What Is The Plate Pinch Press? How To Do It, Muscles Worked and Benefits

When heading to the gym, you want to ensure that you always get a good pump on, and a great workout done.

With various exercises, you can feel a powerful chest pump, and work out your chest to give your arms and legs a break. We won’t forget about leg day, but you definitely will not want to miss chest day! 

With a Plate Pinch Press, you can really turn heads in your local gym. The Plate Pinch Press involves taking two plates, that are typically 10 lbs heavy, and pressing them together whilst extending your arms outwards from your body. This will really work out your inner chest, and is a great way to end your full workout.

If you have never heard of the Plate Pinch Press, trust us, you will want to add this one to your list of chest pumping exercises! So what is the plate pinch press, and how do you do it?

 Cardio Nation USA Fitness Store

What is the Plate Pinch Press?

The Plate Pinch Press is a workout exercise that helps to build muscle and strength in the chest area. The purpose of the Plate Pinch Press is to feel a deep burn, and work out your inner pec muscles for a fuller, more rounded and impressive looking chest.

What is great is that this exercise is suitable for both men and women, and will work to isolate the chest muscles and work exclusively on them.

The Plate Pinch Press is done by holding two plates and pressing them together with your arms out from your body. Whilst this exercise is not about how heavy the weights used, but feeling that deep chest burn, and really honing in on those chest muscles. 

This underdog exercise is not as well known as others like the shoulder press for working out the chest, however it is much beloved by professional powerlifters such as Mark Bell, who argues: ‘With the right technique, the plate pinch press is one of the few exercises that can keep tension on the pecs throughout’ the whole process. 

With backing from a variety of professional powerlifters and bodybuilders, this is one exercise that you will want to add to your list for your next chest day at the gym. However, if you want to reap the benefits of this workout, you will need to know exactly how to perform the plate pinch press, and how to perfect the technique, and isolate your pec muscles.  

How to do the Plate Pinch Press

To do the Plate Pinch Press, there are a few tips and tricks that you will have to keep in mind. For instance, you need to focus on working out the chest and pec muscles, rather than compensating with your lats or delts to do this exercise. 

Therefore, you will need to follow our instructions closely, to ensure that you are doing the Plate Pinch Press properly and professionally. No one likes to look a fool in front of the whole gym. 

As we previously mentioned, the Plate Pinch Press is more about the technique than how heavy the weights you use are. If you are not performing with the plates, and pressing them properly, then you are not fully working out the chest, or feeling the burn! You may be able to bench 500 lbs, but you will only want to use around 10-30 lbs for the Plate Pinch Press. 

For a beginner, the best place to start is with two 10 lb plates. You will want to squeeze them together in your hands, and hold them facing each other in your palms. Using two plates of 10 lbs each is best if you are just starting out with the Plate Pinch Press, but you can actually use three 5 lb plates.

However, pushing three 5 lb plates together is actually much more difficult than pushing the two 10 lb plates together, so work your way up towards that. This is because when you push the three plates together, you have to work much harder to squeeze, or one of them may slip. 

You will want to bring the plates up to the middle of your chest, holding the plates with your fingertips pointing away from the body. You want to feel like you are pressing your palms or hands together against the plates as hard as you possibly can! 

To properly perform the Plate Pinch Press, you will need to make sure that your shoulder blades are retracted, and that you are standing in the right position. This means that your back is straight, and you are not hunching over, as this may cause a strain.

Therefore, you will want to keep your chest up and out, which will make it much simpler to avoid using your shoulders or lats, and you can just work the chest fully, for that deep burn. 

Once you have mastered the art of squeezing the two plates together in your palms, you will want to move onto the next step of the technique. First, squeeze your hands tightly against the plates as hard as you can, and you should feel your chest tightening and working. 

Then, at a slow, controlled pace, you will want to push your arms up and forward. You should extend your arms, with the plates tight together until your arms are outwards and straight. At every movement, you will need to be squeezing the plates as hard as you can to really work your chest, without taking a break. 

Aim to keep your core tight, and your back as straight as possible. If your arms have fully extended, then you can start to return them to your starting position, keeping the plates tight together. 

Then, repeat the movement pattern without dropping your arms down low, so your chest will not feel the benefit of the workout. Try to keep the tension in your muscles. When performed properly, your chest will really feel that tight, deep burn, and you will have a great chest workout. 

What muscles are worked with the Plate Pinch Press?

If you want to add the Plate Pinch Press to your workout routine, then you will need to know what muscles this action works. Overall, the Plate Pinch Press will work to isolate the chest muscles completely. 

As the chest is made up of your lower pec muscles and your upper pecs muscles, the Plate Pinch Press is a great way to work out your chest and improve your chest muscle strength. 

For instance:

The lower pecs are made up of muscle fibers in the ribcage and on your sternum, which work to improve the horizontal flexion. This works to help the movement of bringing your arms overhead from the front. 

The upper pecs involve the muscle fibers on your collarbone, or your clavicle, which will improve your shoulder flexion. 

