8 exercises that challenge your core and grip

Weight plates make a great replacement for dumbbells and kettlebells, but using one also comes with a unique benefit: It improves grip strength because of the way you have to hold the plate (on the edges, with all fingers actively engaged) and core stability because of its positioning (typically in front of your chest). Plus, they can double as raised platforms for push-ups.
Case in muscle-building point: the total-body routine below, designed by Eric Quarshie, a Tier 3 trainer at Equinox Yorkville in Toronto, Canada. “Together, these exercises work all of the body’s basic movement patterns and major muscle groups while also honing in on the stabilizer muscles, especially those of the core that also allow for rotation,” he says. Rotational power is critical to sports performance, whether you’re running, lifting, or climbing, or doing martial arts.

The workout contains two four-move circuits. Perform 12 to 15 reps (per side, when applicable) of the first four exercises back to back. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat for a total of 4 rounds. Follow the same format with the last 4 exercises. Do this workout at least 3 times per week for optimal results. Choose a weight plate that allows you to perform all the reps with good form and would bring you to failure if you tried to do a few more.

Photography by Gabor Jurina. Art direction by Kathryn Marx.