ground. This movement requires focus and balance, so start with a light plate until you have mastered the movement.

#4 – French Press

The French Press movement is normally performed with a barbell or dumbbell, but you can also perform this movement with a single plate to target your triceps. Grab a plate on each side and push the weight above and slightly behind your head, keeping your elbows in line with your body.

With the upper portion of your arms stable, bend your elbows and lower the plate down behind your head until your arms have formed a 90 degree angle. Raise the weight back up, keeping the tension on the long head of your triceps. This movement can be done seated or standing.

#5 – Russian Twist

Russian Twists are one of the best ab exercises for targeting your obliques. This movement can be done without any weight, but for some added resistance and difficulty you can hold a weighted plate as you perform this exercise.

Sit down on a mat with your legs together, directly in front of you, and your upper body straight up at a 90 degree angle. Now, bend your legs slightly up at the hip and knee, leaning back so that your feet are slightly off the ground and your back is at about a 75 degree angle.

While holding a plate on each side, rotate your upper torso to the left and down, touching the ground with the plate. Move your hands and upper body up and over to the right side in the same fashion to complete one rep. Repeat this left to right twisting motion to effectively work both your right and left oblique muscles.

How to perform the Russian twist.

#6 – Plate Hammer Curl

Just as you would perform a hammer curl with a dumbbell in each hand, grab a plate on each side in a hammer grip fashion with the plate resting on your thigh, just above your knee. Curl the plate up so that it’s parallel with your chest and your arms have formed a 90 degree angle, lowering the weight back down for one repetition.

By curling up to 90 degrees and not curling the plate all the way up to the top of your chest you will keep more tension on the brachialis and outer head of your biceps.

#7 – Bent-Over Row

Bent-Over Rows are a great exercise for targeting development in your back. With the plate grasped on each side, bend your body at the hips so that your upper body is at a 45 degree angle. Keep your head up and spine neutral, so that your head is in line with your back.

With the plate handing below you, pull the weight back and up towards the middle of your chest. With this movement imagine there’s a tennis ball in the middle of your back that you are trying to squeeze with each repetition.

#5 – Front Plate Raise

Pick up weighted plate and grab it on each side, holding the plate just above your knees with a slight bend in your elbows. Keep your core tight, knees slightly bent, and raise the plate up to eye level. Lower the weight slowly back down towards your knee, maintaining the tension on your front deltoids for one repetition. Using the appropriate weight for this movement is key as you don’t want to be swinging your body back and forth with each rep.

#8 – Full Body Superset Plate Workout

With these 8 exercises in your workout arsenal you can perform an efficient, time-saving, full body workout that will get your heart rate up and allow you to build muscle. This routine is a great workout to perform as a family with your children, in a situation with limited equipment, or as a quick routine to get the blood flowing on an active rest day.

The One Plate Workout

All exercises will be performed in a superset fashion. 12 reps each movement. Rest 60 seconds after completion of superset and move on to the next body part.

Once all exercises are complete that’s one circuit. Perform 4 circuits.

  • Chest – Chest Press superset with Svend Press
  • Back and Shoulders – Bent-Over Row superset with Front Plate Raise
  • Arms – Plate Hammer Curl superset with French Press
  • Legs and Abs – Single Leg Deadlift superset with Russian Twist

Getting Fit With One Plate

These exercises and this workout are simple and to the point. No fancy machines, no fancy bars, and no fancy racks. With just one plate, your body, and proper form, you can get a quality workout complete that targets muscles in your body from head to toe.

If you are a beginner lifter or just someone looking for something new, fun, and exciting to add to your workout routine, pick up a plate and let’s get to work.

For more fitness and nutrition tips subscribe to the MuscleMinds Youtube channel and follow me on Instagram @thebrentness.

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Name: Brently Rousset

Bio: Born, raised, and currently residing in beautiful San Diego, CA, I've been around some form of fitness almost my entire life. My mom was an aerobics teacher at the local gym when I was in elementary school through middle school. My dad had a full home gym in the garage and raced mountain bikes professionally through my high school years. My parents engrained the importance of health and fitness into me from a young age. I started playing soccer in my elementary days only to leave it behind for my true loves of basketball and surfing.