Step right up! Take your next workout to the park bench
August 9, 2012
Newsflash to no one: we women tend to over-complicate things (myself most definitely included). Our workouts are typically no exception to this (guilty again), as we find ourselves grabbing the stability ball, sliding discs, dumbbells and resistance bands for the same workout. Sure, it’s great to mix things up and keep your workouts fresh with a variety of tools, but since it’s really about the work that you put into the workout that gets you the results, and not the other way around, keeping it simple is usually the key.
Well, it doesn’t get much simpler than this workout, which requires only your standard outdoor park bench – you know, the kind found in parks, boardwalks and in cities around the world – to complete. Of course you could always opt to perform this circuit indoors instead, using a sturdy chair, stool or a weight room bench, but the scenery’s probably not as good. With only five moves, this circuit workout is also easy to remember, but it’s tough and will definitely give you that kick in the glutes that you’re looking for!
Perform each move below for the suggested number of repetitions before moving on to the next exercise. Once you complete all of the moves once, rest briefly and then complete the circuit two to four more times. Remember to include a dynamic warm-up before your workout and stretch afterwards!
- Step Ups: Facing the park bench, plant one foot squarely on the bench. Pressing through your heel, step up onto the bench while bringing your other knee up towards your chest before stepping off to complete one rep (try not to let that foot touch the bench unless needed – relying on one leg to balance will work your core more). Perform 15 repetitions on each leg.
- Pushups: For this exercise, there are two options. To make it easier: place your hands on the edge of the bench, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your body in a straight line from head to toe, pulling your abdominals in. Bending only the elbows, perform an incline pushup from this position. Make it harder: face away from the bench, put your hands in the same position on the ground and put your toes on the bench to make it a decline pushup. Perform 15 reps.
- Lateral Step Ups: Turn towards the side, with one leg next to the park bench. Using the same technique as described above, perform a step up from this angle, but instead of pulling the opposite knee up, send that leg out to the side (bringing it slightly behind you, with a flexed foot) and give your glutes a squeeze before returning to the ground to complete one rep. Perform 15 reps on each leg.
- Tricep Dips: Sitting on the edge of the bench with your palms on either side of your body, lift yourself a few inches away from the bench (keep your chest up and shoulders back) and then bend your elbows straight behind you, lowering your body several inches before pushing up through the palms back to your starting position. That’s one rep. Make the move easier by keeping your knees bent, and increase difficulty by straightening your legs, or try lifting one leg off the ground. Perform 15 reps.
- Plank Hold: You can perform this move using the same modifications as the pushup above in order to make it easier or harder. In both cases, keep your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your body in a straight line from head to toe, pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Hold for 15-60 seconds.