Both the upper pecs and the lower pecs are targeted by the action of the Plate Pinch Press. This is because when you do the plate pinch press, you are required to use both upper pec and lower pec muscles to perform it properly. 

You will need the upper pec muscles to squeeze your plates tightly together, whilst also utilizing your lower pec muscles to extend and move your arms forwards and upwards. 

This is why the Plate Pinch Press is such a popular and useful movement to improve your chest, and work out all of your chest muscles! This movement will also build up your stamina and strength with your upper and lower pecs, so perfecting this workout is a must! 

What are the benefits of doing the Plate Pinch Press?

There are actually a range of different benefits to adding the Plate Pinch Press to your workout, as this action will work out the whole of your chest instead of either your upper or lower pecs.

This means that you can sort of kill two birds with one stone, instead of doing different exercises such as the dumbbell bench press. 

Some of the main benefits of the Plate Pinch Press are that this exercise isolates the chest muscles, and is a great way to work out or train the chest muscles, or work on shoulder injuries. 

In addition, there is minimal equipment required for this movement, and only a low load is needed for your chest muscles to have a great work out. The Plate Pinch Press is also a very simple workout to do, and can be added to your full body workout routine easily. 

Those are some of the main benefits, but let’s dive into these a little deeper, to see how well they work.

Isolating your chest muscles

As we said, the Plate Pinch Press is a great exercise for working out your chest muscles, and isolating those muscles for a deep burn.

The plate pinch press is also the perfect workout to target all of your chest muscles at once, including both the upper and lower pecs. 

For instance, other exercises such as the dumbbell bench press will work out the triceps and front delt in addition to the chest, whereas the plate pinch press just works the chest muscles. So, you can use this exercise to isolate those muscles and just exercise the ones you want to. 

This means that you can increase the muscle mass of the specific chest muscles, without also working out other ones that you do not particularly want to focus on in that particular moment. 

Training Chest or Shoulder Injury

In addition to this, the plate pinch press is a great way to reduce the strain on your joints and tissues and therefore is the perfect way to train your chest or recover from a recent shoulder injury.

Training your chest with a shoulder injury can be very difficult and can sometimes be painful if you put a lot of stress upon the injury by exercising. However, the plate pinch press does not place stress on the shoulders, and instead works the chest muscles, so there is no extra strain placed upon your injury. 

Low Load Is Required

One of the great things about the plate pinch press is that it does not require a heavy load. However, this exercise has such a great effect on the chest muscles, and improves the mass and strength without lifting a heavy load.

This means that the plate pinch press is much gentler on the joints, ligaments and tendons unlike other press exercises such the incline bench press, or other shoulder presses.

Minimal Amount of Equipment Needed

The other thing is that with the plate pinch press, there is minimal equipment needed to complete the exercise.

You only need about 2 or 3 plates for this exercise to work, and there is no need for dumbbells, weights or other equipment. 

Low Skill Needed

This also means that the plate pinch press requires little to no technical skill in order for it to work properly. You do not have to be well versed in complex and technical equipment or workout movements for the plate pinch press to work.

This means that this movement also does not require a lot of practice or training for you to perfect the plate pinch press, and you can see results much more quickly. 

Chest Tension Time

In addition to all of the previously mentioned benefits, the plate pinch press is one of the most beneficial chest exercises that you can do. This is because the constant tension that this movement places on your chest muscles.

When doing the plate pinch press, we will have your muscles under tension for 60-90 seconds which will completely isolate your chest muscles for much longer than other exercises. 

Workouts with the Plate Pinch Press

There are actually a few variations of the plate pinch press that you can do to target other muscles in your body. These are different variations of the plate pinch press, that can improve the pinching movements and work different muscles:

The first is the Plate Pinch Overhead Press, which is very similar to the plate pinch press, however you do not extend your arms horizontally to the ground, you push the plates together overhead to exercise your front delts. 

You can also try the Plate Pinch Hold, which is slightly different as you pinch two plates together with your arms kept safely at your sides. This will improve your grip massively, and help build strength in your hands.

How do I workout with the Plate Pinch Press?

If you want to incorporate the plate pinch press into your workout, then you will want to add them to your regular training routine. This is best done at the end of your workout, as a sort of cool down, and a way to build your chest muscle strength. 

However, if you are first starting to use the plate pinch press technique, then you will want to start slow and build up the exercise every week, the same as you would in any other workout routine. 

For instance, you can start in the first week by doing 4 sets of the plate pinch press for 30 seconds, then in the next week, try 4 sets of the plate pinch press for 40 seconds.

Once you have mastered this, you can try in week three to do 4 sets of 50 seconds, and in week four, do 4 sets of plate pinch presses for 60 seconds. 

If you feel confident using the two plates of 10lbs for your plate pinch press, then you may want to try using the three plates of 5lbs for that deep burn in your chest muscles. 


To summarize, the plate pinch press is an exceptional exercise for isolating your chest muscles, building muscle mass, and improving your chest strength.

By practicing this action, you can improve your technique, and impress your fellow gym goers by adding the plate pinch press to your routine! 

Kevin Harris