You can use an exercise bench to execute various exercises that target different muscle groups. You can even put together a full-body workout using only a bench and your body weight with a bit of creativity.
One way to get started is by doing some basic upper-body exercises like pushups and triceps dips. You can also use the bench for stability while performing exercises like lunges and step-ups. You can perform exercises like single-leg raises or hip thrusts to target your lower body, while exercises like sit-ups and planks work your core.
Full-Body Workout You Can Perform With An Exercise Bench
Let’s take a look at some bench exercises you can combine to give yourself a full-body workout:
Pushups are one of the simplest but most effective exercises out there. They work various muscles, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Plus, you can perform pushups anywhere, without any equipment.
But why are they so effective?
For one thing, pushups are a compound exercise, meaning they target multiple muscle groups at once. This makes them more efficient than isolation exercises like bicep curls, which only work one muscle at a time. Additionally, pushups are a weight-bearing exercise, which means they help build bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
To perform a pushup:
- Put your hands on the bench slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and extend your legs behind you.
- Drop your body until your chest nearly touches the bench, then press back up to the starting position.
- You can adjust the placement of your feet or hands on the bench to target your chest, shoulders, and triceps from different angles.
- Start sitting on the frame of an exercise bench or chair.
- Place your hands on the edge of the seat, fingers pointing forward.
- Keeping your back straight, slowly lower your body down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Make sure to keep your core involved throughout the movement.
Try doing tricep dips with one leg lifted off the ground for an extra challenge. This variation will work your balance as well as your upper body.
Anyone who’s ever attempted a lunge knows that they are not for the faint of heart. There’s something about lunging that just feels inherently challenging, whether it’s the deep bend in the knee or the fact that you have to use your body weight to propel yourself forward.
But there’s also no denying that lunges are an incredibly effective way to tone your legs and build strength. The key is to make sure you’re doing them correctly. That means keeping your chest up and your back straight as you lower yourself down. It might not be the most relaxed position, but trust me, it’s worth it when you see the results.
To perform a lunge:
- With the bench behind you, place one leg onto the bench and lower your body until both knees are bent at 90 degrees.
- Position your front knee directly over your ankle and push back up to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
Step-ups are one of the most basic yet effective exercises you can do to tone your legs and improve your cardiovascular health. And the best part is, all you need is a sturdy chair or bench. To perform a step-up:
- Stand facing an exercise bench with your feet about hip-width apart, then place your left foot on the seat.
- Press down through your heel as you lift your body up until your left leg is straight.
- Return to the initial position and repeat with your right leg.
As you get stronger, you can increase the height of the step by using a higher chair or bench. You can also add dumbbells to give your arms a workout.
There are a lot of exercises out there that claim to be the best for your butt. But if you truly want to give your glutes a workout, hip thrusters are where it’s at. This move is simple to perform and only requires your body weight, so there’s no need for fancy equipment. Plus, you can do them anywhere – at the gym, at home, or even at work (just make sure your boss doesn’t catch you).
Here’s how to do a hip thruster:
- Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
- Put your hands on the ground for support. Then, raise your hips off the floor and thrust them forward so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
- Reverse the movement and go back to the starting position.
You can perform hip thrusters with or without weights. If you use weights, you can hold them in your hands or place them on your hips.
Sit-ups are one of the most popular exercises around, and for good reason – they work! But what exactly do they work? Sit-ups target the rectus abdominis, the large muscle that runs down the center of your stomach. This muscle controls motions that flex your spine, and when it’s strong and toned, it can help enhance your posture and protect your back from injury.
In addition to the rectus abdominis, sit-ups also engage the obliques, which are the muscles that run along the sides of your stomach. These muscles help you twist and turn, so strengthening them gives you a wider range of motion and a slimmer waistline.
Here’s how you perform sit-ups with a bench:
- Lay faceup on the bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Place your hands behind your head and curl your torso up until your shoulders are off the bench. Be sure not to pull on your neck as you curl up.
- Drop back down to the beginning position and repeat until you can’t do anymore. Aim for two to three sets.
Get To Work
Start with two to three sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise and see how your body responds. For more of a challenge, add weights to some of the exercises or increase the number of sets and reps you perform.
Feel free to attend one of Evolve MMA’s complimentary introductory HIIT classes to learn more simple exercises you can perform with an exercise bench.
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