Ah, weight plates. They’re so round and weighty. You can find them at many gyms, and everyone knows how well suited they are to being loaded onto bars for squats and deadlifts and even snatches, if you’re feeling fancy. It’s almost like they were designed for it.
But Chainstore isn’t a normal gym, is it? And we’re not normal gym-goers. There’s no limit to the number of unorthodox ways we use equipment, and there’s no way these plates are going to be used for lifting alone.
Box jumps! Is your concrete ledge a little too low, but you’re not yet quite springy enough to trade up for one of the higher boxes? Are you trying to increase your height in little teeny increments? Weight plates kick ass for this. You can increase the height of your target by a fraction of an inch with a five plate, or a good few inches with a 25. They’re actually pretty stable too.
Parkour zone full of people, but you want to work on your strides and/or plyos? Time for a game of Lava Floor. Grab a bunch of plates, space them out in the open area and go to town. Just don’t touch that floor. I’m not kidding about the lava.
“Hey guys, do you have a doorstop? We need to keep this open so people can do shuttle runs.”
“Doorstop? Yeah, we have a whole rack – I recommend the 15kg. 25kg is kind of overkill, but the 5kg is too small.”
Lunges, with a plate held above your head. When Crossfit does it, it looks pretty sensible. When parkour classes do it, it’s like watching a line of leafcutter ants clambering over tree branches.
Target practice. No, not with guns. Please don’t shoot the weight plates (or any other equipment. Or people. Or the walls. No shooting, please). We’re talking about takeoff and landing points here. Do you take off too far away or too close when training kongs? How about lache landings, minus the possibility of falling over painfully if you miss the target? Use a plate. It’s like drawing a bullseye on the floor, only moveable.
And speaking of takeoff points, if you need a bit of a height boost to take off from, stack a few plates. There are teeny boxes available for this, but weight plates are more adjustable – you can start with a 20kg and drop down in increments all the way to a 5kg, which is more of a psychological crutch than an actual height adjustment.
If you’d like to improve your mobility, weight plates can be used for loaded stretching. If you don’t know what you’re doing with this, it’s probably a good idea to do some research and go slowly with it, rather than trying to slam yourself into full front splits with 50kg on your back. I can think of more embarrassing reasons to end up in A&E, but not that many. Interestingly enough, I failed to get a picture of this because pretty much nobody but Alex wants to subject themselves to it.
On the less practical and more ridiculous side, there is actually a Chainstore adaptation of bowls. I don’t know whose idea this was, but it wasn’t mine, so don’t go blaming me. It’s played as follows:
- Line yourselves up at the edge of the dance floor, with some steppers set up at the opposite end
- Take turns rolling plates, getting them as close to the target steppers as possible
Incidentally, this also works if you’re too lazy to carry your plates back for re-racking after squats.
Have you ever wanted to combine rail balance with skateboarding? Who hasn’t? Well, now you can – just load up a barbell and then balance on it. I still can’t quite believe I’ve seen this done by more than one person on totally separate occasions, but apparently it’s a thing. Just try not to run over anyone’s toes. It’s not going to be pretty.
They look like they should be the most basic, boring pieces of equipment in the building, but there’s a lot of potential in these rubbery black discs. Strength, flexibility, technical skills and a bit of silliness – the very essence of Chainstore.