Effective Exercises Using a Bench and Your Bodyweight

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Some of the best workouts you can use to build strength and tone up your physique don’t necessarily require an expensive gym membership or fancy and costly exercise equipment. Instead, exercises like the ones in this video use the weight of your own body to help you build strength, increase muscle and reach your optimal level of fitness. They combine cardio (when performed back to back with no rest in between exercises) and resistance training and can be modified for anyone to perform! Bodyweight exercises have tons of benefits and have been shown to provide real fitness results with very short duration workouts, making these types of workout routines perfect for those with busy schedules or who prefer to perform short exercises throughout the day rather than spend two hours doing nothing but endless repetitions. The exercises in this video can be performed anywhere using a bench, step, chair, and even a park bench if you’re outside. The options are endless, just like the benefits. Bodyweight workouts go beyond simply building up strength and size in your muscles. You can expect these movements to result in increased flexibility and improved balance while putting you at a decreased risk of injury. So, let’s get started with the workout and watch the video below!

In this workout, I really want to show you how you can get in a great workout by using just a bench and a small amount of room. This workout can be performed basically anywhere including the convenience of your own home, office or even hotel room. Depending on where you are, a bench or chair might be all you have.

For exercise number one, I’m going to sit on top of the bench. I will place my hands together behind my head. I take a big breath in, reach all the way down, side to side, working my waistline and our obliques for 8-10 reps on each side. The further you come down, the deeper into the sides of your waist you will target.

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Now, let’s move onto the second exercise and work the lower body including the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes (butt muscles). Bring your body up just a little bit, leave your hands in the same position as the first exercise and bring your body up and down in a squatting movement. Perform 10-15 reps for this exercise.

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Let’s now get ready to do some Bulgarian splits squats. Place your foot on top of the bench (or chair), and then come on down, take a big breath in, sink and push up through the heel. Of course the lower you go, the better the workout you’re going to get. We’re working the glutes and quadriceps with this exercise. Perform another 10-15 reps for this movement.

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Okay, moving on, how about some upper body? Push-ups are perfect for building up your chest, shoulders and triceps. Position yourself with your feet on top of the bench, with your body in alignment and your shoulders back. What we don’t want to do is collapse the shoulders or have the hips sink down. We want to position our body nice and straight. Take a big breath in and exhale when you perform the push-up. Shoot for 10-15 reps for this movement.

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If you don’t have a lot of upper body strength, you can also do the push-up with a modified style. Get on your knees and perform the push-up against the bench. Shoot for 15-20 reps with the modified version and 10-12 reps of the regular version.

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So, how about some abs? Position your body down on the floor, interlace your hands again and take a big breath in and then lift your upper body up and crunch to the top. The goal is to touch the top of the bench. If you’re a beginner, you can actually come up half way, bring your hands to the outside, criss-cross and come back down. You will target your obliques, upper and lower abdominals with this movement. Perform 20-30 reps of this abdominal exercise.

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So, that’s all you need to get in a great workout using just one piece of equipment and a little room. You can either do all of these exercises back-to-back for 1 complete set before taking a rest break or you can perform each movement for 2-3 sets before moving onto the next one. Good luck!

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About Author

Shellane Demarest

I am a fitness professional whose journey began as an overweight child. Honestly, I am glad it happened that way. As I struggled with food and inactivity, I began to research nutrition and exercise. I'm now a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and I'm certified in several Les Mills fitness programs. See my profile page for more information!

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