28/05/2021 | Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.
They may be designed to load up a barbell for heavy deads, olympic lifts and curls— but when used properly, bumper plates can be a useful tool in their own right.
If you ever find yourself bar-less in the gym, or just want to try something new, give one of these movements a try.
1. GROUND TO OVERHEAD
A staple in functional fitness competitions and a full body, conditioning movements with a special emphasis on the shoulders. Hold a plate at ‘9 and 3’, hinge at the hips with soft knees and touch the top of the plate to the ground. Hinge back up explosively, bringing the plate to your chest before pressing it overhead. Lower and repeat.
2. PLATE HALO
A movement that doesn’t just work your body through planes of motion often missed in traditional training, but also forces you to fire multiple muscles, sequentially, in different directions helping to foster a strong mind/ muscle connection, all whilst warming your shoulders up nicely. Hold a plate with bent arms in front of your face, keeping your core tight and torso rigid bring one up arm up and over your head, pushing back with the other arm and rotating the plate around the back of your head, now mirror the movement with the opposite arm to bring the plate back around. Continue in this fashion, before reversing the movement, rotating the plate the opposite way.
This one needs no introduction. The neutral grip helps to target the bicep brachialis, this muscle sits beneath the ‘peak’ of your bicep. For maximum arm growth, hitting this part is essential. The thick grip of a bumper plate also works your forearms and grip. Hold a plate at ‘9 and 3’ and let your arms hang straight, keeping your arms close to your body, curl the plate towards your face, pause here before lowering. Move your hands towards the top of the plate to target the forearms/ brachialis further.
4. PINCH GRIP FARMERS
Ramp up your grip and core work by changing how you put those weights away. Grip a bumper at 12 o’clock, stand up tall, squeezing the opposite fist to create tension throughout your body. Stride forward purposefully, squeezing the plate as hard as you can.
5. PLATE SLED PUSH
Depending on the flooring in your gym, you’ll either need one plate for this one, or ten. Lay a bumper on the ground, kneel down with both hands on the plate, lift your knees from the floor and drive the plate forwards, one step at a time.
6. PLANK PULL THROUGHS
Rock your core, build anti-rotational strength with this dynamic plank variation. Assume a strong, long armed press-up position with a bumper plate to your side. Keeping your torso as steady as possible, reach under your body with one arm and drag the plate through to the other side. Place your hand back down and repeat with the other arm.
7. PLATE WINDMILL
A true test of balance, coordination and mobility, but not one for beginners; so be sure of your capacity before you try this. Balance a bumper on the palm your hand, above your head, take a wide stance turn both your feet away from the plate. Looking up towards the bumper at all times, slowly hinge at the hips, reaching down with your opposite hand until you can touch your foot. Return back to standing under control.
8. PLATE HOLLOW HOLD
A gymnastics staple that has huge carryover to more advance calisthenics moves, and any movement involving your core (you know, most of them). Lay flat on your back and press plate to full extension above your chest. Point your toes and lift your legs from the floor, simultaneously lift your upper back and focus on ‘pulling your belly button to the floor’, flattening the arch in your lower back. Hold this position, or rock back and forth under control.
9. LATERAL PLANK ROLLS
Another high skill one that will push your core, shoulders and arms to their limits. Stand a plate upright and assume a strong plank position on top, with your hands at ’10 and 2’. Gently roll the plate laterally, pushing one hands towards the floor, whilst the other comes to the ‘top’ of the plate, steady yourself here and reverse the movement. Try to avoid rotation at the torso, throughout.
10. BUS DRIVERS
An old-school bodybuilding shoulder burner, that has never gone out of fashion. Hold a bumper and 9 and 3, with straight arms raise it up to eye level. As if holding this position wasn’t hard enough, now you’re going to rotate the plate like a steering wheel— put on a full left hand lock, before bringing it right back around and rotating the plate to the other side.