Plates for your legs



For those who don’t spend much time in the gym, the word ‘plates’ may trigger images of dinner or even plates of the tectonic kind. If that’s the case, let us introduce you to the plates avid gym-goers most often refer to – the weighted variety.

If you’re an iron-loving lady, you’ll be familiar with this style of plate, but how often do you take them off the barbells and give them a workout of their own? Using plates without a bar can create a whole new and exciting routine. Goodbye repetitive, boring routine, hello exciting results!

Machines and dumbbells are a great way to get in shape, don’t get us wrong, but if the gym is packed or you need to get in and out as quickly as possible then plates can offer an amazing workout with minimal equipment!

What’s more, these exercises don’t just have you swapping weight plates for your everyday dumbbells; instead, the way you hold or use the  resistance is changed each exercise. Take split squats, for instance: if you extend the plate above your head and keep it there for your entire set you will be engaging your core and upper body muscles. When it comes to elevated dumbbell squats with a plate beneath each heel, you’ll be taking the focus away from your glutes and putting emphasis on your quads and even your calves!

To make the most of this workout, have a go at it twice a week, leaving about 48 hours of rest between each session.

Here's a sneak into one of the moves from the workout!

Overhead weight-plate split squat


Target muscles: Glutes and shoulders – this will also challenge your stabilising muscles in new ways!

SET-UP: Take a wide lunge stance and hold a weight plate above your head in both hands.

ACTION: As you bend both knees and lower your torso to the floor, turn on your core. Stop when your front leg has reached a 90-degree angle before slowly extending your legs back to the start position. Complete 10-12 reps before swapping legs.

TOP TIP: If your shoulders are weak,  your arms may fatigue before your legs do. Try using a lighter plate to begin with and raise the weight for each set.


1.   Elevated dumbbell squat

Target muscles: Quads

Set-up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a plate under your heels. Hold a dumbbell with relaxed arms at each side.

Action: Lower yourself into a squat, pushing your tailbone toward the wall behind you as you go. When your knees reach a 90-degree angle, pause for a second before rising back to the start position. Repeat.

Top tip: If you don’t have dumbbells, don’t worry. This exercise works great as a body weight exercise or, alternatively, you could hold another plate in front of your chest.

For the full workout, be sure to pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Oxygen Magazine, or click here to subscribe.