No Gym? No Problem: Paper Plate Circuit Training

No Gym? No Problem: Paper Plate Circuit Training

The gym can be an intimidating place. Large muscular guys with tank tops on are slamming weights around and grunting. Some females are dressed like they are about to go out to the club right after the gym. For the novice fitness enthusiast, it can be tough to workout in an environment where you may feel like you are getting judged just because of your physique. All gyms aren’t like that but I am pretty sure your gym has that one guy or girl that either yells and slams weights or gets all dolled up. If being in the gym doesn’t work for you the next gym you belong to can be your kitchen, basement or living room. The following workout, is a workout I use with my in home clients and gym clients alike. The goal of the workout is to work on conditioning and burn as much fat off as possible. And who doesn’t want to do that?

The materials you will need are:

  • Two paper plates (or two towels)
  • A stopwatch or some kind of clock with a second hand

That’s it.

Now the material you use is dependent on the floor you have at your house. If you have wood flooring, tile or laminate flooring, either one will do. If you have carpet, it is best to use paper plates. I like to use the plastic plates as they are more durable. Before you get the circuit started, you need to get warmed up.

The following is a simple and effective dynamic warm up to try:

Jumping Jacks x 20

Body Weight Squats x 20

Push Ups x 10

Jog in place: 30 seconds

High Knees: 30 seconds

Butt Kickers (jog in place but swing your heel to your butt to feel a stretch in the front of the leg): 30 seconds

Leg Swings (forward and backwards): 15 each leg

Arm Circles – Forwards: 15

Arm Circles – Backwards: 1

Here are the exercises (in order) to perform. Note: The exercises should flow from one exercise to the next:

Paper Plate Body Saw

  1. Begin by starting face down with one foot on top of each plate (or towel) and rest on your elbows. Keep your entire back flat throughout.
  2. Keeping your core tight, use your arms to push you back as far as you can and then pull yourself back to the start and repeat. You are mimicking the movement of a saw sawing through a piece of wood.

Trainers note: Only go as far as you can right before you feel tightness in your low back. Your body is telling you that’s as far as you can go (for now).

Variations: Body saw on the knees, bent elbow plank on toes.

Paper Plate Mountain Climber

  1. Get into a push up position with your shoulders stacked over your hands.
  2. With each foot on top of a plate (or towel), slide one knee to your chest, bring it back to the start and repeat with the other leg.

Trainers note: Do not bring your butt in the air. Try to keep your entire back as flat as possible as you pull your knees in.

Paper Plate Push Up

  1. With each foot on top of a paper plate, you will be face down into a push up position. Your shoulders should be over your hands. Lower your body and lead with your chest.

Trainers note: Watch the lower back that it doesn’t sag and keep your neck from jetting forward.

Variations: Push up on knees – easy variation

Paper Plate Burpee

  1. In a push up position, pull both knees into your chest.
  2. When you pull yourself as far in as possible, flatten your feet (whole foot on the ground) and stand straight up.
  3. Squat all the way down, place your hands on the ground (shoulders over hands) and kick your legs out so you are back in the push up position. Repeat.

Paper Plate Pike

  1. In a push up position, keep your core tight and back flat.
  2. Slide your feet in and bring your butt straight into the air. Keep your legs straight throughout. You should form an ‘L’. Bring your butt back down to the starting position and repeat.

Trainers note: Make sure on the way back down your lower back doesn’t sag.

Paper Plate Pike Push Up

  1. This is the end of the circuit and the toughest of the exercises. At this point you are tired and out of breath. Your starting point is in the pike position (bring your butt in the air to form that ‘L’.).
  2. Perform a push up and lead with the top of your head. Your range of motion is going to be short as you’ll probably be able to only go about 90 degrees.

Trainers note: The ‘L’ is hard for some people so to make it easier you can take your feet off of the plate or towel, raise your butt slightly in the air and perform the push up. When you get less than 90 degrees, the angle changes and the exercise is a little easier.

Perform three sets of this circuit with 30 seconds per exercise. I often give my clients a quick transition break from exercise to exercise of about five to ten seconds. At the end of the circuit rest 60 to 90 seconds. Good luck!


Vancouver Health Coach