Full-Body Bench Workout

Find a bench at a park or the gym and complete this toning circuit.

Mix up your strength training with a routine that blends bodyweight movements and powerful plyometric exercises. This workout is designed around a bench. You can use a weight bench at the gym or find a sturdy bench in the park (just be sure to choose one without a back).

To add an element of cardio, keep up the momentum as you go through these movements, says strength and conditioning coach and exercise physiologist Kevin Shields. “Hit one exercise, moving to the next, to the next, to the next until the end, when you’ll take a rest and then repeat it.”

You’ll find suggestions throughout for modifications that can suit your fitness level.

THE WORKOUT

Complete these exercises in a circuit format, three to four times, resting for one minute between each round.

Triceps Dips: 12 to 15 reps

  • Place the meaty part of your palms on the bench with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Extend your legs in front of you to a comfortable degree. The further your feet are from your body, the harder the rep will be.
  • Slowly lower until your arms reach a 90-degree angle, keeping your hips close to the bench.
  • Push back up through your palms, fully extending your arms at the top.

Modification: Move your feet closer to you. For the easiest version, dip with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

Step Up with Knee Drive to Jump: 8 reps (each side)

  • Start with your right foot on the bench. Have your left hand up by the side of your face and your right arm down by your side.
  • Lift your left knee up with a small jump. As you lift, drive your right heel and midfoot into the bench.
  • As your left knee comes up, swing your left arm down and your right arm up.
  • Lower your left foot to the ground.
  • Switch sides, moving opposite leg and arm. As you drive your right knee up, lift your left arm.

Modification: Remove the hop and step up and down.

Bench Crunch: 20 reps

  • Sit facing the length of the bench with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Lightly grasp the edges of the bench.
  • While holding the bench, lean back, extending your body nearly flat.
  • To complete the crunch, pull your knees to your chest and your chest to your knees.

Quick-Switch Plyos: 30 reps

  • Start with one foot on the bench.
  • In one swift motion, tap and switch your feet, replacing one with the other.
  • Continue to quickly switch your feet, standing tall and pumping your arms as you move.

Modification: Remove the hops and tap one foot to the bench at a time.

Side Plank with Leg Lift: 15 reps (each side)

  • Set up for the plank by stacking your bottom hand under your shoulders near the edge of the bench.
  • Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • With control, lift your top leg.
  • Lower back down. Engage your core and leg muscles for the duration of the movement.

Modification: Hold side plank for up to 30 seconds on each side.

Lateral Bench Hops: 30 reps

  • Set up in the middle of the bench. Stand to one side.
  • Place your hands on either side of the bench, directly under your shoulders.
  • Soften your knees, then jump to the other side of the bench, exploding off the ground.
  • Quickly tap and repeat, switching sides and staying light on your feet. Keep a small bend in your elbows as you hop.

Modification: Set up at the short edge of the bench and take smaller hops.

Add this workout to your routine and target your arms, core and legs in one fell swoop. Looking for more outdoor workouts? Check out our no-equipment beach workout with eight full-body exercises.