This Intense 5-Move Ab and Arm Workout Uses Just 2 Paper Plates — Expect to Feel Sore!

Holly Strickland
Holly Strickland

If you think you can't do a strength-training workout because you don't have access to equipment like dumbbells, use something you have in your kitchen: paper plates! Holly Strickland, NASM-certified personal trainer and co-owner of Burn Boot Camp in Naples, FL, crafted this five-move ab and arm workout to build strength, and she said you should expect to feel sore afterward. She added that this workout will help keep your core strong.

This workout should take 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how many rounds you complete. "Go at your own pace, but imagine I am there motivating you to go faster," Strickland said.

Paper-Plate Ab and Arm Workout From Holly Strickland

Equipment needed: two paper plates or sliders if you're on carpet, or two dish towels if you're on smooth floors.

Directions: Before getting started, make sure to warm up your body. Here's a dynamic total-body warmup we like. Perform each exercise for one minute, and complete three to six rounds — fewer rounds if you're a beginner or short on time, and more rounds if you are experienced and have more time. Holly said not to rest between rounds, but if you need to, rest for 20 to 60 seconds between rounds. Finish off with this 10-minute cooldown.

  • Paper-plate wheel: one minute
  • Supine hamstring curl: one minute
  • Slider climber: one minute
  • Paper-plate hold: one minute
  • Triple Ps (plank paper pike): one minute
Paper-Plate Wheel

Paper-Plate Wheel

  • Kneel on your shins, and place two paper plates shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you.
  • Place one hand on each paper plate. Keep your arms parallel and your core tight, with your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. This is the starting position.
  • Push both arms forward at the same time, going about a foot in front of you. Keep your back flat and allow your hips to move forward, but don't go so far that your back arches up. Keeping your arms straight, slide your hands back in toward your body until your hands are back underneath your shoulders, returning to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Perform as many reps as you can with correct form for one minute.
Supine Hamstring Curl

Supine Hamstring Curl

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and a paper plate underneath each heel.
  • Place your arms a few inches behind you with your fingers facing forward, lifting your hips off the ground. This is the starting position.
  • Pull your heels in toward your body, performing a hamstring curl, sliding the paper plates toward your hips. Your hips should lift up as your heels come closer to your glutes/body. Only go as far in as your body allows while keeping your arms straight and not letting your hips touch the floor.
  • Pulling your navel in toward your spine to stabilize your core, push both feet out in front of you, straightening your legs back to the starting position. Avoid hunching your shoulders, and keep your hips above the ground throughout the entire movement. This completes one rep.
  • Perform as many reps as you can in one minute. If this is too difficult, straighten one leg at a time instead of both legs together.
Slider Climber

Slider Climber

  • Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and a paper plate underneath each foot.
  • Just like mountain climbers, drive your right knee in toward your chest. As you press it back to plank, quickly switch legs and drive your left knee in toward your chest.
  • Perform as many reps as you can in one minute, making sure to keep your back flat and your core engaged.
Paper-Plate Hold

Paper-Plate Hold

  • Sit on the floor, and carefully place a paper plate in between your feet (it's OK if it bends slightly to keep it in place).
  • Place your hands on the ground behind you for support.
  • Bend your elbows behind you slightly, and lean back to lift both of your legs up, making a "V" shape with your body. Keep your back flat and core engaged. If you think about lifting your chest, it will help prevent your spine from rounding.
  • Hold this position for one minute. If it's too hard, bend your knees slightly.
Triple Ps (Plank Paper Pikes)

Triple Ps (Plank Paper Pikes)

  • Begin in an elbow plank with your elbows underneath your shoulders and a paper plate underneath each foot. Keep your core engaged and your back flat.
  • Pull both knees in toward your chest, then straighten your legs, maintaining a flat back and strong core. This counts as one rep.
  • Perform as many reps as you can with correct form in one minute, making sure to keep your shoulders pulled away from your ears. If this is too hard, pull one knee in toward your chest at a time.