Know how just a bench can give you a total-body workout

Updated at: Nov 26, 2017
Know how just a bench can give you a total-body workout

Fitness enthusiasts would be amazed to hear that a modest bench can provide them with a full body workout. But it is true! Performing a combination of high intensity resistence exercises with some cardio on the bench.

Ariba Khaliq
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Ariba KhaliqPublished at: Nov 06, 2017

Once upon a time - before steroids invaded the muscle building scene - people trained using full body approaches. If you're getting ready to shed some body fat, a full body workout is a great choice to start with. It's a full-body workout routine that utilises a combination of high intensity types of resistance training combined and cardio.

And believe it or not, a bench can help you get a total body workout effectively. The biggest naturals of all time trained using full body routines with a bench, and before you decide that this might not be the best routine for you, try it once; you never know until you try.

What will you need?

A bench! That’s all about it. Set an interval timer on your phone, and set the work intervals to 45 seconds and rest intervals to 15 seconds. Those 45 seconds will demand from you to perform each exercise at high intensity, then you may use the 15 seconds to let your heart rate drop.

Which exercises will you perform?

You will have to set up your circuit with 5 exercises. They are:

  • Box jumps + burpees
  • Jumping step-ups
  • Triceps push-ups    
  • Side bridges
  • Shuttles   

Exercise 1: Side bridge

Rest your left elbow and forearm on the bench with your left hip on the ground. Extend your legs out and place your right hand on your hip. Keep your core tight and shoulders down; use your oblique muscle (diagonally arranged abdominal muscle on either side of the torso) to push your hips of the ground. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your toes.

You elbow should stay directly in line with your shoulder at extension and your top shoulder shouldn’t drop forward. Using your control, come back to the ground. This is 1 rep; you must swap sides every 10-15 reps.

Side bridges strengthen and tone the core muscles and shoulders of the muffin top area and also target the obliques.

Exercise 2: Jumping step-up

Facing the bench, push your weight through the middle of your right foot and heel to step your body up onto the bench (this focuses the work on your butt). Move your arms in a running motion to propel your body.

At the top of the move, go into a jump by launching up with your left knee to raise your right foot off the bench. After landing on the bench, step down to the ground, leading with your left foot. This is 1 rep. Repeat on the other side.

This exercise regime will burn the fat on your thighs and butts along with targeting the glutes (one of three large skeletal muscles that form the buttock and move the thigh), hamstrings (one of the tendons at the back of the knee) and quads (a muscle of the thigh that extends the leg). It also develops hip stability.

Exercise 3: Triceps push-up

Place your hands directly under your chest on the bench (or ground) and walk your toes out so that no matter what angle you’re at, you have a straight back, tight core and arms at 90 degrees to your body. Drop your body down to the bench, keeping your elbows into your sides and pointing directly behind you, then push up to the starting position. This is 1 rep.

For toned arms, chest and shoulders, and cores, this is a classic exercise move.

Exercise 4: Sprint shuttle

Using the bench as your starting line; setting up three markers at 10m, 20m and 30m away. Sprint to marker 1 and back to the start, then to marker 2 and back, then marker 3 and back. Continue this pattern at high intensity for 45-60 seconds.

Sports teams love this exercise; it helps them develop speed and fastens their heart rate. While performing this, you are engaging your hamstrings and glutes more than running does.

Exercise 5: Box jump + burpee

Stand close enough to the bench so that when you perform a squat, your knees are close but not touching it. From the base of the squat, jump up to land with both feet on the bench, keeping your knees soft.

Lightly jump back down to the starting position, then squat to place both hands in front of your feet on the ground. Jump your feet out behind you to land in a strong push-up position, keeping your core tight, then jump your feet back into your hands and stand back up. This is 1 rep.

Box jumps help stregnthen and shape the quads, hamstrings and glutes. You should combine them with a burpee of your choice to develop power.

Once you are used to this workout and can stretch yourself, go for the advanced stage of this regimen. Set the intervals to 60 seconds with no rest until the end of each circuit. Rest for 2 minutes then repeat 5 times (total of 6).

Image Source: Getty


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