How The Plate Press Pumps Your Pecs

plate press_athlete

It might be not be the biggest lift, but don’t underestimate what the plate press can do for your chest.

How many times have you talked about building a massive chest? More times than you actually have actually attempted to. It can be easy to be all talk but once you step up to the bench press and clam up, you’ve already wasted another day. Building our chest is not as hard as it may seem.

Sure, we see guys in the gym all the time who only bench, and while they may be massive, that’s all they can do. Looking to other exercises, often those most overlooked, can work to challenge your chest and pump those pecs. The plate press may not be the sexiest exercise to perform but it certainly will pay off in the long run.

Having a strong chest is important for a number of reasons, aside from the obvious of being aesthetically pleasing and aiding in puffing out that massive physique. What a strong chest can do is improve posture and work to assist your back muscles by working to counter act any imbalances that may be present.

While strong pecs contribute to upper body strength, your chest allows you to push things as effectively as possible, whether that be for sport specific movements or those that are more functional (1). The plate press will work to build your pecs all-around to enhance any movements that come your way.

Let’s take a look at the plate press and see what this exercise can do for you. From what it is, to muscles worked, and the benefits surrounding this pec pumping exercise, we’ll show you how to perform it to maximize your gains as effectively as possible. You won’t be disappointed by the results of this exercise once you hit the ground running.

What Is The Plate Press?

The plate press is one of those exercises placed into your chest routine to increase growth and create more defined pecs so that desired physique really begins to show. Taking any number of plates, you essentially push this weight in and out, really getting a squeeze in your pecs. What you will find is that this tends to work great at the end of a workout when performed with higher reps to really induce fatigue and provide for that last ditch effort to squeeze out as much growth as possible.

With this exercise, you want to try and isolate your chest as much as possible. Even though some other muscle groups will get work done, it’s simply from the movement. As an accessory exercise, this works to fill out that aesthetic and really round out each pec so you get a good pump and start to see the change you want most.

Muscles Worked

As mentioned before, this is mainly an exercise to pump up your pecs so really working on targeting the chest muscles as best as you can will prove to pay off in the long run. This can be compared to exercises like the bench press or pushups because the secondary muscles used are similar and are used in a similar fashion. Your triceps and delts will get some action with this exercise as they are points of contact but also essential for the back and forth movement. While they won’t grow to be enormous, you will feel a bit of a burn which can be a nice bonus.

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Benefits Of The Plate Press

Work To Isolate Pecs

The plate press is a great exercise to work on targeting your pecs and may require something like mind-muscle connection to take place (2). This will allow you to focus on every aspect of the lift to work on building more muscle out of your chest. By placing this at the end of your chest day routine, you can maximize growth by adding in higher reps and working your chest beyond belief to see some great growth.

Round Out Your Aesthetic

The plate press will work to build that nice aesthetic we all know and love. Rounding out our pecs can offer that more full, pumped up look that looks great with a shirt on, shirt off, and of course, for any competition we seek a podium spot.

Great Accessory Exercise

As an accessory exercise, the plate press is perfect for it requires little equipment but packs a punch. It can still work to build muscle while also aiding in the roundness of your pecs. Also, for those working through a potential injury, it is a great way to control how much weight you use to still get work done without aggravating that injured muscle.

Simple & Convenient

Plain and simple, this exercise is one movement that is convenient and requires little equipment. Easy to learn with great benefits to your chest growth and development, it would be unwise to not include this in your routine.

plate press_athlete

How To Perform It

Here are the steps to performing the plate press.

Begin with your feet in a stance slightly more than shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and engage your core as you lift the plate to your chest. With your elbows bent, work to extend the weight in front of you and lock out your elbows. Bring the weigh back to your chest and repeat for your desired number of reps.

Wrap Up

The plate press is one of those accessory exercises you need to add to your routine. As a way to build strength and size, while also working on development, fullness, and rounding out each pec, this is a great way to enhance that physique and see that pump you want most. We all want a big chest. We get that. With this exercise, you work for that in a simple and convenient way that won’t put you in jeopardy of injury and will see the gains you want. Look to add this in your chest day routine and see how the plate press can round out a nice physique.

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*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Saeterbakken, Atle H.; Van Den Tillaar, Roland; Fimland, Marius S. (2011). “A comparison of muscle activity and 1-RM strength of three chest-press exercises with different stability requirements”. (source)
  2. Calatayud, Joaquin; Vinstrup, Jonas; Jakobsen, Markus D.; Sundstrup, Emil; et al. (2017). “Mind-muscle connection training principle: influence of muscle strength and training experience during a pushing movement”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.