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The Best Muscle Workouts


Benefits, Muscles Worked, and How-To

If you’re tired of your usual chest and shoulder workouts, you may want to give the plate press a try….

By admint10m , in Arms , at October 6, 2021

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If you’re tired of your usual chest and shoulder workouts, you may want to give the plate press a try.

The plate press is a great workout that helps you isolate your chest and shoulder muscles effectively. Plus, it involves minimal equipment, making it easy to add to your workout routine.

This article explains all you need to know about the plate press, including how to do it, muscles worked, benefits, and variations.

There are two forms of the plate press:

  • the standard plate press
  • the plate pinch press, also known as the Svend press

For both exercises, you’ll need at least one weighted plate.

If you don’t have access to a weighted plate, you can get creative and use any small object around your house, such as a heavy book, bag of pet food, or bottle of laundry detergent.

Standard plate press

Equipment: 1 large weighted plate

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and safely pick up the weighted plate from the ground with both hands. Return to a standing position and hold the plate vertically at chest level with your elbows bent. Your hands should be positioned at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
  3. Press your hands into the plate and push it straight out until your arms are fully extended. Ensure your core is engaged, your back is straight, and your knees are slightly bent.
  4. Slowly bring the weight back to your chest. This is one rep.
  5. Complete 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps. If used as a finisher exercise, complete as many reps as possible.

Depending on your current strength and experience, you will need to select a weighted plate that provides a challenge but does not compromise your form.

If you’re looking for an added challenge, try holding two plates back-to-back.

Plate pinch press (Svend press)

Equipment: 1–2 small weighted plates

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grab two small weighted plates and press them together with your palms. Hold them in front of your chest with your elbows bent. Your fingers should be straight and pointed slightly away from your body (avoid wrapping your fingers around the plate).
  3. Extend your arms straight forward and slightly upward. Ensure your palms are pressed into the plates the entire movement, which will activate your chest muscles more efficiently.
  4. Bring the plate back to your chest (starting position) by bending your elbows. Continue to squeeze the plates. This is one rep.
  5. Complete 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps. If used as a finisher exercise, complete as many reps as possible.

It’s best to use 1–2 small weighted plates, especially if you’re new to this exercise. As you progress, you can add a third plate to increase the difficulty as long as you can safely hold the plates.

Summary

The two main types of plate presses are the standard plate press and the plate pinch press, which differ in the way you hold the plates.

Both versions of the plate press rely on multiple muscle groups, such as (1, 2):

  • shoulders (deltoids, rotator cuff muscles)
  • chest muscles (pectoralis major, pectoralis minor)
  • upper back (trapezius)
  • teres major
  • triceps
  • biceps
  • forearms
  • core (abdominals and erector spinae)

The standard plate press mostly targets the shoulders, and to some extent, the chest muscles, while the plate pinch press better targets the upper and lower chest muscles.

If you’re looking to target your chest muscles, the plate pinch press is the better option. On the other hand, if you want to target your deltoids and other shoulder muscles, the standard plate press is likely a better choice.

Other surrounding muscles are used for stabilization and to assist with movement (3).

Summary

Both plate presses target the chest, shoulders, upper back, and surrounding musculature. However, the plate pinch press better targets the chest muscles, while the standard plate press better targets the shoulders.

The plate press is a great exercise for targeting the chest muscles and for muscular endurance, which is defined as your muscles’ ability to sustain exercise for a period of time (4).

Unlike other chest exercises, which usually use heavier weights (e.g., chest press), the plate press uses a much lighter weight. This allows you to perform a higher number of reps in a single session.

That said, the plate press isn’t the best choice if you’re looking to increase muscular strength using heavy weights. Instead, try using the plate press as a finisher exercise. This can help promote muscular endurance and provide a final challenge for your muscles (4).

Summary

The plate press is an excellent exercise for promoting muscular endurance through high rep sets. You shouldn’t perform it using heavy weights — those are best reserved for exercises like the chest press.

There are many benefits to the plate press.

First, the plate press is easy to perform and requires minimal equipment. This makes it a great option for beginners or those who wish to avoid heavier equipment, such as dumbbells and barbells.

Furthermore, it puts less pressure on the shoulders and elbows compared with other chest and shoulder exercises like pushups, the chest press, and the shoulder press. It’s also a good option for those who wish to avoid lifting weights over their head and shoulders.

Finally, the plate press — especially the plate pinch press — contracts your muscles throughout the entire movement, which increases their time under tension. This forces your muscles to work harder to promote greater strength, endurance, and growth (5, 6).

Summary

The plate press is a convenient, simple exercise that most people can safely perform to build a stronger chest and shoulders.

While the plate press is generally safe, it may not be suitable for those with a recent shoulder, neck, or back injury. If that’s the case for you, consider getting clearance from a healthcare professional before you try it.

To prevent injury, make sure you engage your core and avoid hunching your back during the entire exercise. If you’re new to this exercise, focus on proper form first and master the movement pattern before increasing the weight.

Finally, this exercise is intended to be performed with lighter weights. Avoid using excessively heavy plates and avoid stacking more than 2–3 to prevent accidentally dropping them.

Summary

To reduce your risk of injury, perfect your form first using light plates. Avoid this exercise if you have current upper body injuries until you receive clearance from a healthcare professional.

Here are variations of the plate press.

1. Lying plate press

Similarly to a bench press, this can help reduce pressure on the back while using gravity to target the chest muscles more effectively.

  1. Lie down on a bench on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a weighted plate with both hands above your chest with your elbows bent.
  3. Extend your arms straight forward (the plates should go up) and hold for 1 second.
  4. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position to complete a rep.

2. Seated Svend press

This move is ideal for those who cannot stand, have trouble with balance, or prefer to sit. The Svend press is another name for the plate pinch press.

  1. Sit upright on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your back against the backrest.
  2. Perform the same movement as a typical plate pinch press. Be sure to engage your core and look forward.

3. Incline Svend press

Performing a press on an incline targets your deltoids more than your chest (7).

  1. Adjust an exercise bench so that the back sits at around a 45-degree angle.
  2. Perform the same movement as the plate pinch press, keeping your core engaged, head upright, and feet flat on the floor.

4. Dumbbell press

If you don’t have access to a weighted plate, you can use a dumbbell.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold one dumbbell at chest level with both hands and your elbows bent.
  3. Extend your arms straight forward.
  4. Slowly bend your elbows and return to the starting position.

Note: Be sure to master your form before using a heavy dumbbell. This will reduce your risk of neck, shoulder, and back injury.

5. Plate front raise

This variation better targets your shoulders, especially your deltoids.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a weighted plate at waist level with both hands. The plate should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Keeping your arms straight, lift the plate just slightly above shoulder level (it should now be perpendicular to the ground) and hold for 1 second.
  4. Slowly lower the plate down and back to the starting position.

Summary

Performing slight variations of the plate press can help target different muscles more effectively.

If you want to kick it up a notch, add plate presses to your chest and shoulder workouts. Fortunately, all you’ll need is a weighted plate to get started.

The standard plate press targets the shoulders more than the chest, while the plate pinch press relies more on the chest muscles, though these exercises are similar.

Both exercises are easy to learn, involve minimal equipment, and do not require heavy weights.

These exercises are great additions to your heavier lifts, such as a chest and shoulder press. You can include them in the middle of your workout routine or use them to finish a workout by doing as many reps as possible.

If you haven’t tried it already, be sure to give the plate press a try.

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